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My Precious

I lost my wedding ring on Sunday.

Six years ago, when Husband presented me with my engagement ring, he said:-

“Will you marry me? Oh, good. You’re going to lose this, aren’t you?”

I was sure I wouldn’t, because it was so pretty my very life force depended on the ongoing presence of this thing in my life. I can be impressed for minutes at a time by sunrises or ladybirds or a storm at sea or Husband’s cheeks when he’s eating lamb chops, but I can stare at a 0.55 carat H colour VSII Princess cut conflict diamond for HOURS.

Shortly after we married, I nearly lost my wedding rings at Ex-Employer’s office in Dubai Internet City. I went to the bathroom and removed both rings to wash my hands. Back in the office, I resumed compiling a nail bitingly tedious document on change request procedure, then paused to reread a paragraph. As I clasped my hands together to better aid concentration, I became aware at a subliminal level there was something very wrong in the world in addition to evil dictators and global poverty. Then I realized:-

“AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaagh!”

Much to the bemusement of my three colleagues, I catapulted out of my chair, hurdled the desk, and ripped out the door screaming all the way to the bathroom where my rings glittered reprovingly in the soap dish. I’m not sure whether anyone had been there in the twenty minute interim – in Dubai, many people are too lazy to go to the toilet – but still.

After that, I resolved never to remove my wedding rings; I even wore them swimming in the sea.

My engagement ring is currently out of action, having split after a period of intense digit expansion, but I always wear my wedding band. On Sunday morning, I was pottering around the kitchen cleaning up before the guys woke. The Bro had stayed over the evening before, so there were beer bottle tops all over the place. I have ranted about bottle tops before, so I will spare you- ok, no, I won’t. THERE’S A RUBBISH BIN! RIGHT THERE! WHAT IS SO COMPLEX ABOUT FLIPPING BOTTLE TOPS INTO IT, HMM?

Sorry. So, my wedding ring was irritating me for some reason – although not as much as the mess DO YOU NEED TO BE A WORLD CLASS ARCHER OR TIDDLYWINKS CHAMPION TO GET A BOTTLE TOP INTO A BIN?! IT’S LIKE HITTING A HIPPO WITH A SHOE! – so I transferred it to the little finger of my right hand. Even as I did, I thought, ‘Hmm. That’s not going to stay there,’ and then ignored myself.

It was after The Bro left that I noticed my wedding ring – gone. My ring finger looked plainly wrong without it. There is a pale groove worn around the base of the finger where the skin is puckered and defenceless looking.

I alerted Husband as to the situation.

“Will you look for it?”

Husband nearly choked on a gigantic sigh, but he performed a sweep of the living and kitchen sectors while I repeatedly checked that I hadn’t misplaced the ring on my finger. There was no sign of it – on my finger or anywhere else.

“I’m sure it will turn up,” said Husband and shuffled off to not obsess about where the ring might be.

Throughout the day, I looked in all the obvious places: the kitchen bench, the key hanger, under the sofa, in the microwave. I kept visualising the ring in different places, with the result that I checked the cutlery drawer and kitchen windowsill several times (maybe THIS TIME it will be there). In the evening, I turned the rubbish out onto the garage floor and picked through it with a fork.

On Monday morning, I put Husband at Defcon 3, increasing to Defcon 2 as the day wore on. We tore the house apart. I moved everything out of the pantry; we checked the drains; Husband squeezed the fingers on my rubber gloves; we crawled around the floor with torches.

I had a vague recollection of leaving the wedding ring on the hallway banister. Late last night, Husband revealed that he had vacuumed the stairs on Sunday morning. There had been debris on the treads after he had knocked a couple of holes in the wall. No idea why. Because he could? Maybe? But really, you’d have to ask him.

He offered to go through the vacuum bag this morning in daylight. I knew that’s what had happened to my ring; in fact, I was so sure I actually slept last night.

It wasn’t in the vacuum bag.

Then Husband went through the week-old rubbish. We’ve been together over 10 years now and Husband drives me up the wall on a frequent to full time basis. However, there are rare, brilliant moments when I understand exactly why I am with Husband. Watching him sift coffee grounds, turn over greasy chop bones and wipe rotten spinach off mouldy lemons without complaint, I had one of those epiphanies.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I was his favourite wife at that point.

It wasn’t in the rubbish either.

Back upstairs, I got a bit teary:-

“Tell me you love me and the wedding ring is just a symbol in no way indicative of the future of our marriage and it’s not as if you even wear yours and the fact that I’ve lost something that’s blessed won’t curse us for the rest of time forever and ever amen.”

“Er, yes. All that,” said Husband. “Look, we’ll get another ring and get your father to bless it.”

“Yeah, but he’ll give me a lecture on how he can’t go around blessing every time I lose my wedding ring,” I muttered darkly, “and how I should be more careful-”

“Well-”

“Are you sure you want to go there?”

“Absolutely not. No.”

Then I found the ring in the plastic bag drawer

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Recognise anyone?

http://www.dubaiinternetcity.com/press_centre/press_releases/

Andrew spotted this while browsing the DIC website this evening 😀

Finnegan’s rocks

Last night, my friend Emma and I went to Finnegan’s. We usually play squash, but Em had toppled over snowboarding in Ski Dubai and damaged both her wrists (our friendship is anchored by mutual premature midlife crises).

 

Outside of The Cyclone, Finnegan’s is possibly the sleaziest pub in town: viscous fog of cigarette smoke, women of ill-repute, men of worse repute. There is always at least one beer marinated hound slumped on the bar, serenading his pint with a medley of Irish classics and weeping bitter tears for Ireland down his dishdash. Well, it IS an Irish pub. Even though most of the clientele are locals, they really get into the Irish spirit – heck, they don’t limit themselves to just the one.

 

On the plus side, Finnegan’s is just across Interchange 5 and boasts three underused pool tables. The peanuts are an instant boost to the immune system. And there is an entertainingly appalling band, fronted by a singer who wears trousers so tight she has a front bottom (affectionately known as ‘Camel Toe’).

 

Although I blend chameleon-like into Finnegan’s, my friend . . . well, Em looked a little out of place. Em is slender and delicate with flawless skin. Apologies for the clichéd description; normally I would be the first to point out that skin is never ‘flawless’ after the age of nineteen. But trust me when I say that there were times Em materialised out of a cloud of smoke and if the woman had been carrying a harp I would have opened my mind and seriously re-evaluated religion.

 

Although Finnegan’s was bustling, we were the only women in the place apart from Camel Toe and a waitress. Due to a miscommunication with the barman, we had a pint glass full to the top with dirham coins for the pool tables. However, there were none free. We charmed a pair of be-dishdashed men into giving up their pool table by hinting we might be prostitutes.

 

While Em and I played, the group of blokes mentally grasped our bottoms and chatted us up. Every time one of us took our turn, they chorused: “I think YOU’LL win,” and winked lasciviously. One of them winked so slowly, the manoeuvre took a full ten seconds from the initial eyelid twitch through full corneal coverage and back. They really were a winsome couple and we were almost disappointed when their prostitutes turned up.

 

Camel Toe finished flaying ‘Love Me Tender’ and came around brandishing sheets of paper and pencils.

 

“Pub quiz!” she chirped. I don’t know about Em, but I was desperately trying to keep my eyes fixed on her face. I’m sure Camel Toe thought I was very intense.

 

“It’s free,” she said over our polite rebuttals. “I’ll leave these with you just in case,” – her sudden movement as she gave me the paper seriously tested my resolve not to look at her crotch – “there are great prizes.”

 

I assumed that meant a garden hoe without the handle, rather than an all-expenses paid weekend for two in the Bahamas.

 

Two pool games and one tussle over the third prize Finnegan’s T-shirt later, Camel Toe announced: “And the winners are . . . THE BIRDS!”

 

Well, I hadn’t seen that coming. I mean, one of the four categories had been ‘Geography’ – not my strong point as you know. Mind you, even I know what the capital of Spain is (well now I do, although at the time Em and I had to flip a coin between Barcelona and Juventus).

 

“Come up here . . . THE BIRDS!”

 

I gave Em a push in the direction of the stage, but she hauled me up after her. I was mortified.

 

“What’s your name?” asked Camel Toe and stuck a mic in my gob.

 

“Er, Niamh,” I muttered.

 

“Emma!”

 

“You look pretty surprised to be here. How surprised are you, on a scale of 1 to 10?”

 

“Er, twenty.” That was me again. Then all of a sudden it hit me: the microphone, the captive audience (albeit only half of them conscious), the snore of the crowd, the smell of the greasepaint (or it might have been Camel Toe’s deodorant).

 

“So, will we be seeing you back here again?” Camel Toe said, the last words trailing away as I grabbed the mike.

 

“DEFINITELY!” I beamed, waving at the cheering fans. “I think this place is GREAT! I LOVE it here! FINNEGAN’S ROCKS!”

 

Camel Toe tugged the microphone, but I had my teeth embedded in it.

 

“You have won-” she managed, before I got the mike back again.

 

“We’ll DEFINITELY be back here next Tuesday, won’t we Em?”

 

Emma’s reply was lost in the acoustic screech as I grimly wrestled Camel Toe for possession of the microphone.

 

“Get off-” she panted, but my grasping fingers had good purchase.

 

“You can have your microphone back now, PAHAHAHA!” I roared.

 

Camel Toe – with what I felt was unnecessary aggression – snatched the microphone and held it out of my reach. I swiped at it.

 

“Can I?” I pointed, but she shook her head firmly.

 

“Just a-”

 

“No.”

 

We won a bottle of Smirnoff’s vodka and a hair set, blow dry, manicure and pedicure at Juan’s Salon. When we checked our quiz form, it appeared Camel Toe had erased some of our answers and pencilled in the correct ones. Turns out the capital of Spain is Madrid – who’d have known? Hey, she only amended four of our answers – we conclusively outplayed the Arab clientele in the Popular Music section.

 

At the end of the evening, going through the hotel lobby:

 

“Look!”

 

Em pointed. It was Juan’s Salon! A faded poster with curling corners featured pouting models with bubble perms and shoulder pads.

 

Shame our winning voucher was only valid for two days

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