Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Shouting at Windmills

I say things to Mr Spanner, but they don't seem to register. I repeat myself and, if he's feeling communicative, he repeats them back to me. Sometimes he makes a positive noise; "Oh, right!" "Yes!" "OK, darling". Sometimes, he even convinces me that he has understood. Sometimes he just grunts one of the stock positive replies and I know he hasn't taken in a word I've said. The trouble with Swiss cheese brains, is that one day they grasp something, and the next day it's gone. I think he compensates for it by pretending to follow everything, and hoping he'll make sense of it later.

Sometimes, he simply doesn't respond, when I talk to him. He's in his own little world. I have a fridge magnet that says "I'm on my own planet, but don't worry, they know me here!"

I find it incredibly frustrating to try to communicate with the un-communicable. It's like effing the ineffable, or maybe like trying to nail jelly to the wall.

Last week, I found myself yelling about apple sauce. Why? Surely life is too short? There was a problem with the usage of sauce and I felt the need to explain something I'd explained half a dozen times before. This time I ended up doing it at high volume.

What is the maximum number of times required, to explain the same thing over and over again before blowing? How many times? I want to know. At what point am I justified in screaming about apple sauce? Or any of the other myriad frustrations that I wouldn't have if Mr Spanner wasn't, you know, Swiss cheese?

Why can't I have infinite patience and far lower blood pressure?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Take Me Dancing

Last week there was a fundraiser disco for the town twinning association, a cause we like to support. They've developed links with some hamlet in France, which can only be a good thing. Anyway, it sounded like a evening the kids would enjoy, so we signed up. It was in the village hall, which echoes like a cave.

The first hour was deathly boring. The low-volume music was drowned out by the chatter, thus providing background noise, but not entertainment. I couldn't hear Mr Spanner talking to me clearly through the din, and the kids went and played in the park over the road - even the teenagers.

Eventually, we got a sausage-in-a-bun each and a can of fizzy pop, the tables were pushed back and the disco started for real. The teenagers were slightly embarrassed about dancing in front of all these grown-ups, but they soon found a group their own age to hang against the wall with. The younger three took the opportunity to fling themselves wildly through each others' legs and knee-slide across the dance floor, followed by jumping energetically in a vaguely rhythmic manner.

To paraphrase Four Weddings: When I first saw Mr Spanner on the dance floor, I feared lives would be lost. He dances with a a disregard for those that venture too close. It's like watching Pinocchio on amphetamines. However he was dancing, and given how hard it is to get him to join in with things, this was a real plus. We stayed on the dance floor all evening and it was fun.

I guess we need to go dancing more often.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Wish Upon a Star

I stood outside last night, at midnight, gazing up at the Milky Way, leaning back in the arms of my lover. It really was a moment to treasure. I felt protected and loved. Occasionally a Perseids' meteor streaked overhead, leaving a bright trail across the night.

Physical touch is not something that happens very often or very spontaneously. It tends to be, like everything else in my life, a case of me telling, and Mr Spanner doing what I ask. Last night was special just because I didn't have to tell him to hold me.

I wish for more moments like this.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


Do you ever have those days when you just wish you could give instructions and have people follow them? It's simple, chaps, just do what I say, when I say it, and don't argue back.

Yeah, right.

Honey, the car needs some oil in it! Can you sort it out? Oh boy. Never send Mr Spanner off to do a job without written instructions. He tootled off and did the deed, as requested, and I thought no more about it.

So, I'm driving down to the supermarket, when suddenly I can smell burning oil. A dark smoke was seeping out from under the bonnet in a worrying sort of way. I pulled over rapidly and popped the hood.

In the depths of the engine, stinking and black, was the place where the oil goes in (Sorry, I don't know the technical terms!). Balanced, red hot, next to it, was the lid to it. The lid, plus a fair proportion of the engine, had a thin coating of oil, which had been shaken out all over the place during the journey.

I screwed the lid back into place and carried on my chores, surrounded by the smell of burning oil.
Naturally, when I mentioned the lack of lid, and loss of oil to Mr Spanner, he went to 'fix' the problem.

He replaced the lost oil by pouring in as much oil as would fit. The engine, now seriously over filled, belched out black smoke so thick that cars following thought it was about to explode. Up one hill, the cars behind had to stop and back off, as the evil-fume-spewing car completely obscured visibility. It was an embarrassment for the best part of a week.

Well, we laugh about it now...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I got home after my exercise class this evening to discover a trail of Cheerios running from the kitchen. The little round nuggets of breakfast cereal seemed to have been placed in an orderly fashion, every foot or so down the hall and into the living room. I wondered if Hansel and Gretel had left a trail whilst trying to find a way out of the forest that is my home. I guess I'll never know. Nobody owned up to it, anyway.

Mr Spanner, kindness incarnate, presented me with cooked food. I'd left the ingredients for risotto in the fridge and he'd used the ones he felt comfortable with i.e. one vegetable, rice and cheese. If he doesn't know exactly what to do with a vegetable, then it will sit in the fridge until it walks out on its own. Consequently the courgettes and leeks are still in the fridge and the risotto was a little unexciting.

I went to get cutlery, only to find that dinner had been served over top of the open cutlery drawer. My knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons, potato masher, bread knife, vegetable peeler, cling-film, sandwich-bags and numerous other bits and bobs are now coated with a thin sprinkling of cheesy rice.

Mr Spanner does not predict events well. He doesn't anticipate the twenty minutes work involved in cleaning out the whole drawer, for the sake of just shutting it. No, this isn't the first time, and no, it won't be the last and yes, I have told him to do food on the other work surface and no, he doesn't remember to do it.

Sigh. Maybe if I just pick out the stickier bits of rice, I can get away without cleaning out the entire thing?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Kitchen Chaos

Bad Mommy. I tried to make lunch, I really did. But the chaos monster got me. Mr Spanner, bless him, is not organised. He would do anything for anyone, but not in an organised way. I retreat from chaos. I can't cope with it, so when I opened the kitchen cupboard to retrieve a saucepan and fifteen potatoes, three pan-lids and a colander fell out, I shut the cupboard door and left the kids to make their own lunch. Bad Mommy.

Mr Spanner had put the saucepans away, in his own inimitable style. He doesn't stack things neatly. No, he balances them on top of one another, irrespective of whether they fit inside each other or not. Invariably, the teetering tower of doom falls over and escapes with a crash when the cupboard door is opened.

Years ago, before all my cleaners left me, I had a lady that did (well, she did a bit, but not much). She saw me open a cupboard and dodge the falling tin of baked beans that threatened to break my nose on descent. I tried to explain to her that Mr Spanner can't tessellate or fit things together so they don't fall out.

She said "If he was my husband, I'd tell him"

Ah, telling him! I wish I'd thought of that! Do you really think I haven't?

posted by: Anna Spanner