keeping her cool
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.