I’ve just been upstairs. I try not to go up there too often, it’s where the boys live. Upstairs is where discarded toilet roll tubes multiply, upstairs is where crusted bowls of instant noodles go to die. It’s where if you are ever missing a pair of scissors, you’ll eventually find them, under the mountain of discarded towels.
Upstairs was built a few years back, following a make or break moment one morning at the park for muddy rugby.
I’d been junior rugby-fied for around four or five years by then, Mr Lucas of the bionic-rebuilt-titanium-knees, was Junior Club President. I don’t really recommend being President of any junior sports club unless you like being on the phone to unhinged parents every night, and attending SJRU citations for inappropriate use of the C-word and punching the opposing hooker on the nose, on a weekly basis, but he seemed to enjoy it. The husband that is, not the hooker.
Muddy rugby in winter comes with obligatory factory white bread bacon and egg sandwiches, slathered in Aldi tomato sauce, they drip vibrant yellow egg yolk and crimson sauce into your crinkly white paper napkin and down your cuffs, where it cogaulates for a very long time. It was while chewing on just one of those very sandwiches one morning, we noticed a large group of men sitting together in a circle on the ground, also chewing the very same sort of sandwiches. Oddly, they were wearing junior club rugby kit.
We ambled over for a look to see if they where in fact, in the right park. I would have speculated they were around late teens and asked Mr Lucas for an opinion, “Opens” he says knowledgeably, meaning they were mostly over sixteen. “Oh no” says I, “go and ask them.”
He gave me that look he gives me when I ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do, but knows he has no choice. He approached the circle, began to speak and elicits a rumbling of deep bass voices and grunts. He nodded, laughed and returned looking solemn.
“Well?” I demanded.
“Fourteen. They’re under fourteens.”
I swear not a single one of those ‘fourteen year old boys’ was under 5’10” Not a single one. At least four were well over 6′. Their rugby boots would fit an entire family of homeless possums. With overseas visitors and luggage. They were consuming bacon and egg sandwiches in two bites. No drips, their sandwich didn’t see air for long enough to even think about dripping.
Up until that moment, our fairly compact little three bedroom bungalow had been fine for the five of us. Two of the boys shared a room and they occasionally swapped around with the third for the privilege of the solo room.
We stared wildly at each other, and down the barrel of our future. “In less than four years we will have one, then two, then three of those at home.”
Helpfully, at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious I added “either we add more rooms, they move out or I move out.”
And that my friends, is how we decided to add the upstairs level into which I ventured this morning. And yes, both of our teen boys are over 5’10” now and the youngest is catching fast. They eat more food than it’s possible to cook, grunt for Australia and are. always. hungry.
Suddenly, the time is passing faster and what seemed like a lifetime away is now upon us – the HSC year. More on that later.
Do you have little kids or big kids?
Do you play toilet roll and towel dodgeball too?