Thursday, 16 July 2009

Slattern hostessery

Prog Rock's sister has a patented system for classifying house guests, and how much effort one must devote to them. I don't know all the details, but I know that the very bottom come 'male relatives' (further subdivided into 'older' and 'younger', the latter being the lowest of the low, obviously). I've been to her house and very strange it is too. I imagine male relatives are left to scrape their dinner from the caked remains in the bread machine and forced to sleep in a pile of her husband's old libretti with a malign tom cat sitting on their head trying to suffocate them.

I can't apply this hierarchy in all circumstances - imagine OCD BiL? Or even the Bearded One who Has Allergies and is used to a very high thread count and a morning wake up call with hot water and lemon and a précis of the morning papers in bullet point form. But poor Prog Rock himself is definitely getting the 'male relative' treatment tonight.

He knows the drill. He is getting the sheets that are already on the spare bed. Casting my mind back, I am fairly sure that only I, or persons higher up the hierarchy, have used them. The house is pretty awful too. There is a dust epidemic, closely related to the cleaner being on holiday. She only comes once a week, but apparently the DUST knows she is away and is taking advantage of her absence to gather in unexpected places and foment dusty rebellion. I think it's planning to climb on the bed and up my gigantic nostrils while I sleep and suffocate me. It's not all catastrophic: I am managing to keep the children more or less clothed and keeping the moth population in the low millions, and most of the actual humans are clean. Lashes even made a particular point of scrubbing my toenails with a large bar of Savon de Marseille and what I later realised was my toothbrush this evening. But the dust is alarming and I fear the hoover. Hoovers can smell fear, you know. Like Linda in The Pursuit of Love, I am sure it will bolt with me if I take it out for a pipe-opener. Could I perhaps tie a feather duster to the weepette and get Fingers to chase him round the house threatening him with the garden hose?

(I would like to say that I am NOT a Roumanov princess and have no problem whatsoever unblocking toilets or cleaning up dogshit or even doing battle with the dreaded moth larvae; beyond those of natural sloth. I just really REALLY hate the hoover. In our old flat we had a Roomba, and would place a handful of jelly babies on its flat top, and spend happy hours watching the spawn - then much slower and wobblier - try and catch it)

Also, I have NO clean underwear left and these age 7-8 pants with dinosaurs on the front are seriously uncomfortable. Not to mention embarassing on a trip to the gynecologist. I mean, how can you convey the breezy message "oh, these? They are ironic STATEMENT PANTS" when she is snapping on her rubber gloves and gathering up her instruments? You can't.

I digress. I meant to say, mainly, poor Prog Rock has arrived, spent half an hour cleaning up the garden, and gone to fetch the takeaway pizzas. The children have looked up from their dog tormenting activities for just long enough to bark, clearly but ungrammatically "where our present is?"

He has of course brought presents:

- Frank Zappa and some hideous jazz CDs for the CFO. I have had a trying day and when he put one of these CDs on, I thought I would break down and cry. Thankfully he spotted my grey green free jazz torture face and turned it off.

- "Science putty" for Fingers, a black pungent substance which appears to be derived from crude oil. He is keeping it under his pillow.

- Some indescribable but apparently highly desirable piece of plastic for Lashes

- Two Bridgewater mugs for me and a ridiculously entertaining piece of Lakeland nonsense - a skewer that turns bright red when your cake is cooked. We were planning to test it on the pizza, but even that proved too much like domestic hard work.

He has promised to update his Library Corner, and is, as I type, sitting outside smoking and chatting to the CFO about a Freudian account of melancholy. The CFO is talking about something completely different, I think, but they appear to be communicating on some essential level. Really, if the way he is welcomed were representative of the pleasure having him here gives me, I should be fêting his arrival with peeled grapes and goose down and chilled Krug. But the fact I don't need to is sort of the point.


estelle said...

Great post but who are these people? Do you have a jargon decoder somewhere on your lovely brilliant blog?

Waffle said...

Hi Estelle - Yes! Dramatis Personae on the right hand side.

emily said...

How wonderful, it is always nice to have visitors but even nicer when you dont have to panic about the house and be on your best behaviour.

I have a "three times" rule in my house - if you have been a guest more than three times, you can get your own brews etc if you want one and not worry about asking for things...makes everything nice and relaxed when your best mate jumps up and offers you a brew in your own house!

westendmum said...

I have a rule, never live anywhere large enough for people to come and stay.
Visitors like that are wonderful.

Grit said...

but this attitude is so right. every time aunty dee comes to visit, it all becomes a little bit worse. once i put fresh flowers in her room. now i am nearly bothered to sweep away the mouse droppings from the foot of her bed.

it is not that i do not care, it is just that no matter how bad we treat her, she keeps coming back.

i am grateful, truly. and next time i will try and show it, and actually cook the potatoes for dinner instead of putting them on her plate, raw.

justme said...

Relax! enjoy. It all sounds lovely. Did you get a present too?

redfox said...

Every time you write about Prog Rock, he sounds better and better. I wish I had one!

L. said...

Oh! The Dramatis Personae. I missed that until now but it is quite helpful. Am a new reader and it took me several posts to understand that the Weepette was not your child, Tigerbaps was not your cat, that Lashes and Fingers were not animals either, and that the Holy Tortoise was not a blogger.

I also didn't get why the weepette was called the weepette until I googled "weepette" just now. I thought perhaps it was very pathetic.

(But all this is entirely my own fault, mind you, as I just had a second baby and get no sleep these days)

Anonymous said...

my evil mother once ran her finger along a bookshelf, a l Hyacinth Bucket, to point out the dust levels. Since then her visits have been preceded with frantic cleaning, throughout which I mutter curses and phrases like 'I'm an adult, why do I caaaaaaaaare about this???' Wetherby doesn't have dust anyway.....

screamish said...

how funny free jazz has the same effect on you. there are some moments when it really drives me insane- free jazz at the best of times isnt easy- but its almost physical. I had an friend/ex who claimed it made him feel physically sick. Wish i'd played it more often now, actually

as usual progRock sounds lovely

The Spicers said...

Prog rock sounds wonderful, as usual. I love a guest I don't have to clean for. Enjoy your visit!

GingerB said...

That is love, what you feel for Prog. Rock. And peace, which not all of us get from parental figures.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't paying attention properly - until now, I thought Prog Rock was your brother...

blog reading FAIL

on the plus side, I have exciting taxi driver news...

I am now an Anonymous because I need to be invisible.

Am v.excited about the Waffle fete and will be concocting my anonymous entry in due course. There is a Voodoo section, right?

Juci said...

Free jazz = masturbation. Why anybody wants to listen to someone else doing that beats the shit out of me.
Apart from that, Prog Rock does sound adorable. And I want a Roomba now. Is it any good? Why did you get rid of it?

Mwa said...

I have the same feeling about free jazz. Most of my family love it. They do not thing my favourite joke is very funny.

- What do you get when you throw a blues band down the stairs?
- Jazz.

Hysterical, no?

reen said...

Yes, the best kind of visitor. So nice that you and ProgRock are so comfortable with each other (and that he brings presents!). Enjoy!

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