Even the Bins

It was during a marriage counselling session at home of an evening.

The good pastor from central casting (tall, blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and a radio announcer voice) and his squeaky clean wife (plain dress, sensible shoes, straight hair and subservient) were sitting opposite us. He had just finished telling us how he much he now contributed domestically. He had stepped up. He now put out and brought in the bins. And I was pleased for him so much so I remember thinking well that’s a good start…

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He then turned to my wife. And asked the classic marriage counselling question. “What is the one thing Andrew could do to make the marriage better?”

Quick as the lash, came the reply.

“Spend more time with the children.”

Instantly pastor and wife turned to me, expressions expectant.

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And I complied. “I can do that,” I replied. I then turned to my wife. “The only problem is that I’ll most probably disturb you when I go to bed. Which will be  at 11:00pm instead of 9:30pm (because of the housework I do). “ I left that last bit out.

I didn’t detail what I did though: washing up, bringing in and sorting out clothes, putting on and hanging out a night load of washing, tidying up toys, books, etc. And the time I already was spending with the children of an evening: reading, talking and putting them to bed. And the bins.

Or,” I said,” I could get up at 3:30am instead of 5:00am.”

I didn’t detail that I’d bring in the load of a night, put on and hang out a day load, and help with the children of a morning. And that would be now tacked onto the overtime from the night before. And the bins.

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I realised then that the tone of my voice had changed. Harder, growlier, slower, although I was still polite. But by then I had become a feral househusband or second shift manager. I had no idea of the effect I was about to have.

That was enough for the good pastor and his wife. They started packing up and leaving. And didn’t return.

Which was okay with me, after they first thought ill of me and treated me accordingly. Maybe I should’ve mentioned I did the bins?

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