I vaguely recall a TV advert some years ago featuring curly-wurly haired Alan Thingy off QI. It was for a bank I think. And his catchphrase was “because life’s complicated enough.”
A few months back we made some big changes to our routines that on the face of it made life less complicated. Wife-features popped her workaholic career on the shelf for a moment to savour being a mum and as a consequence Toddler didn’t need to go into childcare four days a week and I didn’t have to spend about 90 minutes each day behind the wheel of a family hatchback listening to The Gruffalo over and over.
However, I’ve noticed an usual spin off from our streamlined, sunnier set up. Complicated requests designed to outwit blokes.
For example, Wife-features was keen to cook a particular dish for TWMBO and it required “wholemeal plain flour“. As I was heading to the shops to pick up a few things I offered to collect the vital ingredient.
I’ve blogged before about my near-meltdowns in supermarkets when presented with endless choices. But surely the flour section of a wee Co-op will be a doddle? Think again. So many varieties with different brand names and packaging. Eventually I plumped for something that had the words “wholemeal” and “flour”. Big mistake.
I turned out WF already had a packet of what I’d bought and it was wholemeal BREAD flour. You know. For making bread. Rather than whatever it was she was trying to make. Not bread anyway.
A few days later heading back from the heaving Metropolis after a late night movie and Coca Cola I called in to the 24 hour money and soul sucking Tesco - leaving my ethics at the door and making a note to scrub myself with Swarfega when I got home - to do battle with the baking products.
An ever bigger selection! Flaming Nora. Again I plumped for something I was confident would hit the spot. But it was midnight and the blazing strip lighting did make my shopping experience feel a bit like a police interrogation.
Upon presenting the bundle to the missus a torrent of laughter and finger wagging was unleashed. Yet again I’d bought BREAD - flippin’ BREAD - flour. It said so a total of seven times on different parts of the packet. And there was even a picture of a sodding great loaf on the front looking utterly bready.
The other example of a minefield I trod in relates to wallpaper. Not complicated stuff usually but I swear what was once easy peasy is now like some nightmare version of The Crystal Maze. There’s no way I’m ever getting to the big dome at the end to catch all the fluttery bits of silver paper. I’m trapped in the B&Q Zone.
You see, Wife-features is a stationery fetishist and has passed this love of crafty things to our Toddler. During a flash of inspiration she suggested I nip in to a DIY store and ask for some swatches of wallpaper. These freebies could be used underneath paper and crayon to create patterned drawings. Highly logical.
I managed to find literally five minutes to swing past B&Q, couldn’t find a gullible-looking member of staff to blag scraps of paper from but did notice a clearance bin full of rolls of textured wallpaper. A large roll for a fiver? That’ll do nicely!
I got it home but alas it was the craft equivalent of fecking wholemeal bread flour. Except, when I unwrapped it, TWMBO sat for ages rolling it back and forth and stretching out on it like a towel on a beach. It’s proved to be a fiver well spent, if you ask me.
Oh, and the three tonnes of unnecessary wholemeal bread flour stacked to the ceiling in our kitchen? It’s toast. A lot of toast.