Have you ever had one of those mornings where everything just goes a bit wrong?
Yesterday was an absolute prime candidate, although there’s arguably not much that can go wrong in my life on a day to day basis.
It used to be that a ‘bad day’ in my old life as an investment banker would have meant that I had lost a client a few hundred thousand pounds and I was due for a meeting with some Executives where I would be summarily run down by a group of old men. As fearful as I was of such an eventuality, it only occurred two or three times in my decade long career as a money-shifter. Today, my sole responsibilities are to my home and to my family. If the house doesn’t stay clean, my kids will get grubby and my wife will get angry. Do you see the causal relationship there?
Whenever I talk to any of my ex-colleagues, still furiously cutting deals and snatching investments in the Big Smoke, they tell me that they can’t imagine leaving the job, that a life without work would be one of endless ennui. I always ask them if they still enjoy working 10 hour days and never seeing their family, to which they reply that they haven’t started one yet. That’s when they tell me they have to go because they’re heading out to Coq d’Argent for a Chataeubriand steak and I suddenly get very jealous and start thinking about coming out of retirement.
But I don’t, of course, because my life here in Kent is good and I’m happy – for the most part at least.
My happiness does get infringed on at certain points.
My ‘bad day’, the one day in a hundred that fails to go to according to plan was heralded by the fridge giving up the ghost at some point during the night. The old girl had been with us for a while at this point and clearly decided it would be better for everyone if she was to go peacefully during the night. Her last gift to us? Shorting out the electricity in the house.
My wife has been using the same digital alarm clock for the past 8 years. Its suffered a similar level of wear and tear to the fridge, although it shows its age merely on the surface level. The snooze button has been eroded down on one side and the cheaply printed labels for the buttons have long since worn away. The one thing it does need to work is power.
I was woken at half 8 by the sound of Constance swearing loudly. This is usually an amusing sound and much cause for ridicule. Her Public School background, far loftier than my own, prohibited any kind of cursing, as a result she has maintained a solid vocabulary of Primary School level swear words that even my boys find amusing. Hearing real vehemence behind the cursing, I woke abruptly and wondered why the sun was shining so brightly outside.
That’s when I clocked that if my wife was late, then I was probably late. A quick glance at my phone confirmed that the kids had 10 minutes to change and eat before running for school. It was then my turn to start swearing, a much more colourful string of syllables left my mouth, quickly stifled by a pillow thrown by my loving wife who has no time for the dropping of the C-Bomb under any circumstances.
Within 5 minutes I’d wrangled uniforms on the boys and frogmarched them down to the kitchen, to find that the milk had taken on a solid form over night.
Cereal was out the window, toast would take too long, so I prepared possibly the worst breakfast imaginable for my growing lads. One handful of dried Cheerios with half a banana each. They had no time to complain as I ushered them out the door, along with my wife who had managed to frantically smear lipstick onto her chin.
With that they were gone. Their rushed mornings would continue whereas mine seemed to grind to a halt. Cheerios scattered the floor, our room upstairs was a mess, a rancid food smell lingered in the kitchen and I searched for way to solve all the problems all at once. I had the lingering feeling of being in the eye of the storm. Home appliance repairs have never been my strong point, so I Googled for a solution until I was bored of reading dry articles on how to fix fridges.
Instead of sorting any of the problems, I opened the fridge and started to consider what kind of breakfast I could make out of three varieties of cheese, 3-day old bacon and last night’s tuna pasta bake.