The younger children are at Guide Camp for the week – somewhere on the coast – and my other half is visiting the Lake District for a few days – at the opposite end of the country. For the first time in at least perhaps a decade, I’m going to find myself home alone this week. When I mentioned my situation to co-workers a few minutes ago they started to enthuse about the pizza, beer, and video game opportunities opening up before me. They obviously don’t realise quite how much my other half might trash the house while last-minute-packing this morning (she leaves at lunchtime). I can confidently guarantee that I will arrive home this evening to a house that looks like it’s been ransacked by burglars.
There is also a washing line full of clothes out in the garden that I forgot to take in last night. The weather obviously has a sense of humour, because having watched me put everything through the washing machine over the weekend, it obviously noticed my mistake, and summoned several million gallons of water to fall on the hereabouts overnight. Wonderful.
One particular co-worker – who has no children and therefore no concept of “being broke all the time” – offered the idea of eating out every night. Yes, before children we used to do that quite regularly. We knew how good all the reasonably priced restaurants and pubs in town were, because we regularly met at them with friends and laughed all night about having no responsibilities. That all stopped nearly ten years ago. My life now consists of calling home every night after work to see if we need anything, and buying ingredients from the supermarket en-route to help cook something when I get home.
Last Friday night I contemplated calling a delivery service to get food for myself and the children. My other half was out for the night, and I had been running here there and everywhere clearing up the mess they had wrought after finishing school for the summer earlier in the day. I got half-way through choosing food for us all, saw the total cost spiraling upwards, and cycled into town to buy food from the supermarket to cook.
Once upon a time I lived alone, in my own apartment. Buying food for one person is actually incredibly expensive, because you can’t eat the food you might buy in bulk quickly enough before it goes off. The alternative of course is to cook in bulk and then freeze everything – that’s how I learned to make spaghetti bolognese and chilli con carne. Maybe I’ll make a couple of things tonight, and then ration them out over the week.
Or maybe I’ll just buy some pizzas. Don’t judge me.