Our house runs like clockwork. By which, I don’t mean that our house runs like a well-oiled machine – oh no, nothing like that – but rather, our house operates to a Rainman-like schedule. Seriously, you could set your fucking watch to the goings-on in our house.
I’m making us sound more organised than we are. We’re not organised. We’re just predictable. For example: I have a breakdown every Friday afternoon, between the hours of 3 and 4pm. When Paul comes home from work, I’m usually to be found hiding in the wardrobe/pantry, rocking and weeping, weeping and rocking. Because Paul deals with this situation every week, at the same time, he now knows to send me out for a run, and pour me a glass of wine for my return. Thus, Friday night is Party Night. We drink the week’s tears away, and watch First Dates or Gogglebox, depending on the televisual season. Don’t fuck with our Friday night. By which I mean, don’t schedule a school fucking disco on Party Night, and then advertise it on the big flashing billboard at the kiss ‘n’ drive, so Ben is reminded to start hassling me about it. I need Party Night. You’d need Party Night, if you’d dealt with my children all week.
Which brings me to the next significant point on the calendar: Paul has his own breakdown at 4pm ON THE FUCKING DOT every Sunday afternoon, precisely 48 hours after mine. This is because I hand over the keys to the kids when he walks through the door on Friday afternoon, and have nothing more to do with them until Monday morning. I mean, I’m around, but half-heartedly. The bum wiping, wound healing and hair washing? All Paul. And that’s why, of course, he’s rocking in a corner by 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, shouting: “WHY CAN’T YOU ALL JUST BE NORMAL?” while the kids climb on his head and pull out his arm hairs. This makes me laugh … until I realise that I’m close to clocking back on.
This realisation leads to my regular-as-clockwork Sunday 6pm plea to Paul to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take tomorrow off work! Please please please! Your boss won’t mind! I’ll explain! DO THIS FOR ME! He never does. He can’t call in sick. It’s cos he’s English. He doesn’t understand the Aussie entitlement to sick days. He thinks you have to be sick to take a sick day. Silly Paul.
Because Paul leaves for work at 5.20am – leaving skid marks on the driveway in his desperation to get away quickly – I inevitably wake up on a Monday morning with the darkest feelings of dread and foreboding. It’s really weird. I don’t get this on any other day of the week – just Monday. I’m often to be found muttering, “I can’t fucking do this,” as I pack lunches and search for socks.
Monday mornings are bad in this house. Comically bad. Don’t believe me? Take this Monday: Paul’s alarm (5.12am; can’t deal) woke the little kids up, because they were both in our bed. The little kids got up, found the keys, and started filling the car up with household items, in a game ingeniously titled “putting stuff in the boot”. I got up, shouted at them to get out of the car, then realised they’d hidden the car keys and stuffed up the retractable seats. In a new record, I’d rung Paul before he’d even arrived at work. I cried and told him that I couldn’t fucking do this, and the car’s broken, and I’m broken, and his kids are broken, boo hoo. Usually I save this kind of breakdown until at least WEDNESDAY, so who says I can’t be spontaneous? I got off the phone, fixed the car, found the car keys, but couldn’t fix the kids or me; we’re all fucked.
Fast forward a couple of hours and somehow – somehow! – we were all dressed and ready on time (I even had clothes on!). But, as I tried to close Frankie’s car door, it bounced back comically. Boing! Totally refused to close. The little fucker had fiddled with the latch. I couldn’t fix it. I rang Paul. (Two phonecalls in one morning, new record!) I rang the RAC. I rang my mummy. (I would like to take this moment to honour these three heroes of the hour – you have my total and undying gratitude, all three of you.) Crisis averted, I managed to get Frankie to school (late, but THERE) and even made it to the gym on time. Ah, that’s another note on the calendar – 9.15 Monday morning F45. I believe this to be the point that turns the day around. Or it would’ve, if I hadn’t spurted blood on my fellow participants on this occasion.
“Um, your nose,” one girl asked, as we stretched after the class.
“Oh, I know,” I said, self-consciously.
“Yeah but …” she said, pointing.
“I KNOW, it’s a spot.” (Bitch, PLEASE.)
“I mean, blood. It’s all over.”
I looked at my hand. My hand was covered in blood, which would mean, I suspected, that my entire head was covered in blood. Well, that's a jolly good look, no? I laughed and said something about “blood, sweat and tears” and made a considered decision to stay at home for the rest of the day. Possibly week. Possibly life.
It’s entirely possible my 4pm Friday breakdown will come early this week.