That’s a bit of an over-dramatic headline. I would like to think that our marriage would indeed survive without these five things. But here are five things that really do just
minimise resentment and/or googling divorce lawyers make our lives that little bit better.
1. A cleaner
This isn’t a luxury that everyone can afford (hell, it’s not a luxury we can afford all of the time – there have been times when we have needed to cut back), but coming back to a house that smells of artificial lemons (is there any finer scent?) is a massive mood lifter. Having a beautiful clean home, when you’ve left it in an utter shit tip with yesterday’s porridge still glued to the floor is a win. Even more so because you didn’t have to put the hours in cleaning it yourself. It also stops rows and/or passive-aggressive comments about whose turn it is to clean the toilet or hoover the cat. I used to have a lot of middle-class guilt about paying somebody else to clean my house, but then I realised that I’m genuinely quite shit at cleaning. I’m also quite shit at plumbing, so if we have a leak, I call a plumber. I now take the same attitude with a cleaner. The cleaner can do what they are good at (cleaning) and earn a wage. With the time that I have freed up, I can do what I am good at (sarcasm). I have yet to find anyone willing to pay me a wage for sarcasm, but I live in hope.
2. A Chromecast
From the sublime to the… fairly inexpensive. At about £30 a Chromecast lets you beam whatever is on your laptop or phone to your home TV. This is a godsend with small children who want to see the fucking Duck Song over and over and over (got any grapes?), as it frees your laptop or phone up for you, and can beam their nonsense from your device to the TV in the background, so you can keep using your device. We have one in the living room to cast Netflix, and YouTube for the kids, and one in the bedroom that we use more for iPlayer. We haven’t yet jumped on the SkyQ ship, so in the meantime, this is a really inexpensive and seamless way to watch TV around the house.
3. A tumble dryer
We bought our tumble dryer when EldestGirl was born, and brought it with us to our new house. Our new house has a massive kitchen, where the builders deliberately have left no space for a tumble dryer because apparently it’s more energy efficient not to have a tumbler dryer. They provided a rotary clothes line instead. The fuckers. You try getting four loads of laundry dry in November, when both your children have the shits, you bastard builders. And no, the washer dryer you installed (at extra cost) is rubbish. So we still have our tumble dryer, but it lives in the garage these days, meaning I have to trudge through the garden every time I do a load of laundry. Still, the joy of not having miserable, damp socks draped over every surface for days on end is definitely a game changer. Now if I could only find someone to fold it and put it away for me once it’s dry, that would be perfect.
4. Nice crockery
This is a recent one for me. I had had the same set of off-white IKEA’s cheapest-range plates since I first moved into my own flat back in 2005. They are fine. They are just a bit… meh. Although we took the plunge and bought new plates this week, they are still IKEA – but no longer their very cheapest range. Look at us moving up in the world! Actually, I’ve noticed that having these lovely bright, white plates does make food look nicer. So I will probably eat more. This may not be a brilliant scheme long-term.
5. Find my Friend on iPhone
TheBloke (TM) and I both have iPhones. I love their “Find My Friend” feature, as when TheBloke (TM) is at work, I can see at a glance if he has left the office yet, or is stuck in traffic, and guesstimate how many more minutes more that I have to play My Little Ponies before I can shout, “Your problem now, fuckhead! You can be Pinkie Pie.” and disappear, cackling into the distance. TheBloke (TM) can see if I have forgotten to pick EldestGirl up from school (NB This has never happened. Yet.) and text me a reminder. We don’t use it for creepy stalking of each other, though he does like to remind me of the weekend I got to spend in London by myself about a year ago when I “accidentally” turned that feature off. (It genuinely was an accident.)
On the wishlist… A Roomba, which are currently so prohibitively expensive that you could probably afford about 100 hours of a cleaner before you would even begin to break even. But I do like cool gadgets. Also a robot lawnmower, which would be a total pisstake for us to buy because they are at least nine million pounds, our lawn is small, and TheBloke (TM) does this one by himself, so it doesn’t really affect me. But whilst we’re on a wishlist, maybe a gardener. And a nanny. And a housekeeper. And a chef. Ideally I’d like to be one of those fat, floating Americans you see doing nothing at all for themselves in Wall-E.
What about you? What are your must-haves? What saves your relationship? And what would you like to have, if money were no object?