Why Ollie’s boxer shorts are on a collision course with Harry Potter

Ollie lets money management cloud his judgement about the work he and his wife Lizzie have to do, but she brings him down to earth with the help of the young wizard Harry Potter and his creator J K Rowling…

Lifting a pair of boxer shorts from the drawer Ollie saw a note in his wife’s handwriting. It said: “If you can read this, you need to wash some pants.”

He lifted it from the drawer and held it up for her to read. “What’s this all about?,” he asked.

Lizzie looked up from where she was sitting up in bed reading to their daughter Alice. “It’s a love letter, Banks; a love letter from me to you.”

“Sorry, what? A love letter? About washing my boxers?”

“Yes; I’d love you to wash some of your boxers; there are plenty in the laundry basket, and there’s a washing machine downstairs. You’re made for each other.”

Expense management
Ollie’s frustration began to show. “But I have to go to work. I have a very busy day in front of me. In fact, it’s going to be a very busy week,” he protested.

“Good job it’s an automatic washing machine then,” she replied. “And anyway, what makes you think I’m not busy?,” Lizzie asked. “There are Alice and Jack to look after, and the last time I looked the fridge was full of food, the house was tidy, and I seem to recall we all sat down to a lovely meal last evening, and I’m trying to get my blogging career off the ground. That kind of stuff doesn’t happen by magic you know…”

This time, Ollie wasn’t to be put off. “But one of us has to earn some money to make it all happen, and control what we spend, and make sure we don’t go under financially,” he protested.

 It’s all about money management
Lizzie’s response was quick. “Oh, I’m well aware of that, Banks. I’m as good as an expense manager as you, now we’re using the Solo Expenses expense manager app thingy for our money management. But let’s not forget what we said when I started on this journey, that I should expect to make no money at all in the first year. Come to think of it, I think that was what you said, not me. I didn’t mention money at all.”

“My point exactly. To keep this house running one of us needs to think about the money…” his voice tailed away; he knew he’d stepped over the mark, and what he’d said was unfair. To her credit, Lizzie didn’t raise her voice in protest; dropping her chin and raising her eyebrows was enough. She said: “Look, even J K Rowling had to make sacrifices when she was writing Harry Potter. I was reading on the internet the other day that she says she found time to raise a baby and write her first book by not doing housework for four years. I think what she said was that living in squalor was how she found time to get the book written. Hats off to her, I say, but you’re a long way from living in squalor; a long way.

Not being superwoman
“She said she’s not superwoman. I might argue with that, but on the flip side she didn’t have a significant other who was reluctant to wash his own underwear, and expected her to do it instead. We’re a team, Banks; a team. That’s how we started this marriage, and that’s how we need to operate to get the best from it. And if that means you have to wash some of your own clothes now and again, and then iron them too – that’s your clothes, not ours – I think that’s a small price to pay. What do you say?”

Ollie didn’t say anything. He was already at the laundry basket, sorting out the clothes it contained into piles of light, dark, and coloured items.

“That’s my boy,” said Lizzie. “It won’t take you five minutes to get the machine started, and then we can have coffee and toast for breakfast. You can make it, if you’d like…”