Tuesday, 6 October 2009


It goes without saying that within hours of Hubby motoring up the M5 to embark on a three day course, the domestic machinations of my home, sweet home went into melt-down.
The first indication of a crisis was feeling the drip, drip, drip of water on my neck as I sat at my computer. I looked up to find the ceiling dribbling ominously. I leapt out of my swivel chair and bounded up the stairs. The bathroom door was locked but there was a teenager inside. I hammered on the door.
“Turn the shower off immediately” I yelled, “There’s a leak”.
“Turn the bloody shower off”, I screamed, kicking the bathroom door. The lock is old and evidently fragile as my kick was enough for it to succumb and I fell into the bathroom.
My 14 year old daughter, who is Victorian in her modesty, went ballistic.
“How dare you?”, she shouted, wielding a Venus razor at me, “Is there no privacy to be had in this house? Get out, get out” and in her attempts to be irate whilst at the same time cover herself with a couple of flannels, she slipped and ended up on the bathroom floor, mortified. I cannot honestly describe what she looked like, which will be of some small comfort to her as I was more concerned with the faulty shower. Water sprayed from the hose with more efficacy than a sprinkler system at Kew Gardens. I turned off the tap and grabbing a handful of towels from the towel rail, which is always groaning under the weight of at least seven, damp, scrunched up ones, mopped the floor.
“Oh my God, look at this mess”, I said, “Didn’t you realise that most of the water was showering just about anywhere apart from over you?”
“S’pose”, said my daughter huffily, “Although I would still appreciate not being barged in on whilst I’m attending to my person”.
“Oh don’t be such an old prude”, I barked, still on my hands and knees, “Get a dressing gown on and give me a hand”. She flounced out but never returned, leaving me to mop up the deluge. My rant of, “You’ll all be the death of me” was drowned out by a Revlon hair dryer.
Carrying armfuls of wet towels downstairs I shoved them into the tumble dryer. It was still only 7.10 am. I’d been up for half an hour, fed not only the dog, the dishwasher and the tumble dryer but had also sent a couple of emails, stemmed a flood and was now about to assemble four packed lunches. I moaned and groaned as I gathered juice, fruit, crisps and bitterly grumbled as on opening, the brine from the can of tuna splashed all over my pyjamas.
“Damn and blast”, I yelled, standing in the kitchen utterly demoralised, “Why can’t you all have chuffing cheese sandwiches?” No-one answered of course, three of the children still being in bed, so, still carrying the tuna, I walked into the hallway and stood at the bottom of the stairs and bellowed.
“This repetitive division of labour was not unfamiliar to Karl Marx you know? He said it would leave me and I quote, ‘depressed spiritually and physically to the condition of a machine’. Do you get that? I’m turning into a machine?”
I returned to my chores in the kitchen. The dog, after only a few hours without his master was as despondent as I was and after eating his breakfast with nary an enthusiastic chomp, he lay at my feet, put his head on the floor and sighed.
“I know how you feel”, I said to him and could happily have lain with him, were the kitchen floor, on closer inspection, not filthy.
My son wandered in yawning, his school shirt having seen better days.
“Right ma?”, he said, grabbing his lunch bag off the kitchen counter, “You been reading my politics text books?”
“Well you seem to be well versed in Marx”.
“Listen, you don’t need to be well versed in Marx to know that stuff. Besides I bet he nabbed that quote from Mrs. Marx. It was probably her daily mantra whilst he philosophized away in his study leaving her to toil in the kitchen. Seven kids she had, poor cow”.
A minute later my teenage daughter appeared, fanning herself.
“It’s like a sauna in here”, she said. I had been near the back door and hadn’t realised that at the other end of the kitchen, where the tumble dryer resides, steam emanated from it.
“Oh my God. What’s happened now?”
Leaving the children to stare blankly at the toaster in the hope that it would magically not only toast their bread but liberally apply peanut butter to it as well, I went to investigate. Humping the machine from the wall, I saw, much to my chagrin that the hose had disintegrated allowing the evaporated steam to fill my house and not, as it ought, escape outside.
“Sorry, ferry to catch”, said my children simultaneously, each clutching a piece of toast, leaving me hot, steamy and not a little aggrieved.
Moments later the other two materialised, half dressed.
“Coco-pops?” I offered.
“You promised us grapefruit today” whined one.
“Well I’m sorry sweetheart. I didn’t reckon on saunas and tsunamis this morning. It’s coco-pops or bust”.
Whilst they whimpered and pouted the telephone rang.
“Morning! How’s tricks?” Before I could answer, Hubby told me of his hotel and ‘help- yourself-hot- buffet- breakfast.
“Hit the spot I’ll tell ya! You had your muesli again?” he chortled.
I regaled him, with characteristic vehemence, of my morning’s entertainment adding “and the dog has gone into a decline”.
“Ah, a man’s best friend. Loyal to the end”, said Hubby smugly. “Fred West’s dog, gruesome legend has it, pined to death after his demise”. Appositely, it was a conversation killer and I promptly returned to my condition of machine.


Mary Alice said...

hummmm...this whole description is so very familiar to my own life that it is rather painful to read.

MM narrowly escaped a killing yesterday, when he - in his green angel of conservation mode - shut the hot water heater off for the day and I, after spending the wee hours doing laundry and scrubbing toilets, was forced to take a cold shower before a day full of classes. Bless his heart, he means well.

Alice Band said...

That's why we are soul mates Mary Alice!

DL said...

Seems just like our lives at the moment, as well. Just now, we've got a couple of little plumbing leaks, a couple of taps whose drip, drip has now passed through steady run and is heading towards gush, and the element in our oven has just given up the ghost. All of these would take just a little time and/or cash to sort out but, as ever, both are in perilously short supply.

Shannon said...

I absolutely adore your blog! You are an AMAZING writer. I'm very sorry it was about such an awful day today, however.

Wishing you a much less eventful day tomorrow!

Shannon- Tennessee, USA

Alice Band said...

DL - Had we but world enough and time and CASH, Andrew Marvell left that last bit out, coy git.

Shannon - A pleasure to meet you, welcome x

DL said...

Ashamed to say, I've just had to google Andrew Marvell. I'm now a more complete human being.

D. :-)