Thoughts, maybe

With my wife in hospital getting a complete knee replacement, I have been running the household.

It’s like putting a plasterer in charge of a steam locomotive.

It’s also brought to light an oft used, but probably very misunderstood phrase, ‘taken for granted’.

A lot of people think they are, and it’s probably true.  So many of them do the little things that need to be done without mentioning it, and, when they are not around, don’t get done.


Because us people who apparently ‘take them for granted’ don’t realize the half of what they do.

True.  We don’t.  We know a lot of stuff happens, but not why.

My epiphany came a long time ago, after the kids left home.  I took over the cooking, learned to iron, still can’t stack a dishwasher, but I can empty it, and so on.

But still there was a lot more that I failed to realize happened like:

Feeding the cat, replacing his litter, filling and emptying the dishwasher (sorry, I wasn’t allowed to have a mad hatter’s tea party and just move around the table till there were no empty spaces left), doing the washing, hanging out the washing, bring it in, drying, ironing, sweeping floors, cleaning kitchen bench tops and sinks, cooking (and how quickly you can run out of easy recipes, or think of what to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), it never ends.

I heard a friend of mine whose wife stays home rather than work, tell his friends he couldn’t understand what it was his wife does during the day.  They have teenage, but still at school, children.  He asked her what she did with her day because just once she hadn’t cooked dinner.  He’s still wearing the bump where she threw a rather heavy saucepan at him.

If I had a gun I’d shoot the fool.  Perhaps not a few years ago, but now I can appreciate everything that is done, and apparently it’s not by magic.

I’d like to think I didn’t take anything for granted, but I guess I’m still learning that there is lot of stuff that needs to be done just to keep a household going.

And for one or the other, it;s a full time, unpaid and unappreciated job.

Which is why I now try very hard to make her feel appreciated.


Short story writing – a change in the plot – 1

What if we make a slight change to the plot, how would this affect the outcome?

Like any writer given time to reconsider the possibilities during that time between the first draft and the first re-write.

For a variation I have decided to create a connection between Jack and the girl.  It is only a slight connection, they live in the same apartment block and have met once or twice in the elevator or on the stairs.

Introducing a degree of familiarity changes the dynamic.


The rewrite:


Another long day, another argument, always the same one, when were they going to move to a more ‘desirable’ neighborhood?

OK, the neighborhood was a little more down market than they expected, and the landlord could do more to make the apartments more livable, but it was as much as they could afford in the inner city area.

But Chelsea kept arguing for the fact their lives would be better and she would feel safer if they moved to New Jersey.  It would mean being much closer to her parents, and it meant a longer trip to the office.

Rather that get into a more heated discussion, which always came back to her parents, he stormed out slamming the door behind him.

Now out on the street it was very cold, in his temper forgetting to collect his coat.  There was no going back, not until he calmed down.

He could see the lights of the corner store on and headed towards it.  A six pack would help soothe the nerves, and perhaps tell the shopkeeper his problems.  He been in there a few times and the chap seemed amiable enough.

He crossed the road, quiet for this tine of night, and pushed the door open, setting the bell that alerted the shopkeeper of a new arrival.

Something was wrong.

Jack was looking down the barrel of a gun.

He’d seen the girl holding now holding the gun  several times and knew she lived in their apartment block, closer to the ground floor.  She had seemed pleasant if not a little out of place, but quite a few people who once had money were down in their luck.

He had thought she was in the same situation.

Then his eyes strayed to the floor beside her, just as the door shut with a bang putting everyone on edge.  Except the man on the floor whom he recognized as her boyfriend.

They’d spoken one and Jack didn’t like him.  Chelsea said he was a meth junkie.  Sprawled the floor curled up in an almost fetal position, he didn’t look very well.

Had she shot him?

A quick glance at the shopkeeper told him this might be an attempted armed robbery, but for what?

The guy on the floor either needed drugs or hospital care neither of which would be available at the point of a gun.

She looked nervous and the gun was wavering in her hand.

“Get in front of the counter and make sure you show me your hands.”  She motioned with the gun where she wanted him to stand.

He put his hands out where she could see them.  He wanted no trouble.

“What’s wrong with your friend on the floor?” Jack asked trying to keep his voice and manner calm.

“He isn’t my friend, not anymore.  Shit.”  She waved the gun at the shopkeeper and said in a slightly hysterical voice, “This is entirely your fault.”


© Charles Heath 2016