The following is usually a fail-safe way to ensure you and your beloved will be clawing each other’s eyes out by the end of the day.
1 – We plan the day weeks in advance. The day that Husband would take the morning off work, delight himself into a plastic pot, and make like Nigel Mansell down to the clinic in the next county. Said clinic, by the way, does not provide on-site wankatoria for the convenience of the fertility-challenged gentleman. Said gentleman would just have to leap straight from recumbant business in his own bedroom to the driving seat of the car, and go like the clappers, trousers still about his ankles. Must get precious pot to clinic within one hour or there will be no point.
2 – On the previous evening, H decides to fill in his paperwork. The paperwork requires a hospital number. We wonder what a hospital number is. We wonder if H was ever given one, and if so, where he put it. We panic a little and disembowel the flat looking for anything at all mentioning hospital numbers. I have a hospital number, for when I visit the Time-Warp clinic next week. It does not seem entirely apropos. I make an enormous effort not to say anything at all snide about, say, looking at the paperwork a few days before it all goes deadline, perhaps, maybe. I fail. I bury my head in the Internet and leave H to sift through the detritus that buries our dining-table alone, lest I accidentally sink my teeth into the fleshy part of his upper arm. H concocts plan to sprint round the corner to the GP’s surgery at dawn and beg for hospital numbers. We go to bed.
3 – Next morning, H duly sprints off. I attempt to regain sufficient consciouness to shower. I am beyond hopeless at mornings. By the time H returns, I have made it as far as the living-room, where I am drinking tea and (oh, God forgive me) surfing the ‘Net. There is no hospital number. There is, however, a plain, unmarked, plastic bag to put the paperwork and the pot in.
4 – While I get ready, H is indulging in displacement activity. I understand that he is feeling a little nervous and having a touch of performance anxiety, but, now wait for this, H, who is, may I quickly remind you, a man, is distracting himself by cleaning. The toilets. Both of them. With the brush and everything.
Yes, I know. That’s what I thought, along with ‘Ye Gods, I have married a Martian’.
4 – The plan is, to be completely dressed, shod, groomed, and to have one’s coat and bag and wallet and keys all exactly on hand, so H can, well, can get straight into the car afterwards and drive to the clinic without waiting for me to find my shoes or work out that the main reason I can’t see my glasses lying about anywhere is because I am wearing them. This, I accomplish, so I declare it a dud ingredient; a true professional at this bickering lark would at least have left her wallet behind.
5 – The Act Itself. No problems, despite my dearest one’s extremely strange taste in fore-play. My role is to provide kissing. I’m good at that. H loves kissing. (No no no, on the mouth. Honestly. I told you he was a Martian).
6 – I place Pot of Preciousness in my armpit, to keep it warm. I wonder aloud why I am Keeping the Pot Warm as it’s not, err, my pot, and make facetious remarks about more effective crannies to keep things warm in. Because I am filth on wheels when het up.
7 – We drive all the way into the next county, and I map-read, and I direct us down the wrong road at one point and we make the mad crazy looping through strange housing estates looking for the right road. Also, the Pot is starting to really dig in and get uncomfortable, on account of my arm-pit not being pot-shaped. I try to remember which deodorant I put on. I wonder what on earth the tech will make of being handed a sample that smells of nervous roses.
8 – There is no parking.
9 – We walk 47 miles from the car to the hospital. I keep my mouth extremely tightly shut, and my arm clamped to my side. Pot ouchy.
10 – OK, now handing the thing in at a window marked ‘samples’, to a woman who seems not in the least phased by my putting my hand into the neck of my tee-shirt and having a good ferkle to fetch said sample out, having wandered down some damp corridor in a hospital building that looks like a rendition of the Matterhorn in white cement, is an anti-climax. I refrain from pointing this out to H.
11 – We now go to IKEA. Because a) we have taken leave of our senses and b) we need some more sheets, towels, plates and a coffee table. Not necessarily because of this morning’s activities. We get lost, we buy more things than we meant to buy, we radically disagree on bed-linen aesthetics, and H realises we are running out of time as he has a meeting to go to in the afternoon.
12 – My mother is coming to stay the night and the flat looks like the aftermath of a student party in the back room of an Oxfam shop. As H has a meeting, I have to clean it up myself. Cleaning is my leastest favourite thing in the universe. I refuse to remember that H did at least clean the toilets. I still think it’s weird.
13 – While cleaning, I discover that we have mice. Again.
14 – The hoover breaks.
You would think, wouldn’t you, that here we have a golden recipe for the most foamingly inelegant marital melt-down. And I have spent the entire day expecting it. Nada. Not a cross word. Not so much as a snide remark (well, apart form that one teeny little one from me last night). I am about to go and brush my teeth and join H in bed. Can this tranquillity possibly last? Or will the fact that we will be facing his mother-in-law over the tea-pot at dawn finally blow that one tiny little bridge of temper to splinters?