The husband has got a Panini sticker book of the Word Cup. A friend bought it for him as joke and he’s taken it really seriously. Evenings are taken up with him perfectly aligning football players on their special pages.
No one is allowed to help. The children’s plump little star-shaped hands get battered away by his giant paws if they reach for one, ‘It’s so shiny Daddy, please can I help?’ ‘No, go away, you’re creasing the pages.’
The best bit? His ‘swopsie’ partner is a six-year-old called Lucas.
When I told him I was sick of the stickers and wanted us to spend more time together he bought us tickets to Circus Las Vegas and spent the whole time looking at the women dressed up in feathers.
Then ‘Strong Man Wayne’ came onstage looking for a volunteer and decided the husband was the perfect choice to upstage, being quite brawny himself. He was asked to bend a steel rod. He tried and failed, before handing it back to ‘Strong Wayne’ who moulded it over his thigh as if it were a pipe-cleaner while I screeched encouragement from the ringside.
It wasn't for the weedy husband. I supported Wayne, very vocally. No point flogging a dead horse after all.
The husband asked to keep the steel rod and keeps trying to bend it back after reading about ‘techniques’ online. When he fails he goes off to his sticker book, muttering ‘I could bend it, if I had the right shoes.’
He'll spend the bank holiday weekend doing things to the pond, then shouting at the dog who likes to get in it. The dog also likes to dig up all the lawn seed the husband spreads about, and trample on his bulbs. It annoys me too, but not as much as it does the husband who stands by the patio door commentating on the pets.
I don’t really care about the lawn. I care about all the mud he traipses back in the house after running outside to flap his arms as the dog and call him a ‘long-faced-fool’. I don’t care if someone stands in front of the solar-powered pond-pump and stops it working, but I do care about the sticker wrappers all over the place.
I’ve been too poorly to tidy up having been to a circuit class for the first time in fifteen years. I was inspired by ‘Strong Wayne’ and the girls in feathers. Having never fitted in anywhere, I briefly decided we should run away to join the circus. Seems I’m certainly a clown.
It was only half an hour long, but four days later I’m still asking the husband to help me get dressed as there is no part of me that doesn't hurt. ‘Not the silk corset, idiot. I bought it for our wedding night and didn’t wear it then, why the hell would I wear it now?’
He thinks it’s hilarious I’m walking like John Wayne. I don’t. It was the hardest, must humiliating thirty minutes of my life. Halfway through a self of walking lunges my pelvic floor failed. When the teacher told me to ‘feel the burn’ I stopped walking and let the urine trickle down my leg. It’s not what she meant. How was I supposed to know? She made me clean the mat.
I don’t think I’ll go back to the circuit class, not even to find my dignity. There is a time to challenge yourself and a time to stay at home and eat peanut butter from the jar in a Grinch Onesie.
The husband is off to cricket today. ‘It’s not fun, it’s work, I don’t even like cricket’ he hissed at me as he left singing 10cc’s 'Dreadlock Holiday’.
I’m pleased he’s gone. He does loud shouting in the morning and instead of inspiring us, like a suit-clad Mr Motivator, he makes all the children cry, then I join in too, for funsies.
When he’s not here we play music, dance in the kitchen and put too much sugar in our tea.
Mornings are evil enough, why make them worse? Admittedly, trying to get our 10-year-up is like pulling teeth. You have to prod her with a stick, because she lashes out so badly. When she does finally get up, she cracks plaster with her stamping and if her tea is not hot enough, the whole street will know about it.
The most irritating thing? Whenever she goes to anyone else’s house they tell me what a polite, helpful little poppet she is. My eyes bulge from my head at the description. The only helpful person in our house is the cleaner and we have to pay her for it. As for polite, my daughter tells me to ‘swear-word off’. That’s what she actually says to me.