IT’S MY LIFE
SUMMER has arrived which means for a short time at least, the numbers in our house swell with the return of college children, and their belongings.
Over the years I’ve discovered a gender gap in this regard. Last week as I returned for a second trip to my daughter’s rented house, I was concerned. I’d thought we’d taken most of her belongings home in the previous week’s haul, but she was filling the car at an alarming rate.
“We need to leave room for your brother’s gear,” I reminded her, as she added another large bag to the boot.
“His will probably fit there,” she said, pushing a bag to one side to reveal a small gap. I don’t think she was joking.
As it turned out, she wasn’t too far wrong. I believe the final tally was, daughter — too many bags to count; son — three.
Having a full house once more is noisy and in many ways, a delight but not without its difficulties.
Take, for instance, the simple pleasure of sitting down of an evening to enjoy watching television. For months, I’d a lovely routine. Pour myself a cup of tea, wander into the sitting room, sit down, and turn on the television. Now I walk in, only to discover a band of sisters in situ, glued to Netflix and their brother in
“If one of the girls appeared I’d feign tremendous interest in the television, for fear they’d suggest eviction
residence in the other room watching TV.
After a few days of this, I became a little unhinged. At least one hour ahead of time I could be found sitting in my preferred seat. If one of the girls appeared I’d feign tremendous interest in the television, for fear they’d suggest eviction.
When it came to watching something we’d all enjoy, the madness went up a notch as we raced to bag a seat. Failure to arrive early meant you were allocated the ‘dud’ seats. In our house, this is the two-seater couch, which looks lovely but doesn’t even face the television.
I’m not sure if it’s true worldwide, but a study conducted by myself over many years would indicate that the male members of the family rarely make it on time to sit in the prime seats. I’m unsure if this is because: they don’t care; they are unaware there’s a competition taking place; or because they’re not the forward thinkers the girls are.
While I note these difficulties within the TV room, yer man’s mind is elsewhere, namely the bathroom as the hum of the shower goes on for the best part of an hour daily, as they file in one after another.
“What are they even doing in there?” he mutters.
Occasionally there’s a roar as someone skips in ahead of their agreed turn, acting like they are behind soundproof walls as the one who was wronged bangs and kicks at the locked door.
It’s at moments such as that I am reminded of my own childhood, with one bathroom, four girls and two boys. Although my hygiene routine as a child is worlds away from that of my children.
I remember when I lived in Australia telling my friends that growing up we bathed once a week.
“But we did wash our hands and faces regularly,” I quickly assured them as I saw the look of horror on their faces. “And we were always reminded to clean behind our ears,” I added, although the puzzled look on their faces made me wonder was that just an Irish thing.
As the days pass, I’ve little doubt we will adjust to our new normal, possibly mere days before they’re all gone once more.
Although today as I looked at the clothes spilling out of the laundry baskets, I know there are some things I will not miss.