In the salon I hand over the gift voucher with glee. An hour of frivolous indulgence should never be squandered. I leave with two parts of my scraggy anatomy spruced up to meet American standards of womanliness. I anticipate that the manicure should remain immaculate for the next twenty minutes during the drive home.
As I drive I calculate which mode to adopt on arrival? Guilty of the crime of 'absent without leave,' I shall be soundly punished one way or another. Maybe the sulky, silent treatment? Maybe mountainous meltdowns? It's the price to be paid for such selfish skullduggery at the weekend. Whilst many a parent returns home to be welcomed with open arms, other parents need to be a bit more savvy.
On previous occasions I made the mistake of bringing home treats, due to a combination of gratitude for the time off and a hefty dose of guilt for being so grateful in the first place. For some reason, I had temporarily forgotten that most treats are in fact torture, but I learned from my error. Whilst it's tempting to try for a hug, that too is subject to negotiation. There's nothing like unexpected physical contact to really ruin someone's day. I decide to play it by ear.
As I step through the door my ears are assaulted by a loud combination of someone playing the recorder, another one making rooster noises in protest, a third is buried head down in cushions and an aerated father has an air of exasperation.
“Oh good! You're home! How did you get on?” We ignore our children, exchange glances. I permit him to note my sparkly finger nails.
Whilst it wasn't the adjective I was looking for, it was a good try under the noisy circumstances. The rooster ceases to crow and gasps instead, open mouthed, a picture of awe struck, “you are be touch?”
“You are be touch me wiv your magic fingers!” I swear he’s as sharp eyed as an eagle.
Now there's an offer I can't refuse.