Monday, 3 November 2008


Hubby and I did too much last weekend and ended it by growling at each other. It didn’t seem as though we had bitten off more than we could chew, until on Sunday afternoon, when he had been studying hard and I had been doing a million jobs that we both became threaders with each other; me for being cross with him for retreating to his cave to devote himself exclusively to his essay leaving me alone to make everybody happy and failing miserably. He in turn was irritated by constant interruptions, noise and general anxiety because the essay is very, very hard. It culminated in Hubby getting in the car and driving away for the week for even more intensive studying, leaving a chasm of unspoken resentment and anger between us.
How would a marriage counsellor counsel us? What advice would they have doled out when our weekend started with a birthday party for our 16 year old son? A party that apparently would start at 6pm.
“What?” I choked, my couscous splattering the oil cloth, “Are you out of your tiny mind? Dad doesn’t get home from work until then. I’ll have been in work all morning; we have to tidy up, get food ready, sort out the girls and...”
“Ok ma I get the picture” and in true teenage fashion he loped upstairs, muttering under his breath something about my being unreasonable whilst simultaneously texting everyone of this fact as well as new start time.
And lo, the day of the party dawned and most invitees had received the message not to arrive until 7.30. One or two eager beavers, whose mobiles had obviously run out of credit, arrived prematurely but they were put to use in sweeping out the basement, hanging fairy lights and general labour. By eight the support band was in fine fettle and two bottles of contraband alcohol had been confiscated, I know not what it was other than it was letter box red. By nine, the support band had put down their drum-sticks; the food we’d provided was evidently not enough given that several young people were eating each other’s faces, the exquisite girlfriend had arrived and my son’s band were on fire. I was enjoying myself. Hubby, being five years older sat in the sitting room watching an earnest documentary.
“Why are you bothering? You can’t hear a word” I bellowed above the strains of a Rolling Stones number. He just shrugged, his shoulders heavy under the pressure of too many commitments. The party ended at around midnight, only one girl had cried in the toilets and only one boy was very sick (obviously not all contraband had been discovered), much like I remember my own 16th.
The following morning we all awoke to the customary spectator sport where we all gather to watch the unwrapping of gifts. Our son adored his leather skinny jeans, his books, the Dylan Moran tickets and various bits and bobs but left soon after he and his friends had cleaned the subterranean mess to spend the day with his girlfriend and her family. Oh the agony.
Hubby, anxious to ‘get on’ looked expectant. “Don’t worry, I’m going, I’m going”, I said and bundling the youngest into the car I drove to the pictures leaving Hubby in peace to his assignment. I can’t honestly say that High School Musical 3 was the best movie I’ve ever seen but such was the enthusiastic bonhomie and up-beat overall feel of the film that, ashamed that I am to admit it, I cried at the end.
If the day had ended there, it would have been a success, but by now it was late and there was nothing at home for dinner and so, before I could go home I had to drag two dancing Disney, divas around Sainsbury’s. They were not well behaved and I got very cross and even crosser when I returned home to find the laundry piled up in the kitchen waiting to be addressed, a pile of plates from lunch which hadn’t even made it to the dishwasher and general debris and domestic wreckage.
As the evening wore on the girls got even more hyped up. Strictly Come Dancing never fails in that department. Hubby snarled at them to sit still. I barked back what right did he have to be so grumpy, he hadn’t been with them all day. He retaliated by way of some insult and so it went on. The following morning he got up early and went to his cave and I, without even telling him where we were, crept out of the house with my daughters and took them to church. I returned only to drop the youngest off, make them a round of sandwiches, plonk them in front of a DVD and then, with only the 13 year old, went to the Respect Festival in Plymouth. Although a wonderful, life affirming spectacle of tolerance and well, respect for difference, my heart wasn’t in it. I still had Aldi to tackle and were the girls being good for Hubby?
As soon as I walked through the front door it was patently obvious that they had not been good at all. Hubby was pacing, his face set in a scowl.
“Oh why don’t you just bloody bugger off”, I suggested, plastic carrier bags dangling from each wrist. And without as much as a by your leave, he took me at my word, leaving me with a fridge to fill and a half term holiday to endure.
So, Marriage Counsellor, what would you advise? Hopefully a night away from all stresses, some sea air, a walk on the beach, good food and an opportunity to liberate my basque from the mothballs? I do hope so, because, it now being Hubby’s birthday, I’ve booked a chalet on Whitsand Bay. The weather forecast is a mixture of sunshine and showers, which, metaphorically speaking, sounds all too familiar...,


Sally said...

Great post as always AB. Our 16 year old sons sound quite similar... Hope all's well now! i sateyed for the end credits of HSM too and quite liked it inspite of myself.

Sally said...

I stayed even.... (The aleternative sounded like a Malaysian dish...)

Sally said...

Alternative!! Typos!!!

And btw... please could you visit my blog...

Anonymous said...

A night away from all stresses sounds like just the thing.
You make me very glad my hubby is done with graduate school!

Eloise said...

Oh, Alice, I am so sorry for this stress you are enduring right now. I think you need another getaway to the States! You have a room awaiting you in Texas any time you want to visit.

Sending hugs across the pond to you. You are such a better wife and mother than you give yourself credit for.

Mary Alice said...

You both just need more time together without other commitments. How to make that happen? Now there's the hard part.....but if you make it a priority Dr Mary Alice is sure it will do wonders. Look at his schedule and when the papers are complete call in the favors, get those kids taken care of and run away together for a night or two. Don't plan a lot of activities, other than walks, slow dinners, wine by a fireplace and sleeping in wrapped in each others arms.

Alice Band said...

Mary Alice - you just wait for next week's installment. It's hot, hot, hot!!!!

Jen Ballantyne said...

Makes me glad my husband has the word ex in front of it!!! When we get on each others nerves he goes home for a while and then comes back when all has calmed down. Not all bad that way. I hope you have a wonderful, romantic, makeup weekend away - you deserve it, I think you're amazing. Hugs Jen B.

Alice Band said...

Jen Ballantyne! You think I(don't know how to do italics!) am amazing????
Get over yourself!!! I am so flattered that you bother to write to me. Thankyou so very much xxxxx