Email From My Brother: six month all clear and a hot hot Christmas

Hi Fay,

Congratulations on six months of being all clear. (Single fist pump, double bull horns with hands while spinning around, high fives, firm handshake).

This week I have been mostly listening to Christmas songs on the radio and thinking "it's not Christmas". This is mainly due to stores having Christmas decorations up here since the 1st of November so Christmas-is-coming has kind of blended into the normal. Then there's the fact that Sam's baby monitor currently says it's 29 degrees C in the bedroom. Seriously it's so wrong having Christmas when it's hot. You've got radio stations playing the sh*t out of every conceivable cover song of "Walking In A Winter Wonderland" and Bing Crosby dreaming of a white sodding Christmas and all these images of snowy Victorian London streets with big fat jolly Santas in them ho-ho-ho-ing at the snow and my subconscious is just saying "it's not Christmas, it's hot, it's still Summer". My subconscious is kind of a killjoy at the moment. I'm thinking of having it drowned in a keg of beer. I'm going to have to set a reminder on my phone for Christmas Eve otherwise I might miss Christmas all together.

Of course I'm joking but actually I'd love to be able to forget about it and really set a reminder on my phone because we've got so many Christmas presents to wrap for the kids that I'm going to be looking forward to Christmas Day like a marathon runner looks forward to the finishing line. I hate wrapping presents. It's miles and miles of crappy tissue thin commercial wrapping paper (ooh, twenty sheets for tuppence, bargain!) and great big industrial sized rolls of sellotape. Nothing says I'm wrapping serious stuff here than a roll of sellotape you can fit your your clenched fist through the hole. You have to find the end of the tape too, get a strip going, cut and then repeat, littering all the backs of chairs, tables and sideboards with as many pre-cut bits that you can possibly do without losing the will to live. You might need them all you might not, but it's really crappy if you get half way through a wrap and run out of pre-cut sellotape. And there's always one strip that says "I'm temporarily stuck to this chair am I? No half measures." and electromagnetically sucks itself onto the furniture leaving you to pick it off with your nail. The varnish always comes off with that strip too.

Then out comes the first present and I'm resentfully chopping the paper with the scissors so that the cut line isn't smooth and straight but jagged and ugly an industrial city skyline. I put the present on the paper and stick the first bit on and roll and stick and turn and complicated end fold and stick and turn and complicated end fold and finish. Hurrah! Now, what did I just wrap and was it for Sam or Eva? Sh*t. Repeat a thousand million billion times.

I'm just a bit worked up at the moment. First world problems I think they call them. You ever go to empty a dishwasher, open the drawer and find a glass has managed to work itself facing up so now it's full to the brim with brown dirty dishwasher water and you've got to empty it, swill it out and make a judgement call on whether to put it back in for the next go or give it a wipe down with the tea towel and put it away? When I find one of those I drop to my knees and shout "Noooooooo!" while raising both fists to the heavens.

Sam has become more and more increasingly willful about getting into his car seat. It's a good job we rarely have to go anywhere in the car. Oh, my mistake, we actually have to make three or four car trips a day. This means getting Sam in his car seat six to eight times in a day and it used to go like this; carry Sam to car, open door, pop him in seat, buckle up, go. Now it goes like this; convince Sam to get near car, lift Sam into car, Sam throw paddy about getting into the car himself, Sam gets into car seat, Sam gets into car seat, Sam gets into car seat (I'm not repeating myself, it just takes ages), Sam in car seat, buckle up and go. But he's taken to pretending to get into his car seat. How is this jolly jape achieved? He climbs up to the seats and then hunkers down in between his and Eva's car seats like a garden gnome. He'll then sit really, really still and narrow his eyes in the hope that I'll be fooled. Unfortunately I can't actually allow this and so we're back to reasoning with a two year old on the merits of car safety versus traffic laws every f*cking trip. It's hot and I just spend half the day sticking my head in the back seat of a car. You'd think he'd get it after the first dozen times. Exhausting.

Anyway, the news says it's the end of the world next week so I shouldn't complain. Maybe I'll put off the wrapping until after the 21st December in case we do all die? I think this is a reasonable way to go. I'll maybe put off emptying the dishwasher until then too.

Take care,
Love Mark xxx

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