For the Spring break we are at home, with time, lashings of it. 72 days on a “purely liquid” diet, and counting. I whiz up a quick protein shake for myself after a loudish verbal warning to those who object strongly to the sound of all electrical domestic appliances. On completion my daughter requests a banana milkshake. What luck! I avoid adding the spotty bananas to the compost heap. I invite her to join me, a quick lesson. Everyone is in a good humor as we are without a timetable. [translation = schedule] With the routine temporarily shelved, everything is peaceful, apart from the whirring of the liquidizer. [translation = blender] I am careful to instruct her upon the importance of always putting the lid on prior to turning the power on. We giggle at the prospect of a banana spattered kitchen, how bananas quickly oxidize to resemble black slime. What a hoot! I do a quick head count to see who is watching and who might be listening, but we are alone. The boys clean their teeth, or rather eat toothpaste in the bathroom, because the best time to do what you want, is when your mum is otherwise engaged.
By lunchtime, I am peckish. I prepare an adequate [preferred] repast for the smalls and then turn my attention to the nauseating protein shake. Once the ingredients are ready, I plug it in. It is only then, that I notice that I have mislaid the lid. I check all obvious locations. Nothing. My stomach growls rather than gurgles. Perhaps I could put cling film over the top, [translation = Saran wrap] with a tiny hole to allow for air expulsion? A plate? The palm of my hand isn't big enough. I pause as a naked child jack knife's from his chair, as a crumb has touched his skin. The other two cover their ears for protection, an instinctive reflect during every meal. He is in full meltdown for a couple of minutes. We are all grateful that it is only a couple.
I re-dress him and advise upon the many benefits of clothing – think of it as armour! Mollified, but not convinced, he complies and returns to his chair for a second attempt, hunkered down if not entrenched.
By mid afternoon, I am more than a little peckish. I sneak away to the kitchen for the protein drink, contemplating when I might find the time to clean the braces. The milk is now less than attractive, room temperature. [translation = warm in California] I decide to have it anyway, as punishment for being so lax. I check the dishwasher for the lid, and the sink, and the cupboard. Where have I put it? A crash from next door sends me scurrying, even though it is not accompanied by death shrieks. Three lizards have 'escaped' from their aquarium. Three children attempt capture and containment of same, with less than adequate equipment, namely, their hands. The day progresses.
By the time it comes to tuck them all in to bed, I am sorely tempted just to climb in with them. It hasn't been that busy a day, quite a pleasant one all told. I can't imagine why I am quite so exhausted? I go downstairs to start clean up and see the liquidizer harbouring it's nutrients. I debate. Nearly 12 hours in mid 70's heat. If I eat it now, will I die of food poisoning or merely have an upset stomach? I am miffed. I should have just mixed it up with a hand whisk or shaken it in a jam jar. I am an idiot. Where on earth did I put the lid? I run a quick inventory around the house as my brain is accustomed to registering things that are in the wrong place – the toilet brush upended in the bathroom to tempt spiders, the plunger upended in the bath to provide a soft landing for the spider, the towels heaped in the centre of the bed to provide a nest for the spider. No. I cannot recall having seen the top to the blender at any time during the course of the day.
I tip it down the sink and finish off. Upstairs again, I deflate into my own bed, wondering when spouse might reappear after another long day's work. I wonder if he took the lid of the blender to work? By accident? I wonder if by the time dawn breaks I will be a skeleton?
I slumber, restless until he returns. I drift in and out of sleep, with a rumbling tummy.
In the peaceful black of the night we lie together, wordless. I sigh. He’s home. A gurgle that would do justice to the sinking of the Titanic erupts from my stomach. “Blimey! What have you been eating?” he accuses.
He props himself up on one elbow and rakes his hair with his fingers. I explain the finer dÃ©nouements of the day.
“You didn't take it with you by any chance?”
“Of course not! But wait a minute! I seem to remember……..”
He leaps out of bed. I am hot on his heels as he takes the stairs two at a time. He unlocks the front door and nips out barefoot onto the gravel. I hobble behind. He picks up a pink piece of paper in a plastic sleeve with a pebble, a freebie advertisement. It reads ‘Weight Watchers – special introductory price.’
I hope the that “neighbours” aren’t on watch?
“There you go!” he exclaims, “not exactly disguised but enough to blend in!” Clearly our own “visual acuity” needs recalibration.
We retire to the kitchen, where he rinses it for me and assembles ingredients, as if I have returned to 'invalid' status.
“He's such a little monkey,” he beams. “He must have had to unlock the door and everything…….”
Our eyes meet. Did we both fail to notice that Houdini did a runner? [translation = escaped without our knowledge] What if he hadn't come back?
“Of course he came back! He'd made his environment safe, sound proofed as it were!” he gestures open handed. [translation = “auditory sensitivity”]
I have a premonition of my future life spent in an unending search for domestic appliances in the garden.