There are currently, actual numbers vary, two adults, three girls ranging in age from four to sixteen and three boys ranging in age from four to fourteen living in my house which has only one shower. How long do you think it takes for all of them, one at a time, to have a shower?I came in from work drawn, not least, by the intoxicating aroma of a decent feijoada simmering on the stove. Now that I am working to my own drumbeat, I do cherish a good sluicing and a fresh change of clothes before sitting down to supper. Last night, I ran out of nails so could not finish Stalag Luft III. I cannot check in my flying guests until I know it is truly escape proof so rather than do nothing other than practice my ‘To cross ze vire is death!’ and ‘You, Chicken! Cooler!’, I decided to drive up to the restaurant site and nick all the extra scrap wood I needed to add the little ‘extras’ I had dreamt up. Things like watchtowers, three tiered bunks, solitary confinement cells for broody hens and anti-tunnel footings for the perimeter fence. Naturally, my notion of scrap differed somewhat from that of the Master Carpenter but after a one sided negotiation, during which I pulled rank, I came away with a truck load of suspiciously uniform ‘scrap’.
Unloading the truck once I arrived home was easy. I am feeling a little stiff lately but that has been accompanied by an enormous sense of achievement, an emotion I, as a responsible father, was duty bound to share with my eldest son. So I told Dominic to unload the truck while I watered the raised beds.Anyone who has looked after children will recognize this formula:
V2 = V1(C2/C1)3Where V1 is the original level of noise, V2 is the new level of noise, C2 is the new number of children and C1 is the original number of children.
If we classify noise on a scale of one to a hundred, where one is hardly noticeable and a hundred is where thoughts of infanticide are overwhelming, and accept that a single reasonably well behaved child playing by itself might hit the scale at two, V2 will equal V1 as C1 is equal to C2. Now let us increase C2 to two with V1, the noise one child produces, remaining at two. Plug in the new value and you will see that V2 now equals sixteen. Increase C2 to three and the value of V2, the amount of noise generated by three children, becomes fifty four. Make the value of C2 six and you are so far off the scale I wasn’t the least bit surprised to note that Marcia was a tadge frazzled as I walked into the house. By the way, the same formula can be used to calculate the noise a single woman can make depending on how hard a man has to concentrate on whatever he is trying to do.It is highly unusual for me to finish work while daylight remains so I was looking forward to a nice cool shower followed by a bit of self-indulgent idleness while waiting for supper to be served. I quickly shepherded the children into their room and ordered them to select clean clothes before a run through the shower. I stripped off in my room and padded into the shower first. No soap. I sent Dominic off to the shop to get a bar while I read some blogs. He returned, informed me soap was in the shower, and I carried on reading intending to at least finish the blog post I was on. I heard the lock click shut on the bathroom door. No matter, let the kid finish and then I’ll dive in. I waited, and I waited. Bollocks to this, I thought, and went back to my blogs. No sooner one out, then another in. Alright, perhaps it’s best to let all the kids shower first. The third went in and the sun set. Marcia invited me to table as supper was ready. I asked her to wait until we could all sit around the table together and then banged on the bathroom door. Numbers four and five child in together; total time now around forty five minutes. I could hear Alex, one of the two, complaining vociferously. Dominic went in on the hour. By now I was pissed off and starving. He took exactly twenty minutes. Eighty minutes for six children to shower. As he came out, I went in pausing only to tell him to time me. Two minutes later I was out and a minute after that I was dressed. Where any of the kids sitting at the table? Of course not. They were too busy creating mayhem in the bedroom and, I have to confess, little Alex was the noisiest stamping, as he was, his rights as permanent resident on the others.
As we finally gathered around the table and a weary Marcia started serving, she asked her equally weary husband what she had done to deserve a child like Alex.Never one to shy away from my own part in the matter I said,
‘Oh that’s easy Darling, you let me shag you.’