“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?


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