You know where to stick your competitive pies
There are two aspects of being married to the military that I struggled to get my head around - firstly, the competition and secondly, the perfectionism. Having just returned from screaming my lungs raw at the U9 football tournament like a crazed banshee, I know I am competitive, but a perfectionist...not so much.
Everything about my husband's training centred around Time On Target (TOT), arriving at the objective as the clock turns zero - this is what success looks like to him. I operate in TOT plus 10-15 minutes, which drove him insane. Yet in civvy street, it's impolite to ring the doorbell the second the clock turns onto the hour when arriving at a party.
The competitive perfection spilt over into our domestic life and as I am fiercely competitive, I found myself getting sucked in, when really I should have known better and walked away.
A couple of years ago, when my son was a mere 18-month-old insomniac nightmare, we were invited to a mince pie and drinks party by another military couple along with a flock of other military couples. But there was a twist - it was going to be a mince pie bake off. I very foolishly thought this was actually meant as a tongue cheek, slightly camp gesture until I received instructions that each of the wives were expected to bring their finest examples of mince pie bakery.
Thirty minutes prior to departure, I cut up some filo pastry (that I had bought and defrosted earlier) into squares, shoved in a tea spoon of mincemeat (that I had bought earlier), turned into a parcel, repeat 20 times, bake for 10 minutes at gas mark 6, (I cook everything at gas mark 6) and the dust with icing sugar, stick on plate, bundle son and husband into car, attend drinkypoos.
To my horror on arrival, I discovered it was a very serious competition. The women were instructed to stay in the kitchen, whilst the men folk adjourn to the dining room to judge the mince pies, according to the set judging criteria. I am still pretty horrified at the hideousness of the occasion. Thinking about Jerry Hall's famous quote 'A women needs to be a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom'. I mumbled something along the lines of, ‘Next year instead of mince pies, why don't the husbands just take it in turns to fuck each one of us' - a worthier attribute then our bake-ability, but I don't think anyone heard, as they were all twittering lard and flour.
The judges returned and the results announced the filo parcel pies were second.
Later, when we got home, I received a text telling me that after some deliberation, it was decided that the filo parcels were disqualified as I bought the pastry. Not that I was bothered, my son had just chucked his ring up all over the hall floor and quite frankly I couldn't give a flying fuck.