Tric Kearney: It's my life

The other day, I was doing the ironing... I’ll just leave that sentence there, so anyone who doesn’t read on will think what a wonderful wife I am.

However, the truth is I was ironing, because every shirt yer man possessed was washed and waiting for attention and I’d run out of jeans.

Ironing is not a task we are inclined to argue over, as I generally spend all of 10 minutes doing it, once a month. Yer man could do it, and sometimes in desperation does, but speed is a serious issue. 

I find it torture to watch him iron the same crease over and over, while putting two more in the shirt at the same time.

So, last week, while doing the monthly ironing, I discovered, deep in the ironing basket, a pair of yer man’s trousers, which I may have put there a month previously. To say they are not my favourites is an understatement.

As I picked them up, an immediate reflex action occurred. I’m not sure if you remember being taught about such actions at school, but it is what happens when your body reacts instinctively without sending messages on the normal route to the brain. 

So, with the same speed as if I’d put my hand on a hot coal, I pushed that pair of trousers to the very bottom of the laundry basket, a place not seen in years. I then reached for another of his shirts, immediately forgetting what I’d done.

So you can imagine my surprise when, a few days later, I spot yer man emerge from the utility room with those banished trousers in his hand. I nearly spat out my tea, as I looked at his happy face.

“I was wondering where these were,” he said, skipping towards the door. 

Alarm bells began to ring, as I remembered getting rid of those trousers a number of times previously. How had they returned from the recycling bag, the bottom of the wardrobe, and now the laundry basket?

After close to 20 years of reflex actions, was yer man onto me?

I’m not sure when I first developed this reflex habit, as it was certainly not a feature in the early days of our marriage. Back then, we adopted ‘discussion’ as our preferred means of communication: I expressed my opinion and he expressed his. 

Such discussion usually led to us failing to reach any agreement and even, on occasions, to us heatedly disagreeing, sometimes for days. Over time, I think both of us figured out ‘discussion’ wasn’t working and developed our own solutions, one of mine being the ‘reflex action’.

What hope had we for the future, if my tried-and-tested reflex action was to be abandoned? Perhaps we’d have to go back to discussion?

Later, while putting away the laundry, what did I see sitting on the bed, mocking me? Only that offending pair of trousers. I was a little surprised by the venom with which I scrunched them into a ball, my dislike for them fast-approaching unhealthy. Just then, himself appeared.

“I’m just wondering if these need ironing?” I said, so fast it was obvious I was up to something.

“I think I’ll iron them myself,” he replied, tugging them from me. There was no mistaking that twinkle in his eye. He was onto me.

Without reflex, I knew we’d have to revert to discussion.

“I’m actually not mad about those trousers,” I said.


“Yes, I don’t think they are the nicest ones you own.”

“You never said,” he replied, the corners of his mouth twitching.

“Okay, I hate them. In fact, it’s them or me?” 

For a longer period than I’d care to remember, he stood there looking from those trousers to me, before handing them over.

“You only had to say,” he grinned.


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