Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Back to Work

8th November

It is my first day back at work as a medical secretary. It is very relaxed, typing at my own pace without being interrupted by children. The difference between working with children and working with adults is remarkable. My colleagues ask how I am and offer me coffee. My children constantly demand attention and assistance in every aspect of their lives. I make my own coffee and it goes cold while I change a nappy or supervise a toilet visit.

The Doctor dropped Baby Sister with the childminder. In less than an hour the childminder phoned him and asked him to collect her again. The childminder has a migraine and the baby has not stopped crying since being dropped off. As it’s my first day back at work The Doctor had to take the day off from the Multiversity and look after our baby at home.

This morning we heard the water pump cycling even when we were not running the taps. It is a low electrical buzz indicating that water is on the move somewhere. This means that there is a water leak in the boat. This is not uncommon in our boat, considering it’s age. Usually The Doctor can locate the leak as much of the bilge is accessible by removing sections of flooring. It tends to be a case of replacing a jubilee clip that holds a bendy plastic pipe together. Until it can be fixed we simply remove the fuse from the electric circuit that runs the water pump. When we returned home this evening I replaced the fuse and heard a terrible sound coming from the water heater cupboard in the kitchen. It sounds like a pipe is thrashing around like an epileptic python somewhere in there. I took the fuse out again quickly. The Doctor investigates and concludes that the broken pipe is not accessible. It is somewhere behind the hot water tank or the central heating system. The bilges below the floorboards are already full of water. We fill as many saucepans as we can with water for domestic use and then remove the fuse again as quickly as possible. We are now without running water and are going to require a visit from a boat plumbing specialist. The Doctor’s phone beeps: it’s a text from the childminder. She suspects that she will be ill again tomorrow and cannot look after our baby. The Doctor has work commitments that he cannot change. I will probably have to stay at home on my second day back in my job, and apologise to my manager for irresolvable childcare issues. The children are in bed. I sit on the back step in despair, looking at the saucepans of water all around us. The Doctor smiles.

“I know what we’ll do, I’ve got a very good idea,” he says, quoting the dad in ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and reaching into the kitchen cupboard. He opens a bottle of wine and we laugh, just a little bit, about our predicament.

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