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Hot tips from a ham-fisted 'single' dad.

Byline: Dave Robson

IT was when the fridge door came off in my hands that I realised things could be going better.

The ever-dependable Mrs R has been away for a few days at an overseas christening, leaving me holding the babies - daughter, son, hamster.

And today, all four of us are very glad she's back because it, er, could have gone smoother.

I'm not taking all the blame, however, so call off social services. In fact, I feel I've been a victim of circumstance.

The first of those circumstances involved Honey the hamster, who steadfastly refuses to ingest any medication to ease her rattly chest. It flared up before Mrs R went away but, a la Dr Dolittle, I was confident Honey would make a miraculous recovery in my tender care. She hasn't. At the time of writing, she's still with us, but it's fair to say she's been in better fettle.

But at least she's in marginally better shape than our fridge was last Thursday night although, in my defence, that particular domestic appliance had been showing signs of wear and tear before I took control of household matters (I use the word "control" in its loosest form).

Picture the scene. The kids were watching a Harry Potter DVD in the living room. I was staggering around the kitchen, clutching a fridge door after its opening mechanism gave up the ghost.

I hadn't realised how heavy a fridge door, fully laden with cooled goods, can be. I do now. Lurching uncontrollably across the kitchen, it looked like a cross between Britain's Weakest Man meets Strictly Come Dancing.

Then it was time to get my legendary DIY skills to work before we lost a fridge freezer full of food. The result is a fridge which works, but looks like it's been put through some sort of redesign by lunatics.

But worse was to come. Next morning, I just happened to look in to young son's bedroom when I noticed a Ready Brek style glow in his bed.

In a surreal few seconds, he and I realised this was no shiny light of happiness - it was actually an angle poise lamp about to set fire to his duvet.

He'd taken the lamp off his shelf and put it in his bed. And as he awoke, in a dreamy state, he must have rolled over and accidentally switched it on. And the bulb was getting very hot indeed...

Don't worry - the lamp and the singed duvet are binned, he's had a fire safety lecture and I've checked the smoke alarms are working.

But it left me thanking God for making me look in on him when I did, and doffing my cap to anyone travelling the parenthood road on their own.

So to summarise - in just a few days as a single dad, I nearly saw off the hamster, son nearly set fire to himself and the fridge door fell off.

But apart from that, I think it all went pretty well.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2009
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