SOMETHING’S wrong. I’m alone in the house, the Missus is at her mum’s with the children and there’s nothing obvious that needs doing.
Let me rephrase that: there’s nothing that needs doing that the Missus will immediately notice if I haven’t done it by the time she gets back.
This, then, should be the ideal opportunity for me to indulge in the sort of idle, carefree pottering that I have spent most of my adult life perfecting.
In other words, it’s a chance to revert to life as it was before children.
Only just as I now automatically wake up at 7am every morning, I can’t seem to snap back into my former, finely-honed lethargy.
I switch the TV on but we don’t have Sky Sports any more because I’ve been told we can’t afford it, so there’s nothing really worth bothering with.
We do have a free trial of Netflix, but I’ve already seen the films on there that are worth watching. All three of them.
So I decide to just enjoy the fact that I have the sofa to myself for once and can stretch out on it without being nudged repeatedly in the ribs. It takes about 40 seconds of lying there to realise that our sofa isn’t nearly as comfortable as I had imagined it to be.
I meander through to the kitchen but there isn’t much food on offer. I decide to drive to the supermarket and do the weekly shop. This takes nearly two hours. It’s getting late by the time I return, but after putting all the shopping away and making dinner, I notice that the front of the washing machine is a bit grubby, so I start cleaning it.
After that I figure I might as well do the front of the dishwasher too. Then I notice that the window of the washing machine could do with a wipe, so I rub away at that too.
Suddenly I realise that it’s nearly midnight.
The idea was to catch up with some sleep while the kids are away, but working on the assumption that I’ll be awake at 7, I’m already struggling on that front.
The next morning I wake at 6.30, just for a bit of variety, and can’t get back to sleep.
I decide to fill the time before work by sweeping and then mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors, safe in the knowledge that the kids aren’t here to cover them in food and toothpaste as soon as I’ve finished.
Later, when I get home from work, I notice that there are a few dents in the hallway skirting board, so I spend an hour or so filling and then repainting them.
Afterwards, I drive across to the in-laws to pick the Missus and children up.
When we arrive home she looks round and, much as I expected, doesn’t notice anything different.
“So have you enjoyed it?” she asks.
“What?” I say.
“Lying on the sofa and watching TV.”