Relationship rules for DIDO DINKS

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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!


When Lainie (MiningFM's co-founder and website editor) asked me to write a column on 'Rules for DIDO DINKS', it came as quite a coincidence. I'd just been reading one of the chat forum discussions here on the website, about house rules for FIFO families, and decided I'd quite like to steal some of those rules for myself.

When I broached the subject with Mr Miner, he didn't quite seem to get it. "Why do we need rules?" was all he had to say. And I could tell by his tone of voice that he envisaged a huge list of tasks that I expected him to do, with very few benefits in return.

He sat there with a slightly bemused look on his face, like one of the husbands in Wife Swap when the new 'wife' comes in and plasters one whole wall of the house with A3 paper, covered in strict rules, written in big black permanent marker.

I was tempted to get out the markers and flip chart right there, but I decided that perhaps he needed easing in gently to this concept. So I suggested the rule I would quite like to borrow from the clever partners on the MiningFM forum: going out for dinner.

He let out an audible sigh and said that dinner was probably acceptable. We agreed that we would go out for dinner once every long break (between finishing day shift and starting night shift) when he had more time at home. And to combat the fact that we're both Librans (and hate making decisions) we agreed to take it in turns on deciding where to go. Hey presto! Our first rule was decided.

Now, I can see why Mr Miner might think we don’t need any rules. He's quite happy to go about his business in his way, without thinking too much about anything else. But what if he came home and the house was a complete mess? What if I didn’t buy his gluten free bread or left the fridge empty? What if I didn’t call him for three days while he was away at work? And, what if I arranged for the girls to come over on a Friday night when there was a major footy game on?

OK, being the less-than-observant soul that he is, he probably wouldn’t even bat an eyelid if I did any one of the above (maybe I should try it?!) But if I tried all three at once I think even he might come to the conclusion that something is amiss.

I’m not saying I do all the work either. He often does things around the house when he’s home too. The point is that although we may not have any hard and fast rules in our relationship, we do have day-to-day expectations of each other that we’ve come to rely on.

When I discussed this with a friend, I came up with a whole list of things that we do in our relationship (but to borrow a line from Pirates of the Caribbean, they are "more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules").

So here is my list of guidelines for DIDO DINKS:

  1. Communication is key. Mr Miner always texts me when he gets to work after his long drive and after the end of each shift. The text often just says "made it", but it stops me from worrying.
  2. First day home is a quiet day. Unless it’s some kind of special occasion we don’t plan anything apart from dinner and lounging in front of the TV.
  3. I clean the house before he comes home (it is usually my mess, after all) but he has to do some housework during each break.
  4. He needs to make time to hang out with his friends when he’s home too and I need to let him. It’s too easy to be clingy!
  5. We take it in turns to cook dinner for each other during his break and we try to cook together as often as possible.
  6. I make sure that there’s 'real' food in the fridge, including his soy milk and gluten free bread, when he gets home. (I exist quite happily on beans on toast and soup while he's away!)
  7. If he needs to use his break to go back to the farm (he owns it with his brothers), it should be discussed beforehand so that I can either go up and join him or make my own plans.
  8. Last but not least, we will go out for dinner every other break.

And there you have it. They’re not very exciting or inventive, we’re not taking up salsa classes or going scuba diving every weekend, but they are simple and most importantly, they work for us.

The next break after our discussion of "The Rules", it came to Saturday night and I suggested we go for dinner. After an hour of Libran indecision, I called the Greek restaurant we’d chosen and they were fully booked. By this time it was 8pm, so we gave up and ordered a pizza instead. Like I said, they’re only guidelines. Perhaps we’ll have better luck next time?! 


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