Mark has asthma, and he also works in a dusty environment filled with tiles and stone and bricks and such. I can never think of a rule-pattern which allows me to think “this will trigger his asthma, but this will not”. So, we’ have animals. He works in his dusty job. He’s fine. Suddenly we’re somewhere which appears to be clean and clear with fresh air, and he starts wheezing and sucking on his inhaler for no clear reason.

Most of the time I can forget about the asthma because he’s had it all his life and knows his own limits and what the dangers are. Most kids go through life with lots of junk like phones and keys and coins in their pockets. He just happens to have one extra thing with him, the inhaler. And the steroids he takes every day allow him to forget about the inhaler most of the time too.

Only once have his asthma become really bad, and that was a couple of years ago when he was hospitalised for breathing difficulties. They stuck tubes down his throat to make him breathe. Believe me, when I heard, there wasn’t a speed limit or traffic rule that I didn’t break on my bike as I rushed to the hospital.

Sometimes when my mother rings, she asks to talk to Mark instead of me. She wants to give him a tip, or tell him to look something up. Rather than to go through scientific block-heads like yours truly who would bungle things up in translation, she just tells me to hand the phone over. This happened today, and as soon as I had done so, out comes the inhaler. Not just once, but twice. Great, my husband have started to be triggered by my mum.

***

Speaking of mum, dad also gave me a ring, so that I remembered that he was still alive and well, and that I hadn’t escaped his lecturing clutches even though I’m supposed to be grown-up and adult and all that. Old habits never break, I suppose, and he wanted to ask me about something on some report he’d received from a bank.

That’s the negative of having a debit card which he signed me up for years ago. Every month he takes out some money from my savings and put it on the debit card. It also means that he gets statements sent to him for the records. It also means that he can see exactly what I buy. It’s one reason not to buy anything odd on the card.

When I was fourteen I made the mistake in thinking he was an idiot. I had just discovered the delights of the seedier parts of the internet, and had engaged in that with less than prudent excitement. Except, I didn’t consider that unlike in the stereotypical scenario, my dad knows more about computer than I do.

One day he sat me down for one of the most awkward talks of my life, and wanted me to explain the access logs on the home wi-fi router and proxy. Lies are useless when you’re confronted with access logs with show credentials on the home network regardless of the device put on it.

The lecture about internet safety did work, I suppose, mainly because I never, ever wanted to sit red-faced with my dad again and listen to him go on about young teenagers on the internet and malware and that. That, and hoping that a big hole would open in the floor and swallow me whole. Lucky I hadn’t googled for a lot of porn, wasn’t it? That would have killed me.

This time wasn’t so bad, but it is still disconcerting to have him ring and ask about some item you bought weeks before and which you barely remember. This time it was a thing I bought at Boots, and which had a cryptic name on the statement. I mean, it could be hard to explain a purchase like a dildo or something like that. Luckily it wasn’t that. But it was obviously not something which could be put in a pile for any tax credit or anything.

***

I can look forward to a week off with no work or anything now. Next workday is next Tuesday, unless I get called in for some reason. In a few weeks the new year starts in school, and by now I have to say that I look forward to it.

We’ve done absolutely nothing this summer, and while that’s nice for a bit, after a while it just becomes boring. I sit and leaf through my Norton’s, and tinker with my app project, and feel like I should just get stuck in again with school and all.

I’m meeting with Abbie later, and after I’ll continue my quest for the perfect anniversary gift.

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