Friday night was my night to have the girls around.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of this whole divorce thing one of the hardest things is getting used to not being with the girls every day; after 11 and13 years of being with them more or less every day of their lives suddenly I've become a "weekend Dad". And, whenever it gets to me a bit, I know that it must be so much harder for them to deal with than it is for me. They're kids, I'm not.
We had a nice Friday evening, with my culinary skills tested to the limit yet again. I made a chicken curry for them and a separate one for me, with chilli and far more spicy. I've still not got the hang of this cooking and having it all ready at the same time thing, no that's way beyond me, dishes at Rhythmic Towers are ready when they're ready, not a moment before and not a moment after.
I have been told many times recently that there aren't enough vegetables in my diet. It's true and, as Java would say, I'm definitely a bit of a salad dodger. So I thought it would be good to try and knock up an attempt at a vegetable dish for all of us. I'd been to Tesco earlier that day and bought a couple of microwave ready vegetable things, with peas, brocolli and butter all ready to be flung into the microwave.
But, as a purist I'd decided to try to cook the stuff properly and make some kind of concoction. I fried up my usual mixture of spices with a lot less chilli than usual, then I added the veg and some chopped up tomatoes for a bit of moisture and extra flavour.
Dinner was served. It was at this point that I found out that neither of the girls like tomatoes, they proceeded to pick out the tomatoes from the veg dish and I was left with more tomato than a chap who is addicted to tomatoes at the Pizza Hut all you can eat salad thing, when they've run out of everything except tomatoes.
The 11 year old is more or less addicted to rice as well, she can eat plain rice, albeit it with tons of butter, as if it's going out of fashion, which of course it is. After we finished they watched Children in Need and I cleared up, it was all very nice and domesticated until they raided the chocolate cupboard.
I put them to bed, there's a pleasant feeling that I'm sure all parents get when we watch our kids sleep. Whatever the trials and tribulations in their life, whatever moods and tantrums, strops and arguments we have to deal with when they're up, once they're asleep they all look like little angels don't they? As if butter wouldn't melt in their mouth and they're not even remotely capable of being sarcastic, moody and argumentative.
After a hard week of work and early mornings I'd been looking forward to a lie in on Saturday but volleyball club saw that one put to bed, unlike me, who had to drop the 13 year old at her school for aforementioned volleyball. We had a few words about a jumper, as they reach the age at which they want to "borrow" clothes from me and I fight the requests with fake anger, all the while being secretly pleased that I'm trendy enough to have my clothes considered fit to be seen on a teenager. The conversation went something like this:
"Dad can I borrow one of your jumpers?"
I returned with one.
"Urggh, not that, have you got a plain black one?"
I return with one of my favoured plain black ones.
"You can borrow this but I want it back and you're not wearing it for too long as you'll get boob marks on it."
"Urrghh, urrghh, urrghh, how can you talk about things like that?" she said, as obviously it's not allowed for a Dad to mention these things.
"Because that's what happens when girls wear men's jumpers". I know how to deal with this stuff.
She trotted off to try it on, returning a few minutes later wearing my almost favourite black jumper that fitted her perfectly.
"It's ok, but is it cashmere?" she asked, with no shame or embarassment whatsoever.
"What?" came my response. There was aggression in my tone and my nose was screwed up at this point, as you can probably tell.
"Have you got one in cashmere?"
I lied and replied in the negative, hoping she wouldn't go and look in my wardrobe.
She was feeling considerate and opted to "make do" with a non cashmere item and I, with bewilderment and pride, found myself feeling grateful for her kindness and consideration. When a child can go off and play volleyball in a jumper that isn't made from cashmere it's an indicator that you've brought them up with a good sense of values, that they're grounded and know about the important things in life.
After volleyball we ventured in the direction of Kingston to buy some baseball boots as I had promised them I would. 13 year old dithered and ended up deciding to wait until another time, 11 year old approached the idea with the enthusiasm she would eat a large bowl of rice with, before I knew what was going on we were in a trendy shoe shop with all sorts of size 4s (ladies') scattered everywhere. She chose a black pair of "Lo" ones, genuine All Stars with laces along the side rather than down the middle. T, you might be interested in these.
Then we went back home, to do more stuff before I dropped them back to their mother. We hung for a bit, ate some lunch and then I delivered them back to their home.
But, when I was talking to academic Bro later I told him about the baseball boots, or shoes. I said
"We bought 11 year old some Converses"
He laughed, in that cruel mocking way that academics so often do. Come to think of it, it was in that way that little brothers often do too. He told me that the plural of the word "Converse" is "Converse" not "Converses".
Latin lesson were used as examples "I converse, he converses" and whatever. I'm not sure.
So just what is the plural for Converse?