I had been at work for three hours when I realised that I was not wearing a belt, and I had odd socks on. I desperately tried to think of a way that I could blame my wife, but the well was dry.
My phone burst into life. It was my wife, or to give her my cute pet name: The Belt Thief.
“I’m going out tonight. Remember? I wrote it on the calendar ages ago. You’ll have to make tea,” she said in a loud voice to muffle out the background noise of her writing it on the calendar.
“What! All of it?” I replied.
“What does that mean?”
“I have to make yours as well?”
Quick as a flash, I thought of three meals that I could make for the kids which all revolved around spaghetti hoops.
“Yes, you have to make mine as well,” she sighed.
“But you don’t like spaghetti hoops,” I replied.
“We haven’t got any,” she said triumphantly. Sometimes I think she plans out these conversations.
Hoop shortages are common in our house, so much so that I’ve decided to get, ‘You won’t find any spaghetti hoops in here’, chiselled into my tombstone, which is to be followed by, ‘Hang on, there’s some alphabetti spaghetti, do you want that instead?’
I decided to take the unprecedented decision to ring my wife back, and ask her what I should make for tea.
“Why don’t you branch out from your signature dish of spaghetti hoops and make fish fingers,” she said. This gave me an unexpected boost because fish fingers are something I had thought of independently, which means, in my mind, that we both love our children the same amount. It also gave me the rare opportunity to outdo my wife by upgrading from fish fingers to show her that I love them more.
“What’s this, Dad?” asked my five-year-old daughter as she wriggled uncomfortably on her seat at the dinner table.
“That’s linguini,” I revealed theatrically, “and the thing that you’ve have thrown on the floor is called: salami.” I tried to catch my wife’s gaze. This was the start of a tense game of eye-avoidance which I knew I would lose, but as I’m always preaching to my son, it’s the taking part that counts.
In a long-term relationship praise is important. I needed her to recognise my efforts so that if she ever thought about having an affair, this golden memory of me reluctantly making tea would stop her.
I crawled under the table to pick up the salami and noticed that my daughter was wearing odd socks. I froze momentarily as I remembered that I had dressed both of the kids that morning.
I could sense that my wife was now trying to catch my eye, it’s as though she can smell fear, but I skilfully avoided her gaze by staying under the table until she left the room, and then my heart sank, as I heard the now familiar noise of salami hitting the floor.