• Lara Flanagan

Bringing up a sole survivor

Updated: Feb 28


Archie, Rissie and I have a new routine on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday nights.  We all get very excited and watch Survivor together.  To say I miss my evening solitude is an understatement.  But thankfully, Survivor is coming to an end this week so the kids will be back in bed and I can afford to be magnanimous.


It is all Telstra’s fault.  When I moved back to the cottage I signed up for a mobile internet package.  I did this as I did not want to be locked into a plan that was linked to a fixed address. I also liked the idea of taking my internet with me; if I needed to work, I was not dependant on the internet of where I was.  I thought it sounded perfect, so I selected the large Mobile internet package and signed my life away.   A few hours after receiving the new device I realised that the internet package I had signed up for was hopelessly inadequate.  Why the fuck would Telstra sell something as ‘large’ when it was effectively tiny? I found this out when the kids were watching an episode of last year’s Survivor on playback tv.  One episode was about 3 GB.  As I had signed up for 20 GB a month I knew I was well and truly fucked.


I was filled with dread.  I knew I was going to have to deal with Telstra.  After one 90-minute return trip to Warwick, approximately a dozen phone calls when I unleashed my snotty, teary fury and many abusive emails It was revealed that I was locked in and it was too expensive for me to get out of my current plan.   However, I think to get rid of me, they increased my data to 45GB a month and reduced my monthly bill.   As soon as I got that 45GB I gave up dealing with the Telstra bastards.  45 GB was enough for work, the kids and I to check our emails and basic computer stuff, so I accepted my new device and plan.


It did mean however that streaming was no longer part of our lives.  Goodbye Netflix.  Goodbye Tenplay.  Goodbye, hours of Offspring on the couch.   I was a little sad, but it was also something that was forcing me to put my money where my mouth was.  I do tend to feel quite strongly about people’s dependence on their devices and technology. Now I only have enough internet to allow the basics so I am practicing what I preach.  We are back to normal TV, hiring a DVD when we feel like a movie and not staring at the computer screen in a mindless fashion when you get caught in the enticing web that is the internet.  Now when I see a snippet of Trump saying something inordinately stupid, I can’t click on the link, but instead, I ignore it.  I think for the first time in history Telstra might be good for someone’s soul.


I had promised the kids they could watch this season of Survivor thinking we could watch it the following afternoon on playback tv.  With no streaming, I was forced to decide.  Break my promise and send them to bed at the normal time, or allow them to stay up for three nights a week thus ensuring that I lost my evening solitude and would possibly go insane.    I was very tempted to break my promise, but I knew if I did that, then the bargaining chips I hold as a mother would get noticeably smaller in the future and that was not something I was going to risk dealing with.


Survivor has provided an interesting break in our usually rigid routine.  We still have dinner by 6pm and I read them a story before they do their reading.  Except now, when they have finished their nightly reading, they come out and join me in front of the television rather than going to sleep.    If I am going to watch a crap television show with my kids I don’t mind Survivor.   It would not be like watching the Kardashians who don’t do anything.  I have a real fear of the kids watching deadshits on television and thinking that what they see is a behaviour that needs to be emulated.  I am not sure what I would do if I caught Rissie trying to enlarge her bottom so she could balance a glass of milk on it or Archie wearing gangsta fashion and pulling his jeans down to show his Calvin Klein’s.


Survivor involves relatively normal people (as normal as you can be when you sign up for a reality tv show) trying to beat the elements.   Last year’s sole survivor was someone who everybody underestimated and it turns out that she was playing them all.  It also is a show that highlights it is not the fittest, most beautiful or handsome that are going to win, it is the toughest and most tenacious.  It is those who never give up.


Archie and Rissie have become obsessed with Survivor and I love listening to them discuss how many years they will have to wait before they can audition.  They are planning to be the first twins on Survivor and they are going to dupe everyone by not letting on how they are brother and sister.  They were talking recently and Rissie was checking with Archie that they would be in the final three together.  He looked at her briefly and said to her, “Yeah I guess so Riss.  But if I have to cut you loose, then I have to cut you loose.”  He shrugged adding, “It’s Survivor Riss.”


I think I was as shocked as Rissie.  Survivor also seemingly teaches you how to be ruthless. Really ruthless.  Amazing what can you learn by watching old-fashioned television with the kids.



#SingleMum #Survivor #Motherhood #ArchieandRissie #Twins #Humour #MyStories #MyNotes

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