It's all quiet in the house and my only day off this week is looming large with piles of housework and even though I vowed this would not happen, it is exactly how I will be spending the day after all. All around me I just see the wanton destruction that a decade's worth of family life has done to this place. This house is a large-scale reflection of what is happening to my face and body. No amazing family holiday for us in some wonderfully exotic location this summer, I need to work just to be able to repair or replace all the broken stuff.
Our jug leaks and the automatic off switch is broken so if it hasn't already lost its contents all over the bench, it threatens to boil dry anyway and all the curtains in the bedrooms are just hanging by a thread from being left down permanently because the pull cords are broken. We've killed another broom and there's something stuck up the vacuum cleaner pipe that can't be coaxed out in either direction. My guess is that it is two years' worth of loom bands. Our entry, I'll admit, has never been a particularly welcoming space, but it's looking like squatters took up residence in there. The front door is swollen from months of wet weather and we have to kick the door sometimes just to open or shut it, which is always good for a bit of dramatic effect when someone knocks at the door. For the third time someone pulled too heavily on our poor coat rack, and three weeks later, it's still on the floor, in the same spot that it was when it fell out of the wall, just with a few more coats and bags dumped on it because it's still the coat rack. I will fix it, three weeks is more than enough of a clue that no-one else is going to do it.
Strangers can tell that children live here because there's a waterlogged soccer ball rotting in the overgrown garden. Somewhere in the corner there's a neglected pet bunny. Children also live here because there's a purple shoe in the lounge that I just tripped over to reach the half-eaten packet of Chit Chats I left out from binge-watching Breaking Bad the night before. I'm finishing off those biscuits as I write this. It's my coffee. A family lives here because there's a pile of washing to sort but never any clean, matching socks to wear and discarded rolls of toilet paper on the bathroom floor even after many patient attempts to convert the last person to finish a roll to put it in the bin. A family lives here because there are photos on the wall of a young couple filled with hopes and dreams for their future. If the grubby walls and marked furniture aren't proof enough of realizing those dreams, there are also some photos of babies growing up right before our eyes and if I stop and reflect on those images, none of the mess, the broken bits and parts that just frustrate me even matter. He tangata he tangata he tangata. A tidy house can wait. Except for the coat rack. I am going to fix it now.