Most people would take the opportunity of Valentine’s Day to write something heart-warming about their partner, and maybe chronicle the reasons why they chose to shack up with them. I think we’ve established by now that I’m not of that ilk, so I’m going to get the knife in instead. LSB’s birthday was at the weekend and I bought him tickets for the rugby AND organised a night away, so the party’s over, let’s go!
(Now I say a knife, more of a palette knife, round at the edges, but a knife all the same. )
LSB is a likeable sort of a fellow. Well I thought so anyway, hence I married him, and I’m not one for suffering fools. They used to get kicked to the kerb sharpish. But he can, at times, be exceptionally annoying. Let’s explore how for a moment, so we can analyse if I’m over-reacting.
I’m presently ‘not at work’ (save the odd seasonal bit I do from home,) thus I have my mornings free until I pick up the wee one, then it gets very busy, quickly. It is thus up to me to do the lion’s share of the housework, and with my pair and himself, this is no picnic.
So how does he piss me off, let me list the ways. First up, he literally ‘stamps’ off his jeans or ‘lounge wear’ and I have to go a-hunting for socks and boxers which remain entwined within. If he does deign to pop them in the linen basket, they remain all rolled up and I have to unscrunch a load of dirty socks; a most unsavoury task.
He’s a hairy sort of chap, but after shaving would he ever give the sink a wee wipe? And I say hairy, but he’s not a yeti, which one would think given the amount of shower gel and shampoo he goes through in a week. ‘Like shit through a goose’ as folk up the country would say. I get on my environmental high-horse, with all that polluting of the oceans.
Then there’s the running obsession. Well I’ve only myself to blame, it was me got him into it. But he does take it to extremes. Last week he insisted in venturing out in sub-zero temperatures when he wasn’t a bit well. “Don’t go,” I pleaded. “You’ll be sick as a dog.” He went on of course, regardless. Cheeks aglow, he returned, full of chat and slight bravado about his speediness. Next morning, he’s coughing up a lung and shuffling around, his visage slate-grey and forlorn, while I get the kids up and out and delivered to their respective schools, resisting the urge to punch him in the face as I bundled them out the door.
With OTHER people however, he’s a dreamboat. Take our safari trip, back in 2010. I’ll come clean, I didn’t know how he’d fare. I’d camped in the wilds before: I’d bumped along the dirt tracks, I’d had the shits behind a tree, I thought I was ready for the challenge. Himself, he’d been to a few music festivals. Turns out, that makes you a pro. He could handle any amount of discomfort. He put up our tent, then put up everyone else’s. This meant that he was often last in the queue for the bathrooms, so for 15 nights he never had a hot shower. He didn’t get one at all in the Serengeti, because the local elephants had a play fight with the remains of the water. Bastards didn’t even drink it, just sprayed it round the place. And, he was always up for the craic, chatting animatedly as we trundled through Tanzania, while I snored beside him in the van. When we managed to get stranded in Zanzibar, I nearly had a stroke, so terrified was I that we’d be robbed and left for dead at the airport which was about the size of a Texaco service station and had as much security. “I’ll sort it,” he said (well he is from from the Falls), and he negotiated a flight the next day and our safe passage back to Stonetown for the night.
Closer to home, (note, not AT home) he’s obliging too. At the weekend, we were invited to a terrific bash for some friends, celebrating 20 years together. There he goes again, stacking chairs, lifting tables, and putting to use skills honed from playing Tetris to pack them back into a van. “Isn’t he wonderful”, gushed some guests. “Hmmm,” I replied. He drove too, so I could get a bit merry. “Why the hell can’t you as helpful in our house,” I grumbled later. He ruminated over the question before suggesting: “Maybe you should make it more of a game.” I mean, FFS! So not only do I have to direct him towards the chores that need doing, but I have to make them fun too! I already have to play ‘hunt the fucking sock’ when I put a wash on, and I’m not laughing. Apply your fecking Tetris skills to the dishwasher once in a while, perhaps that will amuse.
I wish not to pick too grim a picture however. He has something of the caveman instinct about him and having warmth in the home is a priority. Without his vigilant eye, we’d be forever foundered, for it is he who keeps an eye on the gas meter and ensures it’s always in credit. One cold Saturday night in November, we ran out of oil when our first baby was 3 weeks old. With no oil coming til Monday, he stayed awake practically all night to ensure she hadn’t frozen, and lugged heavy emergency oil drums first thing on Sunday morning.
He has also just come back from a run with some quality wines from which we can take our pick and imbibe of a Tuesday evening since, hurray, it’s half term, and there’s something of a holiday feeling in the air. And of course, it’s still Valentine’s Day. Maybe I will go and light a wee candle after all. I’ve kind of come round to him again after writing this.