Four-year-olds get the best revenge
This is a tale of cold revenge, poos, dogs and children.
I've just been to Auckland for my friend Matt's birthday.
He and his wife, Janelle, have children now and although I've met them before, this time it was special.
Luka is four.
"Hi!" he said. "Are you going to sleep in my bed?"
"Yes Luka, I am. I hope you don't mind."
"No," he said. "How many nights will you stay?"
I told him it was only going to be two - "Is that OK?"
"Yes. You can stay a week. Or 50 nights if you like."
I was in love. Clearly it doesn't take much. Maybe I still have deep- seated issues due to the earthquake followed by almost two years of house-sitting during which the maximum stay in any one place was six weeks so this sweet, selfless offer of 50 un- interrupted nights did something to my heart.
Later that evening, Matt and Janelle (who noticeably did not second or third the 50-night offer) and I sat on the deck and began the sensible catching up intermingled with the fond reminiscing and gossiping.
Unfortunately, little Luka had been so kind about his bed that I'd told him we could play in the morning.
Stupidly, we didn't go to bed until 3am so that little voice going "helloooo?" outside my room wasn't exactly the most pleasant noise but I remembered my promise and called "hello" back.
In a split second, he was standing beside my/his bed and had launched into what seemed like a very complicated story about his morning thus far. The English language is filled with full stops, commas and other punctuation but Luka was having none of it. He just drew breath and exhaled his morning exploits with giddy excitement.
"I got up and no-one was up and I was all by myself and it was boring and I went to the toilet and did wees but it went on the floor so daddy had to clean it up."
It had been an eventful morning.
The afternoon would involve more ablutions, this time from his little brother, Niko.
Niko is toilet training and at first glance things were going well. I caught him sitting on the loo. I reported the situation to his parents who were pleased.
Soon Niko was wandering among us and it became clear not only had he forgotten to wash his hands, he had thought it unnecessary to wipe his behind.
There was poo on the floor. I laughed as Matt went to clean up the bathroom for the second time that day.
Unfortunately I laughed so hard that Janelle threw me the wet wipes and told me to wipe the kitchen floor. Kids' poo gets in some crazy places if you're not vigilant.
I made a fuss but got on with the wiping up of the poo. Suddenly, I had a strong sense of deja vu.
More than a decade ago, when we were all living in London, Janelle had popped over for a visit. She'd found me looking after a friend's dog. We'd taken the dog for a walk and he'd done what dogs do in the middle of the footpath.
I was beholden to clean it up, which struck Janelle as extremely funny and she began laughing to the point of hysteria.
Unfortunately for Janelle, she got so close to the steaming pile it made her gag repeatedly and she had to lean against a lamp post for some time.
It was a wonderful memory. And here we were, more than 10 years later, this time with me doing both the clean-up and the gagging.
As I wiped their floor, I vowed to work on an even colder dish of revenge. But I am nervous at where I'll end up if I escalate this.