I woke up at 9am to the sound of the council enforcement team clamping my car. Turns out a parking ticket I thought I’d paid was showing as unpaid, and I had to give them £370 so I could go and collect Flea from her sleepover at Grandma’s.
Next, I made the fatal error of mentioning the incident to my parents, who have never contravened parking regulations in their lives. Ten minutes of lecturing later, I stormed out of the house, shouting “Sorry to be such a BLOODY disappointment,” over my shoulder. Is it just me who magically reverts to being a teenager in the presence of my parents?
I tried to renew my car tax online, only to find that my car doesn’t have an MOT – oops. Then the washing machine broke, the fridge door fell off (no kidding) and the phone rang – my credit card payment was late. I checked my bank account to find the child support that’s now being collected by the CSA wasn’t in my account. After the unexpected parking ticket payment, we were broke.
I put Flea in the lounge with a Toy Story DVD, told her to put it on, and then telephoned The Father. For the first time since we split up, I really lost it. I shouted, I cried, I used some of the more expressive swear words.
Fortunately, it seemed to work. The Father agreed to continue paying Flea’s school fees, so she can stay where she is for the time being. This is really great news. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and went back through to the lounge, where Flea was waiting for me.
“Can I go and live with Daddy at his house, Mummy?”
God, the day just gets better. Where did THAT come from?
I wonder if she misses The Father more than I realise – she hasn't mentioned him, but he hasn’t visited in a couple of months. Or maybe having The Chap around the house is unsettling her. Maybe she’s picking up on my stress and doesn’t want to live with me because I’m cranky and evil?
Even though I want to cry, I say: “Gosh, that's a big decision. I’m sure Daddy would love to have you live there; we could ask him if you like.”
So she phones him, unbelievably excited and says, “I want to come and live with you.” A few seconds later, her face crumples, she throws the phone at me, starts to cry and I hate him all over again. I try to comfort Flea, pointing out that she wouldn’t have her bedroom at Daddy’s house, and she’d be a long way from school and her friends. Besides, I’d miss her like crazy.
I ask her why she wants to live with Daddy. She looks up, her eyes still brimming with tears. “Daddy told me he has a pile of DVDs at his house that’s taller than me and one of them is BATMAN.”
Well, at least that problem is easily fixed. Now, who knows how to fix fridges?