Sunday, September 28, 2008

A woman's work is never done

Today I should be at a family dinner - not my family, but FP's - enjoying a glass of wine and eating a delicious home-cooked meal. Instead, I am at home, all alone, with what I can only imagine is the dreaded lurgy.

I have, of course, caught FP’s man-cold which he kept to himself for a whole week and a half, giving me the false impression that if I were to catch it at all, I would have caught it long before now. To be honest with you, I was stunned when I woke up this morning, the glands in my throat the size of two firm mangoes, my nose blocked and my head feeling as though it was stuffed with cotton wool. I didn’t know that I, being a female of the species, could even catch a man-cold.

Well I can and I did and I can’t say I’m all that thankful to FP for having tricked me into thinking I was immune when clearly he was planning to pass it on to me all along.

I’m feeling slightly stuck in the blues. Perhaps it’s the lurgy talking, or perhaps it’s just that I am in the apartment feeling sorry for myself, wanting to whine out loud, looking for some sympathy, but knowing that no one is around to hear me.

Even the cat has abandoned me today. FP bundled him up in his little cat-bag, snapped on his harness and leash (our cat is just a dog in disguise) and took him with him to his parent’s house. Give you some peace,’ FP said. Let you relax,’ he called over his shoulder. Will give you some quiet time,’ he said as if he was doing me a favour. I tried to protest but he had already closed the door and was stomping down the stairs, Ollie in his cat-bag in one hand, the kitty litter poo box in the other.

But sitting here in the cold silence I feel rather odd. I almost wish I had the pair of them back here, the pussy chat scratching the furniture again and FP watching a football match. Having the lurgy is only fun if you have people around to comfort you and make you soup and prop up your pillows and clear up your dirty pile of Kleenex that accumulates on the floor next to the bed.

There are so many things I used to love about living on my own in my wee apartment in Edinburgh. My mess was my mess for a start. My mess didn’t include the dirty dishes with 3 day old hardened spinach left on the living room floor by my flatmate. Nor did it include the boxer shorts of an unknown stranger, kicking about in the hallway, or the pile of medical lecture notes spread out on the dining room table for three weeks, untouched, with diagrams of umbilical cords and placentas. And the dust bunnies that rolled about the hard wood floors like tumbleweed were at least my dust bunnies, the hair that clogged up the plughole in the sink; that was my hair.

I used to love the fact that I could come home from uni lectures and switch on the telly and watch what I wanted to until whatever hour I liked, at any volume I fancied. I could choose who my guests would be and when they would be there. I enjoyed the fact that I could sit in silence for hours on end, curled up on the sofa with a book, eating cornflakes straight from the box like crisps.

But that was before FP and Ollie came along.

There are things that drive me nuts about living with a man. For example, his ability to completely ignore the pile of his clutter that I have put on the table – receipts, books, balled-up socks, sunglasses, ID card - ready for him to tidy away, which he walks past every day for a week at a time before I end up going insane and having to put it all away myself, muttering under my breath about how he has selective sight.

Recently, there has been the small issue of his inability to shut a drawer or a cupboard door. Every time FP goes to the cutlery drawer, he takes what he needs from it and then turns and walks away, leaving the drawer wide open. I mean, why would you do that?! The natural action when you open a drawer is to close it again, am I not correct? It should be an automatic movement, surely.

Between you and me, I’ve found myself becoming so fixed on this issue that I’ve actually started testing him; not closing the drawer myself, just to see how long it will take for him to close it. The drawer stayed open for a record of 24 hours, both of us walking past it, him oblivious to its openness and me trying to ignore the proverbial big pink elephant in the corner of the room. In the end I find myself pulled towards the drawer, my hand slamming it shut roughly in an effort to make a point. I will never beat him at his own game.

But of course once you get used to living with someone, it feels very strange when they’re not there anymore. It's not bad living with FP. In fact it's lovely, even if it is a tad messy. I've gotten used to going to sleep every night, my head in the crook of his neck, and waking up at 3am with a crick in mine. I've gotten used to him and all his funny ways, and he's gotten used to me and mine. It's not been easy, but if he can learn to close a drawer then I'm pretty sure we'll be okay.

I have just blown my nose so hard and for so long that something in my eye popped and burst (slightly worrying, perhaps?). I look around me and I see his mess – both of their mess, actually – his football gear slung sloppily over the backs of chairs, the cat’s favourite sparkly toy mouse lying on the floor, morbidly ripped in half with its stuffing hanging out (reminder to self: must sew back together), FP’s breakfast dishes, a pile of his old receipts, and I smile.

For I have the lurgy; he can do the tidying up for a change.


Lindsay said...

I was living in a tiny room with four other females over the summer and it wasn't much easier. The one that got me was one room mate who would leave the little plastic covers from her disposable razors in the bottom of the shower and not bother to move them. It drove me insane. Cohabiting is a minefield.

Hope you feel better!

pierre l said...

Hello Princesse. Sorry about your man-cold/lurgy. It is tempting to say that if FP can ignore things like open drawers, he can probably ignore the rest of the untidiness and it will keep until you feel better.
In any case, I am sorry to read that you are under the weather, and hope you will fell better soon.
With regards to the open drawer, my cat has a special sensor: if a drawer or cupboard door is open unnecessarily for more than a few seconds, my cat immediately climbs in and start exploring, possibly sitting and washing himself (as he is doing on top of my monitor at the moment). We have a pretty untidy house, but certainly no open drawers. I came across Ollie's pictures in your flickr page yesterday. He is one lovely cat!
Get well soon. Hugs.

Leah said...

Oh man, you sound just as bad as me in terms of orientation to detail(that's the nice way of saying anal)...we're a rare breed. I do "testing" as well, but always end up giving up. I'm living with colocs, but gets on my nerves. I can't wait to have my own you said, any grossness, drawer open, dust is alllll mine. Ah, the joy of my own dirtiness! Sorry about your woMAN cold. Get better soon, L!

Loth said...

I am fortunate that I married a man with exactly the same level of indifference to mess and clutter that I have, and we are now training our children to be equally slovenly! (Hope you feel better soon!)

Zhu said...

Congrats on your new url ;-)

The top thing that drives me nuts in living with a man is their garbage routine. Or at least, my man's garbage routine.

Garbage pick up and recycling pick up is every Wed. We have two recycling boxes in the garage. But the man would rather leave empty milk cartons, cans etc. lying around in the kitchen because "we will do the garbages on Wed.".


Princesse Ecossaise said...

Argh Lindsay that sounds like my nightmare! Even some of my best friendships haven't stood the test of cohabiting in large apartments, never mind in one small room! You were brave!

Pierre you were, of course, completely right. FP did ignore the mess last night when he got home, even after he had read this blog post, spelling it out for him! Luckily he made up for it by mopping my clammy brow and handing out the parecetemol in large quantities.

You made me laugh about your cat because Ollie does exactly the same thing! Any drawer or cupboard door that is left open is an invite to him to jump in and explore, or to curl up and sleep or just to sit and watch the world go by. Fortunately the cutlery drawer is out of his reach!

Leah I can honestly say that I never thought I was going to be this way! I didn't want to freak out over mess, I didn't want to cry when people left their dirty dishes sitting for days beside the sink. It's a hard life being like us, isn't it? If only there was a way to make us not give a damn, or even better, to make everyone else as anal as us!

Loth You certainly are a very fortunate woman!

Zhu Oh I so get you on that one! Our recycling should be taken along the road and dumped into the special bins every weekend but for some reason I have an entire corner of my kitchen piled high with empty bottles of water, cans and cardboard boxes that have accumulate there for about a month.

Lis of the North said...

Get well soon little love. The lurgy is the pits, especially when there is nobody around to whine too.
I so know where you're coming from with the cutlery drawer. Hubby doesn't have that particular habit, but we've been together ten years and he's still doing all the irritating stuff. Me too probably.
I did smile at the thought of Ollie's mouse toy mangled on the floor, with its innards trailing on the floor. Doggy does that. The best, toughest toy I ever got for her? An elephant from Disney. Not strictly a pet toy but she's had it a year and not a single seam has ceded.
Soins-toi bien xx