Me: "How's sorting out your expenses going?"
Husband: (Heavy sigh). "I'm getting there. But God. It's just so like... so like... manual labour."
I look up at him from where I am kneeling on the floor on my hands and knees, hanging up his just-washed socks on the airer. "REALLY."
Wednesday morning, 8.05am, the street outside our house. It's 0 deg C. The car is covered in a thick layer of frost. The Boys are complaining about the cold. I've just started the engine to get the blowers working inside it, have fastened the little cherubs into their seats, and unearthed the de-icer aerosol - thinking, gosh, aren't I clever to have remembered about this? - from the boot.
I liberally spray the front windscreen, wait a few seconds, and decide I should probably start the windscreen wipers to get things moving.
Should you ever be in this situation, sit inside the car to do this. Do not reach in through the open door and flip the lever whilst standing by the driver door. That way a faceful of de-icer lies...
When heading for the kitchen late in the evening to tidy up, alway ensure you make plenty of noise as you approach the closed door. That way the mouse (singular? I can only hope) has plenty of warning to jump under the kitchen units without being seen. If you don't do the clompy clompy thing, you will see it, shriek like a (much younger) girl, wake your sons, and spend the next hour - once they are asleep again - worrying about your house being taken over by rodents. Which of course it is, but we live in London and frankly, if you live here and think you don't have mice? You probably still believe in Santa.
6.45am, Thursday morning, just after the alarm went off. A sobbing figure appears at our bedroom door...
Boy #1: "Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah..... gaaaaaaaah....!!!!!"
Me (Husband is in the bathroom): "What on earth is the matter, darling?"
Boy #1: "Zwarte Piet..... Sinta Klaas.... the carrots in the shoes... He didn't come!"
Oh. S. H. I. T.
Stoking the fire ever higher in the pre-Sinta Klaas excitement for Saturday, Husband had suggested the Boys each leave a shoe by the fireplace with a carrot in the previous evening. This is an old Dutch Sinta Klaas tradition, and the idea is that one of the Sint's helpers, Zwarte Piet (see this post for details of who on earth I'm on about) visits and, if the boys have been good, leave the shoes filled with sweets and biscuits.
Guess what we forgot to do before going to bed the previous evening?
We did manage to rescue the situation, thank heavens. Unbeknownst to me, Husband had heard the commotion, realised what it was about, sneaked out of the bathroom, done the deed in the sitting room, and came back to our room without being spotted... (James Bond 'r' Us). He pointed out in his most authoritative tone that it was still dark outside, and Zwarte Piet could come anytime before daylight. He couldn't get there earlier because he had to come all the way from Holland, remember? Boy #1 looked sceptical. Suddenly...
Husband: "Sssh! Ssssh! Did you hear that?"
Boy #1: "What? What, Papa?"
Husband: "There's someone on the roof!"
Me: "No. No. You're imagining it... Wait. What's that?"
Husband: "Yes - there it is again!"
Boy #1: "I hear it! I hear it too!"
And what do you know? When he and his sleepy brother went into the sitting room 5 minutes later, Zwarte Piet HAD BEEN!
God, I love blogging. When I started writing this post 30 minutes ago, I felt as if I was drowning in the tedious same-ness of being a Stay At Home Mum. Don't misunderstand me, it's my choice, I truly believe it's right for our family that I be here, but sometimes? Sometimes, as I take yet another load of washing to the machine, unpack yet another supermarket shop, make another school run, or tread shoe-less on yet another sharp and spikey metal die-cast toy, I just want to bang my head against a brick wall. And then run screaming into the nearest office, shouting "Employ me! Please! I'll do anything, even spreadsheets!"
Now, though, having written all this down, my sense of perspective - and my sense of humour - have returned. So, I'll say it again.
It's all a matter of timing.
(PS - I hadn't planned on that last bit. But I hope you'll forgive me - I think it works).