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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some explanation required

A career in childcare seems to have sucked all the cuss words out of my sister in law, Shell, because despite knowing her for about 20 years I can't say I've ever heard her use worse than the word 'idiot.' And almost without fail this will have been firmly directed at my brother, Shane.

Shane's work has had him jet setting all over the place for the last several years. I get jet lag just listening to his itinerary.

Working in a bank, I see loads of blokes come through with jobs which take them away from their families. People in the mining sector, in particular, tend to fly away regularly and for long stretches of time. It's interesting talking to both the blokes who go and their wives who stay behind.

I don't know how these blokes do it. I can't go to Brisbane by myself for one night and get a good night's sleep. I toss, I turn, I annoy Tracey by calling every five minutes. I'm starting to think I'm a bit needy.

Some couples have nailed it. They know why they're putting themselves through all the hassle and they even enjoy both the time together and the time apart. Other couples, not so much. Often I think it's setting a time limit which can make a difference - five years and we're out, sort of thing.

Where the family units break down, I tend to hear the same complaints - 'I haven't had a break from the kids in weeks. He'd come home, put his feet up and expect to be on some sort of holiday,' from the wives, and 'I'd come home exhausted and she'd expect me to take over every little thing so she could have a break,' from the husbands. Wives resentful because they're basically single parents anyway and husbands resentful because they're giving up being with their families to get ahead and not feeling appreciated for it.

Fortunately, my brother and his wife seem to have the 'time apart' aspect sorted. I mean, they're human, I'm sure they argue - and I lived with the man for the first fifteen years of his life: you can't help but want to slap him - but I just don't see them stress over Shane needing to travel. My brother seems to enjoy in-flight food and the all too real (for me) risk of becoming a air crash statistic, and when Shell says he's heading off to Asia or somewhere for a few days there's never any hint of resentment or tone. I'm guessing she rather sensibly likes to limit his influence on their three children.

But I had to laugh when, earlier this week, Shane sent Shell the above photo of himself in Malasia, but failed to add text saying the young boy was a mate's son.

Containing, I think, the only time I've ever known Shell to use of the F word, I'm sure her response (below) had my brother scrambling to thumb in an explanation.

"Great picture my sexy husband, but who the fuck is that child??? If you tell me it's yours you're dropped!"

At least she didn't call him an idiot.

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1 comment:

Kez said...

I think it's so great that your brother and his wife have found a way to make things work in that situation. Her message in response to his picture is priceless haha.
My husband worked FIFO for almost a decade, but luckily came home to work just before I got pregnant. He still has to do shift work which means our Little Mister sometimes doesn't see him for a few days (early starts, late finishes and vice versa), but it's good knowing there's support around the place and a little family crisis doesn't mean my husband is stuck thousands of ks away.
We survived FIFO simply because we had a plan to get out. I don't think we could have done it forever. It's very challenging to a relationship. We didn't make extravagant "cashed up bogan" purchases, putting us into debt so we wouldn't have to get stuck in the cycle. My husband looked for good jobs at home whenever he could and we planned for a future with him at home, using that extra money for things we might not afford when he came home to less pay (stuff on the house etc).

About Me

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Bruce Devereaux is one of the nicest people he knows. When not at work he enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies.


His career, and if we used the term any more loosely an e might fall out, has included a gardener, a personal lender, a console operator, a stop/go man (not as big a bludge as you might think but great if you’re into sunburn, abuse and varicose veins), a cleaner of banks and pubs and, for a very brief period, a door to door salesman (until the last door he knocked on was answered by a very scary woman with tremendously hairy legs).


Bruce Devereaux currently works as a forty-five-year-old award winning customer service officer (glass statuette available upon request) for the Bank of Queensland and as a very casual employee for Corrective Services. He likes to believe he excels at both but then he has always been prone to exaggeration.


His favourite colour is green, with a picture of Dame Nellie Melba on one side and General Sir John Monash on the other. His favourite flower is self-raising.

 If you see him around town, call his wife immediately - he's probably snuck out and left her alone with all the kids.


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