Roses are red and rosters make me blue

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Hi! I'm Sarah Long. I arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met my Mr Miner soon after. We're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (or DIDO) to Orange in country NSW. I came out here as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

This year I made a New Year's resolution on Mr Miner's behalf – he has to take me out on a date at least once a month. Now, once a month doesn't sound like very often or something difficult to achieve. But I am looking at my desk calendar and I've realised that not only is January already over and we haven't been on one date yet, but we've only actually spent three full days together so far this year.

And what's more: I'm now not going to see him again until February 15! In fact, by March we will have only spent five full days together without one of us being at work. And I know I shouldn't complain, because there are many other mining partners out there who only see their man for one week every month, but my point is that rosters tend to take over your life.

When my friends call me to make arrangements, the first question they ask is no longer 'Are you free?' but 'Is Mr Miner home?' They know I love hanging out with them, but they also understand that my time with him is limited and my concentration won’t always be 100 per cent if he's sat at home.

Of course our mismatched routines do have their bonuses. His 4/4 days roster means I get time to myself without feeling guilty about doing my own thing and spending time with my friends. And I know he appreciates a game of golf with his mates while I’m at work, too. It also means that we allocate time to spend together and to appreciate each other. But arguments and resentment undoubtedly occur, particularly when we should be making the most of our time together but one of us has other commitments.

For example, the reason we aren't seeing each other until February 15 is because he has to go and see his brother (who lives seven hours from us in country NSW) in his next break. When he is home the following week, I have to be away for work.

When you're working with these rosters, the only way to make the most of the time you have together is to try to plan ahead.

With this in mind, at the start of the month I eagerly copied his roster into my calendar so that we could plan ahead for long weekends and holidays. I was already excited by the fact he had Christmas off for the first time since we met.

So you can imagine my disappointment, as I started the task and progressed through the calendar months, when I realised that he's working EVERY public holiday, and will also be away for Valentine's Day, my birthday and our anniversary!

While everyone else made the most of Australia Day by taking Friday off and having an extra-long weekend, for me it was pointless. For starters I was on my own, and secondly it would have been a total waste of a holiday that could otherwise be spent with Mr Miner.

I wasn't completely alone, of course. Everyone invited me to do stuff, but sometimes hanging out with other couples gets a bit depressing.

It also feels unfair that I am forced to use my holidays for long weekends, when others can take advantage of the usual public holidays available. I hate being at work when he's at home and I hate sitting at home all weekend missing him when he's at work. It just becomes so frustrating.

To put it simply, there's no such thing as a good roster - so you need to make the most of it, take the time off and do something together.

So far we’re having Valentine's Day a day late, our anniversary one week late and Christmas-in-July in August. Although none of this is ideal, at least we can look forward to some time together soon.

And what’s more, I can cheer myself up by thinking that each month we don’t have a date means that he can spend double on me the next time. Looks like I’ll be having lobster and champagne by March!

More from Sarah:

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