It is Saturday morning, and I’m doing what I always do on a Saturday morning; I am hiding in the toilet. It took my five-year-old daughter only a few moments to find me, but I cherished each one. She banged on the door.
“Daddy, is that you in the toilet?”
“Yes, what do you want?”
“Can you build me a pond in the back garden?”
“Not right now.”
“Can you fill it full of fishies and frogies?”
“Yes, but not right now.”
“Can you get me some juice?”
“Where’s your mother?”
“I don’t know where she is.”
“Have you tried the other toilet?”
“Yes, but it’s locked and there is no answer.”
Normally I find it hard to get a job. I am signed up to a kaleidoscope of high-energy recruitment agencies who send me details about jobs I feel obliged to like because they have spent time texting them to me. They all fade out to nothing, but as soon as I sit on the toilet I land a major contract to build a pond and populate it.
More worryingly, it appears that my wife has become better at ignoring the children than me. I don’t know the precise moment that the balance shifted in her favour, I’ll have to ask her, that’s if I ever find her again; she appears to be ‘off-grid’ at the moment.
My thoughts are once again interrupted by a clenched fist banging on the toilet door. I show my exasperation by slowly lowering the celebrity magazine, the pages fan out and make a familiar flapping noise before I eventually drop it on the floor.
“Dad, is that you?”
This time it is my son. It looks like my interrogators are working a continental shift pattern. Witty, sarcastic replies paraded through my mind like beauty contestants hoping to be selected. I rejected them all, and decided to lose my wrag instead.
“What!” I screamed in frustration.
“I don’t know.”
“Can I have some juice?”
I don’t know where my wife is, but searching for her appears to be thirsty work. I imagine my kids glugging gallons of juice as they step over the skeletal remains of other kids who have been foolish enough to look for my wife, before they have to run away from the Indiana Jones’ ball she has rigged-up in the laundry room.
“Can I go on the Xbox?”
“It’s not that simple,” he replied.
Instead of following my orders and flushing out her mother, my daughter had got derailed by a Disney movie, meaning that my son needed permission to kick her off the TV in order to play the Xbox. A high-level decision was required that would result in one of them becoming eye-wateringly upset. My mind wondered back to a much simpler time when I was being asked to build a pond and fill it full of happy, colourful things, and to a time when my wife was visible to the naked eye.