Posts Tagged ‘Wife’

New Year, New Life

Well – at least it makes some sort of sense in terms of helping me remember dates: not normally a strong point of mine…

Last night, I found out that Wife has been having an affair since Summer: an old school friend of hers. So, we’ll be getting divorced and putting an end to nearly ten years of marriage, and fifteen years of love, out of which came three of the most wonderful people you could hope to meet. For their sake, I am very sorry that it’s come to this – but I suppose that one has to be accepting (as I think I wrote earlier on here somewhere) of the difference between the things that one can and cannot change.

So: rough times ahead, no doubt – but after that, a better life, I pray.

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Lurking Vitamins

Wife made muffins for breakfast this morning (not proper ones, but those American cup-cake things) – not because she actually IS Doris Day, but because we didn’t have any bread in the house and she decided that it was actually easier to make these than to go out and get some bread.

Anyway, she used Clementines to give the muffins a bit of oomph, eliciting the following response from Eldest Son: “Mummy, I like these, but not the orange things – they taste a little bit like vitamins.” Wife (understandably) apologised profusely for this lapse, and Eldest Son showed the tolerance and mercy for which he is celebrated – “It’s alright, Mama, you weren’t to know”.

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Apparently, other than “money”, “Christmas” is the most dangerous discussion that a couple hoping to stay together can embark upon. If they choose to have this conversation whilst in the car park of IKEA, they are well and truly fucked, to the extent that initiating the conversation may be considered inflammatory and grounds for granting custody.

Anyway, Wife and I DID embark on the conversation this week: her half-sister has invited us, and my sister has invited us. On the one hand, I haven’t spent Christmas with my family for the last three years, given that they were in New York. On the other hand, we have never spent Christmas with any of her family (although her parents were divorced very early on in her life and lived entirely separate lives, so it’s not as if we were turning our back on a Rockwell-style offering) and so it could be argued that the time has come.

We haven’t resolved it yet: what IS clear is that we will manage to get to both families on “The Day”, with the handy deployment of the “Drinks” and “The Meal” being taken as two separate events – but we need to get clear pretty swiftly, out of respect for our two hostesses, one of whom is going to have to find a piece of meat that serves somewhere between 16 and 20…

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If anyone is interested in knowing about a gap in the market (and, I dare say, a market in the gap) then stories of the Saints, told for children (ie: the cool bits, with only a glancing dose of holiness) is a real opportunity. This half term’s homework has been for each of our children to choose, learn the story of, write about and illustrate the life of a saint.

Eldest Son chose St.Michael (on the grounds of the expulsion of Lucifer from heaven, and the artistic possibilities of angels fighting that this afforded him) and did a fairly good job of it, relying only on Wife’s understanding of the story – which was more than adequate. His drawing looked a little like one of the fat cast members of The Simpsons dancing a tango with a lizard, but otherwise, it was a fine job.

Daughter decided that she wanted to do “her saint” (ie: her birthday falls on this saint’s fete day), with whom she shares (some of) her name) – and so it was that we found ourselves researching Saint Martha. Again, I knew the bare details, but I thought that I would double-check and see if I could add anything more interesting around the edges, so I had a quick scan of our library and happened upon “100 Saints”, and found a Guercino painting and a page of dense text about the saint’s salient details. Daughter translated the story into her own world, making it a story of unfairness, sibling rivalry and “telling”: “One day, Jesus was coming to Mary and Martha’s house. Martha was cleaning and tidying up and cooking, but Mary was NOT helping her. Martha went to Jesus and said “Jesus, I am doing all the tidying and Mary isn’t helping AT ALL…” – and so it went on…

But it was Youngest Son who proved most true to character in the choosing of his saint. He tells the story of Saint John the Baptist thus: “St John the Baptist went to the desert, and he knew that Jesus was coming, so he told all the people that they had better say that they were sorry, because God was sending his son to look after them. To make them really sorry, he made them stand in a puddle and poured water on their heads, which he said was baptising them. But then Herod came and killed him and put his head on a tray.”

This account is, of course, pretty accurate, if a little disconcerting to read, casting (as it does) John as a vaguely threatening figure, warning everyone that they’d better watch it because God’s coming and THEN they’ll be sorry;  not to mention someone who got his jollies by making people stand in puddles. Needless to say, it wasn’t until the introduction of Herod into the story that Youngest Son really perked up – and the sense of “serves him right” in the above narrative is certainly no accident if Youngest Son’s disgusted expression on hearing the life story of this most significant of saints is anything to go by.

But it was while browsing the books, the internet and so on, looking for a digestible and diverting version of these stories to use as a starting point for this homework that I was struck by the realisation that such a collection just doesn’t seem to exist – certainly on the Net, though maybe it does in printed form. Any takers?

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There are some things that I would do almost anything to avoid. Chief amongst these would be seeing “Cyrano de Bergerac” performed by amateurs under the age of 15, trying to learn how to fill in SAP time sheets, or doing my “I think you’ve really found the beginning of something brilliant here” face for more than five minutes at a stretch. All of these things, however, I HAVE done – but there is one thing that I have not done (and to be fair, was not invited to do): a “Disco Break” in the gay bars of Manhattan for six days.

Wife, however, could not have been happier at the prospect, and so she flew over to see Talented Photographer for six days and nights in Manhattan, while I took the week off work to look after the children. Were I to record all of Wife’s exploits here, they’d be hard to credit: the night where the cabaret consisted of a woman dressed as a vagina, rubbing a glitter-speckled plastic tongue up the length of “her” labia; the mid-op transsexual who sodomised himself with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s (as Jude Law inter alia looked on); the pool party to which the wearing of a gold bikini and an Afro wig was (apparently) “de rigueur” – these are but the tip of the iceberg. But – fuck me: childcare is hard work!

Thankfully, Wife (who vanished in a flurry of tears and luggage late on Friday) had left me notes of such regimented precision that there was no way that I could slip up. But I (who had, naively been anticipating a slacking off in the pace of the workplace) was absolutely staggered at the amount of effort, energy and organisation it takes to get three children to school, after school clubs, playdates and then bed, without forgetting to wash and iron their clothes, or buy and cook them food. No wonder Wife is as thin as she is: I can’t imagine when she gets time to eat…

Any full-time carers reading this will no doubt be rolling their eyes and shouting “Well…DUHHHH!” at their screens: but this isn’t a tale of “Professional Guy Takes On The Childcare And Through A Series Of Hilarious Fuck Ups Learns Real Life Lessons” – I did a sterling job, with the children on time, on best manners and well turned out wherever they had to be – but it was a real eye-opener in what should be a mainstay of my professional skills: the ability to walk a mile in someone very different’s shoes (even if the person in question was my wife and the mother of my children).

Anyway: she’s back now, thank God – utterly exhausted and Disco’ed out, needing a holiday to get over her holiday – and so life will resume its usual pattern: and I, for one, will be glad of the rest.

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Grading Hangovers

  1. The one where one opens one’s eyes in the morning, in a wary state of investigation. It wasn’t an insane night: you were in bed before 1am, and you didn’t do anything unwise involving shots. As you sit up, the headache begins to massage your temples, but lightly: like an otter on a bank. A couple of glasses of Ribena, two  Nurofen and a banana, and you’ll be right as rain.
  2. The one when the headache is what wakes you up – often in the middle of the night, and sends you trotting off to look for pain relief. Often complemented by an opportunity to stare with loathing at your pouchy-eyed reflection in the bathroom mirror at 3am, wondering if throwing up would make you feel better, or MUCH worse. Sleep is the only cure for this one: about nineteen hours of it.
  3. The one were you feel like you have been attacked by a hooligan with a baseball bat, and then coerced into a bath full of ice.

This is the one that Wife and I experienced yesterday, in the wake of Woman Whom We Didn’t Know That Well Before We Went On Holiday With Her’s fortieth birthday party celebration: a brilliant occasion, where (sadly) the Champagne didn’t dry up all evening.

I’m a tit when there’s free Champagne: I simply cannot say no – and then I get over-excited and start smoking as well – so Wife and I arrived at eight and neither one of us once managed the phrase “No, I’m alright for the moment, thank you”. Wife added to her misery by wearing a pair of stupidly painful shoes and dancing (I, as I have mentioned before, adhere to my father’s admirable “No dancing after 35 or six foot: whichever comes first.” rule – as it seemed did all the men present).

Anyway, a little after midnight, I decided to go off and relieve the babysitter, and set off on foot. Half an hour later, I arrived at home, having been apparently blown home on a very cold gust of wind. So it was that when I awoke, I had all the trappings of a hangover AND an aching back, which has since blossomed into a persistent and sharp ache. Wife and I barely moved all day and watched shit TV and had a picnic in the sitting room. I still feel as though someone is bell-ringing inside my head, and have thus gone in for my standard “I’m never drinking again” refrain.

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