I told the boys that their mother had gone away
With that done the weekend was really fun, they amazed me by even being patient as their father tried to tackle the weekly grocery shop with two young children – completely by himself and without a list. Rarely in life are us men put in such positions of power, and I was determined to succeed. I’m generally only allowed to go to Tesco with a pre authorized list and strict instructions to obey it. I’d been given the unprecedented task of choosing the week’s groceries, not just fetching them. This essentially tripled the length of the store visit from what it otherwise could have been. The boys were brilliant, and maintained only a low level of noise and physical violence towards each other, as I sweated over what brand of laundry detergent Jo would normally buy for about ten minutes.
Jo’s parents came over, and as Grandpa helped me fix up some new sliding doors for the lounge, Grandma made cups of tea and played whatever games the boys could think of – absolutely brilliant.
Of course, when their mother phoned and asked them what they had been doing, Daniel only had one thing to say… “We had fish and chips last night and then Dad took us to a Chinese Restaurant for tea tonight!” Nothing else came to mind, just that. Never mind all the playing they had done, or the new doors. When praised for their behaviour in Tesco (I’d mentioned this already) Daniel then gave a list of all the treats I had bribed them with – what a grass.
On Sunday after Rugby, I managed to tackle the ironing as well as about half an hours milling about in the bathroom with some bleach and probably the wrong cloth, trying to make the toilet smell like it does when Jo is around. I stood back and smiled to myself, oh how proud Jo will be of me, how much bragging she will do in the staff room the next day.
Eventually Jo made it home just as I was serving up Sunday Dinner (which this week turned out to be burgers cooked on the BBQ, and potato wedges – which count as a vegetable portion).
After the initial furore and excitement of her return to the family that loves her had died down, it became apparent that I was not to be heralded as a god for completing these tasks so competently, no staff room boasting would be forthcoming the following day at school. I made some hints in order to illicit some praise or reward, but to no avail. Eventually I decided to just raise the subject, as her lack of gratitude was troubling me. It turns out that the bathroom gets cleaned every weekend whether it needs it or not (who knew?). Apparently the shopping gets done without a list and for about half the price I paid, every week. It turns out that all that work gets done AND the house gets tidied and hovered and dusted and proper nutritional meals get cooked as well. The boys get played with, helped with their homework and reading and I get cups of tea without her mother having to drive over and make them. I asked her if she was sure about all that as I hadn’t noticed any of that, at which point, it seems, her point had been made; though I’m still not completely sure how, why or what that point actually was.
I pointed out that she’s never, to my recollection, fitted a set of sliding doors, but this did not really help maters.
I’m telling you – Husbanding truly is a thankless job.