It’s Saturday night and I’m splayed on the couch. There’s nothing on TV so I start daydreaming about being a secret millionaire and surprising my wife with a cheque for a million pounds.
Relaxing in the warm, cosy glow of my own pretend generosity, I glance over to my wife who also looks lost in thought. “What you doing?” I ask.
“Just thinking,” she replies.
“Me too. What about?”
“What type of disease you would have to get for me to leave. You know, the Disaster Scenario.”
Please take note, TV schedule people, this is what happens when you keep showing reruns of Border Patrol, it gives my wife enough breathing space to come up with an exit strategy.
To be honest, my wife’s always trying to work out what she would do if I ruined the party by having a long, lingering death. She once saw a film called, Love Triangle, where the husband had an accident and was confined to a wheelchair, but allowed his wife to take on a lover, who eventually moved in with them both. It wasn’t all bad news for hubby, she still made him his tea everyday, and installed wheelchair access to the patio so that he could get some fresh air while he was crying.
“What did you decide? Which ailment would make it OK for you to leave?” I ask.
“Tinitus,” she says.
“Well done. You’ve just lost a million pretend pounds,” I reveal.
“I don’t need it. I’m a modern woman. I’ve got my own pretend money that I can live off.”
“You’re being a bit harsh,” I say.
“You deserve it. Especially after last night.”
It’s Friday night and, rather frustratingly, I find myself four days into a two-day DIY job.
I’m making cupboards in my daughter’s bedroom. A job which requires the use of sharp, stabby items, and with the kids flying around barefoot it looks like the opening scene from Casualty. All that’s missing is a pair of abandoned roller skates at the top of the stairs and two men moving a large pane of glass at the bottom.
I’m busy thinking about all the possible scrapes the kids could get into when I trip and bang my head.
“Aaaaagh. For f*ck’s sake!” I scream.
“Mum. Are you OK?” asks my son through the door.
“It’s me,” I reply. “I’m the one swearing in here.”
“She’s swearing at people in Sainsbury’s.”
“What’s for tea?” he asks and then I hear the front door bang, followed by much profanity. “It’s Ok. I can hear mum now,” he says and scuttles off.
I trudge downstairs rubbing my head, looking for sympathy from my wife. She is stood in the kitchen, and by the way the shopping bags lay strewn on the floor, I can tell that sympathy will be hard won.
My son barrels into the room, ignores all around, and sticks his head in a bag like a sniffer dog. Most pre-teens trying to feed a growth spurt ‘apple bob’ their head in a shopping bag to root for food; its a real time-saver. I find this side-effect of puberty to be the height of ignorance, and also something that I must try out.
“That was an absolute nightmare,” she says. “I’m never going back to TK Maxx again. It’s just full of ignorant people; all pushing each other. And they just sell cheap crap.”
“This happened the last time you went to TK Maxx, why do you still go?”
“To get your Christmas presents.”
My son pulls his head out of a bag and says, “What’s for tea?”
“Fish cakes,” she announces matter-of-factly.
“I don’t like fish cakes,” he says.
“I know,” she replies, looks at me curiously and mouths, “What the f*ck’s wrong with your head?”
In case you’re wondering, I don’t count this exchange as sympathy. In fact my wife is exhibiting all the classic ‘please leave me alone’ signs: the scattered shopping bags, swearing at my head, forcing fish cakes on a twelve-year-old. My son and I should have just walked away. Granted her ten minutes’ peace to put her feet up and let the day wash off her. But we didn’t.
“I don’t want fish cakes,” he repeats, then sticks his head in another bag.
My daughter walks in. “What’s for tea?” she booms and sticks her head in a bag.
My wife calmly walks out of the kitchen and into the front room, slamming the door behind her.
Both kids jerk heads out of bags and scan around nervously. “What are we going to do about tea now?” they chant in unison.
“I don’t know,” I say and go after my wife. I enter the room. I sit on the couch and we make eye contact. “Sorry,” I say.
“I should think so too,” she replies. “Especially after last night.”
Merry Christmas Facebookers, The Twitterati and my fellow bloggers!
Thanks for giving me your time, support and feedback this year. And I promise, the next time I daydream about being a millionaire, you’ll all get a slice. Pretend-spend it wisely!