Hub and I took a week off to celebrate his birthday – not one of those big scary ones yet but I’ve been whimpering about needing a holiday or something and as our boys have put the mockers on going away anywhere – it has to be something. (College Boy cannot be left alone for any length of time in case he has a wild party and the house ends up looking tidier, and Uni Boy is an expensive investment that has written off any chance of going away – ever).
Saturday was my first day of freedom – a gentle trip to town was mooted to get hub a few extra presents – this idea was quickly demolished by College Boy who insisted that we had to take him to a courier depot to pick up a vital piece of his armoury before 1230.
I made the most of it. I downloaded ‘Falling and Laughing:The Restoration of Edwyn Collins’ to my Kindle. It’s a wonderful read that made me cry all the way out to the courier’s at Speke but also proved invaluable research for my latest assignment on psychoneurology.
Then College Boy decided that he would let us take him food shopping. I am very proud of the fact that he has stuck to a diet and lost at least a stone if not more. I just wish he wasn’t such a pompous ass about it. All the way round Asda he commented in a very knowledgeable but negative way on everything I put in the trolley.
I’ve been eating for a long time now and I know what is good for me, what is bad for me and why I prefer the latter. I don’t need some self-righteous seventeen year old who but a few short months ago was stuffing his face with Bombay Bad Boys and bacon-flavoured Super-Noodles laced with Tabasco sauce (Ugh).
Bu the time we got to the tea and coffee aisles I was suicidal. Then, my lovely hub, who is usually so supportive and a stalwart ally against the onslaught that is College Boy, made a comment about one of my more frivolous purchases. it was a perfectly relevant comment; logical and not in any way unkind but in terms of camels and backs it may just as well have been a whole bale of straw.
I so wanted to be the mother in the advert who throws herself to the ground in the supermarket aisle, screaming and drumming my heels against the floor, but I contained myself and limited my tantrum to some muttered threats and minor curses as I steered my trolley to the freezer section in order to cool down.
Hub tried to make amends. This included sneaking said frivolous item back into the trolley when he thought I wasn’t looking (ha! some chance). After College Boy’s initial words of reproach about showing him up in public – yeah Asda is SO full of his friends on a Saturday afternoon – he finally shut up and the rest of the trip continued in an icy silence.
I kept it up till we got home, then College Boy, realising finally that he might have gone too far again, unloaded the shopping and took it indoors whilst hub patted and soothed me back to civilisation again.
I spent most of Sunday sweating over a hot assignment and making arrangements for Uni Boy to pay us a flying visit for lunch the next day to celebrate his Dad’s birthday. The assignment was in its first draft. College Boy was shouting happily at his friends on Skype and all was reasonably pleasant.
Hub’s birthday went well. We had a lovely lunch with Uni Boy and did a bit of birthday shopping. Came back home and Uni Boy checked my assignment – pronouncing it reasonably scientific (I had spelled positron emission tomography correctly and knew the difference between fMRI and MRI – I’ll make a pseudoscientist yet). We took him back to the train and bought Chinese takeaway for us and the College Boy to make things even. Feeling slightly smug I finished off the assignment and sent it electronically winging its way to me tutor feeling more than a little happy that we had the rest of the week to go to the gym, take my Dad out and ensure that hub spent his birthday money on himself – not on food for the family.
Sod’s law. The virus goblin struck in the night leaving me with a throat filled with sandpaper and ground glass, a streaming nose and eyes that were blinded by the light. My efforts to laugh it off as a cold and to carry on (forget the keeping calm stuff) managed to get me through more food shopping and by mid-afternoon we were in a very large camping shop looking for a megadocious sleeping bag for hub.
He is going away with his mates for a paintball weekend in July. He did this last year in September but without me to keep him warm, got very cold and desolate. My days of braving the storms under canvas have come and gone – both as a revolting houseparent thirty years ago and as an equally revolting parent when our own boys were younger and more malleable. This is a body built for decent beds and non-leaking roofs, and whilst I will miss him in July, I’d rather be here at home than freezing in the Brecon Beacons thanks very much.
We found the sleeping bag anyway; and some waterproof trousers and some very expensive socks. Like a latterday Goldilocks I spent the time between admiring sock quality and sleeping bag thickness in finding something suitable to perch on before my wobbly legs gave way. There were camping chairs of all descriptions but they mostly looked insubstantial or were almost impossible to get out of without falling onto your knees and crawling away in a very undignified manner. I eventually found a solid wood table covered in cut-price fleecy tops and shoving them to one side, sat my achy-breaky body down whilst hub deliberated between two almost identical pairs of waterproof trousers.
By the time we got home, I think we had both realised that this wasn’t just a cold and that maybe I should have stayed home in the warm.
The last thirty-six hours have been a blur of TV dozing punctuated by antique show programmes, caffeine, paracetamol, honey and lemon sucky sweets, hot chocolate and rum. I have tried sleeping in bed at night but this poor old body is fluctuating between gas mark 9 and total freezer; it just wants to sleep fitfully wherever it can and all night is too long for it. My nose is either snotty or bleeding from sneezing too much and although I sound sexy – I’d rather have a throat that wasn’t tinder dry and sore.
But I got up at six this morning. I have made my own hot chocolate and rum (with a slightly heavier hand than my hub’s I feel) and woken the College Boy for his exam. Today I will throw myself into a shower that is redolent with Olbas Oil and put some slap on this tired visage so that hub and I go out for a drive somewhere. Maybe to the seaside so that even if I don’t get out of the car, i can at least wind the window down and breathe a bit of fresh air. We won’t manage the gym, and I’m keeping my distance from Dad because I don’t want him to get my germs – some holiday.
I will not be beaten by this bug though. I’m working Saturday night and then on Sunday – joy of joys – hub and I are off to the Lowry to see Jon Richardson – the only man I know that can make OCD seem sexy. I won’t sleep through that.