Sunday, 6 March 2011

How Daddies' Sauce Can Lead To Murderous Rage, Or Probably Should, Anyway..

I'm starting to think that Dad might have been safer if I'd left him where he was - at home, by himself. Max is looking murderous.

Not that I blame him one bit. Dad's even worse than The Boss for shouting at people from another room, and expecting them to go to him.

The whole thing starts almost as soon as we get up this morning, and find Dad reclining on the sofa, remote control already in his hand.

He's watching a cartoon, The Politics Show, and an old action movie - not simultaneously, obviously - but in strict rotation. He allows two minutes of each before turning over to the next one, and then repeats the whole cycle all over again. And again, ad infinitum. *ADHD doesn't even begin to describe it.

"I suppose you'd like some cereal, would you?" Max says to Dad. "What with your heart bypass and all that? I saw you brought your *Shredded Wheat with you."

"Good God, no - I don't want that," says Dad. "That's no meal for a real man. And you do a pretty good cooked breakfast, if I remember rightly - don't you, Max?"

Max rolls his eyes at me, but doesn't say anything in response. I'm probably supposed to step in to fill the breach but, after Dad talked all the way through The Killing last night, I don't much care if he survives 'til next Saturday or not, so he can eat all the sausages, eggs and bacon he wants, as far as I'm concerned. He ruined the highlight of my week!

"She doesn't make much effort, that Lund woman, does she?" said Dad. "Look at the state of that jumper. Is she a lesbian?"

"No," I say. "As you'd work out if you'd only concentrate on the programme for five minutes, and stop moaning about the subtitles. And there's nothing wrong with her jumper, anyway. It's bloody cold in Denmark."

"What's the excuse for your get-up, then, Molly?" said Dad, looking at my TV-watching fleece.

Luckily for him, he fell asleep shortly after that, which probably explains why he's still alive this morning. Not that he's any less annoying. Why the hell didn't I let Josh hide the remote control?

I keep Dad company for a few minutes, in the hope that he'll put the damn thing down, but when it becomes clear that he's hanging on to it for dear life, I give up and go to join Max in the kitchen - which is not my natural habitat, but it seems a better option than staying where I am. It would only have been a matter of time before I'd snapped and turned the TV off, snatched the remote out of Dad's hand and thrown it out of the window.

Making a pot of tea seems a less inflammatory option. For as long as it takes for it to brew, that is.

"Not as good a cuppa as usual," says Dad, when I take his mug through to the living room, where he continues to lie in state. "Max make this?"

"No," I say. "I did."

"That explains that, then," says Dad, which Max appears to find very funny indeed, and I don't.

Max stops smiling pretty sharpish, though, when, almost as soon as he starts cooking, Dad starts that bloody shouting thing he does.

"Max!" he calls. "Ma-ax!"

"What?" shouts Max, trying to cut the rind off the bacon and prick the sausages.

There's silence for a few seconds and then Dad shouts again:


I give in and walk to the living room.

"What do you want, Dad?" I say. "Max is trying to cook."

"Tell him to come here, quick," says Dad, who looks a bit red in the face, which is rather worrying. I make a silent vow never to moan about his television commentaries ever again, as long as he doesn't drop dead right this minute; and then I rush back to the kitchen to get Max.

"Dad needs you," I say. "I think there's something wrong."

Max slams the oven door shut, races down the hallway, and opens the door to the living room.

"Ah, Max!" says Dad. "Look at this car chase! Hang on, I'll just rewind."

I can't hear what Max replies as, by now, I've worked out that breakfast is going to take hours to prepare, unless I help. Or that's my intention anyway. I have no idea what always causes frozen hash browns to skid off the counter and fall on to the floor, whenever I try to prise them apart. Or why I always cut my hand on the knife.

"Let me take over," says Max. "This is the second car crash I've seen in the last thirty seconds."

I give him an icy smile, and then go off to the bathroom in search of a plaster. I'm on my way back downstairs when the cycle starts all over again.


This time, Dad apparently wants "a decent cup of tea" - which Max opts to make, though I am deemed competent to deliver it to His Master's Voice. I try to obscure the television screen for as long as possible before handing Dad the mug. Then I spill a bit accidentally on purpose onto his knee.

This seems to shut him up, and peace reigns for another couple of minutes, but then his dulcet tones ring out again. This time Dad tells Max that he has to watch and appreciate what "bloody idiots" Politicians are.

I know that only too well already and, anyway, I've completely given up by now, so I go outside and smoke what may well be the first of many cigarettes today. I can still hear Dad shouting, though I lose count of how many more trips back and forth Max makes - until he opens the back door to inform me that the food is finally cooked.

"I'm going to plate your dad's meal up first," he says. "Then his mouth might be too full of food to shout any more."

"Don't count on it," I say. "He's had a lot of practice. Why d'you think I've already got three step-mothers?"

"Hmm," says Max. "I may be starting to see your point."

He's still not angry, though. Honestly, Max is so much more tolerant than me. Despite all the provocation, he appears relatively calm when he delivers a full English Breakfast to Dad's waiting lap, before returning to the kitchen to serve up everyone else's food.

I decide it may now be safe to come back indoors but, as soon as I do, there's a familiar sound:

"Max! Ma-ax!"

"What?" shouts Max, who is still trying to put everyone else's food on to plates.

He's not looking half as calm now. In fact, I haven't heard him shout quite that loud for years. Not since Connie dropped her new stereo on the floor  and smashed it, five minutes after being given it for her sixteenth birthday. It's quite unnerving, and both Josh and I fall silent - unlike a certain person I could mention.


Dad's shout is a bit muffled this time - presumably because his mouth is full of food - but it's still loud enough to hear. Unfortunately.

"For God's sake, Max - tell Dad to come to you," I say. "You don't have to run after him all the time. It only encourages him."

"He sounds as if he's choking, Mol," he says, heading back down the hall.

Josh looks at me, and I look back at him, then we both shrug and follow in Max's footsteps. We're just in time to hear Max ask Dad what's wrong - this time.

"Got any Daddies' Sauce?" says Dad.

"I thought you already had that," says Max, in an uncharacteristically sarcastic tone. Which is probably what a camel's back sounds like when it breaks.

*ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or "Bad Parenting Syndrome", according to Greg. I'm not quite sure what it's called when it's one's parent who suffers from it, though.

*Shredded Wheat - also known as "Shredded Doormats" by Josh and Connie.


  1. The Killing is repeated on Weds night, though you probably know this already. There's a rumour that Spiral 3 will be shown after Killing is finished, and also that The Killing 2 will be on BBC4 in the autumn.

  2. Spiral 3? What is it? Something else I should be watching? I knew about Series 2 of The Killing - VERY good news for those of us with no social lives ;-) Thanks for this...

  3. Spiral (Engrenages) is a French policier, series 2 was on last year, very dark and murky.

  4. Ooh. with my new-found love for Fred Vargas' books, that sounds very appealing, thanks!

  5. Two very strong female leads - Laure Berthaud is the Lund-alike cop, and if you think Rie is a snake, wait till you see the attorney Josephine Karlsson.

  6. God, I DO think Rie is a snake. How on earth did you know?! I shall try and watch Spiral at first opportunity, thanks so much ;-)