So, somebody (and really we have no clue who it was, it could have been any of us) didn't fully shut the freezer door. It wasn't open enough that anything thawed, even part way, but it was open enough that condensation formed and froze and suddenly shutting the door was getting hard.
So, it was time to defrost it. We got a manual defrost because it uses less energy and there's less chance of freezer burn. Food stays better longer because it isn't subjected to periodic partial thawing. However, we had never defrosted it. We've moved twice since we bought it and it got defrosted during the moves.
We had no idea how much water this process entails. I hadn't done laundry that week, so I had dirty towels. But, it wasn't enough. We were chipping away the ice to help reduce the amount of water. We wrung out the towels so many times my arms started to really hurt.
In the end we now have a clean freezer. We found a lamb roast we'd forgotten about and rediscovered all the grains, etc we keep. We can now go into the freezer and see what we have an menu plan. What a novel idea!
My only question? How the hell did a button that fell off my skirt over a year ago end up in the freezer? Any ideas? Do other freezers have the socks that are lost in washers?