Posts Tagged ‘in laws’

Girl Friday?

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Hardly. Girl Sunday Afternoon, more like…

I’ve been separated from my husband for a while now and I thought it was going ok. You know, that I was managing and stuff. No one’s died, no one’s disappeared and the house is still standing – I’m doing good. Well, acceptably, at least. I’ve certainly adjusted to having no one to empty the bins or mow the lawn or generally take over where I leave off. It’s been a real learning curve – and crash course in survival sometimes – but so far, so good I was thinking last week. I’d handled most situations alone and competently, so I thought I was pretty safe in attempting some housework. Just sort of tidying and dusting, nothing too in-depth, Level 1 housework. I’d done the school run, removed the socially-acceptable clothes that I wear in the playground and replaced them with grubby, house-cleaning clothes – of the sort that no-one can ever be allowed to see. I cleaned for an hour then went outside to empty the vacuum cleaner. And that’s when it happened; just as I was leaning over the bin, shaking out all the bits of goodness knows what disgustingness, I heard my front door slam shut. And it’s one of those doors that when it’s shut, it’s locked. Of COURSE it is.

I froze and began to take stock of my immediate situation. I was actually LOCKED outside. In what were essentially workhouse clothes, with no shoes, no phone, no keys of any description and my car was locked. My neighbours, who by a horrendous quirk of fate and poor decision-making are also my ex-in-laws (I know, I know, you can’t make it up), are the only people with a spare key and they were out. Or abroad possibly, I had no idea. I felt the horror. I nearly tasted it – there was a pan of pasta boiling away on the gas hob. And the dogs were shut inside too.

My next thought was to panic slightly because I had no way of getting to the girls at pick-up time. No one else in my road was at home; I was truly alone. So I panicked briefly, felt a bit better, then stood back and regarded by options. Oroption, really. There was one (very) small window open downstairs, so I thought – I’ve absolutely got to get through that, I have no choice. I climbed hastily onto a large stone in the flowerbed and contemplated the window ledge gingerly – it was literally covered in spiders, egg sacks and webs and all manner of things that I would usually run a million miles from very quickly, but on this occasion I had to ignore them. Somehow I hauled myself up onto the window ledge, clung on grimly like some kind of spider monkey, and tried to squeeze myself through the tiny window. I got my arms and head through with no problem but round about my rib cage it suddenly went wrong. I pushed and tried, I really tried, but I have a full complement of ribs so in the end I had to give up for fear of becoming wedged in the window, which would have been both embarrassing and counter-productive.

However while I was up there, lying flopped over half in and half out of the window like an old fish, I did notice that my keys were lying on a table just below said window and theoretically I could hook them with a large stick. Bingo! So I wandered around my ex-in-laws front garden for a while looking for a stick, but these people are fearsomely keen and competent gardeners, so of course they wouldn’t leave something like that lying around. But luckily they had some plants growing up and around a trellis like thing, which I ripped out of the ground, and pulled apart, hoping one of the legs would reach the keys. It didn’t. Not by a long shot.

I went round to the neighbour on the other side to see if his garden gate was open with a view to climbing over the fence, but it was firmly locked. So then I thought that my only option was to climb over my bedroom roof (which is a garage conversion) and into my back garden that way. I climbed onto my car and from there onto a bin (by now it’s been about 15 minutes and goodness knows what any passers-by were thinking) but as I stood there on top of my bin in my bare feet, I realised that:

a) the guttering wouldn’t hold my weight

b) the roof itself was a lot steeper than it looked. The cat can manage but that doesn’t necessarily translate to its owner

c) it was possible to do myself serious damage

I got down again, wandered around my ex-in-laws front garden for a while, then stood staring rather hopelessly at the house and wondered what to do. At that moment the smell of burning pasta began to float out of the tiny window, and I realised that pretty much my only choice now was to smash another window to get in so the whole house didn’t burn down. I looked at the large stone and contemplated which window to smash. They are all double glazed so it basically made no difference. But large or small? Front door or the side of the porch? But as I prepared to do it I suddenly thought about my ex-in-law’s fence on the other side to the one between our gardens. That was but a mere barrier – perhaps I could get over that! And then therefore through the shared gate to my back door. I scampered excitedly round to the lane down the side of their house in my bare feet, and thought – yes! I can scale that no problem. I just needed my bin. The only problem was that the bins are kept with my car parked in front of them. Sometimes there’s a gap I can wheel them through but of course on this particular day the car was parked in such a way as to prevent me from getting the bin out at all. So, fired by adrenaline, I lifted the (full) bin clean over my car and wheeled it round to the lane. In my bare feet and workhouse clothes. If anyone was watching by this point they would definitely be thinking oh there she is – the local nutter, but I wouldn’t have cared because once I had clambered onto the bin I was able to get onto the wall, grip it with my toes like some kind of prehensile creature and edge along it until I reached another trellis to crawl down. This was no mean feat but, so close to my goal, I hung onto it grimly and slithered down until I sort of stumbled and fell into their plants, which also happen to be their pride and joy and are the recipients of many hours of tender caring. I squashed a few, but in fairness I couldn’t NOT have squashed them, I had just leapt onto them from a great height. I paused briefly to tweak some petals before jumping out of the flowerbed, running through their garden into mine and through the back door – with no small sense of relief. I rescued the burning pan, collected the bin and sat down, covered in bruises and scrapes, to catch my breath and calm down. Which I did. I drank a cup of tea, made a new lunch and generally sat and congratulated myself on my ingenuity. I could not be thwarted in the face of adversity! Oh no, I really did feel incredibly clever and lucky.

It would have been so easy to panic, burst into tears, beg strangers in the road for help but I had shown fortitude and courage. I had thought out of the box and found a solution. Relief soon gave way to smugness; it was quite a nasty situation to be in and yet I had negotiated it skillfully and successfully. No one would ever have to know. Most especially my ex-in-laws, as the desecration of their front garden was not something that would go down well. Especially after the divorce from their son.

But, guiltily, I knew I would have to give some explanation for vandalising their garden, so I kept checking for the ex-in-law’s car to come back so I could go round and explain what had happened. However an hour or so later it still hadn’t, so I relaxed a bit and went to hang some washing on the line. By some queer twist of fate it was at that exact point that my ex-mother-in-law unlocked their back door and came walking out into their garden.

As I had draped myself through windows, trespassed in their gardens, scaled walls in my bare feet and landed right on top of their plants dressed like a fugitive – she’d been there in the house the whole time. I need only have knocked calmly on their front door.

(There’s a little PS to this story too – firstly the obvious – that housework is clearly far more trouble than it’s worth, and secondly I have not actually confessed any details of this escapade to the ex-in-laws so the first they know of it will be when they read this…)