Some days I’m damned if I do and damned unhappy if I don’t.
“What are you doing?!” Tracey screeched at me.
All the warm and lingering sleepiness I’d woken up with a few minutes earlier was jolted out of my body in much the same way when pressure is applied to a zit it fair shits itself. I peeled myself off the ceiling, doing a mental check of the back of my undies for flotsam.
Given I was following the instructions my dear wife had issued the previous night when our bed decided to become a very vocal third party in our otherwise stealthy coupling, I would have thought what I was doing was obvious.
“I’m fixing the bed so it doesn’t squeak,” I said.
Actually I was a little way off that at this point, but I had shoved all the linen and blankies to the bottom end of the bed.
Rather than give me a cheeky grin and a wink, Tracey shot a sort of worried glance over her shoulder, snapping at me to get into bed and taking three big steps and jumping in herself.
“Quickly,” she hissed. She’d nearly reefed her three-quarters of the blankets up when she stopped. “What the hell are you doing now?”
Again, I’d have thought that was obvious.
“Closing the door,” I answered happily.
I knew from experience, what with it being morning and the fact five kids would be running about the place, there was no chance of anything actually happening. But I also knew it’s important to appear eager.
“INTO BED NOW!” she hissed loudly, while executing a facial expression which included the mother of all eye rolls and the mother-in-law of all frowns.
“You’re keen,” I said happily. Although it occurred to me at this point something was going on and, as usual, I had no idea what it was. All I knew was my wife was insisting I jump into bed with her and from past experience nothing unpleasant ever came from that – a statement I can confidently make because my body has never had to experience childbirth.
Just as I pulled my slither of the doona up over my chest, a concerned face appeared in the doorway.
“See,” I nudged my wife, throwing a thumb in the direction of Miss14. “This is why I was trying to shut the door.”
“Dad,” said our daughter before Tracey could say anything back to me – probably a good thing, “last night…”
She let her unfinished sentence hung in the doorway like a spider on a silky thread: tiny, but not something you want to go near if you can help it.
“Hmmm?” I prompted her unwillingly.
“Last night,” she repeated, “I couldn’t sleep. There were a lot of…noises. I think…I mean I’m worried…I mean I’m hoping I didn’t hear-”
This is the moment I actually understood what the hell was going on.
“It wasn’t us!” I blurted out, in much the same urgent, guilty tone I used when lying to my mother about stealing the cooking chocolate from the fridge.
Miss14 didn’t look convinced.
“It’s just my window was shaking.”
Ah, the joys of living in an old Queenslander.
“It must have been the washing machine,” I said.
“I looked and it wasn’t on.”
Well, that explains the footsteps I thought I’d heard but didn’t want to risk mentioning in case things didn’t pick up where they’d have left off.
“I told her it was probably the neighbours,” said Tracey pointedly. “They’re very loud.”
Ahh, yes. The neighbours in the empty house next door are always making a racket.
“Or I thought maybe an earthquake?” Miss14 suggested.
“Well, the earth was sure moving under meeeEEEE-!” I said unhelpfully and received a jolt under the ribs for my troubles.
“He’s joking,” Tracey lied.
Eventually, assisted by Tracey’s many and creative assurances (including that I’m too old to ‘do it’ anymore), Miss14 seemed to settle down, and my wife was breathing a sigh of relief we’d gotten away with it.
“But you can’t fix our bed for a week or so,” Tracey whispered to me when we were alone, “or she’ll work it out.”
I’ll tell you what I worked out from that: our sexercise was on hold for a bit. There goes all the good work I’d been putting in.
But then, about three hours later, a glimmer of hope.
I walked into our bedroom to find Miss14 shaking the end of our bed. It was squeaking and squawking in much the same way a well put together bed doesn’t.
“You guys lied to me,” our daughter muttered as she shouldered her way past me with a withering expression and left the room.
I couldn’t wait to tell Tracey the good news – I mean surely there’s no need to insult Miss14’s intelligence and pretend we’re not doing anything when she’s gone and worked it out for herself.
So it turns out I’m not missing out on canoodling this week because of the bed making noises last night.
I’m missing out because, apparently, all hope is dead and I should have damn well fixed the bed like I was originally attempting to do.
Finally, some rain. Time for mud pies and dancing in the rain. Hope you’re all getting a bit.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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