Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Keeping cool under pressure

Our freezer has a mind of its own. And not always on the job in hand. Tonight as we're sitting watching television in the other room, the warning ding starts up on the freezer.
"You must have left the door open," I say, starting up. The noise immediately stops.
"I don't think so," Herself says, swirling the ice cubes about in her soft drink.
As soon as my bum hits the seat:
"Ding...! Ding...! Ding...!"
We go out and inspect what little there is to inspect.
The digital readout says -16C for the freezer and 1C for the fridge, like it's supposed to do. But the whole thing is ominously quiet.
I poke it. Herself moves bottles from the floor in case the feng shui is being upset. I open and close the fridge door. I open the freezer door. It has a disturbing slick look that speaks of malfunction.
"I think it's defrosting."
Immediately Herself falls back on 100,000 years of female evolution in the face of imminent calamity by asking as many questions within 60 seconds as it is possible to ask.
"What's wrong?
"Is it broken?
"Should we get another?
"Is the fuse gone in the plug?
"Shall I move another bottle?
"Should we start putting things in the other freezer?
"Is it safe to use ice that defrosted?
"Was it the weather?
"Was it the cats?
"Is it broken?
"Shall we buy another?
"Is the fuse gone in the plug?
"Why are you choking me?"
We ferry geriatric cuts of meat in their papyrus wraps to the small freezer in the ultilty room, in turn emptying from it the store of bread Herself squirelled away in there last Christmas when the snow levels meant we would obviously soon have 100 extra guests all eager for toast. In between trips, I press some buttons experimentally on the wonky freezer. It's now reading a balmy 9C in the freezer. I press a button labelled "Turbo Freeze" and a second later the motor starts to run again.

"It's fixed!"

We do a little dance then retrieve all the "we'll never finish that" stores that we just binned, plus Santa Claus's sliced pans, and shove them back onto the empty shelves. In a few moments, the temperature is 8C and we're on the way back to peaceful TV watching.

In ten minutes time, the dial indicates minus figures. Grand. Everything going in the right direction.

Half and hour later, during an ad break, Herself shouts from the kitchen:

"It's minus 25! It'll EXPLODE!"

I rush out and open the freezer door.

The Bird's Eye Polar Bear isn't so fucking chatty about the standard of my fish cakes any more. He's lying very, very still, a look of mild surprise on his clothy white face.

In fact, I didn't know that fish cakes could chatter like comedy false teeth, but the din is rattling all the salad dressing bottles in the fridge next door.

Bela Lugosi appears from the gathering white mist flowing about the kitchen, sinks his teeth into Herself's outstretched neck, then makes like a bat. I ignore the constant thumps of his dashing his head against the closed Velux ceiling windows in the dining room.

I undo the big fat freeze button and we head off to bed, content in the knowledge that the temperature is on its way back up.

I expect a tropical jungle to greet me in the morning.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Christmas 2010

We're standing in Boots, looking at the makeup. Well, I'm not. But Herself is talking some coded talk of reference numbers with some young wan in black and teeth and nail polish about foundation and breeze blocks and mortar and the like. My brain is on "Idle" and it's making a slight "blid-de-poodle-do" noise in my head.

"Now," says Herself, as we're thanking the young wan for serving us whatever it was in a very small bag that cost a very large mortgage. "I'd love to know how much that bottle of perfume is. I used to wear it when we started going out. Do you remember?"

"Of course I remember!" I retort, rolling back my male nasal memory reel. Let's see... Bacon, cat poo, Brut aftershave, toilet cleaner, air freshener and peanut breath. "I'm surprised you have to ask me!"

I make a very small mental note of the bottle shape, size, colour... but something shiny or curvy or stamped with the words "Black & Decker" immediately wipes it from existence for me.

It's around 4pm on the very last day of the week that I am ever going to go out of the house again before Christmas and Herself announces by SMS:

"You remember the new mobile phones we got each other? Well I got you something extra. Because I wanted to."

"Me too" I text back with that sinking feeling as memory cogs shear off teeth in my lumbering brain.

I text Herself's Second Daughter.

"Is Slumbering Nettles the perfume yer Ma used to wear when we started going out?"

"It is," she sends back.

"Thank feck! I'm just within range of the chemist's and I wasn't entirely sure."

"It's a stressful time for men," she sympathises.

And so on Christmas day we exchange our new mobile phones and I get my extra pressie excitedly and totally unexpectedly Herself unwraps a bottle of Slumbering Nettles.

She takes a whiff.

"It's given me a big whoosh back! Why did I ever stop wearing it?"

"Me too!" I grin.

Herself dabs a bit on and we enjoy the next ten minutes of pressie opening.

Then she starts to sneeze.

Than I start to sneeze.

The cats sneeze.

The birds on the bird feeders make little "tichoo!" noises out in the garden.

We watch Indiana Jones through gritted teeth and with the aid of boxes of Kleenex. I don't remember the Temple of Doom being a weepy before, but in our house it is.

The cats refuse to come into the sitting room, as they can't sleep for the microscopic sneezes coming from the mites living in the carpet.

"Do you like you pressies then?" I ask, though Herself is now just a blur through tear-filled eyes.

"I do. Lovely!" she says, dabbing two handed at her face.

"Me too!" I say with no end of enthusiasm.

Ah, love!

There's always next year's pressie to think of.