78. Eleven weeks.

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The more astute among you may have noticed that this post was supposed to go out yesterday. It didn’t. Yesterday was a momentous day in the 23thorns household. Mrs 23thorns has returned from her two-week trip to New Zealand, or The Land of the Long White Sheep, to those who live there.

Few people know that sheep in New Zealand are mechanically stretched in order to increase wool production.

Few people know that sheep in New Zealand are mechanically stretched in order to increase wool production.

It was great to have her back. But it did mean that yesterday was a little on the busy side. Mrs 23thorns, you see, has some rather antiquated ideas about housekeeping. And it’s best to just go along with them, no matter how silly they seem. Mrs 23thorns was pulled over by customs officials in New Zealand, and hassled about her eyeliner. The next day, they had an earthquake that measured 6.5 on the Richter scale. Coincidence?

And so yesterday morning was spent frantically opening curtains and windows (Mrs 23thorns harbours quaint, Florence-Nightingale-like notions about “light” and “fresh air”. Although, in her defence, this did give all the fruit flies a chance to disperse), making beds for the first time in two weeks (Like many women, Mrs 23thorns simply cannot get her head around the fact that the making of beds was rendered redundant by the invention of the duvet), cleaning off the ring around the bath (she refuses to accept my theory that the ring is made of dried soap, and is actually an aid to good hygiene), picking up dirty clothes (I had laid them all out carefully on the floor to protect our precious children’s delicate little feet from the cold, hard floorboards, but would Mrs 23thorns care about that? No, she would not. She would simply shove all those soft, gentle child-foot-protectors into a basket, to sit there worthlessly while the little angels suffered.) and throwing away all of our stale fruit (I read somewhere that it is good parenting always to have fresh fruit in the house, but I don’t get it. I am constantly having to shout at the little buggers to stop them from eating it, and then it goes stale and the fruit flies move in.) And that, good people, is the longest sentence you will read all day.

Sadly I had to keep the kids locked outside for most of the two weeks in order to stop them from dirtying my child-foot-protectors.

Sadly I had to keep the kids locked outside for most of the two weeks in order to stop them from dirtying my child-foot-protectors.

Then it was off to the airport, where I spent a happy couple of hours finding creative ways to answer the relentlessly repeated question “When is Mom going to come through the door?” I was just starting to get into the swing of things when Mom spoiled it all by coming through the door.

After that, I felt it would be polite to chat to Mrs 23thorns about her trip. As one does.

And so, your update is a day late. But here it is. I am, you will be thrilled to hear for the eleventh time, writing 100 posts in 100 days. Or rather, about 100 posts in roughly 100 days. Last week was heavy going. I filled the gap that Mrs 23thorns had temporarily left in our lives by pretending to be a manual labourer. I laid tiles. I did complicated things with cement. I made furniture. I rearranged furniture.

I carried concrete around on my head while wearing a formal shirt.

I carried concrete around on my head while wearing a formal shirt.

All of this labour reminded me that I am now middle aged. But it was not my body that let me down in the end. I missed a post on Friday. Because my brain is apparently middle aged too. But I did get some stuff out. I wrote about some fools who should have known better than to make rape-jokes on the internet. I wrote about the redoubtable Marula tree. I wrote about fame and children. And the weirdly James Bond-like assassination attempt on one of South Africa’s most innocent men. And then the wheels came off. I missed a day because of the internet. Then I posted about food. And then I missed a day because I’m scared of Mrs 23thorns. And here we are.

There are fruit flies in my underwear drawer, 23thorns. Why are there fruit flies in my underwear drawer, 23thorns?

There are fruit flies in my underwear drawer, 23thorns. Why are there fruit flies in my underwear drawer, 23thorns?

Things should settle down a little now. Just twenty or so days to go. No more school holidays, no more trips to the bush, no more overseas jaunts. I look forward to writing without distractions. Here’s today’s vote.

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38 thoughts on “78. Eleven weeks.

  1. mariekeates says:

    I have a feeling our house is a little like that when I’m due back from a trip!

  2. I have to say I was a bit disappointed that I could choose only one in the poll! What could possible be wrong with cutting the mouldy bits off the side of cheddar – or scaping it off jam even 😉 I’m always reusing plates…I call it saving water!

  3. narf77 says:

    WELCOME BACK MRS 23THORNS!!! We missed you :). Your dulcet tones flow through into Mr 23Thorns posts and though he won’t tell you, he missed you like CRAZY! He might bandy about fruit flies and child foot protectors like they are going out of business but underneath it all, he is your eternal slave and now he can begin writing posts of substance all over again. We all missed you :).

    • 23thorns says:

      Not quite yet. Mrs 23thorns has jet-lag and is being a little peculiar. I don’t think she’s dangerous or anything, but I have been sleeping in the car with the doors locked, just in case.

      • narf77 says:

        Good idea sir…that way when she gets over her jetlag and realises that you tried to pawn off the kids onto a wandering troupe of Gypsy performers she isn’t going to be too pissed…well she won’t be able to break the safety glass on the drivers side window in her weakened, jetlagged state…might be best to let her cool down for a bit till you mention everything else…

    • Thanks! It’s good to be back. Or at least it will be just as soon as I can sleep for more than 3 hours at a stretch.

      • narf77 says:

        Please don’t kill Mr 23Thorns for trying to pawn off the kids to a wandering troupe of performing Gypsy’s while you were gone. We have grown somewhat fond of his interesting antics in the past (almost) 100 posts and despite the fact that our fondness is akin to that of people taking on a capuchin monkey (with, sadly, similar results) as a pet, his antics have kept us amused, and him off the street so for that, we thank you :). The world owes you Mrs 23Thorns…it REALLY owes you :). Can’t wait to read about your adventures in a future post after you finish picking up all of those underpants, stray animals (that moved in while you were away thanks to the food scraps left amongst the clothing) and other people’s children that obviously would have taken up residence. When dad’s get left alone, kids take up the baton and using the phrase “mum said we could” can get them a VERY long way. Hopefully most of the new children can be either shuffled back to their rightful owners or rehoused suitably and Mr 23Thorns won’t be forced to build himself a doghouse out of used pallets to habit for “a season”…

  4. Jocelyn Hers says:

    When Mrs23thorns returned, could she see the tops of flat surfaces in the house? If so, you score top marks for neatness and discipline. Papers and books are very important and need to be found easily. Dirt can be removed at any time.

    • 23thorns says:

      We haven’t seen the tops of flat surfaces in our house for years. the moment one is exposed, the children use it to store strange, misshapen and often slightly moist curiosities they have found lying around outside.

      • sisteranan says:

        yes, i keep telling the kids to leave some of the outdoors outside for the birds to play with, too.

  5. Well you’ve done better than my husband. My 3 week holiday saw me return to a house with the washing undone (aside from the bare minimum he needed for clean clothes), a bed still wearing its same linen and let’s not go near the towels. 😉 Fortunately, after 24 hours on a plane whilst 15 weeks pregnant and with a 10.5 month old in arms I was too exhausted for a week to care. He scored another week in which to get the house clean.

    • 23thorns says:

      I am indeed much better than your husband. I changed the linen! Although this might have had something to do with the fact that the smallest 23thorns had been eating Fruit Loops in the bed while my back was turned. Without milk. Or a bowl.
      I tried to tough it out, but it turns out that Fruit Loops are made out of thistles, so after two nights of torture, I had to cave in.

  6. Kevin says:

    Your towel logic sounds fine to me. However, i would have to insert that you are merely drying your wet body off with a towel. The towel is never dirty just wet. I mean, really you just stepped out of a shower with water, so why would the towel ever get dirty, just wet, right?? So you can use that towel forever as long as you hung it up to dry.

    And I applaud your efforts to protect your children’s feet but just throw those clothes in the hamper. I know you’ve worn the same clothes for two weeks while she was gone. 🙂

  7. albertine says:

    Do kids in SA really call their mothers Mom – or are you just pandering to the international (=US) market? Also, are you really getting close to your 60,000 hits target? or is wordpress somehow misleading me for reasons of their own?

    • 23thorns says:

      Yep. We culture stitched together from a hundred others. Mom, mum, ma, mother, mommy, mummy.
      The 60 000 I’m approaching is an all-time thing. I was aiming for 60 000 in the 100 days. It looks like I’ll come in at about 30 000

  8. albertine says:

    Thank you for calling me astute. I was indeed aware that the posts were coming in later and later each day – mostly I was noticing the fluctuations in your energy levels with a little anxiety. How’s that for the great community of the internet? As if I don’t have enough children of my own to mother, but I pick on a perfectly competent stranger to feel sympathy for. Glad your good lady is back – maybe she will take some of the strain off me.
    Now I will dash back to read your blog: this personal competition to write one of the early comments is getting ridiculous.

  9. lylekrahn says:

    Your justifications for alternative house keeping sound rock solid to me!

  10. sisteranan says:

    Here… you can cheer up Mrs. 23Thorns with this…

    have fun!

  11. Martina Wald says:

    Reading your posts has become my daily laugh-out-loud Workout. My belly muscles got stronger every day. You will not stop writing after day 100, do you? You are my fitness guru.

  12. I imagine you are not alone in your housekeeping activities the day before the arrival home of your wife after a holiday! I speak from evidence gathered here over the years… 😉

  13. LyndaD says:

    ROFLMAO So So Funny both 23Thorns and Lyn. Do all husbands think this way because im just about to leave for a week away myself. CCTV linked to iphone perhaps? That would screw with his head. He still cant work out how i know he had McD for lunch. DOH! Its call online bank statements and im an accountant so you know im going to be looking everyday. He never thinks to use cash. LOL I let him know i know just to keep him on his toes and guessing. He really doesnt work it out! Its like telling your kids you have eye’s in the back of your head. So much fun.

  14. The bathtub ring is a marvelous collection of family DNA to be collected in case of disappearance.

  15. Lyn says:

    I don’t understand how you can throw away perfectly good cheese because it has mould on it Mrs23Thorns and then pay big bucks (sorry, Rs) for mouldy cheese. Just cut the mould off the perfectly good cheese and eat the mouldy bits yourself, and leave the unmouldy bits for Mr23Thorns and the little Thorns. Think of all the money you’ll save. Money that Mr23Thorns could use to buy more pallets and make more coffee tables. Coffee tables I might add, that don’t care if you put coffee mugs on them and leave a ring. Even better, Mr23Thorns could buy different sized hole drill bits http://www.toolcobber.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Bi-Metal-Hole-Saw.jpg and make holes in the coffee table to hold the cups and hey presto! No more coffee mug stains. The bits come in different sizes, so you could also have holes for holding pens and pencils, cans of fly spray or even a torch 😀

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