Achieving Nothing

In many ways today was the first day of my vacation. The first day when I wasn’t racing through chores in the usual breakneck effort to achieve something approaching normality. What do I mean by normality? Maybe I mean making sure there is something to eat for dinner, making sure the clothes are washed, and making sure the house and garden don’t look like a minor war didn’t just happen within them.

Hang on a moment.

My other half is attempting to watch the one TV show she watches each week in the living room. The attempt obviously triggered a subliminal “must be a pain in the arse” switch in our youngest daughter’s head, because she’s now sitting behind me in the junk room as I write this. She has been barred from the living room, and now doesn’t know what to do with herself. There’s at least another 15 minutes until bedtime and nobody will drop what they’re doing to entertain her. She’s spinning slowly around on an office chair in the dark behind me, whispering words into her phone.

I spin around.

“You’re bored, aren’t you.”

She grins at me.

I’m surprised I’m managing to write this. The “Favourite Coffee House” playlist on Spotify is being periodically drowned out by the sound effects from some idiotic game she just installed. I dare not take any interest, because she will use that as a delaying tactic when I turn around in ten minutes and tell her to get ready for bed. She’s a ninja at delaying tactics.

Where was I? Oh yes – being on vacation.

The only event of note today was a visit to the garden centre half a mile up the road. The children have been growing tomatoes in the back garden, and the plants had crossed the line from “cute little things” into “mangrove jungle hell”. This was all fine until half the contents of the ocean fell on town earlier this week, and turned the tomato jungle into a twisted and broken mess. Who knew you could buy scaffolding for tomato plants? We now have a 6ft tall recreation of the John Hancock Centre in Chicago, built around the remains of the afore mentioned plants. We also have a huge quantity of green tomatoes lined up along the kitchen window, in the hope they will turn red. Apparently this is entirely possible – my other half says so.

Miss 12 just gave up on delaying tactics for the evening and went to bed. Her last throw of the dice was an announcement of several ailments – one of which was a bad stomach because she ate too much for dinner (two hours ago). Nice try.

I expect I’ll be rather euphoric in the morning – waking up with the radio alarm clock, and then remembering that I don’t have to go to work. I’ll get up of course – for some reason getting up is easier when you’re on vacation. I’ll listen to the local breakfast radio show over a coffee and some toast while the rest of the house carries on snoring. The cats will arrive in the kitchen in talkative mood until I feed them, and the fish will gather in the nearest corner of their tank doing a song and dance act until I feed them too.

I have no idea what the rest of the day might bring. I promised a trip to the local coffee shop with our eldest, but that has somehow grown to include the younger children too. Suddenly a quiet coffee with Miss 16 and a newspaper or magazine will be turned into ordering whatever cream/ice/strawberry monstrosity that takes at least three times longer than anything else to make. I will apologise to the staff for ordering the damn things, while the children look on clueslessly. Five minutes after arriving they will be bored, and want to do something else. I will look across at Miss 16, and she will roll her eyes.

Anyway. Let’s try not to predict the future. Let’s hope that the coffee shop will be quiet, that the coffee will be lovely, the magazine interesting, and the passers by as strange or weird as possible.

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