Warning: The following post does not contain flashing images, violence, strong sex scenes or offensive language. However, readers of an alcoholic nature could still find it distressing, especially if they may have teenage children one day.
Yep, they’re gone.
Tom went back to university on Wednesday – just the 400 mile round trip to keep me amused – and Jane took Jessica on Saturday. I stayed at home and loaded empties into the recycling bin. Thank the Lord we don’t have to go to the bottle bank any more. The humiliation would have been too much.
So there’s no wine left. The wine rack – despite regular reinforcements – fought a valiant rearguard action, but in the end it was simply overwhelmed. A sustained onslaught – led by crack troops believed to have spent months at a secret training camp known only as “uni” – proved too much for it. The official surrender came just after New Year. The Budweiser Battalion was also wiped out, while the Fosters Platoon didn’t even survive Christmas Day.
While I’m reporting casualties I may as well also mention that we’re completely out of decent coffee. And we’ve no toilet paper. God knows what my children do in the bathroom but the lorry load of Andrex that arrived just before Christmas has completely disappeared.
So sod the New Year’s resolution and my tightening waistband. I’ll console myself with some cheese.
Actually, no. I won’t.
See wine, coffee and loo roll.
I know what you’re thinking. ‘Buy some more.’ Clearly you don’t have teenage children yet. Here’s how The Nights Before Christmas play out when they’re older.
December 23rd. A family meal. Nothing spectacular. Parmesan chicken. The talk turned to Christmas dinner.
“Are we having sweet potato mash?” the Beloved Daughter asked.
Let those six simple words sink in. They should be a consolation to parents everywhere. Your lovely daughter not eating the peas/carrots/cauliflower you’ve just put in front of her? Don’t worry. She will.
Had I suggested sweet potato mash to Jessica when she was 14 or 15 she’d have given me specific and very graphic instructions on what I could do with the said sweet potato.
Now her Christmas dinner would be ruined without it…
“No,” I said. “Your mother’s already doing 114 vegetables. There’s a limit to what we can buy.”
“Well that’s mean,” Jessica replied.
Or words to that effect. Whatever they were, they sent me straight into ‘full rant’ mode.
Think Basil Fawlty attacking his car.
“Now you listen to me. There are five adults sitting round this table. How much do you think this meal cost?”
“No, you don’t. Because you didn’t pay for it. Well, let me tell you. Three chicken breasts. From the butcher. Not supermarket crap full of water. Proper big, fat chicken breasts from a chicken that’s run round a farmyard, not caught a fleeting glimpse on its way to get slaughtered. Twelve quid. Spuds and salad. You’ll demand a pudding. Tom will finish the cheese. What’s that? Sixteen pounds? Seventeen? Add on the two bottles of white wine we appear to have drunk – and yes, I freely admit I may have had a small glass myself – and it’s over thirty quid. Thirty pounds! For one meal. Times seven while you’re all at home. That’s over two hundred quid a week.”
What? Over £200 a week? I went back over the meal. Replayed the scene in the butcher’s. Checked my mental arithmetic.
I’d underestimated. I’d forgotten breakfast, lunch and the running buffet Ben needs to survive the day.
“Have you finished, Dad?”
Sadly, I had. And there was no wine left to console me…
Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and moderately humorous to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here.