The rhythm of life slowed to a mournful tango during the last, dog days of the Christmas holidays, and to prevent him dying of boredom I forced the Lawyer to clear out the attic. I found myself with a pile of junk containing (among many, many other things) three wooden tennis rackets belonging to his mother, horrible Congratulations! ornaments given to us upon graduation, piles of thesis notes, around 500 magazines featuring Princess Diana on the cover (I was very, very upset by her death), five dead speakers, amps, lengths of indeterminate wiring and a mummified starling which had fallen through a big hole in the roof.
Meanwhile, Subjudice was auctioning off her unwanted Christmas presents on eBay and, by the time school started again, was up £250. She doesn't even have to go to the Post Office, as she insists that the buyer collects. "People come to your house and pay you to take away your junk," she said. "It's a breathtaking example of exploitative marketing."
Inspired by her example, I attempted to make sense of the virtual marketplace, the ideal forum for the never-played pétanque set; 14 rolls of Laura Ashley wallpaper bought in a long-ago sale; my unusual collection of… I could go on. I couldn't go on eBay, however, as the rules and regulations totally defeated me.
"My session has expired," I told the Lawyer. "Apparently, I'm not intelligent enough to sell things on eBay. Perhaps there's a category for disposing of unwanted internet illiterates."
"What about one for unwanted solicitors?" asked the Lawyer in his post-Christmas 'what am I doing with my life?' voice. This used to strike the fear of God into me, for much as I would like him to do a job he actually enjoys, I rather enjoy living in my big house and not having to go out to work for money (although why I should prefer staying inside and working for no money at all has always puzzled me - something to do with stress I imagine).
Although he has been terribly useful at clearing out all the junk, he's been a bit miserable this holiday, the result of bumping into an old friend when we went to his parents' for Christmas. The friend has become a Life Coach and is inspirational and slim, with a great aura of peace. The Lawyer was entranced and wondered whether he, too, might not be able to put his great experience to good use by showing others The Way. Showing others the way to your bank account, I thought - but I don't see why you should pay someone £200 a session when you can get almost everything you need from a £7.99 Paul McKenna book and the back pages of She magazine.
I mused on being able to sell my husband. What if he took a long time to go? Or didn't reach the asking price? Perhaps I could flag him up 'Buy it now', and then I'd be shot of him.
I looked at him, slumped at the kitchen table trying to do Killer Sudoku, and reached for the business equivalent of the defibrillator. "Clear!" I shouted, handing him his BlackBerry. With a shaking finger he logged on. Suddenly he leapt upright: Holby City's finest couldn't have done better.
"The departmental head wants to see me," he yelled. "Personal chat. You know what this means." In my world, it would mean he's getting divorced and needs someone to cry all over, but this obviously doesn't happen in Lawyerworld.
"Recommendation for equity! It's the only explanation."