Now I’m the first to admit I own the ‘have a daddy look’ cliche: I can’t see the butter if it’s hiding at the front of the fridge under the cheese slices.
So for the most part I like things put where they belong, even if it’s not our home. I mean, there are rules. Top drawer is cutlery. Second drawer is wooden spoons and tongs. Third drawer is tea towels. These are the universal laws the world over which keep things like tempers and blood pressure in check.
And something I was consciously aware of when we started setting up our Bribie Island rental house, where we’ll be relaxing for the next week while the two sides of Tracey’s stomach muscles reconnect in a hopefully lasting and beach worthy way.
The house is beautiful. We fell in love with it before we got here. It was, I think, built in the seventies, with skillion roof, much wood and lots of uncluttered space. Space is, as you can imagine, something we really appreciate these days, while uncluttered lasted until we emptied our bus into it.
“I’ll put the kitchen stuff away,” announced Miss10.
Which is, let’s face it, super wonderful of her, but historically has presented us with a little problem in the aftermath.
“Just remember to put things where we can find them,” I reminded her.
She has a habit of wanting to use every draw and cupboard, meaning the simple act of making a cup of tea can require more energy and troop movements than mobilising the reserves.
“In fact,” I said, coming up with a brilliant idea, “I just want you to use the pantry and the fridge.”
“But, Da-aad,” she whined.
“That’s it,” I said, putting my foot down because I could tell she was already mentally – gleefully – working out which would be the salt drawer and which the pepper. “Nothing is to go anywhere else.”
Which is why I was so frustrated the following day when I was trying to find garbage bags to replace the bin liners. I knew I’d brought them in. I invited Miss10 to join me in the kitchen.
“Where the hell have you put them?” I demanded. I hate putting the rubbish out at the best of times, so putting more of my time into it than necessary is not going to help me maintain a good mood.
“Oh, Daddy,” she giggled sweetly, like I was an idiot. She pointed at the pantry. “They’re right there.”
I looked again.
I’m having a Dad look, I admonished myself. Come on, Bruce, you’re better than this.
But after working my way around every shelf I still couldn’t see them.
“Where?” I whined.
“I’ll show you,” said Miss10 helpfully, pushing me out of the way and reaching in. There was a bit of movement and then, “There. See?”
And suddenly I didn’t feel so stupid. Let’s see how you do, shall we?
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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