I have a feeling I may regret this post.
After twenty odd years of marriage I should know better.
But that’s the problem with writers. They have to express their feelings. Even if there’s a price to pay. Which there will be…
Jane was away for the night: just Ben and me at home.
I always feel under pressure when my wife is away.
The house needs to be tidy when she comes home. But I don’t feel the house needs to be tidy when she’s at home.
I don’t think you need a psychologist to work that one out…
The kitchen specifically.
Has one of my children gone back to being four years old?
Was there a birthday party I didn’t notice? That’s the only possible explanation.
But the cleaning will have to wait.
Ben needs food. Southern fried chicken and curly fries lurking in the fridge.
Still in its ‘sell-by’ date as well. Crisis averted.
Well, first crisis. I start to tidy the kitchen.
You could run a marathon in the time it will take me to finish.
I’m still feeling guilty the next morning, and start to empty the upstairs bins.
Given the state of Ben’s rubbish bin it’s a high price to pay for having the bed to myself.
“Ben, why is there a cardboard lid across your rubbish bin?”
“So the dog doesn’t eat what’s in it.”
Can’t argue with that. Given that Pepper’s favourite food is a discarded tissue it’s an entirely logical decision.
I carry the bin downstairs. I can’t help but see what’s in there.
Black banana skins.
Vast numbers of them.
“Blimey, Ben, how many banana skins are in here?”
“You keep banging on about five-a-day.”
So we do. Hoist with our own fruit and veg petard.
Ugh. This is disgusting.
Some of the banana skins have stuck to the side of the bin. But not as disgusting as what I find at the bottom.
Compost. That’s the only word for it.
“Damn it, Ben. When did you last empty this bin?”
My son shrugs. Clearly the answer is measured in months – if not eons.
“You made an indoor compost bin.”
Oh well. No need to worry if his GCSEs are disappointing. Gardeners’ World could do with a young presenter…
I make all the usual noises when Jane comes home. Worth going? Hotel OK? Blah, blah – but really I’m only interested in one thing. Telling her how much I’ve done and…
“There was compost at the bottom of his bin!”
“Did you clean it out?”
“Then you don’t need to say any more do you?”
All men will know that I do need to say more. A lot more. There are Husband Points to be earned. I need my achievement recognising.
“I don’t just mean a banana skin. I mean proper compost. Like in a compost bin.”
“I know what compost is, dear. I spread it on the garden while you’re watching football.”
“And I had to do it with my hands…”
“That’s a coincidence. I use my hands when I’m cleaning the toilet. And the top of the oven. And when I’m doing the ironing.”
Clearly my achievements were not going to be recognised.
I pointed out that I’d cleaned out the kitchen bin as well.
I was wasting my time.
And I’d shot myself in the foot.
“You can do the upstairs bins every week. Seeing as you’re such an expert.”
Oh joy. The weekend was shaping up nicely. Twenty minutes in the garden picking up dog poo. Come back in and empty Ben’s compost bin…