Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Another Ordinary Day

Thought I'd do something different today and share with you my Monday. People are always asking what I do all day. Here it is: 

6:15 This is when my alarm goes off but I have it timed so I can hit snooze twice.
6:25 Finally got up. Gotta love my commute--I threw on my robe, took 30 steps (maybe 50--I've never counted) and I was at work.
        My first task is to unlock the front door to let the staff in. We had so much trouble with theft that we had to start locking (with a padlock) the front door. Because our layout is open with many buildings on one property, this locked door only prevents outside people from coming in or things going out but no one is locked into a building. Didn't want to sound like I was running some scary type of sweatshop.

       Since it was Monday it meant new time cards for all the daily staff. We have some live-in nannies, and some nannies that come a few days a week and then housekeepers and gardeners. Whew, don't we sound lah-di-dah. 

6:40  I sat in the reception area and filled out all the cards. Because punching in is a pretty novel concept I have to manually do the cards weekly so no one gets confused and punches in on the wrong week.
We have a new cook in training this week so I made sure her instructions were clear.

6:50 I got on the internet and read through my Reader and checked on Facebook. The internet is fastest in the morning.

7:45 Internet was still working well so I checked email--all three accounts (business, personal and blog) and also worked on downloading the records for our check deposits.
8:15 Woke Tom up. He frequently has to work at night when the electricity is good so he sleeps a bit longer in the morning. I was a good wife and served him homemade doughnuts & coffee. I got dressed finally.
8:30 Ate breakfast: coffee and scrambled eggs
          A few of the kids were still down with the flu so I checked on them and made sure they were getting medicine on time and resting well. The nannies don't like to have the kids resting in bed because it's boring for them (the nannies) so I have to keep on top of this.

9:00 Back at desk: I supervised Troy doing his math, kept working on bank records, and wrote a blog post

9:30 Went over business emails with Tom. Helped Jasmine with her essay.

10:00 Kept working on the blog--trying to add the photos which takes a long time on our internet speed. Kept helping Troy with his math. Read more email. Downloaded more bank stuff.
      The internet began to slow down.
Our new volunteer started school with the kids today so she went over some of their worksheets with me.

11:00 Since the internet had stopped working completely by now, I decided to work on payroll--printing and preparing the slips. I also spent some time in the kitchen supervising the new cook.

11:30 Wrapped up our charity's August finance report--always so much fun!

12:30 Essay help for Timmy. He was writing an informal essay about a trip we took to the falls last year. It was an entertaining read. I have a hard time assessing my kids' writing work though. Am I the only homeschooling mom with this problem?

1:00 Tuna sandwiches for lunch

1:30 Business meeting with Tom
             internet still not working

1:50 Took a siesta. This is one of the best habits I've acquired from living overseas. 
3:00 internet--still not working well. I tried entering PW's latest giveaway but sadly, I know now that I didn't win.
3:15 Payroll. This is one of my most challenging tasks each month. I don't have a fancy payroll program so I manually enter each time card into a spreadsheet and then mail merge it into a Word document to create payslips. I'm mostly pleased with the set up and I've had some wonderful friends help me in getting it to work as well as it does but, it is still subject to human error. I make mistakes from time to time in forgetting to enter data or that a formula doesn't carry over.
  Because I've occasionally made mistakes and because it is such a new concept for our staff (most employees here are paid a standard salary each month) they distrust the pay system and routinely question the data. This makes it a very time consuming event for me as I have to take their little scraps of paper containing their handwritten record of work and compare it to their time cards and then to the computer spreadsheet. Sometimes I have made a mistake but often they have made a mistake in their adding or in their record keeping or they forget to sign in. I'm considering instituting a fine for mistakes. If I mess up I'll pay them a dollar on their next check. If they mess up they owe me a dollar.

5:15 Payroll, eventually mostly done I moved into the kitchen to prepare dinner. I cooked soy pieces & veggies in a soy sauce & ginger sauce and we had rice with it. Nice and healthy.
    Of course, I also ate leftover icing from Jasmine's birthday cake while I was cooking so I'm pretty sure that canceled out any health benefits of the dinner. Just keepin' it real, people.

6:30 We sat down for dinner. Peter joined us as he does every evening for his special family time. He loves to sit on the table and beg for food. I'll have to post pictures of his sign language soon. He's hilarious.

7:00 We all relaxed in living room.Peter was still with us and Lizzie joined us as well. We're a little concerned about Lizzie's development so we're going to be keeping a closer eye on her and also writing to some doctors for advice. If you know of any pediatricians or other experts that could take a look at her case history, I'd really appreciate it.
7:30 The kids picked out Grown Ups as the movie for the night. I watched 80% of it but finally had to call it quits. I just couldn't endure it.
            Kept checking the internet but it was still down.

8:00 The babies went back to the nursery for sleep time.

10:00 I headed to bed. I'm currently reading The Book of Ruth (the novel--not the book of the Bible) and so I read that for about 5 or 10 minutes but then I was out for the count.


So, what did you think? Was it what you expected or did you think my life was a little more thrilling on a day to day basis?

Exactly one year ago: A Hospital Visit


  1. You lead an amazing life. I am in awe of the commitment you and your family has made.

    helping thos elittle angles must be an amazing experience.

    Hugs & love,

  2. I think the fine idea would cause a major stink at first, but might work to reduce your error time. Just make sure you put it in writing and have a clear explanation posted and a copy for each. And have them sign something that says they understand it. That way you won't get the labor board accusing you of cheating on the wages. (If I learned anything in Zambia, it was CYA.)

    Just like your payroll story, I was always amazed at how long it took for simple tasks. For instance, it would normally take me a week to pay the electricity bill. We never received the bill and so when I knew it was coming due, I'd go and ask for it at Zesco. They never could get it to me right away. So they'd want me to just pay whatever amount that I thought might be right and I'd refuse. I'd come back twice and finally get it. Then the system would be down & I'd have to come back to pay so that I could actually get a receipt. Repeat next month. I'm sure you have some stories like that which would just amaze your readers.

  3. Oh my goodness! I got wiped out just reading all of that. That's your typical day, huh?

  4. the only part that didn't exhaust me was the siesta :-)

  5. Hi. I popped over from Mami/City Sunday and have to tell you I am hooked. I will certainly be back.

    One idea....for the sign-in, could you use a separate sheet for each person, and use carbon paper so the hours they put are copied onto a paper for you as well? Bringing it to you to initial each "shift" would be a pain but it would also hold them accountable for making sure their hours were correct (if they knew you were signing off on them immediately).
    Never mind, too much work :)


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