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Anne is away – discuss

Fish finger sandwich – a must when the wife is a way.

My wife Anne is away this week visiting her parents. Son number one is at University and son number 2 (kid number 3) has gone skiing so at home we have me, daughter number 1 (kid number 2) and son number 3 (work it out). I am nominally in charge.

Before she went Anne printed off a detailed schedule – who is doing what, where and when and how much cash I need to dish out to who for school dinners (the Trefor Davies scheme for avoiding making packed lunches), bus fares etc etc. I specifically asked her not to prepare menus for the week because I figured that us kids could then have a few treats – chips, curry, pizza etc etc.

This is where it starts getting hard. I don’t know whether anyone else out there realises  but you have to plan some of these things in advance! Any sensible plan includes a sausage or fish finger sandwich option. Some of the ingredients we have – sausages I was able to find in the freezer yesterday but could I find the fish fingers? Hell no! Fortunately they are for tonight and having chatted to the boss today and casually slipped in the subject into the conversation I now know that they are in the other freezer. Okaay.

What I have just done is uncovered a huge new market for husband household management services/call it what you like. The fundamental building blocks are all there.

We have online calendaring and scheduling, a connected home and technologies around that with a little tweaking can help me. I’m not asking much. I want to be able to browse the family larder online and click on the few menu items that take my fancy. I might even want to be able to select from a list of possible recipes based on available ingredients known to be present. Eg for fish fingers read fish fingers and chips, fish fingers sandwiches, fish fingers provencale etc (can’t actually think of any other ff related recipes – should have used a better example – mince perhaps).

I need to be told where in the fridge/freezer/shelf these ingredients are in order to make life easy for myself – why not ? I didn’t put them there so I might not even know the colour of the packet I am looking for. All this needs to happen via a social networking interface that allows me to send Instant Messages to my remote supervisor requesting support or escalating difficult management decisions. I might even want to occasionally click to convert the IM into a voice or video call.

Tasks for the forthcoming day need of course to appear on my smart phone as scheduled jobs. There is nothing to stop this happening right now other than the reticence of a wife who has better things to do with her time than sit at a computer all day entering data.

The list of things I could do with is endless. I’m sure I have enough washed and ironed clothes to last me the week. She is due back on Saturday but what if she is delayed? I think Waitrose does laundry doesn’t it? will they come round to pick it up? Can I arrange it online? Who is going to babysit on Tuesday night? What setting does the school PE kit need to be on the washing machine tonight to be ready for Wednesday?

The software that sorts all this might be expensive but there is going to be a serious market demand for it.

Concierge ? Concierge? Are you there?

PS in case anyone really wants to know yesterday I cooked a fine beef stew that saw clean plates all round. Tonight it is fishfingers, chips and baked beans, tomorrow it is pizza (nice ones from Waitrose), Wednesday it is beef pie made with leftover stew and puff pastry, Thursday is is chicken marinaded in Nando’s with pitta bread and mixed leaf salad and Friday we are getting a takeaway curry. Anne will not be away too long as she knows I will bankrupt the family on expensive food rather than use economic ingredients bought by shopping around (but who has time? – they need an online service:)).

PPS Unsympathetic comments will not be tolerated on this particular post. Lifestyle criticisms and reference to political incorrectness are not allowed – I am looking for empathy. Evidence of a deep admiration for clearly visionary content will also be well received.

That’s all.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

5 replies on “Anne is away – discuss”

I like what I’m hearing here John but in her defence that would not have been practical. I suppose she could have lined up a rota with her mates though you do have to be careful. We might have ended up with healthy meals every night (eg oven chips instead of real chips) and maybe a long jobslist even!

No at the end of the day it has to be a software solution that one can have a certain degree of control over – policy setting etc. Any pointers to an existing solution will be given full consideration.

In the interests of balanced journalism Tref, and knowing your lovely wife, I would like to see a post from Anne detailing what insurmountable challenges she faces when you are away from home for a similar length of time. My money is on “Does anyone know of an online service that can make my otherwise tidy well organised house look like hurricane has passed through it while making more noise than a one man band on the HS2 steaming through the Cotswolds”… 😉

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