By the end of November the days are supposed to be shorter. I beg to differ. Monday should start around 8am with the alarm going off. Mine starts at 12.45am with the phone going off.
Shorn of two children, a family of five becoming a family of three for a few days as two head back to university in Belfast, the house is quieter.
But though he isn't a big football fan, Rowan (20) will today be delighted that a last minute winner for Manchester United on Sunday afternoon kept me up watching a recording of Match of the Day. A crisis is brewing.
'Hello Rowan," says his mum.
"Er, hello mum," comes the timid response. "My laptop is on 1% charge and my charger is on the kitchen table."
With online lectures throughout the day and a test thrown in there is no option.
At 1am I'm off up the M2 from Magherafelt, not another sinner on the road. It's so quiet that on the hill down past Glengormley a fox ambles out from the verge to cross the motorway and narrowly avoids disaster at the last minute. Seems he wasn't expecting me to be there any more than I was.
It's only the third time I've been in Belfast since March. It is quieter than I remember. Then again it is 2am in the morning.
When Monday starts (again) it's the annual round of family messages for Gina's 19th birthday. We watch to see who doesn't message, as you do.
This time last year she was inviting friends round to enjoy a party through the night. There is no such fun this year.
It's the first birthday she has 'celebrated' away from us, but she has done the decent thing and given her boyfriend a lift up to the city on Sunday evening as his car broke down over the weekend at home. She will stay there overnight.
In one respect our roles as parents seem slightly redundant, in another, essential. Here when they need us, let them live when they can. Family strings may be loosening, but they will never be let go.
Gina had started at Queen's in August and for a couple of months living in halls had been exploring a new life. Now she spends most of the week at home and has taken on extra shifts in her weekend job at a local petrol station to save money for a time when there is something to spend it on. Clouds and silver linings I suppose.
I notice she has cleaned out her car when I find all the rubbish in the utility room floor, despite the bin being right outside the back door. She went to McDonald's without me. Ah well.
One consoling fact is the way I melt on opening the kitchen door on Monday morning as the smell of Christmas cake lingers deliciously in the air. It's making the cats slightly crazy. The dog is chilling on the sofa. I assume she doesn't like cake.