Holidays are great. No work, no nursery run, and no trying to figure out how the hell you can rustle something edible up for the kid's dinner when fridge holds nothing except one egg, a squeezy bottle of fake lemon juice and, inexplicably, three bottles of vintage champagne.
Whatever the joys, being on holiday does have a downside - namely, the shock of having to spend 24 hours per day with your significant other. I mean, think about it. Most of the time you jostle along quite happily, a few kind words over dinner, a two hour slump in front of the telly and then blissful sleep for a few hours until the kids wake you up with some nonsense about nightmares or needing a wee. It's easy, right? Not too stenuous on the membranes, nice and cozy and all right's with the world.
And then you're on holiday and suddenly you have to start coming up with entertaining chit-chat over breakfast, lunch, sunbathing AND dinner. Your partner also starts looking at you as a woman rather than as a fellow fighter in the family co-operative - which means making an effort with make-up and stuff, and sucking your stomach in to make you look less of an old hag in comparison with the perky-breasted teenagers wandering about the beach in not much more than a g-string and a pearly-white smile. After all, your husband might be a pain in the ass but not so much so that you want your last sight of him to be racing along the beach with his tongue hanging out after some bronzed hottie with a butt like two billiard balls.
No wonder I'm so bloody tired.
The first week of our holiday was great, mainly due to the fact that Alpha Male was so knackered he barely moved from the couch. I was at liberty to trot out of the house without much more than a grunt of protest and the flop of a weary arm. This week it's a different story. Having slept for an average of 12 hours per day for the past seven days, Alpha Male is now a changed man - in fact, he has so much energy he's like the Duracell bunny on speed. No longer can I do whatever I want without having to explain my reasons for and why and how and where and when - in tedious detail. Now, Alpha Male has to come along, he has to drive, and he has to provide a running commentary at all times. Even Firstborn and the Small(er) One have now wised up to the fact that the combination of Daddy and Anything To Do With A Shop is a Bad Idea.
Take yesterday. Alpha Male insists on coming along to the local shopping centre. Then he insists on coming into every shop with me, his nagging a constant background drone:
Naturally it's a different story when we walk past the sporting goods store. Alpha Male dives in, trailing us behind him. After fifteen minutes of Alpha Male practicing his golf swing with a succession of clubs that look exactly the same, most boasting a price tag that would fund a very nice pair of shoes from a designer store rather than the slightly low-rent discount bazaars I tend to habituate, the kids start rolling their eyes and kicking each other. I find myself standing behind him, saying:
I read somewhere that the secret to a successful marriage is having a lot in common. As this holiday has shown, Alpha Male and I are (possibly) spiritual twins.
Viva la vacation!