PAT McDER­MOTT: sum­mer hol­i­day mad­ness

Peo­ple do crazy things when sum­mer is on the way.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents - WITH PAT McDER­MOTT AWW

There’s the dispir­it­ing troll through the shops in search of swim­mers. Then hol­ing up in a chang­ing room the size of a phone booth but with oor to ceil­ing mir­rors. Just in case you needed re­mind­ing that not only does your bum looks big in that – it looks big in ev­ery­thing!

I’m not my best in sum­mer. I stick to bus seats and my eyes are bleary from the sun­screen I slap on. The “ ap ap” of thongs makes me a lit­tle crazy.

“You’re just jeal­ous,” says the MOTH (The Man of the House) as he “ aps” past. He grew up on the North Coast of New South Wales with the sand, the sun and the sea.

He loves Vegemite, kan­ga­roos, Holden cars and swims like a sh. I like peanut but­ter, maple syrup and not get­ting my hair wet.

I’ve de­vel­oped a swim­ming style all my own. It’s part se­date breast­stroke, part dog pad­dle. My chil­dren snort with laugh­ter but my $140 “colour and cut” stays in­tact.

The num­ber one crazy thing Aus­tralians do in sum­mer is book a hol­i­day house. We did this more than once be­cause McDer­motts are slow learn­ers.

Why, I’d ask my­self ev­ery year, would two sen­si­ble adults, ve chil­dren and a dog leave a com­fort­able home with a work­ing wash­ing ma­chine and a big screen tele­vi­sion and drive for hours to stay in a musty, over­priced hol­i­day at?

“A fully-equipped musty, over­priced hol­i­day at,” the MOTH cor­rected me.

Our ve chil­dren, one lit­tle friend and the “dog of the day” were dis­trib­uted evenly be­tween suit­cases, beach toys, es­kies, pil­lows, tow­els and the MOTH’s shing rod pok­ing out a win­dow. The MOTH had been hunt­ing for Moby Dick ev­ery sum­mer of our mar­ried life. He wasn’t go­ing to stop now.

When pack­ing the car I tried to be fair. Ev­ery­one was equally un­com­fort­able.

“Are we hav­ing fun yet?” a small voice asked as we backed down our drive­way.

“A new record!” an­nounced the MOTH, check­ing his watch.

“How much longer?” asked an­other whiny voice.

“Look for the big ba­nana/merino/ prawn!” I’d say. “Then it will be an­other four hours!

“Make that eight hours,” said an older, wiser child.

When we did ar­rive, hot, rum­pled and stiff, the hol­i­day at was al­ways ev­ery­thing the MOTH promised and more.

There was a dusty air con­di­tioner in the only win­dow with a water view, and four bed­rooms with pa­per-thin walls. I saw at a glance that the sticky kitchen drawer held ev­ery­thing a fam­ily on hol­i­day needed – one ser­rated grapefruit knife, one melon baller and one des­ic­cated cock­roach.

The MOTH went to see a man about a corkscrew. I checked out the vinyl sofa (takes a layer of skin off on a hot day), the stain on the car­pet in the shape of Aus­tralia and the laun­dry. “One beach towel at a time” warned a sign on the wash­ing ma­chine.

The next day I trot­ted down to the corner cof­fee shop and met some­one from the kids’ school. I wasn’t wear­ing a bra or make-up but she was. The bloke next door caught sh. The MOTH didn’t.

So why do we do it each year? Be­cause it feels so good when it’s over that, some­times the bliss lasts all the way to Easter.

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