But Thursdays I'm alone. Jellybean is in school. Midget Gem is in nursery. Hubby is at work. And I'm alone. For six whole, entire hours. Longer if I get Daddytwo to do the school run in the morning on his way to work. Bliss.
This morning I waved them off, still in my fleece onesie (don't you judge me) and did a little jig behind the closed door. I flopped on the sofa with a full pot of coffee, put my feet up and flicked the TV over to "16 and pregnant" followed by all manner of other crap. I sat for half an hour just chilling before the guilty voice of the self employed copywriter had me reaching for my laptop.
I did some work, promoted some things, contacted a bunch of people about potential new work, and did my thang. Then I ate lunch - which was last night's sausage casserole (mmmmmmm) - then made a nice cup of tea for another chill out session.
Then I ironed, bleached things, scrubbed and shined, and made our home beautiful.
Then I had a shower and got dressed just in time to do the school pick up run.
So far so glorious.
Coming home from the school run there wasn't a parking space close to the house so we had to park up the road and walk back to the house. This meant that the kids WOULD NOT LISTEN to me and both entirely forgot simple rules like stay on the sodding pavement and when Mummy says stop you BLOODY STOP, you do NOT run like a banshee, screaming at the top of your lungs, in front of the van with the nice neighbour who thankfully stopped but already thinks we're awful. (His dog is quiet, and well behaved, and his child is polite and does not run away. He is NICER than us.)
We finally got home, with Jellybean running back to collect Midget Gem from the end of the path because "my batt-wies are emptied all up!" (yes, he's cute, he knows it, the sod!) and then a massive strop from Midget Gem because he didn't find the house first.
All inside, and bribed into silence with cartoons and sweets (again, don't you judge me!) I let the dog out of his cage; he'd thought us arriving home was my husband arriving home, which, to him, would have been FAR better.
He went CRAZY. He ran in loops around the house, crying and barking, knocked the kids over repeatedly, jumped on me, all in all made a big show of himself.
And then this happened.
He was trying to spot my husband through the window. From the kitchen surface. Which, obviously, he is not supposed to be on. Ever. EVER.
I shouted, and he got down. Then got up again. So I shouted, and he got down. Then I shut the door.
I went for a wee and came back just in time to see him clambering over the dining table, through the hatch, back into the kitchen and onto the surfaces to peer through the window, howling, for Daddytwo.
Feeling much the same and wondering if I could have a wee howl myself I ordered my horrible children to put all the cushions back on the sofa, stop beating each other up, and get their shoes back on; we needed to walk the dog, and burn off some of his energy!
Duke, I don't think many of you know, HATES being on a lead. Hates it. Hates it like I hate people who say "ourselves" when they mean "we" and anyone who disagrees with my opinion, and dares to verbalise it to me.
That's a lot.
We've struggled to get him used to being on a lead and acting like a dog, and not a demon from the deepest levels of Hades, on a mission to destroy all that crosses his path.
I'm aware I sound like *that* dog owner, but off a lead he's almost nice, most of the time. On a lead he's hateful. So when he's on a lead and another dog goes by, while he's going insane, I'm grinning wildly and saying "he's normally lovely, honestly!" and looking slightly manic as I try to hold back a German Shepherd who is far stronger than me.
Until the magic of the gentle leader. The gentle leader is a harness that goes across the top of his nose (it isn't a muzzle, he can still pant, bark, drink, eat poo, lick strangers, do all the things he likes to do; it is a gentle way of stopping him pulling when he's on lead that turns him from Satan into a normal dog).
So it started off fine; we walked around our little estate and everyone was being so nice that I thought we should keep going and let Duke get a decent walk.
We were crossing the road, which then crosses through a car park before finding safety in a little alleyway, and the kids ignored my calls to stop (of course) and, hand in hand, jogged away while the dog froze, sniffing the ground; I tried to pull him and then realised that I was pulling a dog trying to poo; I cursed the fact he was doing so on the footpath and not on the park area we were headed for (of course) and then spotted the audience, a nice little old lady sitting by her window, and another approaching on a mobility scooter.
Could I get away with this? Well no, of course not - because of course Duke had the runs, and sprayed foamy liquid poo everywhere in a two metre radius of my horror stricken self.
I bellowed for the kids to for GOODNESS SAKE STOP MOVING, and they did (phew) and I pulled the three flimsy plastic bags from my bag that are supposed to collect dog poo, and wondered how the HELL I was supposed to deal with THIS situation.
Window watching lady's eyes widened; mobility scooter lady bounced off the pavement in a way that made me fear for her balance, and life, and I tried, with fistfulls of grass from a close to hand border, to mop up the foamy poo.
We headed home. The kids wanted to go the long way, then once we were as far from the house as the long way would take us, decided they didn't want to walk any more and stopped.
Eventually I coaxed, coerced, bribed, begged and dragged them home, the dog went insane barking at a passing collie (stupid gentle leader) and I built up a massive sweat trying not to just curl up in a ball and sob.
And then Midget Gem had another strop and refused to come in the house, then another strop because I got him in the house, then another because I wouldn't give him more sweeties (because they are for GOOD BOYS and punching me in the knees isn't being good) and then I burned their dinner, burned our dinner, fell over the dog and burned my forehead on the combi AGAIN.
And then this happened.
And while I wrote this, hoping for ten minutes peace, they took all the cushions off the sofa, threw the ironing around and had a fight.
I might sell them.