Family: Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

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The silent treatment brings a quick fix

Another microwave dies, this one jiggered by a household determined to close the door with a slamming-shut-the-gates-of-hell velocity.

If I had a tenner for every time someone says “Mum, the microwave’s broken” I’d buy a new one. And then I’d buy Giorgio Locatelli.

“Who?” says Youngest Child.

“Giorgio Locatelli, a chef, lovely hair, lovely hands – I interviewed him once and...” I say.

“Nobody cares,” she says.

“He was caressing truffles and…”

“The microwave’s broken,” they repeat. Followed by a silence. The “you’ll be going to the shop to buy a new one, heave it back, plug it in and then drive to the dump with the old one to dispose of it” is all silent.

So I wait them out, silently, seeing if someone else cracks first and replaces the microwave. Sure enough, it’s the BoyF who can’t cope. “Of course I learnt to cook in Italy you know,” he says, “that’s where I really mastered spaghetti carbonara,” as he shoves a ready meal in the new sparkly microwave he’s had to hunter/gather from the supermarket. I guess we’ll have to wait to enjoy that home-made spaghetti carbonara. Maybe when this new microwave dies. Or I can afford to buy Giorgio Locatelli.

Next day it starts again.

“The washing machine’s broken.”

“Oh,” I say, moving away.

“But what am I going to do? I need to do some washing,” says one of them.

“Yes, we all do.”

“No, you don’t understand. I need to do some washing,” he repeats.

“Yes, we all do,” I say.

“No, I actually NEED some of these things.”

“OK, you’re being selfish.” He’s starting to rattle my knitting.

“No, I am thinking about everyone else too,” he says. “Of course they need their washing as well. But I actually need my washing done. Now. It’s really important!”

This is my cue to go and sit in the bathroom for a bit. Let’s see who cracks first. Me, I can sit here all day vaping. But what’s that? Someone’s tapping on the door.

“Hello. Did you know the dishwasher’s not working either?”