Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Wife Swap

Hubby scratched his head, an expression of surrender etched on his severely beaten brow. I was running rings around him and my justification for leaving him alone, overnight with the children on a Sunday was beyond any reasonable argument. His fairly pathetic attempts of “But Alice? A Sunday? Surely the worst day of the week for any parent?” I nodded; surely he wasn’t trying to tell me something new?
“I mean all that school uniform to wash” and then, slowly, the other chores of the Sabbath were recollected.
“Oh my God, and the shopping to get and their hair to wash”, he groaned.
“And don’t forget to check for nits”, I reminded him, “The seven year old has a backlog of...”
“Nits?”
“No, homework and spellings and sentences to write. The Red-Head has to practise her reading; our son is not, I repeat not, allowed any romance time as he has an exam tomorrow, oh and before I forget, as I won’t be back in time, our teenage girl has her cervical cancer jab at 5.30”
“Her what?”, he looked mortified.
“Don’t worry all teenage girls are having them. It’s to protect them against the HPV virus”.
“HPV? Is she in a relationship with a lorry driver then?” I looked at him askance, was he being serious?
“Are you being serious? It’s not a heavy goods vehicle that gives you cervical cancer you idiot, it’s the human papilloma virus”.
“Bloody hell Alice, this world is leaving me behind. It seems she was only born a few years ago and now we’re protecting her from sexually transmitted viruses?”. I stroked his arm; a little girl transforming into a young woman is a lot for a father to endure.
“It’s a lot to ask of me Alice. That’s a lot of jobs for anyone and I have to write my dissertation and no doubt prepare them a nutritious dinner”
“Yes dear and a couple of packed lunches and then dinner again the following evening.”
“Whilst you’re swanning around?” There it was. Out there. Those few words signifying seething resentment. I kept clam and explained.
“You see it’s like this. Imagine if you will, ‘Naval Wife Swap’, only you’re the wife and I’m the sailor and for one night only, albeit on that wild misnomer, the day of rest, I am going to abandon you and let you get on with it. Not only do you have those few chores to do and your own work to think of, you must also cover the school run on the Monday and ensure that there is a responsible adult to pick the girls up from school and deliver them home. One of the other two children must be here to receive them. The dog will also need walking and a delivery from Tesco’s to be signed for and stowed. In the meantime, comfort yourself in the knowledge that within 36 hours I will be home to take over the reins and that I have not been appointed to the far reaches of the globe for the next six months, giving you little chance not only self advancement via a university course which has had to be shelved but also, any chance whatsoever to continue one’s life as one enjoyed it, given the support of one’s spouse. To be resentful of said spouse’s other, easy life after one night is, unquestionably selfish, to be so after six months is surely anticipated”. It was quiet.
“I see your point”, he said, which is when he started to scratch his head knowing not only had he no argument whatsoever but also because of some moment of epiphany where it dawned on him that even for a woman, looking after a houseful of children, a dog and the house itself whilst still attempting to forge a career was, well, a tall order.
“So, I’ll be off then”. I kissed all the children, including Pia, gave them stealth warnings regarding homework and exams and walked to the car. Hubby gave me a perfunctory kiss and tried exceptionally hard at telling me to enjoy myself then spoilt it all by adding “Don’t spend too much”.
The M5, devoid of traffic and children in the back is a great place to be. The radio was turned up loud and in no time I was whizzing past the Willow Man. Not long after that and I’d turned onto the M32 to make my way to IKEA. At the last roundabout before my destination, it was gridlock. Having come so far so quickly, it was very frustrating to sit in a car for twenty minutes without moving. Eventually I drove past the obstacle which was hindering us, to find two young lads standing next to a little red car, looking completely dazed. Perhaps one of them didn’t have the strength to push the car by himself. Quickly I wound down the window and ever the Girl Guide, offered my services. Never in a million years was I prepared for the answer. The lad had bumped into the car in front but, moving so slowly had not caused any damage at all. Now, let’s be honest, none of us would be best pleased by such an incident but the driver’s reaction was to jump out of his car, punch the face of the young lad, then snatch the keys out of his ignition and drive away with them, leaving the lads where I found them, stymied. The police were on their way, so I left them there –young, shocked, and perhaps for the first time, aghast by man’s inhumanity to man.
Three hours later on reaching my friends house, a boot full of Swedish homewares, I rang Hubby to tell him about the incident. Initially very concerned to hear the tale, he finally couldn’t stop himself and asked, “So, how much did you spend?”
My answer elicited the following response, “And you dare tell me of man’s inhumanity to man?”

6 comments:

DL said...

Brilliant!

Alice Band said...

Thank God for you DL, otherwise cyberspace would be a very lonely place indeed!

rosneath said...

men! that's all I can say! but, do you really have such a poor specimen? i do hope you exaggerate for effect otherwise your life wouldn't be worth living!!

belleek

DL said...

Always glad to oblige, AB!

Sally said...

Great punchline! Have now caught up. Clearly DL has had more time than me in the last few weeks!! Must have a word with him!!! Life has calmed down a bit now, as I have finished my maternity leave at Winchcombe. Doing a bit of supply, but will try to keep some time for ME! More time for blogging. Next step ..... to write one!

Jen Ballantyne said...

I'm here too Alice, just a little bit late which is the story of my life, still I'm here and I'm reading and what's more...I'm enjoying what I'm reading. You always make me smile. I also realized that I hadn't put a link to you on my blog and I have remedied that now so hopefully you might get a few new readers, you certainly deserve them! Take care.