Claire took the kids to the Gold Coast for a few days so I could finish writing my new novel. While they were away, I experimented with alternative lifestyles, including nudism and sleeping around.
Since I started working from home, I've found it difficult to get dressed. What's the point of putting on a shirt and pants when you only have to take them off again, like, 16 hours later?
When there's nobody in the house, I've developed a disturbing - even to me - habit of walking around naked. I would've thought this image was of limited interest to the outside world, but last week I was asked to pose naked for a women's magazine. I told them I "had something on"* that day, but the truth is I probably didn't.
Of course, Claire left me with a list of things to do while she was away, including cleaning the barbecue. The bathroom is downstairs in our house, and you have to walk through it to get from the backyard to the kitchen, which is upstairs. Rather than carry the heavy barbecue plates all the way to the kitchen sink, I thought I'd save even more exertion by soaking them in the bath.
Here's a handy household hint: although you might conserve a minute amount of strength by not climbing a dozen stairs, it's nothing compared to the enormous effort involved in cleaning a bath that has previously contained filthy barbecue plates.
Independently, I decided to wash all my running shoes in the washing machine. I was going to leave them out in the sun to dry, but opted to put them in the dryer instead. The last time I did this, all the little air pockets in the heels of my Nikes exploded, but that was because the dryer was too hot. Our new dryer has a temperature control**, so I set it to medium and left a pair of shoes to spin.
Obviously, there is some new set of safety standards aimed at people who try to tumble-dry pets and children, as it is no longer possible to do this with shoes. As soon as they make hard contact with the inside of the dryer door, it springs open. The shoes, in effect, kick their way out. Try this at home***. It's quite spooky to come back and see your runners looking smug and self-satisfied because they've finally learnt to get along without feet.
Another sweat-saving attempt that failed was washing my white T-shirts with my beach towel. Although the toweliness rubs off on the T-shirts, the whiteness does not transfer to the towel.
I also initiated a new policy of enlightened
co-existence with the arachnid world. When
a spider the size of my hand appeared in the kitchen, I didn't have to run off in search of a container the size of my head in which to trap him. I just let him stand there by the fridge, not bothering me, living his spidery life undisturbed. I communed with nature in hairy-legged harmony until, after three days, I got sick of looking at him and threw him out the window.
My time alone was a journey of discovery. Among my more surprising findings were:
(1) mangoes have great big stones in the middle; (2) the bathroom switch that doesn't trigger a light isn't broken - it activates a fan; and (3) I have no idea how to turn on the TV.
Ever since my mum came to stay, there has been a bed in my office. I slept there one night because it was closer to the office than my own bed, and I'd thereby cut about 19 seconds off my 20-second commute.
I think I can safely say this was my only successful labour-limitation strategy of the entire period.
* Actually, I didn't. I only thought of that response about an hour later.
** The old one probably did, too, to be honest.
*** When your partner is away, and with shoes rather than pets or children.