I should never leave the room because when I come back, at least one of the following things are guaranteed to have happened:
- Someone will have taken my chair – if not the kids, the cat. If not the cat, four ninja turtles hanging out in a hot pink Barbie Roadster. And if nobody’s taken the chair, the chances are that somebody pissed on it in my absence.
- All the toy boxes will have been upended and the resulting mountain of toys will have been generously sprinkled with milk.
- All shoes and socks will have been removed and thrown around the room and somebody will be unexpectedly – and most inconveniently – naked. Quite possibly my husband.
- Small hands will have magicked scissors out of thin air and will be honing their fine motor skills by cutting up my passport or wedding photos.
- My husband will have picked up one of his guitars and will be strumming with his “guitar face” on, putting an end to all possible conversation for the next hour.
- The previous tableaux of domestic bliss – for example: three children reading books on the couch in the fading afternoon sun – will have disintegrated into an on-for-one-and-all shit-fight (quite literally, if the youngest happens to be unexpectedly naked).
- Somebody will have taken all the DVDs out of their cases and and rubbed them vigorously with sandpaper. It’s the only way I can explain how they all get so scratched.
- My keys will have gone mysteriously missing and I’ll find myself wishing – not for the first time – that I could phone my keys to find out where the hell they are.
- My cousin (“mystery v”) will have convinced my husband to try table-dancing for a living because the hours for table-dancing would suit him better than his current job.
- The cat will have vomited on one of the library books.
- Worst of all: someone will have spilt my drink. This means that, as I face whatever else has happened in my absence, I am unable to take a slug to steady my nerves. And it also means that I will have to leave the room AGAIN.