Category Archives: to-do

Housework obsession

Regular readers will know that one of my goals in 2008 was to conquer the creeping chaos in my home. While I didn’t manage to finish it, I did, with the help of a professional organiser, start to make headway.

Specifically, we

  • Cleared about 70% of the study (still some boxes of stuff around the outskirts of the room, but a very usable space in the centre)
  • Cleared out the girls’ room (my cleaner ‘tidies’ by moving everything to one side of the room and leaving it there, so there were layers of junk)
  • Cleared out my side of Fraser’s and my bedroom. (Fraser doesn’t want us to tackle his side of the room until he’s had a chance to go through some of it … he’s on notice, now)
  • Cleared out the dining room, getting rid of lots of accrued paper waste
  • Cleaned the living room to 70% – same as study, there were unsorted boxes of toys and books around the edges.
  • Cleaned out the kitchen – went through every drawer and cupboard
  • Cleaned out the – um. The area near the back door. It could be a meals area, but it has cupboards. I guess it’s sort of a utility area but there’s no washing machine. It was way deep in clean laundry and stuff to be sorted that never was.
  • Cleaned out the bathroom (that was this week, technically 2009). Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by on January 8, 2009 in decluttering, house, to-do


The last week is a blur. But mostly a good blur. But blurry, nonetheless.

I know I said “work is INSANELY busy” or something like that, but even I did not know how insanely busy it was going to be. That’s good – all my projects are interesting, all my projects are different – it’s just not the time of year that I expected to get this busy. And the week was going to be hectic anyway.

Wednesday: worked. Kids to After care, which they (fortunately) enjoy very much. Bigster less so these days but only because she thinks she’s too cool for school – well, for After School care, anyway. Actually managed to race home, hang out laundry, put on another load, then zoom back to school to collect them at 5.45. Walked across the road to the home of the pianist who was to accompany Biggie in her Recorder exam for a quick run-through (I was impressed with how nicely she played), then took the kids out for a very quick dinner before guides. To KFC. Blush. They were overjoyed.

Dropped Bigster at Guides and zoomed to the supermarket with Otto – home around 8, out again 20 minutes later to collect Biggie. Managed to get Otto into her PJs so she was cute and adorable, running around in them as Guides finished up. And snitching biscuits from the Guides’ table (there were plenty). Then home, bed around 10ish (ugh).

Thursday morning the handyman was due so I arranged, despite tight deadlines, to work from home. Ugh – handyman rang to say he would be late, so I couldn’t go in, although I did seize the opportunity to pop up the road for what the lovely Anna calls “female maintenance”. Ended up putting on makeup while talking to handyman. He was a bit more expensive than I had expected (maybe that’s the hire-a-hubby franchise fee talking?) but he did do a great job on my home maintenance chores:

  • replace 1 gate latch & move another
  • replace letterbox
  • put a lock on a window
  • fix guttering
  • replace a doorknob and tighten 2 others

I am still getting a kick out of the new letterbox. Being so easy to please is a wonderful wonderful thing sometimes.

Raced into work, did some, had work christmas party at the most amazing bar. This is our big once-a-year-bash for our clients and is justifiably famous. The food at this one was absolutely out of this world and it is a venue that I will definitely go back to again (albeit a rather pricey one). The main party goes 5-7 or so but there are always the stayouts that don’t leave and this was no exception 🙂 (and I am always one of them!). Home again to pay babysitter and snuggle down to sleep.

Friday I decided that, discretion being the better part of valour, perhaps I should not actually DRIVE the kids to school, so we walked. Well, Otto decided she wanted to ride her scooter, so Biggie did too. But Biggie wouldn’t carry her bags properly or let me carry them, and pouted most of the way. It didn’t help when the cafe I had promised to take them to for Milkshakes was closed. She cheered up when she spotted her new little Buddy, who will be starting school next year, and happily went off to be grown up while I dealt with Otto who had fallen and skinned her knee. It’s all drama, all the time, in my life.

On the way home, I stopped at the newly-opened Christmas Cave for tinsel (tacky but I love it) and a wreath for the front door. It is VERY BAD to have a Christmas shop near me. Fortunately I noticed that the packs of 300 fairy lights are connected in series and that stopped any ideas I had of hanging sparkly light strings from the porch. 

Then I worked all day, without stopping to BREATHE, until I had to go get the kids. Drove Biggie’s recorder teacher home then stopped at the craft store for felt for the kids’ OMGPROJECT and was lured to the butcher and greengrocer as well. 

Home to a phone call from my (very worried) mother that dad was back in hospital – they’d even taken an ambulance this time. A couple of hours later, we had the good news that it’s just a very severe UTI and he is on high doses of antibiotics but it’s not considered “serious”. They said he should be home Monday but it’s now Monday night and there’s no sign of them moving him.

Friends over for games but they were running late and didn’t arrive till 9.30, so we played Dominion until my eyes started drooping and they headed for home. It was fun though. We spoke OMGGERMAN! which is something I never do in Australia, mostly because it would exclude Fraser. And then I did a bit more work and went to bed, starting to feel queasy and wondering whether it was just the remnants of the Christmas party.

Saturday was Bigster’s first Recorder exam. She celebrated by throwing up quite impressively. It’s not like her to be really nervous about something, but I put it down to that and we got ourselves ready. Otto had a tantrum in the waiting room but at least it was a quiet one. 

Afterwards, I picked up lunch on the way home for the other two recorder students and their mums and teacher, who were coming over for lunch. And what a lovely lunch it was – a glass of champagne (courtesy of recorder teacher), cold meat and a roast chicken, fresh bread … the kids ate outside on a picnic rug and on the cubby house porch while we sat inside and chatted till 3pm. One mum brought sushi and cake, the other brought icecream from the famous gelati shop up the road. Mmmmmmmmm.

When they left, I thought, “oh I must go and vote in our local council elections” and then decided to lie down for a few minutes first. Of course, next thing I knew, it was 6 o’clock and the friends who were coming for dinner were knocking at the door. Oops! I feel a bit guilty for not voting, even when it’s only local government. Then I got over myself and had a lovely evening chatting with the friend while the four kids played happily outside. And then I did more OMGWORK!

Sunday, I got up and – you guessed it – did WORK. And maybe played a hand or two of Dominion on bsw? – I know I did at some stage. Its lure is potent. Then I did more laundry, got the kids ready, and took them to my mum’s with a stop on the way to pick up her groceries. This was the good bit though – then I went out to an old friend’s birthday do. I went to Uni with Mikey and haven’t seen enough of him in the last couple of years. It was great to catch up with him as well as with other friends and I hope we’ll all be a bit better about staying in touch. I have some “let’s do lunch” and “when can you come over for dinner/drinks?” emails to send 🙂

Then I came home and did work. Till 3am or so.

I could have done without the feeling queasy part (my GP today offered me a prescription for anti-nausea medication and I said “oh no, I’ll be fine” – regretting it now), and the way too much work part, and the dad in hospital part, and even the lone parenting part – but what a great weekend that was! 

Goal for the next month: Another lazy Saturday afternoon with friends.

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Posted by on December 1, 2008 in family, house, to-do, work


Lone Parent Update Day 7

10am appointment with school Social Worker to talk about the Bigster 😦 — so I stayed and helped in Otto’s classroom for the first hour. That was kind of fun but frustrating as she focuses on me and doesn’t interact with other people when I am there. She’s much better than she was at the start of the year, though.

Funny moment – some older girls were performing a song for the kids and one of them announced, “My dad told me I have to say this … there’s kind of a rude word in this, but it is really in the original, it’s from a very famous opera called Sweeney Todd …”
Other girl: “It’s not a rude word!”
First girl: “Apparently it is to a prep!”
Teacher (to another teacher): “Wish they’d run that by us first! 

Then the first girl forgot her lines and they gave up before they got to the swear word!!! How could they keep us in suspense that way? I could see that it was going to wreck my day, so I asked them what it was as they left 😉

Social Worker was interesting. I am never sure how much you can joke around with them, though. Anyway, she took a family history and built up this rather interesting picture showing our extended family with important words like “Dead” “Stroke” and “Cancer”. (She felt there was a bit of a pattern). Biggie came in to chat with both of us at the end and she seemed to lead her to say that she was worried about people dying. I really don’t think that is a big issue for the Bigster, unless you put it right under her nose. But she’s smart enough to lead people around by the nose so that they don’t ask the questions she doesn’t want asked. Let’s see how that works, and whether the social worker is smart enough to figure it out.

As an example, Bigster dropped into conversation, “Mum is ALWAYS playing Dominion.” 

Me: Huh?
Social worker (ears pricking up): Tell me about that
Biggie: Well, she played it with me and dad, and she played it with dad, and then Vince came over and she played it with him, and she played it when we went to a game club.
SW: Is this something on the computer?
Biggie: No, it’s a REALLY GOOD card game, and mum just LOVES it, and she plays it ALL THE TIME.

I have played Dominion *counts on fingers* maybe 10 times. Over 4 or 5 sessions.  And 18 times online (but she doesn’t know about those plays). 

The relevant thing? She had just been asked what Mum worries about. And pointed to her and Otto’s names on the piece of paper. But when Sue the Social Worker asked why she did that, she changed the topic and distracted her.


Came home, did work, had dishwasher installed. The installer guys were OMGSOGRATEFUL that I had had the old dishwasher removed. Apparently that would have been something they would have done (and included in the fee I paid – sigh). But they hate the old 2-drawer Fisher & Paykel dishwashers with a passion, and chatted between themselves about how glad they were they didn’t have to remove it. New one is beautiful. All the stuff Otto played with in the back garden is sparkly and clean again. Then I got a letter that starts, “Welcome to the wonderful world of Miele.” which made me giggle.

Collected kids, got ready for swimming lessons, spent the requisite 2 hours at the pool. Fish and chips (burger for me) on the way home but Otto cracked it so I cooked ravioli for her. Then laundry (I am waiting for it to finish but think I might go to bed). And dishes (really, plastic containers from rubbish-free lunches should just be washed by hand). It even has a cutlery rack.

The Bigster thinks it is weird that I was pleased to get the dishwasher. But I have a sense of accomplishment that I actually got something done.

Meanwhile, heard from handyman, who is going to do all those odd jobs for me this week. Yay! Things are coming together a bit.

Work is insane. OMGINSANE, even. I really, REALLY hope that I can manage some time off on Friday to kick back and enjoy time with friends. Even if all the Americans will be sleeping off turkey at that point. 🙂


Posted by on November 25, 2008 in family, house, to-do, work


Lone Parent Update as the days blur into one another (Days 5 and 6)

I said “They had better let me sleep in tomorrow.”

They woke me up, squabbling, at 6:40am. Sigh.

I stayed in bed till 9am on principle.

More updates:


Put in a request through their website. No response yet. I will call tomorrow morning, I think. Went to Bunnings (huge hardware store) on Sunday – that was a saga. I thought I’d go to the one near Bigster’s recorder class, but it turned out that store wasn’t open yet so we had to go to the old one just up the road. Which was really really small and didn’t have everything I wanted. So after Bigster’s recorder class, we went out to the other one, which is huge. But I had two ratty kids, late on a Sunday afternoon, and it was not hugely successful. Still, I got the stuff I wanted.

OMG letterboxes are expensive!!!


Came this morning and found a valve that wasn’t open properly. He was here for maybe 10 minutes total and says he will put us on the “easy house” list. Kids were late for school because I had to reschedule everything around plumber being in the house around 8am – but that was dealable.

Work – new project

Got some good work done today. OMG got email from another client wanting something reviewed by COB Wednesday. Suspect the answer is “wow no way” but I will give it a go. Maybe I can print it out to read while the kids have their swimming classes tomorrow? That would be a start.


Installation confirmed for tomorrow. Everything is ready. They are even coming at a civilised time.


Had an OMGwonderful time at BGGcon, and is headed for NY. Sounds like he has plenty to keep him busy, as well as verrrry full bags.


Bigster’s Instrumental Music Concert tonight. They cut it up so tonight was only the recorder and string students. OMG GOOD PLAN, SCHOOL!!! Because while my darling daughter of course plays impeccably, the other kids are not so fabulously talented. And the Instrumental Music concerts are traditionally around 150 minutes of Purgatory. Tonight’s was only about 50 minutes long. Good show.

Why have I invited 2 of Bigster’s friends and their mothers and her recorder teacher over for lunch on Saturday? Sigh.

Other stuff

Spent 15 minutes or so matching DVDs with covers. It needs doing more regularly. Probably a task I could give one of the kids.

Cleaner took ironing basket away. OMGYAY. I told her it is OK if it doesn’t return till next Monday.

Had a phone call today from a friend who I’ve not spoken to in a while. OMGLOVELY to catch up. Funny story behind it though…

Last night I had an email from a friend (P) (from my Uni days) who I haven’t seen for AGES, asking “were you at the game fair in Essen?” and pointing to one of Dale Yu’s articles where I was named (and shamed?). I replied yes.

Then another friend from Uni (J), who is active on Boardgamegeek, IM’d me to confirm exactly what I had done with Agricola. I said why, he said he was responding to an email.
Me: From P? 
Him: Yes.

Anyway, seems the email was to a group of people, because old friend who rang today (M) said, so what’s all this about you jetsetting off to do things with games?


I am amused because (a) it clearly took a while for any news of this to get out – which I would assume was because it is not terribly interesting, except that (b) now at least 2 people are interested. 

Going to M’s birthday party this weekend so I should be able to catch up with people. At least, I will if I book my parents to babysit. Shame I can’t run to a copy of Agricola for him as a gift.

Between ironing, handyman, dishwasher, plumber and the various other expenses, it is entirely possible that I will spend more than Fraser during the two weeks that he is TRAVELLING and ON HOLIDAY. Yeesh.

Meanwhile, I have given up on the to-do list. It only makes me feel a failure 🙂


Posted by on November 24, 2008 in decluttering, family, games, house, to-do


Diary of a Lone Parent, Day 4

Today feels like catch-up and additional notes on other days’ comments.

Biggie’s German exam

We did some study before it. I think she may be starting to understand verbs. Her teacher is very happy with her progress this year. She is less happy, which I think is a good thing.


Rang, he agreed that we should have water pressure. Possibly the dishwasher was not installed properly in the first place. He is going to send someone else out first thing Monday morning.

Work – new project

10am teleconference with client. If plumber is late, I may have to phone in.


Installation confirmed for Tuesday (my preferred day). Yay. Also, the 15% off sale excludes Miele. As does the 20% off for my brother’s work. Double yay.


Got to chat today, which was nice. The kids were really excited.

Other activities

very wet today – even hail on at least two occasions. Otto was amazed. ICE is falling from the SKY. Wow.

Went out to staff a trash and treasure/damper making stall at a community fun day, for Bigster’s Guides Unit. Got there and they were least in sight – after about 20 minutes we found someone in the know who told us the Guides had cancelled. Would have been nice to have known. I had a sense of accomplishment though, for getting the girls there dressed APPROPRIATELY in jeans/fleecy pants, Kathmandu anoraks and gum boots. And they had a sense of accomplishment because there were puddles to jump in. However grown-up the Bigster thinks she is, she still loves puddle jumping. And we had sausages. Headed for home and the guides leader rang back – she’d figured that parents would realise that crap weather meant cancelled. Oh well.

Both girls made chocolate ripple cakes today. Biggie because she has a recorder class party tomorrow, Otto because Biggie was making one. Yum.

Booked Hire-a-hubby — well, at least, put in a request for someone to call me. I have lots of handyman type jobs that need doing here and no-one has time to do them. Tomorrow, Otto and I will go to Bunnings (big home depot-type store) for essential supplies.

Emailed my brother to see if he can give me a hand moving rubbish into a trailer next weekend. Fingers crossed!

Tried to change the busted globe on the outside light but it needs unscrewing well above my head height. The hire a hubby can do it, I think.

Very tired today – I didn’t sleep at all well the last 2 nights. Have warned the kids to sleep in tomorrow OR ELSE 😉

Meanwhile, the ipod alarm thingy still does not work. I have a nagging suspicion maybe this model officially doesn’t work and I ignored it because I have a nano.

Well, I do when it is not in another country 😉

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Posted by on November 22, 2008 in family, house, to-do


Diary of a Lone Parent, Day 3.

Not hour-by-hour today.

Up at 7. iPod alarm thingo didn’t work again. Need to look into why. My guess is because I was listening to music last night – I think I need to put it in again after I press stop.

7.24 phone call from my brother: my sister-in-law isn’t well (I have my suspicions but Fraser will tell you I always suspect that) and would I be able to mind my niece? The kids are overjoyed. I contemplate the wisdom of increasing my Degree of Difficulty by 50% and decide that if I can manage my own 2 kids I can manage Niece as well. Ignoring the fact that I frequently fail spectacularly at managing my own 2 kids. Oh well …

8.00 plumber comes and removes old dishwasher. Because he is a sweetie, he also fixes my buggered downpipe that keeps turning upside down. Without asking or anything. Old dishwasher is gone and we have a little bond about what a bitch they were to install. I hope that the little hole behind the dishwasher that looks like it might have been made by mice wasn’t. It might just be a crack in the skirting board *hopes* … hmmm … is this what blu tac was invented for?

9ish kids to school, find Otto’s lost hat. Stop to chat with the Out of School Hours Care co-ordinator (who also does literacy & numeracy support). She’d asked me for some game recommendations and had bought a bunch of new games for the OSHC program, and I wanted to ask her how they were going. She and the Assistant Co-ordinator couldn’t rave about them enough – they said they are in play Every Single Day, they are great, they don’t know how they managed without them, etc etc etc. That really made me feel great – I had sort of dreaded that they might not ever get played because the kids didn’t know them. Off the top of my head, I can remember


  • Halli Galli
  • Apples to Apples Junior
  • Catch the Match
  • Number chase
  • Make ‘n’ Break


and I know there were others too.

Home again and Dave dropped Niece off – she sobbed and sobbed when Daddy left. To the extent that she got a Blood Nose! OMG! (Not much, just pink snot, but still …)

Anyway, I distracted her and we played with Peek-a-Blocks and Lego and Fisher Price Little People until it was time for her to have some food (Dave brought it all packed in a teeny tiny esky). Then I put her in her pram and walked up to the swimming pool to Parent Help at Otto’s swimming class. Got there early so we swung by Aldi (no e) for supplies. So much for her sleeping “between 1 and 3 hours”- she was awake again after about 20 minutes. Possibly my fault for winding her up – all morning she had been asking, “See Otto?” “See Biggie?” “Otto swimming?”

Parents were surprised to see me with a different child.

Tried to get her to sleep on the way home but failed dismally. I told her sternly that I expected her to sleep but ha! – she just sang some songs, getting louder and louder until I got her up.

The nice thing about spending so much time with her was that she actually spoke to me – usually when I see her she is much too shy to speak. I was “Auntie Lissa” all day, and she wanted to know where Fraser was. Dave tells me she does that a lot anyway.

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law had rung sounding crappy so I told her to wait as late as she could before picking Niece up. My kids would have killed me if they hadn’t got to play with her, anyway.

Now meanwhile, having got rid of the old broken dishwasher (by putting him on a plane to bgg.con — no wait …), I had rung around for prices on the new one that we wanted. Discovering (being reminded) that Miele don’t discount, I had – this morning – ordered from the big department store where I get shopping credits and OMG TIER credits (just like a frequent flyer program).

Then the mail arrived … with an invitation to a shopping night for cardholders, offering 15% off dishwashers. Not listing exceptions like “not for Miele”. That would save me $300 or so on this dishwasher. Ouch.

I bitched about this to my brother later, and he said “Oh! I have 20% off there for the next 3 days!” — omg that would be $400. Yeeeouch. I am going to ring my sales guy tomorrow and ask if he can do anything – because that’s a LOT of money to spend if I don’t have to. I won’t cancel the sale if he can’t, but I might be tempted. At least he thinks they can deliver and install on Tuesday.

Now I am second-guessing the wisdom of choosing whitegoods (that are actually stainless steel goods) on teh internet without actually looking at them. Meh.

Work rang to say we won a job that we bid on at the start of the week. Wish more clients would have that sort of turnaround. First deliverable is due December 1st, so we need to get a move on.

Sorted socks. We have, as a result of cleaning out all the laundry in the house, a garbage bag full of unsorted socks. I did a very quick run through it today and got about 20+ pairs out of it. I am tempted to throw out the rest of the bag and just start again, but that would probably be Wrong.

Drove my brother’s car (it has the child seat) to collect the kids. Haven’t driven a manual for a while. Worse, it has the indicators on the left of the steering wheel. Which is dumb because that’s the OMG WRONG SIDE and also dumb because when you want to indicate you often want to change down a gear too but you only have one left hand not two. At least, unless you are a mutant you do. And designing cars for mutants is probably not terribly lucrative.

Talk to teachers about stuff that needs to be done (very routine), talk to acting principal as Bigster has been acting up at home and we are concerned about her. She is Very concerned and promises to set me up with the school counsellor as soon as she can, so that the counsellor can then chat with the Bigster. Growing up is hard hard hard and Biggie just goes to pieces when she is tired – she doesn’t have coping skills to pull herself back together. Maybe this time we will get help?

Discovered that we have no water pressure at all on the cold tap in the kitchen sink. This is clearly due to a Plumbing Mishap and I will have to call the plumber to get them to come and sort it out. Is it worth it when I have other sinks and another plumber coming on Tuesday anyway? Probably.

Talked to cleaner about doing ironing too, probably as a once-off. Yay our agency, who I had asked about costs – they told her and got her to call me directly as we already have a relationship (she has been cleaning for us for at least 6 years, probably more like 8).

Booked a babysitter for my work christmas party night. Warned her that I may be very late home and rather the worse for wear. Two years ago we ended up at Mme Brussels with a client fetching me Mojito after Mojito. I don’t remember where we were last year – clearly it wasn’t up to 2006 standards.

Helped the Bigster a bit with her German homework.

Spoke to my mother about shopping, Christmas, niece and OMG DO NOT BUY MY KIDS LOLLIES PLEASE!!!

Cooked dinner – lamb stir fry. This would be a good plan except that my kids would be vegetarian apart from the fact that they do not eat veggies either. Managed to persuade them that it was really Souvlaki (omg again) and serve it on pita bread. They eat lettuce, some shredded carrot, and lamb. OMG not onion or capsicum – gross! (sigh).

Discovered that The Cupboard Under The Sink was semi-flooded. This must have been dishwasher residue. Threw out a huge bag of old cleaning products and still have way too many, but at least they are now lined up tidily in a dry cupboard. I will not buy any more until I have cleaned my oven four times and polished all my floors three times. And shampooed the carpet and de-flea’d the cat (OK, threw that one out … we haven’t had a cat for 4 years). I did however throw out the silver polish. I have better things to do with my life.

Otto went to bed in my bed because it is game night, even though no-one is here. That works for me. I had a coke (only fizzy drink in the house … it was good but not quite as good as I remembered – think I will be able to pass on it in future), chatted to a couple of friends and am contemplating bed.

Email from my French teacher which is good because I wanted to email her – hoping she might have time for some private lessons, as fitting into a class right now would be tricky. I manage to tell her some stuff about my trip and the gift I bought her, in French. Yay.

Dishes are done, benches wiped. I do feel efficient, although I also feel like the Queen Of Spending/Outsourcing. I still want to get a handyman in to fix some door handles and stuff. And maybe clean out the gutters – there was a big splash outside the kitchen windows tonight. 

Ooo – and I saw the OMG BEST IDEA EVER today – instead of hiring a skip, you can get people to drop off a lockable 4m^3 trailer that you fill in your own time over 2-3 days. Same cost, much easier, no permits required. I could probably get them to put it under my carport, if I cleared room. And I have lots of bags of rubbish to get rid of.

If Fraser read that, he would understand it as: I AM GOING TO THROW AWAY ALL OF FRASER’S GOOD AND SPECIAL STUFF WHILE HE IS OVERSEAS. Which is not true, but a bit of paranoia never hurt anyone.

To-do list: Add “change globe in front light” – it blew today. 😦

Tomorrow, we are due to get a month’s average rainfall in 24 hours. This affects me because

  • my first thought was, OMG I should get a rain tank!!! (bit late …)
  • we are meant to be helping out on an outdoor trash and treasure/damper making stall at a community fun day between 4 and 7 pm. Thank goodness for Gore Tex…

When I lack the luxury of time, I lack the luxury of editing out the uninteresting stuff from my posts. Sorry.

Meanwhile, the To-do list:

  • Finish analysis of project for work – Thursday – not finished yet – will need to do some tonight or tomorrow
  • Measure cavity properly – Friday – plumber may help with this ) done
  • 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
  • Dishes – Never ending.
  • OMG Laundry!!!  – Ditto
  • Pre-work on another project – by the end of the weekend
  • Pre-work on new project we won today – by Monday
  • Help Biggie prepare for German exam on Saturday – tomorrow after school. realising how much she has not done. Sigh. It’s hard for smart kids to realise they need to study. She is panicking a bit – I will have to walk her to class tomorrow. At least she learned to conjugate verbs tonight, I think.
  • Change globe in front light
  • Find handyman
  • Book trailer
  • Clear space under car port
  • Check if Community day thingy is going ahead, despite the weather
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Posted by on November 21, 2008 in decluttering, family, games, house, to-do


Diary of a Lone Parent. Day 2.

7.00 mobile phone beeps. I turn it off and roll over. The new iPod alarm clock will go off in a sec.

7.30 hmm … shouldn’t the other alarm clock have … OMG IS THAT THE TIME??? Yeesh! Jump up, prepare kids’ lunches, put away dishes from last night. Check email.

8.00 Biggie gets up. Put on laundry load #1. Supervise her getting breakfast, make sure all lunches are labelled, get out clothes for Otto.

8.15 Otto gets up. Make breakfast (jam on toast, cut into 6 rectangles per slice of bread), put out clothes. Discuss whether there is swimming today (she thinks not, I suggest that maybe she should wear her swimsuit just in case. She agrees.) Investigate alarm clock and discover that Fraser never told the iPod that it is daylight savings time (he took my nano with him to bggcon and left the big one for me to toy with). It thinks it is an hour later than it is. I fix that.

8.30 Jump in the shower, get dressed.

8.45 Get Otto dressed. Pack her school bag, put swimming stuff in there too.

8.50 Tell Biggie to get off the computer.

8.52 Tell Biggie to get off the computer.

8.55 Tell Biggie to get off the computer. Herd children out the door.

9.05 Arrive at school, late. Chat with 2 teachers while I sign the kids in in the late book.

9.15 Home, makeup, pack work bag. Find coins for tram fare. Do breakfast dishes. Turn off TV.

9.45 Leave for work. Drive to school, park near there, so I can just get off the tram at school this afternoon. Realise that when Fraser cleaned out the car he took out the emergency umbrellas. Wish I had an emergency umbrella as I shelter under a tree waiting for a tram. In the rain.

10.40 Get to work. Decide to work through without a lunch break today, as there is a lot to be done and the client wants to have the report by next Wednesday. And writing the report depends on me checking the data.

Realise that the survey site we are using allows you to create a “date” answer, but does not allow you any way to retrieve those answers in a table or as free text. Apparently I went white. My colleague got back from lunch in the middle of my very professional expletive-laden fit and thought something was seriously wrong. Realise that we can download the entire raw dataset as a CSV file then delete the other billion columns to just keep the dates. Discover that each response uses a variable number of lines in the spreadsheet that I have to delete. Curse some more and then get on with it. Take a brief break and see mention of Fraser in someone’s BGGcon twittering. Realise that he is never going to collect these things or blog about BGGcon so really as a Good And Kind Wife I need to kind of remotely blog for him. Or, as I prefer to call it, stalk him. Get back to work. Ring plumber and arrange for him to come tomorrow. We bond about crappy dishwashers that are difficult to install.

14.30 OMG is that the time already????? Start packing up. I am only up to question 40 or so of 52, but the last few shouldn’t take toooooooo long.

14.32 Company director gets back and asks whether I have 15 minutes in the next hour or so.

Me: I have to leave to collect my kids, but I can review something on the tram if you like.

He is happy.

14:50 Get on tram. Ticket inspectors board. Good: I have one. Review J’s report.

15:10 Call J with comments. Another set of Ticket Inspectors board. I hear one of them tell another passenger that you don’t get a prize until you are checked 3 times. My comments echo J’s so that is good. Write shopping list.

15.20 Get off tram near school … as the THIRD set of ticket inspectors gets onto the tram. Laugh with fellow passenger (wish I was getting the prize though! LOL!). Walk up to school, sort through lost property bins in Otto’s classroom and find some of her clothes. Yay. She did not go swimming.

15.35 School over, speak with Biggie’s teacher. I need something from the Vice Principal. Chat with School Secretary while I wait for VP to be finished with a parent. Eventually realise that she will never be finished with that parent or possibly that she has forgotten me. Collect kids, walk to car, drive to supermarket.

16.05 Go to bank, take kids to toilet, do supermarket shopping. Today’s theory is Treasure Hunts – each girl has her own shopping list. It doesn’t entirely quell the angst of supermarket shopping with 2 children but it definitely helps.

16.30 home, kids play with bubble mix. Realise I left my keys in the front door and one of the kids closed it. Encourage Biggie to climb out a window to go around and get them. Put bins out, put rubbish and recycling in them, check freezer. A mini-goal of mine is to eat some of the food in there – make a start by cooking fish fillets and wedges for the girls tonight. Also find some treats (choc chip banana bread) for lunchboxes tomorrow, and get some honey soy lamb out for tomorrow. Put away dishes. Check email. Check bgg. Add to Fraser’s third-party blog.

18.24 Girls are yelling at each other because Biggie looked at Otto. Sigh. I’m off to get tomorrow’s school lunches ready.

Edited to add:

18.30 Sit down with the Bigster to do some revision for her German “exam” on Saturday. I assume that the exam material is deliberately difficult – there is no way she is up to most of this stuff. She cracks it in a big way and starts yelling. After the third time, I send her to bed. She’s overtired and the only way out is sleep. Meanwhile Otto has managed to spill bubble mix all over the floor. Sigh.

18.50 Dishes. Listen to Otto’s reading. She’s doing well but lacks confidence – we need to work with her more on this.

19.00 phone call – V is in the area & wants to drop in. Sounds good to me.

19.45 or so – put Otto to bed. In my bed “because your gaming friend is here”. Little rules lawyer – at least I didn’t have to sit with her for an hour tonight. Back to V and we play Crack- errm, Dominion twice. And chat. Then he needs to go so we chat for at least another half an hour. Heh.

23.00 or so – more dishes, check lunches for tomorrow (savoury pastry wheels, wedges for Bigster, fruit salad (Otto: nectarine, apricot, strawberries; Claudia: cherries and strawberries), Chocolate chip banana bread. In the morning, I will make sandwiches.). Teeth, washing, update blog, then bed.

Meanwhile, the To-do list:

  • Finish analysis of project for work – Thursday – not finished yet – will need to do some tonight or tomorrow
  • Arrange plumber to come and remove old dishwasher – aim for Friday – arranged. Expected 8am Friday *shudder*
  • Measure cavity properly – Friday – plumber may help with this 🙂
  • 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 – done. And to do.
  • OMG Laundry!!! Still!!! Ugh!!! – right now, if washing machine has finished – Ditto
  • 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 – done
  • Transfer money to ING – tonight – done
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Posted by on November 20, 2008 in family, to-do


Diary of a Lone Parent. Day 1.

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


Clearing further

Today it was my bedroom’s turn – specifically, my “side” of the bedroom. Fraser wants to go through his stuff before it gets sorted. The part of me that is a sceptic feels that that side may never get done 🙂

Reaction: Wow that room is big.

I think I gave at least 5 huge binliner bags to charity. And threw out many, many more bags full of stuff – recycling, old clothes that were just too old to give away, rubbish/useless stuff. There was even a whole binliner bag full of old shoes.

Meanwhile, both girls are having friends over to play this week. That’s their reward because I cleaned their room. Well, their reward for sort-of keeping their room tidy, with a lot of nagging. Luckily I don’t have much work on this week so I can get the living room looking presentable-ish tomorrow (and bake OMGgingerbread too).

Schedule for Melissa’s Week:

Tuesday (now) – work out what needs to be done before I go away, watch DVD 🙂

Wednesday – housework, shopping, baking, French homework, OMGFrench!, Rubbish man?, book tree man

Thursday – car serviced, housework, Otto’s friend & her family over for afternoon tea

Friday – school finishes early, Bigster’s friend over to play, Bigster’s other friend and her family over for dinner.

Next week, work is busy.

The week after? I leave for Europe!

OMG *bounce*

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Posted by on September 16, 2008 in children, decluttering, family, house, to-do, travel



I have not been posting much lately.

I have been

  • busy with family stuff (August is the Birthday Month from Hell)
  • busy with getting ready for my trip (I am NOT packing … just storing stuff in my suitcase. Yes, there is a difference)
  • busy with OMGLEHAVRE (see announcements on boardgamegeek and boardgamenews. Yay.)
  • busy with work
  • busy with French
  • busy with the Organiser (the girls’ room is gorgeous!)
The countdown has started. I’m still counting in weeks (just over 3 till I leave … in 6, I will be in OMGESSEN! already) but from Friday I think the “days” kicks in.
I sorted out the UK rail and picked up my tickets – the only thing left to book is the apartment in OMGBUDAPEST. 
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Posted by on September 10, 2008 in to-do, travel