Friday 20 July 2007

L'homme qui a l'esprit ouverte* ( pas!)

*I think that means 'The man with the open mind' but I guess it's a bit late to be practising my French because...

...we're off to Paris tomorrow! (With some very good friends of ours.)

Bert's first act of multi-cultural open-mindedness came when he announced that he was taking with him a curry from our (admittedly excellent) local takeaway 'The Agra' for his first night's meal. "What about the rest of us?" I asked, perhaps a little plaintively. "What about you?" was the predictable response.

Then he phoned our friends and made them (reluctantly) promise to take some Australian wine with them. "I'm not drinking that French crap," he announced with some disdain. We will no doubt remind him of that once the Australian is exhausted and we're all tucking into a particularly fine claret. Needless to say, Bert does not 'parlez la langue' so he won't understand when we tell him "Tu es vraiment dans la merde".

This is our typical last-minute scenario (and it's looking promising so far):
  • "You haven't packed yet". You can say this to Bert at any point up to, say, 45 minutes or an hour before we set off, and you will be telling the truth.
  • Bert invariably has a large number of (non-holiday) tasks to complete before we set off.
  • Bert will be highly stressed for the last couple of hours before we leave.
  • Just as we are all ready, Bert will go and do a lengthy dump (by 'dump' I mean 'have a shit', but actually he has been known to go to the municipal tip before we can load the car up).
  • Approximately 15 minutes after setting off Bert will suddenly and magically mellow.
  • Sadly, by this time the rest of us are irretrievably wound up.
C'est la vie!

Thursday 19 July 2007

Taking the biscuit

Bert has many annoying habits - well, he is a man after all. I feel a need to share these (spreading the pain, remember). Of course, I am a perfect zone of annoying-habit-freeness myself. Apart from keeping this blog.

Biscuits. Bert can't just take a biscuit. He takes half a biscuit (as exact a break as he can manage). Sometimes he takes half of the remaining half, so that I find a neat quarter of biscuit in the pack. Not only is this annoying in and of itself, but my own sense of neatness makes me eat the half or quarter as well as the whole biscuit or two I went for in the first place. Or something like that.

Towels. When Bert's had a shower and washed his hair, he likes to carry a towel around to continue drying his hair. It doesn't matter how many times I politely mention the scrumpled wet towels lying around the bedroom, living room, kitchen, hallway etc., it simply has no effect. Of course they all smell musty by the time I find them so they have to be rewashed. And whatever was underneath them (bank letters, school reports, nice new silk cushion, you know the sort of thing) is now crinkled and damp too.

Drawers (as in chest of, not knickers). Why is he incapable of closing any drawer whatsoever? (But speaking of 'knicker' drawers, he likes to leave his flies open too. See Things My Boyfriend Says for a great explanation for this behaviour.)

Using every bit of horizontal surface as his paperwork office. Not letting me move said paperwork because otherwise he will forget to do things. Liking to put a strange object in the middle of the hall, because it is so strange he will notice it and then remember why he put it there (to remind him of some completely unrelated task).

Constantly losing things (especially keys), and then accusing others of moving/stealing/hiding them.

Incidentally, that last one reminds me of one of the most unpleasant rows we ever had. A few years ago when the girls were little, Bert was looking for his shoes to go to work. Over a few minutes he worked himself up into an absolute frenzy. Effing and blinding, despite the fact that I was helping him by looking everywhere. I was getting more and more wound up by his ungrateful attitude and when he eventually accused the girls of having put them somewhere I blew up. "Just f*ck off out of the house will you and don't bother coming back!" or similar. He did (f*ck off), and later in the day I got a sheepish email (and, I seem to remember, flowers). He'd left his stupid shoes at work.

Oh God, that's all I can bear for now.

Friday 13 July 2007

A Bad Day in Bertville

Well, this conversation could have gone better.

Bert went out last night - I wasn't invited as it was an all-male 'business' dinner. Hmm. Hmmmm.

I was up the garden pottering (we have a very long garden) and Bert yells to me at top volume so the whole neighbourhood can hear, "I can't find my smart trousers anywhere and I'm going to miss the food!" Anyone who knows Bert understands that he really cares about food.

Rather than treat the neighbours to "F*ck off" delivered at the same volume, I stomp down and into the house. Now, explain to me why I then find myself ironing said trousers and sticky-rolling the cat hairs off? Realising my own feebleness did nothing to improve my mood.

I stomped back downstairs and said, "There's your trousers you cheeky f*ck, and is there anything else you'd like the little woman to do before you go out for your man-meal?"

Oh dear. Talk about light the touch paper and retire.

My counsellor is helping me get in touch with my anger. It may be working.

Tuesday 10 July 2007

Mysterious wood

We were round at our friends' house, sitting around a little fire in the garden and having a nice chat about inconsequential stuff.

Bert looked thoughtful. "What is wood?" he asked.

We thought he was being unusually philosophical, but of course he just wanted to know its molecular make-up (answers on a postcard...).

Thursday 5 July 2007

Anything you can do...

G has now set off for Austria, to become A Man of Iron. I hope he will be OK - he has had to leave the 'G team' (osteos etc.) in the UK.

We sent him some messages of support.
Me (text):

Just wanted to wish you luck and say what u r doing is amazing
we will be thinking of you and willing u to get round xx

Bert (email):
Good luck but BTW I beat you to it.

Concrete floor, dug, bagged and carried; 8 hours
Inventory+paper work; 3 hours;
8 mile run; no split

Sub 12 hours to beat!
I accused Bert of being jealous, which he vehemently denied. "I just wish I could have turned up and beaten him, that's all." Oh, ok.

Sunday 1 July 2007

It's all me, me, me

Funny conversation we had today.

You'll need to pay attention.

I have a problem remembering my own mobile phone number, so I keep an entry for 'me' in my contacts. Last time I got a new phone, I transferred the sim card from my old phone and then gave that phone to Bert. Some quirk of how it stores numbers means that he has a mix of his own numbers and my old ones.

Today I lent my phone to Katie.

OK? Follow all that?

On the way to town I'm checking Bert's phone and notice he has 2 'me' entries. I change one of them to [my name] and then we arrive and so I don't bother to check if the other 'me' is me or him.

In Topshop Bert's phone rings and cuts off before he can answer. He consults his phone.

Bert: "How can I miss a call from myself?" [nearby people lol]
Me: "From yourself? Oh! Does it say me?"
Bert: "It says call from me."
Me: "Oh. That means me."
Bert: "How can it mean you?"
Me: "You had me as 'me' on your phone, but I changed it to [my name]. There's another 'me', but I don't know if that's you or me."
Bert: "So me is you?"
Me: "One of the me's was me but I changed it to [my name]. But there was another 'me'. Did you have a 'me' that is you?"
Bert: "A me that's you? What do you mean?"
Me: "There were two 'me' entries on your phone - one was me, but I don't know who the other 'me' was. I changed the first 'me' so it must have been the other 'me' who rang - it has to be me or you - was there a 'me' that is you?"
Bert: "I don't know. I don't think so."
Me: "So the other 'me' must have been me too, but I don't know why the phone used that 'me' rather than [my name]"
Bert: "So did you just call?"
Me: "No, it must have been Katie. She's got my phone, so she's me."

We're so happy living in la-la land.