Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Don’t Mention the Details


Being the son of an accountant and the daughter of a lawyer, my husband and I should be really good at details. Both of our fathers dot i’s and cross t’s like there’s no tomorrow. They are careful, cautious people who put forethought and planning in almost everything they do. So why has the details gene completely escaped us?

We are both good at the big picture, the lovely over-arching view, but totally crap at making it happen. I have this vision of my daughters’ bedrooms. It consists of two lovely white four-poster beds, draped with shimmering fabrics and fairy lights; something we can customise according to mood. And how far have we got to achieving this vision? One four-poster bed is up, and is draped with one rather sad little pink daisy chain. The other four-poster bed is minus its posters, which are sitting in their box waiting for some attention in the corner of the room.

The one place where I am quite good at details is in my work; as a journalist, I have to be. When I worked full-time, I was organised and together. Okay, I didn’t have SYSTEMS but I knew where everything was and I knew my deadlines and I met them. My husband is the same: his job is customer-focused and it wouldn’t do for him to forget he was targetting a retailer and start providing IT information relevant to the public sector. So we both can be quite organised when it comes to the work world.

There is something about home that makes us both sigh with relief, open bottles of wine and forget that there is a tax return waiting for our attention. It’s just not fair that we’re both like this. How hard would it be for one of us to be just a little anal-retentive? Perhaps it would cause stress in the relationship for one to be nagging the other, but the fact that we both exist in blissful ignorance of the ugly things happening in the envelopes that arrive in the post is kind of dangerous.

It’s partially to do with the fact that we have three small children and no support system and the grannies live a continent away: we spend all day being father, mother, auntie, uncle, granny, cousin to our kids and by the time they are in bed, we are thinking only of mainlining red wine and anaesthetizing ourselves in front of a DVD. It’s plain bloody exhausting, doing what we do.

So, if there was any way to get a details gene for Christmas, we’d be first on the list. And if anyone is feeling generous we’d like a tidy gene and a non-procrastination gene and one that helps you open the post on the day that it arrives. Those would help too.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

6 thoughts on “Don’t Mention the Details

  1. Add me on to the waiting list for all those genes, they’ve passed us by in this house too.

  2. You’ll probably find that the line up for those genes this Christmas is as long or longer than the line up for a PS3 in Tokyo. My husband and I have been waiting for that Christmas elf to come up with any organisational gene for fifteen years now. But, oh, we do love our chaotic, messy, warm-hearted, spur of the moment, on the seat of our pants life…

  3. Ha ha ha ha What a laugh Getting detail genes? Not procrastinating? Ha ha ha I’m still laughing.

  4. Yep, I’d like a non-procrastination gene right now.

    The situation you describe is a very familiar one to me. Sometimes I wish there was a rent-a-granny service that the little darling could use every so often and give me chance to catch up on things… I’ll put that on my Christmas list too.

  5. You have no idea how good it is to know that there are others who are the same as me! Since starting to work from home I’ve become far more disorganised than I ever was when I went out to work and as far as our home life goes… oh jeez, what I’d give for a personal organiser!

  6. I’m third in line after you and Tom! 🙂

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