SNAP! And the untidy truth of ageing suddenly catches up

"MY TURN to have a go," I announced to the family.

A few minutes later life came to a screaming halt and I had no one to blame but myself.

One of the great theories about having children when you are young like I was is that you get to "stay young" and grow up with them.

In reality it doesn't matter how old you think you are, your body is still many years older than theirs and prone to sudden breakdown.

I am the first to admit I'm not a natural when it comes to any kind of sport, so I've always been quite proud of the fact that I can water ski. Recently we bought a boat so we could spend "quality" time with our teenagers and their friends.

So there we are out on the water and everyone is having fun, the weather is perfect and the water is warm.

Did I mention that I am not naturally sporty! Yes, well that is something I should have remembered as I strapped on the skis and recited the old mantra "knees bent, arms straight".

On the third attempt I was up (sort of) and then a snapping noise somewhere in the back of my thigh announced my downfall which was accompanied by the first cartwheel I've done in many years.

The result of that moment of glory is a serious hamstring tear and a badly bruised ego.

Once home and preparing for a long stint on the lounge I discovered a whole new dimension of pain. I had left the house in quite a state, having decided that a day on the water with the family was more important than clean laundry and a tidy house.

In the weeks that I have spent confined to the lounge or bed I have been surrounded by the mess and it has been driving me crazy (until I take another pain killer and then nothing matters).

Being unable to work, walk or drive has been hard enough but not being able to clean up the house has been incredibly frustrating.

When you are unable to work there's usually someone who can cover for you, but at home the dirt seems to stop with me.

In the last few weeks I've discovered that I am the only one in a house of four to ever notice that the floor needs sweeping, carpets need vacuuming and windows need cleaning. Apparently I am also the only one who can see that the washing basket is overflowing, the dishes are piling up or that we are out of toilet paper.

While the teens and husband have been happy to make sure we don't starve I have come to realise that their tolerance for household mess and chaos is extremely high while mine sits on the "perfectionist" end of the scale.

I have now realised that all the cleaning I do each week is more for my benefit than anyone else's.

I tried to imagine just how dirty the floors, windows, bathroom and kitchen would have to be before they noticed that the cleaning fairy had not been reporting for duty. Sadly, I think she could have died in the corner of the lounge room years ago and they still wouldn't notice.

As I'm limping along on the road to recovery the kids keep hinting that I'm going to give up on skiing.

They should know by now that I don't admit defeat that easily but next time I will be making sure the house is spotless first ... just in case this ageing body snaps back at me again and I have to spend another few weeks being taunted by dust bunnies and other household horrors.

When did you realise you were getting old?

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