‘FFS’ was Mug’s most overused phrase. She used it when she felt despair “Oh FFS, I’ve only just hoovered.” She used it in perilous situations “FFS, I nearly tripped up.” She used it so often that the monsters decided that they would enshrine Mug’s grave – when the time came – with a headstone that read “FFS now I’m dead” and they planned to bury Mug in the furthest corner of the graveyard so as to not offend all the nice people who had died.
FFS was mostly used when Mug despaired over the monsters annihilating Tidy who occasionally visited the house. Tidy was polished, well groomed and cat piss free and Mug invited him over some days because he had a knack of making her feel as though she had accomplished something in a day. Her head felt clear and organised and she felt like she could do anything, of course that was until the monsters came home and banished him from the house.
Mug tried talking to her little darlings about being welcoming and how it would benefit them to engage with Tidy, for they would be able to find everything if they just did. “After this episode” came the standard response or “When I’ve finished this game.” The episode and game never ended. ‘FFS’ she thought.
This drove Mug to the extreme. She had tried everything in the past to try to get them to clean but she came up with a new fun idea: ‘The Wheel of Eternal Daily Fun’ where each quarter of a circle held the names of Leroy, Dude, Roo and Pickle and each name pointed to two daily tasks which they had to complete when coming home from school. (Mug was particularly proud of the wheel because she hadn’t used a split pin since infant school.) At the end of the week they would get a fiver. Accompanying this was a list of light-hearted rules which would sail them through to a harmonious home life. The three youngest began the first week pretty well but by the second week they were like “what do we need money for anyway” while Leroy said “I gots my own money!” And so that was that.
Mug cracked on like she always had until she reached a brand new boiling point, as if the blood in her veins had evolved into mercury. This time she remember some advice she had read years ago, possibly in a book called “Get out of my life but first take me and Alex into town” which said to give your child a plate, bowl and cup of their own and these were the only ones they were allowed to use. ‘Hmm, maybe I’ll give this a go” Mug thought. And so it was that she removed EVERYTHING from the cupboards and introduce the one plate, bowl and cup rule with lovely new individual dinner ware. The rule with this was that they had to put their plate/bowl in the dishwasher straight after dinner so it would be clean for the next day. ‘Knowing how precious they are over what belongs to who, this might actually work!’ though Mug as she counted her chickens. As it was, it did go well, apart from for Roo who had to bring her plate down from her pit each night from the night before and dish her own food up. It worked so well that Mug questioned why she had ever had so much dinnerware and so many cups to begin with. Before the Enlightenment, the monsters would use every plate and cup available and dump it next to the sink and now, now her surfaces were clear!
‘Fuck me! No, that’s not it? F F F….’
Mug was so empowered to change her world that she ceased to do their washing –
Friday nights Pickle and Roo did their washing, Monday nights for Dude, and Wednesday for Leroy – it all fell into place. Pickle actually enjoyed doing her own washing and it only took her 5 minutes to pop a load on. Mug noticed little conversations between her monsters that she had never even dreamed would occur: “Leroy I put some of your washing in with mine because it was on the floor. Can you put it over the airer though.” What, what was this? Helping each other? As time went on Leroy and Roo fell by the way side a bit and let their washing build up. Mug always knew when Leroy hadn’t done it because she would come ferreting around on the top floor to steal her brothers socks. God knows what she used for knickers. Roo however had a perpetual pile of clothes which would be washed, left to stink, and then hit the wash again like the were part of a hokey cokey of the wash world.
All the monsters had a day allocated to cook for the family and if they didn’t they forfeited being cooked for, which nobody could be arsed to cook for themselves every day.
Mug tried not to complain about the floor mess – which is what they struggled with – because she now had time to do it herself AND the best bit is that she didn’t have to pay them a penny. Slavery was slowly being abolished in Mug’s household and she could feel her self imposed shackles setting her free.