Tuesday, 20 October 2009


“Alice, for the last time, hurry up”. Those few words have become a mantra for Hubby lately. In our crazy, mad, rushed life where our children’s needs range from the youngest learning high frequency spellings such as ‘of’ and ‘to’ –, to the writing of more challenging essays such as ‘Brecht: Tosser or what? Discuss’ –the latter’s title made up by our son, surely –I need to be close at hand to guide, rub out, provide snacks, test time tables or just either admonish or encourage in equal measure.
Thing is, whilst all this is going on and the spuds are boiling and the dog needs walking, Hubby expects me to be kitted out in a smart outfit, ready at a moment’s notice to stand, supportive-wife-like by his side, smiling, with lipstick applied. Last week was a prime example. Dinner was laid out on the dining table, the homework having been budged up a bit. Everyone, apart from me, dived in, whilst I took the dog around the block. On my return less than fifteen minutes later Hubby, in clean shirt and tie, was pacing.
“Where the hell have you been? Why the hell did you decide to take the dog out now for, for God’s sake. We can’t be late, we can’t be late. Hurry up, hurry up”. It’s like living with the White Rabbit only it’s far from Wonderland around here.
I ran up the stairs and flung open the wardrobe door. Skirts and tops hung glumly, many of which needed a bloody good wash.
“Oh hell”, I said, pulling a pencil skirt off a coat-hanger, “You’ll have to do. I can sponge the sauce off in the car”. I was acutely aware of Hubby who was literally outside the bedroom door, breathing like some infuriated bull.
“Just go away and leave me to get on with it please”, I asked, rummaging through a drawer in the vain hope of finding some nice, black, fairly low denier tights.
“Balls”, I muttered as the pair I pulled half way up my leg revealed an enormous ladder. I peeled them off and threw them into the bin. By this point I had acquired a significant sweat having in the last half hour prepared dinner, gone on a fast paced walk and run up the stairs. The added exacerbation of nerves, caused by Hubby’s impatience was making my skin particularly clammy and my clothes were sticking rather unpleasantly to my every curve.
“Come on”, Hubby hollered again. I found another pair of tights which seemed, at the initial inspection, ladder free. I pulled them on half way and eased my hot feet into a pair of very high heels. I sat on the edge of my bed to do up the ankle straps, but the holes were so small and the light so dim that I had no chance of success.
“A-lice! The band starts in ten minutes”, Hubby called. If he opened his mouth once more, I was going to kill him. Unfortunately my movements were rather impeded. I threw a jacket over my top, and with my gusset around my knees and my high heels not secured, I shuffled, knock-kneed, down the stairs and into the sitting room to say goodnight.
My children looked back at me as though I were some pitiful creature whose carer had absconded, abandoning her half dressed and not a little, mental.
“I’ll finish off my toilet in the car”, I proffered by way of an explanation. The children, as though used to seeing their mother dishevelled and a bit loopy, just shrugged their shoulders and waved.
Hubby just about threw me into the front seat of his car, turned the ignition on and screeched down the road. I shuffled down in my seat and tugged and squirmed into the tights but on turning a sharp corner, I put a finger through a microscopic hole in the nylon.
“Bloody, bloody, bloody hell”. It was only a small hole. No-one would notice. In vain, with Hubby driving like a mad man, I tried and tried to do up my shoes.
Hubby sat next to me with an expression like granite, swearing rhythmically every few seconds. We pulled up to the main gate at Her Majesty’s shore establishment and thankfully, were waved in with little to do. The boy with the gun looked most amused to see the Commander looking like thunder, whilst the Commander’s wife in much disarray, had her feet up on the dashboard.
Hubby parked up and was even more livid to find me opening my make-up bag.
“Don’t tell me you need to get your slap on?” He got out of the car and slammed the door.
Hurriedly I applied some mascara and lipstick, before Hubby came round to my side and yanked me out.
Smoothing myself down, we walked into the theatre and were met by the Royal Marine Bandmaster.
“You only just made it Sir”, he said, smiling tightly. Hubby poked me in the spine but my smile didn’t falter, I held out my hand and shook the one offered to me, before running up stairs to our seats. Immediately the opening bars of “God Save the Queen” played. We sprung up from our chairs again and that’s when I felt it. The small hole in the knee of my tights which had behaved itself so well up to this point, gave way and the feeling of ,'riiiiiip’ ran all the way down my shin. It was dark, all would be well. Until the interval that is when a raffle was held and the spotlight was turned momentarily on Hubby for some light-hearted banter. I’m sure I couldn’t have elicited more audible gasps of horror and disbelief from the audience had I lifted my arm to wave and thus reveal hairy armpits. It was such a saving grace that I was wearing long sleeves.


Mary Alice said...

Crying laughing as this piece also, is altogether, far too familiar to me. I reminded me not only of several events that occurred to be personally, but one good one that happened to my dear friend Colleen, whose husband is a military band commander himself. It was their anniversary and her husband told her they had to stop by some event and make an appearance before they could go out for their own private celebration. He neglected to mention anything about the dress code for the event at which they had to make an appearance. He met her there and I believe he was in full military attire. Colleen was wearing a denim skirt or some such casual outfit, and all the other women were in formal floor length ball gowns. Colleen was dying of embarrassment beating his arm, being dragged all the way in to the banquet table. He assure her no would notice. Ha. She decided fine, she would just slump behind the dinner table in the dark until such time as they could make their early get away. And that is where they were, slumped behind the dinner table glaring daggers at one another when the spotlight hit them and the master of ceremony asked them to rise and be congratulated on their wedding anniversary. They almost divorced that night.

Anonymous said...

What a screamingly funny post! I almost felt the tights rip myself.

Alice Band said...

Mary ALice - I have a very similar tale. I'll tell you about it one day x
Elizabeth - Lovely of you to drop by. I love your blog - stunning pics of familiar places. Keep in touch xx

Jen Ballantyne said...

Thanks for the much needed laugh!


Alice Band said...

Oh David man, you have no idea how touched I am that you dropped by. My heart goes out to you and your boys. Keep going xxxx