Diary of a Lone Parent. Day 1.

19 Nov

7.15 wake up. This is now officially to be known as Sleeping In. Sigh. Shower, hair, makeup (work day with expected client meeting), wrangle children, dress Otto (protesting). Show Fraser how to hook my eee pc up to a wireless network. Hopefully he will need to do this at some point. Sort washing from tumble dryer. Put washing from washing machine into dryer. Put on another load of washing. Check school lunches and pack Otto’s in her bag. Deal with urgent admin email from a site user (why are gamers such arseholes sometimes?)

8.45 take children to school. Otto won’t look at Fraser or kiss him goodbye. Bigster makes up for it. In the car, we discuss the Rules for Girls Club:

1. We look after ourselves

2. We look after each other

3. We look after our home.

It is worth a try, at least.

9.15 home, help Fraser with final packing.

9.19 phone taxi

9.30 pack up work computer. I may need to drive Fraser to the airport at this rate …

9.33 phone taxi company to ask where taxi is.  “We didn’t dispatch it till 9.30, we are busy, it should be there soon.”

9.35 wave goodbye to Fraser, walk to tram. Luckily there is a free seat – I have work to do that didn’t get finished yesterday.

10 in city, off tram, go to coffee shop for breakfast & more work. Sidetracked by clothes shop – buy clothes for Otto. Much pink.

10.25 get to work. Start working. OMG deadline is 1pm meeting with client, need to have something to show them by then. There are a couple of changes that need to be made to the data I was analysing, so all the work I have put in already is pretty much scrapped. Big sigh. Meanwhile, I have discovered that the survey tool we are using doesn’t know how to handle multiple-response multiple choice questions:


“Do you want a cat or a dog? Select all that apply

A. Cat
B. Dog
C. Other (please specify).”

Otto wants a cat.

Biggie wants a cat, a dog and a wild boar.

I would analyse those responses as follows:

A: 100%
B:  50%
C: 50%

The survey software we are using analyses them as follows:

A: 50%
B: 25%
C: 25%


That meant I had to re-calculate all 14 multiple-choice questions by hand. Well, in Excel. But still … slow.

Then I had to re-code all the questions where people had selected “Other” but either (a) more than half of them had given the same ‘Other’ response or (b) they should have selected one of the multi-choice answers.

Then someone realised that someone else had answered the survey twice so I had to consolidate the responses and delete one. Ooops. Then I had to re-do all the re-coding.

Meanwhile, got an urgent email from Biggie’s Guide leader to ask if I could pick up another little girl tonight (yes – sent email, then rang parent & left message). Another from my sister-in-law. Then chatted with a friend in between recoding answers (I had news, she had news, we were going to miss one another if we didn’t do it then and there).

12.30 yay! Company director is going to meeting, I am recoding answers while she is away.

13.15 get lunch.

13.25 back to work.

15.00 OMG is that the time??? Call After-care to confirm that the kids are booked in. Pack up PC and leave for tram. See a copy of The Borrowers (well one of those books) for $2 outside a 2nd hand bookshop. Buy it to read on tram.

16.00 post office, then home. OMG dishes. Fold towels from dryer. Put washing into dryer. Put on another load of washing. Clean coffee machine (ugh). Check email. Nothing from that mother. Ring their home again and arrange to collect their daughter, take her to Guides, then drop her at home afterwards. Check dimensions of our old dish washer. Place call to plumber to arrange removal of old dish washer and installation of new dish washer.

17.00 leave to collect children from After Care. Check that we are up to date on fees (close enough). Otto wants to play on the monkey bars. No time for that!!! OMG we have to hurry.

17.25 Home. Otto wants to make souvlaki for dinner. There will be a story about my Weekend of Souvlaki very soon. We start, and I quickly realise that time is running out. meanwhile, Otto tells me that her class went swimming today (my calendar says Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). Crap. She missed out. She thinks there is no swimming tomorrow but I am sending a swimsuit just in case. I feel very very very bad 😦

17.35 Rethink dinner. Biggie can have something else, Otto can have souvlaki after the Guides run. Put on water for gnocchi, cook it, feed it to the Bigster. She eats it straight, with no sauce. So does Otto. Hang laundry on line,  put on another load. Sigh.

18.05 leave for Guides. Biggie is panicking because she is “going to be late”. I have to look her friend’s address up.

18.15 collect friend, then hit heavy traffic.

18.27 arrive at Guides. Yay, early. By 3 minutes. Leader tells me that pickup is at usual time of 8.30, not 9pm as originally planned. They are off to a Hare Krishna temple for their meeting tonight. Wish I had volunteered to drive them there!

18.50ish home via post office, cook souvlaki for me and Otto. She eats a surprising amount of it. OMGYAY. Quote: “Well, I know I like eggplant …”

19.30ish into study to blog. And check email and geekmail. Otto starts trying on swimsuits. Right now, she is wearing 2, over her clothes. And singing. It’s good to be 5.

19.55 stop blogging. Time to go do dishes before I collect the kids.. Otto is combing my hair and lecturing me that I need to comb it.

No work tonight! Tomorrow, I have to try to do a full day’s work between 10 and 14.30 … hmmm …

No call from plumber either.


20.25 arrive at Guides for 20.30 pickup. Guides not there. Bucketing down rain. Wish I’d brought in the rest of the washing. Otto and I sit in the back of the car and tell stories.

20.36 phone call from Guide leader – they will be there in 10. Can I please advise other parents? I troop around in the rain to advise the 3 other parents I can find, then get back to the car and remember that Otto did my hair in bunches that would make a grade 3 child blush. Oh well …

20.52 guides get back. Take other girl home first but realise there is a no right turn sign at a critical intersection. Sigh.

21.13 home. Kids to bed. Standard conversation at bedtime goes like this.

Melissa: OK. good night, sleep well, shhh now.
Otto: (whispers something important like that someone brought a pine cone to school today)
Biggie: (Whines that Otto’s voice is waking her up)
Me: (Points out that it took Otto 30 seconds to whisper to me but that Biggie has now been whinging for OMG OVER A MINUTE)
Biggie: (Yells and shouts)
Otto: (Starts crying because Biggie is yelling and shouting)
Me: (Tells them both to be quiet and go to sleep)
Biggie: (Starts rolling over loudly. Yes, really. You can do that. Sigh.)
Otto: (Complains that Biggie is keeping her awake)
Biggie: (Whines that Otto’s voice is waking her up)
Repeat until one of them passes out or gets bored.

some time close to 22:00: I get bored and leave. Promise to kiss Otto good night again. Dishes, dishes, dishes. Start preparing school lunches for tomorrow. Realise that Biggie hasn’t put her lunch box in the sink. Rescue blanket from washing machine and hang it out to dry. Inside. Cut up lots of fruit, put yoghurt in reusable containers. Curse rubbish-free lunches. Write names on reusable containers with big black texta. Do more dishes.

23:00 move new alarm clock into bedroom. Brush teeth, wash face, check email one more time before …

23:30 bed. (with book)

To-do list:

  • Finish analysis of project for work – Thursday
  • Arrange plumber to come and remove old dishwasher – aim for Friday
  • Measure cavity properly – Friday
  • Buy new dishwasher, arrange delivery and installation – aim for Friday week
  • Sofa (doubt there will be time for this) – maybe Sunday?? Saturday??
  • Send gift to sister-in-law in Sydney. Late with this already. – Friday?
  • Start to plan Christmas. I would usually have most of my shopping done by the time Fraser will be back. – this is thinking stuff
  • OMG Dishes – right now
  • OMG Laundry!!! Still!!! Ugh!!! – right now, if washing machine has finished
  • Pre-work on another project – by the end of the weekend
  • Help Biggie prepare for German exam on Saturday – tomorrow after school.
  • Pay myself (!) – tonight
  • Transfer money to ING – tonight
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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in family, to-do


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