Thursday, November 02, 2006

My routine at the Pod

I'm posting my schedule online for those of you who would like to know what my job consists of. A number of my friends back home in Canada are fascinated with Mrs. P and want to know how my culinary skills are getting on. You'll be pleased to know that almost a year after starting this job... I have gotten the hang of cooking quite appetizing pureed meals! If I could have a baby - he'd get the best homecooked gourmet baby foods!

This is how my day unfolds:

6am - Brian is up for work

7am - I crawl out of bed and Brian makes me something to eat and has a cuppa coffee waiting (well... sometimes).

7-7:30 - I take Mrs. P the newspaper and make her a cuppa tea and bread with butter and honey. She reads the paper in bed. I go back downstairs to get the girls organized for school. They leave at 8:30 on their bikes, if it's raining I drive them.

8-8:30 - I make Mrs. P's porridge - smooth, no lumps with a dollop of stewed prunes on top (homemade of course) and serve it to her in bed. Then I either vacuum, dust or tidy up. Sometimes I have a shower - sometimes I wait until my break after lunch.

9-9:30am - Help Mrs. P with her shower. She needs very little help but I wash her feet and her hair when she does it. I make her bed (or strip it). This is really "our" time. It's the best part of my day. We chat about personal things - it's a very intimate ritual. I ALWAYS make sure to moisturize Mrs. P's entire body. I'm very proud of the fact that her skin glows and feels so soft... for a woman of her age. I take great care of her feet as well. When I first came on the scene, she had a number of overgrown toenails and a few fungal infections under the nail bed. I have reversed all of that. She has the most gorgeous feet... and I tell her that everyday!

10-10:20 - I put on a load of laundry, Mrs. P does her hair and face. Sometimes I run downstairs to hang out washing. When that's finished I make us both a cuppa tea and a biscuit (cookie). We watch the workers across the street and talk about what they are doing or we watch the ships come and go or we talk about anything exciting in the newspapers. This would also be the time I'd do Mrs. P's nails.

I use this time to do things that I have to do - like tidy up downstairs, sweep the deck, go out to run some errands occasionally or update my blog. This would also be the time we would go to the bank or a make a doctor's appointment if we needed.

11:30am - I ask Mrs. P what she would like for lunch. It depends on the weather or how hungry she feels. Today I made her mashed kumara (sweet potato), pureed spinach and pumpkin and topside mince (ground beef) with sauteed onions in an onion gravy. It was very successful and she ate most of it! I'm not always so lucky.

12pm - Mrs. P watches the news at noon while I prepare lunch.

12:30-1pm - I serve Mrs. P her lunch and sit with her while she eats it.

I have a break between 1:30pm-4pm but this varies from time to time (sometimes Mrs. P lets me go at 1pm and sometimes I'm up here until 2:30). Sometimes I don't take a break - such as the day I took Mrs. P to Fashion Island. More often than not, she will have visitors at this time.

Sometimes I am exhausted and I have a nap until the girls come home at 3:30.

3:30pm - Girls are home from school - pandemonium! Bags everywhere, loud voices, food, food, food, starving, starving, starving!!!

4pm - Cuppa tea time! Mrs. P likes to have a piece of cake or a ginger kiss. I'll also try to sneak in a chocolate calcium snack - but she loves her cake! The girls will often come upstairs to visit Mrs. P (and to have cake too) and I'll help with homework.

The afternoon is much less regimented and more relaxed. I can spend more time downstairs (and I have to because the girls would make a bloody mess if I didn't!).

5:30 - Brian's home! He comes upstairs to tell Mrs. P about his day. He usually gets her a glass of wine and has a beer with her. She enjoys his company - and it's a nice break for me.

6pm - Evening news. Brian or I start dinner (usually Brian - he's a great cook). The girls have a shower and get into their jammies.

6:30pm - I ask Mrs. P what she'd like for supper. Usually she wants something light - pumpkin soup, mashed banana with custard, etc.

7pm - Mrs. P is served dinner and I go downstairs to eat mine with the family.

8pm - Kids go to bed and I come upstairs.

8:30-9pm - I help Mrs. P to bed.


That's a typical day here in the pod. Of course it varies according to who's around and which family members are in town. Sometimes a family member will offer to do lunch or dinner - which is WONDERFUL! But Mrs. P's digestive system is so sensitive and she is very fussy about food that it's really difficult to please her. It's a crap shoot. Sometimes she'll eat something and LOVE it... and if you give it to her another day it may set off her reflux! She gets a nutritional supplement beverage everyday which has all of the necessary vitamins and minerals that she needs - so really, food is a bonus. She hates food. It's such a bother for her to eat. She doesn't want to offend anyone who brings her food - so she may hide things in a napkin and throw it away. So the family members who tell me how much she LOVED something they gave her - you should check her napkin first!

I've also discovered that consistency is key. People have been very sweet, offering all sorts of great advice and fantastic recipes to try - but the less experimentation the better. I've learned to do what works - and I stick to it. If she has a bout of reflux - she is afraid to eat for days afterward. It's just not worth it. So, her diet may be terribly boring, but it's working. I try to keep it as varied as possible but it doesn't change much from week to week.
I do the morning routine 7 days a week. At the moment I have two women who relieve me for Monday afternoon from 4-9pm and Tuesday afternoon from 1-9pm. I'd rather have Fridays and Sundays off but it's difficult finding carers who are available those days. Friday nights Brian and I enjoy going dancing and Sundays would be good days for the family. But for now we accept what we've got and we are grateful. At least we are here at the beach - it's not such a terrible spot to be. We adapt. On the weekends, Brian may spend more time upstairs with Mrs. P which gives me a break anyway.

The hours are definitely long - and the job doesn't allow us to get away on weekends but the way I see it, it has given us security and a family. That's definitely a bonus for a girl who has left her own family thousands of miles away and has an evil mother-in-law! I love Mrs P and she loves us.

Hope this hasn't bored you to tears! It's hard to believe this "Gypsy girl" has become so domesticated isn't it? For someone who has operated her own business for 10 years and worked my own hours - I'm doing quite well in a strict routine! I think it's been good for me in a number of ways.... but I'll save that for another blog entry!

No comments: