“The Ice Bra Cometh” by Monica Giglio

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Woman.”

“Only you, Monica. This stuff only happens to you.”

In the past decade as a single mother of three, I’d heard that declaration more times than I could count. I don’t ask for drama to come into my life, but it somehow finds me. Freaky stuff happens, like when the washing machine repairman mortified my teenage daughter by saying, “Aha! This is the culprit!” while pulling her rainbow-colored thong out of the pump. Or when my lingerie got stuck on a baffle in the dryer and caused a small house fire. But like my mother before me, when I fall down, I get up quickly, and when I get embarrassed, I laugh!

My 11-year-old daughter, Sarah, had been playing the same practical joke on me for three months. She’d hide my water bras in the freezer, and then sneak them—completely frozen—into my drawer just before I’d get dressed. I’d bought these bras not because they were extra plump, but because I could get three for less than $20. And they came in the most important bra colors: white, tan and black! It wasn’t until I got home that I realized they were liquid-filled. It’s not like I thought I needed extra padding, extra support or extra anything. OK, maybe underwire support, considering I have given birth to, and nursed, three children. But mostly I just couldn’t resist a bargain.

One summer day when I was particularly parched, I reached into our freezer for ice cubes and found nothing in the ice bin. On closer inspection, I saw a batch of ice about to be expelled from the ice maker, but appeared to have stopped mid-motion, half way through the act. Many of the cubes had morphed into a solid ice mass, now frozen into the ice maker. It dawned on me that I had not heard the grind of ice making for several days, since before my daughters left for a weekend with their dad.

I gave the ice behemoth a tug, a tap, a slap and a few curse words, but it didn’t budge. I turned the ice maker off and back on. The motor would start to churn and the auger, which rotated the ice cubes from the tray, would jiggle for a second and then immediately stop. Something was preventing it from completing the last segment of a full rotation to dump the ice and produce the next batch.

Investigating further, I blindly reached up into the icemaking mechanism and feeling along the sharp metal edges of the cube separators, I prayed that the contraption wouldn’t spontaneously start turning! Not one to shrink in fear, I stuck my head in the freezer for a better look.

Pressing my cheek against the ceiling of the freezer and peering sideways into the ice maker, I could see a larger frozen accumulation caught in the auger. What was it? Another ice mass? I wondered to myself.

Not wanting to pay for my repairman to come out and rescue me, I decided to fix this problem myself. Instead of defrosting the entire freezer, I used my blow dryer as a torch. Taking aim at the auger, I melted as much of the ice as possible in an effort to free the machine. I was making progress, but the melting ice dripped in a steady stream all over the frozen vegetables and strip steaks. “No problem. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ll clean the water up later,” I mumbled to no one in particular.

Monica on a mission!

Monica on a mission!

A few minutes later, my blow dryer torch must have activated an automatic sensor to produce more ice! Suddenly, the water supply kicked on and water began gushing into, and out of, the freezer at a rate of what seemed to be gallons per minute! It was pouring all over the freezer’s bottom, cascading down the front of the fridge, and streaming onto the kitchen floor! We lived on the top floor of a condo and my biggest fear at that instant was the water leaking into the neighbor’s condo below me! The last thing I wanted was that self-important old fart interrogating me because she would more than likely file a claim with the homeowner’s association and they, in turn, would get all up into my business.

I had to act quickly. Running to the laundry room, I turned off the water supply and grabbed towels from the dryer to sop up the kitchen floor. Once I got the semi-flood under control, I peered back inside the freezer. Before me was the guilty party, still somewhat encased in ice—my favorite water bra! Sarah had been at it again!

Try as I might, the bra would not come free—it was tangled around and frozen into the auger. I had to think of a solution quick if there was any hope of extricating it without the embarrassment of calling my repairman yet again. A thong in the washing machine pump, lingerie fire in the dryer and now a bra in the freezer? Geez, lady, I imagined him saying to me, You have another wild, drunken, crazy party or what? No, I couldn’t tell him about this and maintain my good reputation. So with renewed fervor, I got back to work.

When I had melted all the ice, I still could not extricate the bra. I grabbed the undergarment with two hands, put one foot against the fridge, and yanked hard! Nothing. I began to think I’d have to call for the Jaws of Life! My only option was to cut the bra into pieces. I had no idea what the gel-like substance in the bra’s undercup contained, and feared contaminating my ice supply if I cut into it and the mystery goop spilled out and into the freezer. Will my family be poisoned? Is it worth that risk? Yes, these are the freaky thoughts you have when there’s a water bra stuck in your freezer.

With pliers, snips, wire-cutters and lots of elbow grease, I attacked the remains of my white bra. Determined, I carefully snipped away until all that was left was the underwire and a few shreds of fabric. But yet, I still could not yank it completely free. Then after what seemed like hours of hard labor, a wonderful thing happened. The heavens opened, the white lights flooded into my kitchen and a hallelujah chorus played melodiously—the auger turned on its own. There were no ice cubes to dump. No ice had been produced in days. The auger simply turned, and when it did, the remains of my bra were expelled from its clutches and dropped into the ice bin with a thud and a clank! It really was as simple and as wonderful and as beautiful as that.

Even though I am now minus one water bra, at least I had ice cold beverages for the remainder of the summer. The previously frozen and now shredded remains of my bra have been preserved in our family history and have been given an honored place in our scrapbook/photo album along with other memories of that summer, the summer when the ice bra cometh . . . undone.

Women 250_rgbMonica Giglio (www.monicagiglio.com) is an artist and writer whose works have been published in Welcome Home Magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her column “Monica’s Corner” appears in the Showcase Magazine. The Arts in Embassies program currently exhibits her art in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, at the ambassadorial residence. monicagiglio@optonline.net

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Woman.” The book features 62 stories only women can truly appreciate! Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1o9yZtl) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1Ctd6eK).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.