Pat McDer­mott:

keep­ing her cool

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - To con­nect with Pat on Face­book, visit www.face­book.com/PatMcDer­mot­tau.

Last week, there was a queue down the hall­way of our new apart­ment. Four re­moval­ists, three car­pet lay­ers, a painter and two blokes with a pi­ano on a trol­ley were help­ing us move in. The pi­ano boys, Bert and Matt, have shifted my pi­ano be­fore. “You plan­ning to prac­tise more this time around?” Bert asks me, sternly. “Your Chopin needs some work.” I promised to prac­tise. They pre­tended to be­lieve me.

At the back of the line stood the MOTH

(Man of the House). He’d been up since 6am, at which time he car­ried the first box of 418 care­fully num­bered pack­ing cases into our new place. At 6.05am, in keep­ing with an old McDer­mott fam­ily tra­di­tion, he dropped the box up­side down in the wrong room.

Things went slowly down­hill af­ter that, but what kept the MOTH go­ing was the thought of an icy-cold beer at the end of the day. Un­for­tu­nately, the last thing to ar­rive was the new fridge. “Stand aside, mate,” the de­liv­ery­man panted, “bloody thing weighs a ton!” Two sturdy blokes wear­ing leather carry straps and, I hoped, re­ally tight-fit­ting un­der­wear, more or less ‘walked’ our new fridge in the door and down the hall.

We watched in awe as they stag­gered to­wards the kitchen. “It looks big­ger than it did in the show­room,” I said, winc­ing.

“We’ve bought the Don­ald Trump of re­frig­er­a­tors,” said the MOTH. “Big, white and com­pli­cated.”

“It has a Wi-Fi-en­abled touch­screen. You can tell the fridge where you’re go­ing and it puts it on the screen for ev­ery­one to see,” I ex­plained.

“What if I don’t tell the fridge where I’m go­ing?” he coun­tered. “The fridge will get sus­pi­cious.” “What’s it go­ing to do? Fol­low me?”

“Here’s an­other thing it does,” I said. “When you close the door, cam­eras take pictures of what’s in­side and send them to your phone.”

He thought this sounded creepy, but could see the ad­van­tages. He re­mem­bered the nights I’d ring to ask him to stop at the su­per­mar­ket on the way home from work. “We need a few things,” I’d say. “Milk, but­ter, eggs, cheese, choco­late, dog food, cat food, frozen pizza and some­thing to give the Year Four teacher for her birth­day.”

And then I’d call 10 min­utes later to add bread, sticky tape and some coloured pen­cils to the list – and, if pos­si­ble, a packet of lit­tle stars for Pa­trick’s space project. “Ah, yes, I re­mem­ber it well,” he groaned.

That night, we sat out­side on pack­ing cases, sip­ping warm white wine and look­ing at the stars. The talk turned to other re­frig­er­a­tors we’d known and loved.

The fridge in the share house in London, in which choco­late bis­cuits and cheese slices were care­fully num­bered and the jam hid­den un­der de­cay­ing let­tuce leaves.

The ce­ment laun­dry tub that dou­bled as a fridge. Every night on the way home, we’d buy three bags of ice at the pub. I be­lieve our rep­u­ta­tion as party an­i­mals is still in­tact.

The lit­tle Ital­ian re­frig­er­a­tor, hope­lessly in­ef­fi­cient in that mad Ital­ian way. The in­struc­tion man­ual said, ‘Do not scrape her in­sides with metal tools. She will not ap­pre­ci­ate this.’ Well, what woman does?

Tonight, in our new place, fridge #6 is purring qui­etly. Should we have had a fridge like this when the kids lived at home? Maybe, but surely with kids you want the cam­era on them, not on Wed­nes­day night’s left­overs.

If we’d had a “spy” fridge, I might know the an­swers to some nig­gling ques­tions: 1

Who nicked the lol­lies off the amaz­ing birth­day cake with the ice-cream cone tow­ers that took four hours to make in 1993? 2 What hap­pened in 2001 when we went to Europe and left five semi-adult kids home alone? I’ve only heard the neigh­bours’ ver­sions of events. 3

What do cats do af­ter the rest of us go to bed?

You may be right – sim­ply too much in­for­ma­tion.

Surely with kids you want the cam­era on them, not on Wed­nes­day night’s left­overs.

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