Monday, 23 April 2007

Cereal.

We never did manage to make it perfect. There are such high expectations of ‘leave’ that it is almost impossible to achieve and one can not but feel a mite disappointed when that bloody ‘grip’ is packed once more and all those things you were longing to do, such as go to the pictures together one afternoon, pub meal, mid week quiz, watch a movie together, go for a walk, have sex on a Tuesday will now not happen until summer leave comes round with its equally high hopes. Last Sunday, as Hubby checked that he had everything packed, my lip trembled when I realised that I wouldn’t see him on a Wednesday again until August. He tried to be sympathetic and ruffled my hair accordingly but his loyalties are torn between his young officers and his family.
“There are a lot of people looking forward to meeting me next week Alice. They’ll have been wondering over Easter leave where I’m sending them. Don’t be wet now there’s a good girl. Have you seen my shoulder boards anywhere?” I sighed and went into the dining room, opened a drawer where miscellany gets stuffed and returned to the hall.
“Here you go. Will you miss me?” I knew that I was being pathetic and I only seem to be like this on the last evening when he’s been home a while.
“Alice love, get a grip. I’ll be home next weekend.”
“I feel needy”, I said in a quiet voice.
“Nerdy more like. C’mon chin up” and lifting my chin up with his hand, he kissed my forehead. “Don’t forget about that electricity bill now will you? I’ve turned the central heating off. Just put another layer on if you feel chilly in the evenings”.
“That’s all very well for you to say. You’re in a warm office all day and a cosy cabin all evening.”
“It’s hardly cosy Alice. The MOD don’t do cosy” and rooting through his bag he said, “Right I think I’ve got everything. My mobile is charged but don’t ring me because I obviously can’t afford any more points. I’ve got three just racing back to you all at the weekend”.
“That’s not true. I wouldn’t call going down Holden hill at 85 miles per hour at five in the morning racing. Besides you were going back to work”.
“Oh yeah”, he said distractedly. “Anyway bye darling. Keep up the good work” and with another kiss, this time somewhat more lingering, he left.
Of course the following morning, all hell broke loose. The youngest children, realising on rising that their father had gone back to work again, were monsters. Frosties littered the kitchen floor as the Red-Head got crosser and crosser, “Me want Daddy no go work. Me not want Frosbies”.
“Frosties”, corrected her brother. “F.R.O.S.T. I…..”
“Oh shut up”, said the 11 year old.
“Mummy”, said the 5 year old, as smugly as one can with a mouthful of bagel, “She said ‘shut up’. We’re not apposed to say that are we?”
“You’re not supposed to speak with your mouth full”, retorted her sister. In the meantime the Red-Head really didn’t want her Frosbies and upturned the whole box.
“Dear God”, I sighed, clutching the dustpan and brush more for moral support than anything else.
“Could you all please just be nice to each other or, at the very least disregard one another?”
“Simple Ma”, said my son, taking a full to the brim bowl of Coco Pops with him into the sitting room.
“Not a good idea”, I called after him. Too late. A Barbie roller skate that had been lying in wait by the sofa, escaped its subterfuge and emerging from the skirt of a Snow White fancy dress, suddenly sprung to life and tripped him up. Profanities railed from his direction, immediately followed by the Red-Head’s recent talent for parrot style mimicry. Luckily, her language skills are not yet sufficiently developed and so what would have been appalling to hear from the mouth of an infant was diluted, “Thuckit”, she exclaimed loudly. But I was far more incensed with my son.
“Bloody hell. Look at this mess. We have a perfectly decent dining table and now I have half a box of Coco Pops and a gallon of milk awash on my sitting room carpet and don’t you ever let me hear you use such language again. Shame on you”.
“Yes, shame on you”, added his 11 year old sister, “Mum, you should hear him on the ferry on the way home from school”. My heart was heavy. My husband had only been gone hours and already we were spiralling into a black hole of dysfunction with a teenage son adopting the vocabulary of an Asbo. The youngest were performing the Egyptian Sand Dance in the crushed up cereal on the kitchen floor and I was on my hands and knees attempting to mop up the mess on the sitting room floor. My son had left for school without so much as a “Bye love” and my eldest daughter was flicking through the TV channels.
“Is there nothing else you could do?” I asked her, frustrated at my own inability to have produced a more pro-active daughter.
“Like what?” For fear of adding to my son’s profane litany, I uttered not a word, instead pulled her up by the hand and ushered her into the kitchen and handed her a broom and carrier bag. “Get on with it”. The five year old had, in this short space of time, written on every single cheque in my cheque book. “Look Mummy. I’m paying for my school dinners”. Tearing my hair out, I wrested the cheque book from her and announced,
“Look after the little ones I must just go to the toilet”.“Oh mummy, one should never say toilet. Always, loo, lavatory or bog. There’s no hope of me ever finding my prince now is there?”

9 comments:

Sally Lomax said...

Brilliant Alice.
I can fully sympathise.........................

and laughed lots!!!

Alice Band said...

Sally,
Thankyou. It is soo nice to have a loyal reader!

Sally Lomax said...

Why don't you put your blog address at the bottom of your column in the WDP?

You could then even write an interim column or two.....

Alice Band said...

Sally,
I'm worried about doing that in case they find me surperfluous to requirements. What would be the point in paying me if my column were available for free?

Sally Lomax said...

Offer them two columns a week!

Sally Lomax said...

Silly me! Is it a weekly paper?

Alice Band said...

Sally,
Before we went to America to live in 2003 I had another column a kind of Inida Knight thing - not that i'm trying to compare, just to give you an idea! It was in my own name with a picture..I have mentioned it to them again but I haven't had a pay rise in four years, so I don't exactly feel confident!

Sally Lomax said...

I understand! When I used to write for The Citizen in Gloucester, it all went swimmingly, until a new editor arrived............

Lisa said...

Alice,
Add another loyal reader!