The independent woman's tool kit
Deb Russo is a FIFO wife of the offshore kind. Her husband works on oil rigs and vessels. Typically, he does a four-week-on and four-week-off roster. They've lived their entire 14-year relationship like this. Initially Deb's husband was in the Navy, then he shifted to work in the mines and did the 28/7 roster (Deb's least favourite!) With this offshore roster, though, she wouldn’t change a thing.
"You can't shift that," he said the other morning.
"Yeah okay," is all I said before whispering "I love you" and hanging up.
Then I put on my gym gear and best pluggers (that's what we call thongs in Queensland) and grabbed my trusty sack trolley and shifter ... and off I went to Mum’s house.
She's been living two doors down and was moving out. So of course, a few things needed to be shifted. Now, ordinarily we'd arrange a mover or ask a few friends ... that sort of thing. However, all that remained to be moved were two single beds, three couches and a double bed. To me, that's not much. And I lack patience. By the time I called and waited for someone to help, I reckoned I'd be finished with the dismantling and have it all shifted myself.
So that's what I did.
I do a lot of stuff like this on my own. I change tyres, paint walls, fix mowers, bikes and reno where I can. I am too independent (strong-willed and stupid, some might say) to wait for someone if I think I can do it myself. I'm not afraid of trying anything. I have, however, learnt my limits. I do ask for help when there's a likelihood I might get injured. With hubby away so much, I realise that would be a disaster for everyone.
I have also learnt to invest in good tools to make my independent world easier. So if you're embarking on a FIFO life and needing to be more independent, here's the supplies I'd suggest:
- A sack trolley: the best you can afford. It's great for shifting furniture, air conditioners, mowers, trees. So far there isn't anything my sack trolley hasn't shifted.
- A thick rug: so you can slide heavy furniture without damaging the floor (because on a Saturday night when you're home alone, what else do you do but shift the furniture or help your mother move house?)
- A hydraulic jack: for changing car tyres. So much easier than a normal jack. Also, ladies and gents, if you drive a car you need to know how to change a tyre. It's not hard.
- A tool kit containing the basics: hammer, shifter, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, tape measure etc.
- A first aid kit: and, again, know the basics just in case you drill your fingernail or hammer a finger.
So, with my sack trolley and adjustable wrench, I was done at Mum's in two hours! Plenty of time to don a dress and head to the boys' fancy dress ball. True, I had a broken nail – but the job was done and mum was shifted.
More columns from Oil & Gas Mum Deb Russo:
- Speak up before exhaustion breaks you
- Is FIFO to blame for my child's anxiety? Thankfully, the answer is 'no'
- How to stay sane and survive the Christmas holidays on a budget
- How we handle fly-out day
- When tiredness takes over and you start to second-guess your life...
- Future-proofing your family against the "blood bath" in Australia's oil and gas industry
- To protect those you love, prepare for the worst
- Christmas and the meaning of "stuff"
- Surviving with a growing brood when your husband works away
- Top tips from a frugal FIFO family
- Don't be afraid of tough conversations - your relationship will be better for it
- Put your marriage first. One day, your kids will thank you for it
- Clever mum's guide to juggling work and kids when your husband works FIFO
- Christmas? Been there and done that!
- My top tips for next time you're wearing that nurse's hat
- Don't play the waiting game. Get busy with your own life instead
- Easy tips for taking the stress out of drop-off day
- Real friends care about me. Not what my husband does for a living
- Learning the hard way to ask for help
- To be the best possible mum, you need to look out for number one
- The airport drop-off - learning the art of leaving
- Why I left the kids at home and went to Paris with my husband
- When your husband does FIFO, are you a single mum?
- Use 'welcome distractions' to survive long FIFO swings that seem to drag forever
- Those little words every FIFO mum dreads: "I don't want Daddy to go back to work."
- Heard of life hacks? They're great for FIFO families
- Winnebago wonders: blessings of a FIFO wife
- Beating the loneliness of FIFO life in winter
- Diary of a FIFO mum (4.30am starts included!)
- My husband spends 2016 hours of quality time with us every year. Beat that!
- Deb's advice for FIFO newbies
- Put some va into your relationships's va va voom
- Organisation: the key to sanity in FIFO households
- How to ease the pain of being apart for special events
- Four weeks apart from your loved ones? It's just part of the job on an oil rig!
- An oil & gas mum's advice on raising your own little superheroes
- Introducing my fantastic FIFO family