“Listening Skills” A Comprehensive Guide To Winding Your Wife Up.

They say you are destined to marry someone like your Dad, well I didn’t. I married someone like my Mum. I am too much like my dad to have married someone like him. Which is odd, because me and my dad get on like a house on fire! I can build an ikea wardrobe with my dad with an understanding of what our jobs are and no problems.

When Mr Starky and I first moved into our home together it took 15 minutes of attempting to assemble a bed. We were still mid argument when i was phoning my mate for the name of her DIY fella. I decided shortly after getting the instructions out that the £100 a day fee was far preferable to spending the next 3-5 years in prison for aggravated assault with an allan key.

Mr Starky thinks like my mum. He’s got fifteen different things going on in his brain and not one of them is concentrating on the information I’m trying to convey.

Which leads to a lot of discussions with “well you never told me that!” “I definetly did!” “No, you never!” I went through a mini passive aggressive phase of writing a post-it with a time and date of when I’d told him something.

But that didn’t work, because if you refer to an earlier blog post, Mr. Starky moves all things which are not his. So my passive aggressive post-its were redundant, because when I came to produce one and it had moved, which of course led to the “what have you done with…?” “i haven’t touched it” issue.

But he does, his mind is often far away, thinking about what records he’s going to break on a dead lift. If we’ve got enough tuna for the next three days. How many eggs does he need between now and half past six to ensure he’s getting 150g of good protein a day.

So when I asked him to deliver a box of shoes to my parents house en route to the gym, I should have anticipated the palaver. My Mum had “accidentally” ordered 2 pairs of new shoes to our address.

We live in their old house, so I didn’t think too much of it until my dad rang and confirmed she wasn’t supposed to be buying anything online “Accidentally, my arse! She’s doing that thing where she thinks if she hides things in the boot of the car for long enough and then wears them I won’t notice they’re new! But I clean her car out! And polish her shoes! I’m not daft!” And I agreed we’d drop the package off at some point in the day.

So I’d explained all this laughingly to Mr Starky, but then I made my mistake. We had a conversation about his work shoes. I should have known that trying to have two conversations about two pairs of shoes wouldn’t work. That’s too many pairs of shoes.

Now the work shoes need a “decontamination steam clean”. In case you didnt know, I made that up.

Mr Starky is obsessed with his feet. They spend a lot of time in trainers but he is meticulous about keeping them clean and dry. But he’s got like a mental clock which counts down to the day each pair becomes “dirty” and therefore needs to be discarded. Something to do with “bugs” and “viruses” which live in his feet, in summation, the mans bonkers.

Trainers get about 2 months. The work shoes, which are Clarks and in pristine condition (I love shining shoes with polish, I pretend I’m a cockney scallywag roaming the streets and blacking boots for tuppence ha’penny.) have been going for about 10 months. They’ve been living on borrowed time since October really.

So he announced he was throwing them out! I can’t stand waste so of course I shrilled “Don’t you bloody dare! My Dad will decontaminate them with the steam cleaner and they’ll be good as new!” Literally, off the top of my head came up with that! And then I whittered on about how it will kill all the (imaginary) bugs and once more his feet will be safe from bacterial invasion! I don’t even know if you can steam leather shoes.

I was just going to get my Dad to stick one of those odour – eater things in them, leave them hidden in the garage for a week and then shine them up and present them as brand spanking new a few days later! He’d never know the difference!

My dad went along with this fib seamlessly at the dinner table which did make me wonder momentarily if I had actually made it up or if it was a real thing! My dad had, at that point drank two beers and a glass of port though, so I probably could have announced my intention to become a Mexican drug lord and he’d have agreed with me, if only to annoy my Mother!

Mr Starky is my mum’s absolute favourite. If he said the sky was orange she would probably agree with him, and when I challenged it would say “well it does have hues of orange! Especially on a summer’s evening!” So you can see what I’m up against!

I told my Mum about the work shoe dilemma and she said “I’ll just buy him a new pair! We’ll go to Clarks on Monday!” Which totally defeats the object. So I tried to explain that he didn’t NEED new shoes, it was all in his mind! And while I was at it, asked her if I had decided at 16 that I had a phobia of micro feet bugs, would I have got new shoes every six months!? To which she replied curtly “you’ve had enough, you’re spoilt, he’s probably never had new shoes”…”Mam, he’s 37 and from Wales, not Victorian London”

But back to My Mums shoes, I had put them, helpfully, in front of the door. You virtually had to fall over them to get out. I’d also put the post for my parents on top of the bright red box. I must have said 4 times “now don’t forget those shoes for my Mum, and the post…what are you not going to forget?…tell me what you won’t forget?” And each time he dutifully replied “the shoes and the post, babe”. Excellent, thinks I! I’m really getting through to him!

And off he went, 5 minutes later, the house phone rings. It’s my dad “Guess what your husband forgot!”….It was the shoes! Mr Starky had taken his work shoes, presented proudly them to my dad, with the post. But had not picked up the giant red box with KG emblazoned all over the front, which was still next to the front door. Moved about 6 inches to the left. So he’d seen it, touched it, acknowledged it’s presence…and still decided “no, this is not what I need to take with me” despite all evidence to the contrary.

Mr Starky phoned about 10 minutes after that full of richeous indignation claiming I had confused him! “It was your fault! Making me misunderstand!”

Quite how I made him misunderstand I’m not sure, but I’m just really keeping my fingers crossed that our children have my aptitude for memory and recall! Otherwise I’m going to have to microchip them in the manner you do puppies to make sure I always know where they are. I wouldnt bother microchipping him, he’s only ever in one of three places (work, gym or bed) but even with that limited geography, he’s a nightmare to get hold of. You’d think with the invention of mobile phones it would be easier to make sure we communicate effectively, but then what would I chuckle about hours later?

Plus Mr Starky doesn’t really like technology. He sort of views it in the same manner as psychics and witchcraft. It’s not to be trusted. So even if he answered his phone and didn’t just leave it in the car for days at a time, by the time he’d got to the end of the phone call I can confidently assume he’d have forgotten what it was I called to say.

As I type he’s complaining about the hoover and how much dust he’s just emptied out of the filter! “Babe, it’s a hoover, that’s LITERALLY it’s job, it’s only purpose is to collect dust”…”well, I know that! I’m just telling you though!”

He didn’t need to hoover, I’ve already done it once today, he watched me do it. But he’s bored, so it’s easier to just let him find a job and get on with it thinking he’s being helpful. Sometimes I make a mess specifically so he can complain about it and clean it up. Who says romance is dead?


Dangerous Liasons with My Clumsy Husband.

Mr Starky is a big lad. He’s about 5,10 or so but is 17 stone. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m 5,2 and about 9 stone (on a good day) so he’s approximately twice my weight. In addition to this, he’s a body builder. So he’s muscley as balls! Which is fine, except for when he forgets.

He’s a gentle soul, very affectionate and sensitive. Which, given that I’ve seen people cross over the road when they see him coming, doesn’t really make sense. But he is as wide in the shoulders as he is loving and kind. And I’m grateful.

I’m less tactile, other than when I’m in New Look when apparently “you need to touch EVERYTHING! Why do you need to touch everything Starky?!” (Because, for reasons, dear husband!)

However, Mr Starky forgets he is not a dainty morsel of a person, he’s a three course meal with coffee and cheese plate after. He does not know his own strength, and I’ve fallen foul of this a few times.

Once, he came in for a kiss, swooped at an angle, and headbutted me full in the face. He went to work mortified while I waved him off with my eyes watering and a hanky shoved up my nose to stem the flow of dripping claret. I rang my Mum and she had to put the phone down on me she was laughing so much!

He’s winded me more than once with nightime boxing. Being the flaily bugger that he is, he turned over and with the force of a hulk fist, aimed a perfect body shot into my lovely soft mid section. It’s no joke being winded in your sleep, I woke up thinking I’d been assassinated by a nocturnal ninja!

Another night he must have been having funny dreams because he was mumbling away and being all twitchy. By this point in our relationship, i knew it was better to gently extracate myself from bed to avoid a sleepy pasting.

So, i went and got a cup of tea and a biscuit. By the time I returned, brew and wagon wheel in hand (the jammy ones, I don’t mess about when it comes to biscuits, me) he seemed to have settled a bit, so rather than being cold and sitting downstairs, I thought I’d get back into bed and read for a bit with my tea, lazy Sunday morning style (except it was about 5 am on a Tuesday).

I vampired myself into the duvet with barely a sound, he didn’t move. Picked up my book, nestled in and Bang, out shot Thor’s hammer, straight into my thigh…. Dead leg. Now when you’re nine and your cousin gives you a dead leg, you go and tell your Grandma. I had nobody to limp off to and grass him up!

He shut my fingers in the car door once when he knocked it slightly and it slammed shut. I’m not an over dramatic person (absolute lies) but I thought my hand had been severed! I howled the mating song of a banshee. A cat came and sat on the garden wall and looked at me funny (we were parked on our drive). I ended up with one slightly pink finger! So I didn’t even have anything to show for it! Which was even more distressing!

He’s given me a fat lip when he was hoovering the stairs with earphones in and I tapped him and made him jump. That one wasn’t so bad, but only because it was so funny! If you’ve never seen a grown man sashaying his hips and singing along to The Bangles, I can recommend it. I lean back limbo style and poke him with the end of a clothes hanger now to avoid a repeat. (He nearly fell down the stairs, just desserts? I think so!)

I could go on (I usually do!) But my point is, he’s got the spacial awareness of a bumble bee! He’s so careful so much of the time, that when he’s not, he’s horrified! He tries his best, but accidental injuries happen, and I’ll probably sustain many more over the years.

I suggested we do ballroom dancing thinking he’d tell me to kiss his arse, but he surprisingly seemed quite into the idea. As he sees it “I was a boxer, I’m good at dancing, I’m very light on my feet!” Whether he’s actually light on his feet will remain to be seen but I’m pretty sure he won’t be light on mine! (I can just see him in a sparkly shirt and shiny shoes though! The man thinks he’s Patrick Swayze.)

My Husband & His Fung Shui.

My husband has issues. Well he must have, he married me! (Badum tchhh!) But honestly, he can be an absolute nightmare. I mean, I love him so completely and he is truly wonderful. But he messes. He calls it “potching” and what that means is, if he begins to potch, and you’re not following him round like you would an inquisitive two year old, you will never see your belongings again.

You may as well say goodbye, print off a eulogy and throw a flower on an imaginary grave while lamenting “but my hair bobbles were so young! They didn’t deserve this!”

I am absolutely sure that he doesn’t mean to do it! But there is a black hole in our home, a vacuum of time of time and space which once opened, has never closed. We’ve moved house twice and each time it’s followed us. It only appeared when I met him. Weird, eh?

A mystery, you say? A mystery indeed! How can things; property, articles, important letters, when placed deliberately and specifically in a particular area then disappear completely? Witchcraft? Sorcery? Magic?

I’ll answer you, openly and honestly; Mr Starky is a knob.

He has an uncontrollable urge to move things which absolutely and unequivocally don’t concern him, and more importantly, do not need to be moved. Because he’s not actually moving them with a purpose. They’re not being put in a “proper place” which I could understand.

“Oh this television remote control which I’ve found on the stairs should be in the front room, where the television lives” That kind of thought process I get. But when it’s “here is a phone charger, it appears to be plugged in and in use, it’s not for my phone, but this goes in a box, at the back of the wardrobe, my wardrobe, where I keep my socks which my wife has lovingly laundered and paired up”

And the clincher here is, he then can’t for the life of him remember WHERE he’s
put it. The other tactic he uses appears to be to deny all knowledge. “Babe, I’ve never touched it, I promise you I haven’t seen it, I don’t know where it is but it definitely wasn’t me”

And apparently my logic of “you are the ONLY other person who lives here! Unless the dog has developed thumbs and can fly, it HAD to be you!” is flawed. Because it wasn’t him.

I’ve come to the conclusion that he does it absentmindedly, it’s not a conscious thing. So when he says he can’t remember, or doesn’t know, he’s telling the truth. He really doesn’t know, because he wasn’t paying attention.

He is, at this moment, faffing about in the kitchen. He’s doing the washing up. Then he’ll rearrange the kitchen cupboards as he puts it away. The pans won’t be put in the pan cupboard, of course not, they’ll be squirreled away behind the coffee machine which gets used twice a year when my Grandma and Auntie Pat come for tea and cake.

It will be placed like some kind of crockery buckaroo. Any move could mean a cast iron grill pan lid becomes dislodged and gently rolls to freedom, and before you know it, has landed on your foot (three bruised metatarsals later!) Causing you to howl and screech expletives while you hop round like a demented flamingo, flapping and doing the kind of ugly crying which you never see in films.

Because my version of organised doesn’t tally with his. Despite the fact that I do ALL of the cooking. He doesn’t even need to be in the kitchen, I’d prefer it if he didn’t go in there.  It took me 45 minutes to locate the cheese grater the other day and I’ve still not found the sieve. He’s huffing and puffing “this baking tray doesn’t go here, it goes with the teapots”

There’s no rhyme or reason to it, and to be honest,  I’ve given up. There’s no point in arguing about it, ill just wait until he goes to the gym and move it all back. It gets on my nerves and occasionally winds me up to the point of an actual heated discussion  (The Great Photo Album Hunt of ’14) but for the most part, I’m learning to let go.

But also partly because I’ve been hiding his stone wash dungarees for three years. He thinks hes misplaced them. But I don’t love him enough to step out of the door with a man who looks like the love child of Brian Harvey circa 1993 and The Wurzels.

And so it begins…

When faced with a blank page in Microsoft Word, the world went a bit weird momentarily. The horror of the realisation that I’ve probably not done an “essay” for the best part of ten years since I royally tanked a Social Sciences degree. My ‘E’ key sticks a bit (that’ll be the tea I spilled on the laptop 5 years ago then) and I’m having to get used to typing on an actual keyboard again (which doesn’t autocorrect your spellings) and means you have to stretch your fingers.

One thing is abundantly clear, I’m going to have to cut my nails. They keep pressing the key above the key I’m supposed to be pressing and I’m seeing a lot of the little red squiggle of doom (not AF, the incorrect spelling one. Second only to the green squiggle of doom which means ‘your grammar is shit Starky, did you forget that full stops existed?’)

Hang on, I’m really going to have to trim my talons. I don’t know where the nail clippers are though. Mr Starky will have helpfully tidied them away to the most unlikely place ever, they’re probably in the dog basket.

I decided to do some actual writing before spending the next 16 hours deciding how my blog is going to look. That also takes me back, to a time before Facebook when there was only MySpace. And I’d spend days perfecting the theme. Changing the title song, faffing with tickers and putting my name in a glittery font. Changing the order of my ‘Top friend’ on a rotation so nobody felt left out. I looked at the blank blog page and I was 17 again! But don’t worry, I’m not half as maudlin as I was then and you wont be greeted by Avril Lavigne wailing plaintively every time you visit. (I have got her on you tube right now though, for nostalgia and posterity!)

I feel like a hipster, having a blog. In my mind I need a pair of thick black rimmed Joe 90 glasses and a jaunty beret. It wouln’t match my current outfit of pink Ugg boots, polar bear jammy bottoms and a Hogwarts hoody (Go Hufflepuff!) but i’d feel infinitely cooler. I definitely need a “Blogging hat” I’ve got one which is essentially Grover from Sesame Street, that’ll have to do.

Where do I start?! Probably with some stats! So, I’m Starky, Im 29 and me and my wonderful husband decided to start trying for baby last November or so. Its been a minefield of Ovulation predictor kits, charting cervical mucus and being confused as balls!

I’m genuinely gobsmacked at how hard it is to make a person! All those stories you’re indoctrinated with as a 15 year old “IF YOU BRUSH UP NEAR A WILLY YOU WILL IMMEDIATELY GET PREGNANT AND HAVE TWINS AND YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!” Now, I fully agree with discouraging school kids against it, but when you get down to the nitty gritty, it’s a shock to discover that actually, its really bloody difficult! it’s a surprise to me that the human race even exists!

So its been a journey so far, and I’ve been fortunate enough to find a wonderful bunch of equally hysterical, slightly psychotic and utterly lovely women who are on the road with me. (Via the internet of course, its really tricky to talk about in real life!) It was them who encouraged me to start a blog. So this is for you guys, the Hugh and Doreen massive. We’re like a gang, but less street crime and backwards hats and more wine, biscuits and basal temping.

On a side note, I did start a gang once, but it was just me and my mate. We had a handshake and everything but she kept forgetting it and it was only me who took it seriously. Thug Life. Peace Out.

(The nail clippers were on top of the washing machine, nestled between a measuring jug and the iron. The obvious place to keep them i think you’ll all agree.)