This was it. I was going to have the time of my life. Worst time that is. Mum had got a new job. Don’t get me wrong but now she left home at seven every morning and came back at nine every night.
And she left me to take care of everyone. Yes, that included Dad. In fact I had even drawn a list of things to teach him and that pesky brother of mine.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Teach Dad how to cook
- Teach Dad how to hoover
- Keep the pest (Dick) in place
- Make the pest do his homework everyday
- Remind Dad that I have music classes everyday (save Sundays)
- Wake everyone up at six
- Put everyone to sleep at ten
- Send the pest to bath everyday
- Remind Dad that he had to leave for work
And so the list went on. That just shows some of the things that Mum did in her everyday life. Now she had a job! And now I had to do all the work!
So I needed to teach Dad how to cook for the sake of keeping us alive. So I started with the simplest. Frying an egg.
‘Alright Dad, crack the egg using the edge of the pan.’
Dad tried. And the egg ended up on the stove. I sighed. A lovely mess to wipe up.
‘Oh, I’ll crack the next egg.’ I said.
So I cracked the next egg into the pan and asked Dad to hand me the salt. He handed me the bottle and I sprinkled some over the egg.
‘See if you can flip it now.’
I handed dad the fork and he flipped the egg. Unfortunately for me, it landed on the floor. I sighed again and began to mop up the two messes saying, ‘You’ll learn soon.’
And he did learn soon to my astonishment and disbelief. He couldn’t cook omelettes but he could cook rice and curry and vegetable. A few days later, I came home from school and found that he had cooked us English cabbage for lunch.
I shoved a forkful into my mouth with anticipation and began to chew it. Immediately I made a face and spat it out.
‘Nice isn’t it?’ asked Dad who had apparently not noticed that I had spat the cabbage out.
‘Nice? It’s terri…’
‘…fic I know. All because I didn’t add salt.’
‘You forgot to add salt?!’
‘I didn’t forget! I purposely didn’t add salt. You should know by now that I never add salt into any of my dishes.’
‘And may I know why?’ I demanded.
‘Because you are having too much salt in other food.’
‘How can we be “having too much salt in other food” when all we eat is your food and you don’t add any salt to it?’ I cried nearly ripping my hair out of my head.
‘Hmmm. Now that’s something to reflect on.’
I rolled my eyes and sprinkled salt over the rest of my cabbage. The next thing I had to do was send the pest to do his homework. Piece of cake, you must be thinking. All I had to do was get my lovely, angelic brother to go sit down and do his homework. But hold it.
First thing: my brother is not angelic. He’s a pest as you have probably gathered. And this is how I normally get him to do his homework.
Step one: Snatch his phone away on which he was playing video games.
Step two: Drag him to his room which has only a desk and his books on, enduring a painful shin-kicking all the while.
Step three: Shove him into the room and lock the door behind him.
Step four: Sit outside the door and wait for him to get bored and start his work.
Step five: Listen to the symphony of groans as he tried to do his work.
Step six: Go to the window below his room when he says he’s done and ask for proof. This means he lowers to book down to me (Either by rope or I get a bruised nose).
Step seven: I let him out and brace myself for a fight (but he usually just goes back to his phone)
So that’s not an easy job. Teaching Dad to hoover had to be simple though. I showed him how to switch it on and off. Once, quite by mistake, he lifted to mouth of the hoover and it sucked in my hair. I tugged my head back and yelled as I felt a sharp pain and heard a ripping sound.
Then I realized that dad had hoover-vacced a tuft of my hair in. I ran to my room and seethed there. Well, on the bright side, Dad now knew how to hoover the place.
Next task was to send Dick to bath everyday without fail. If I hadn’t then he would happily miss bath every day. I just had to repeat the same procedure as I did with Operation Homework.
When he was said he was done, I opened the door a chink and yelled for proof. He called back saying, ‘Let me put on my pyjamas you Dickens!’
The cheek of it! So I thundered back, ‘There’s a reason your name is Dick you know?’
After that there was silence. Soon he flung the door open and steam enveloped me. He showed me his steaming, wet hair. ‘Proof.’ He said. I nodded and went for my bath.
Reminding Dad that I had music class every day was a bit of a nuisance. I reminded him every morning and by afternoon he would forget. This resulted in a late and apologetic me hurrying to music class and a furious teacher yelling at me.
Getting them to bed by ten was next to impossible for me. Mum came home at nine and went to sleep immediately, extremely tired from the day she had had. Dad always had a movie to watch and Dick, as usual, was always on his phone.
So I just left them to do what they wanted. Next morning, at seven, they would clomp down the stairs with the grace of an elephant, disturbing the neighbours. They ate breakfast and Dad dropped us to school. Late, again.
Just before dad sped off, I would remind him not to go home but to work. Honestly, it was some job having a forgetful dad and a pesky brother. These days, I was so tired from running around looking after them, that I could hardly concentrate on my studies.
I often fell asleep in class and wake up to find I had got a detention. Then groaning, I would hold my hands in my head and try to pay attention in class. That day, after three detentions, I went home to a great surprise.
Yes, Dad had cooked lettuce with salt, but the real surprise was that…yes I know Dick wasn’t on his phone. Mum was home! And it was the afternoon. Well evening but still!
‘Mum you’re home!’ I cried flinging my arms around her. ‘How come?’
‘I found the job a bit too relaxing. I like this hectic life better.’
‘Whew,’ I said. ‘Thank goodness…’