WAITING ALL DAY for the 3 p.m. mail delivery. Will my check from the "government agency" arrive? I taught a writing course 3-1/2 months ago, have laid out hundreds of dollars for materials, film rental, text purchase, day care, etc. But no check yet, despite the fact that a woman in the "government agency" finance office has assured me the check will arrive early this week.

Jessica and Jonathan play quietly and watch "Sesame Street," enabling me to log in two hours on my National Bureau of Standards editing project. Then the fighting begins. Am anxious for supper to be done and kitchen cleaned so I can hide in my office, working on the NBS project. Tuesday

Still waiting for the check. My personal bills need paying -- especially an upcoming income tax payment. Mail arrives. But no love note from the Treasury. I call the woman in the "government agency" to track down the check. She assures me it's on its way -- a familiar tune.

I call NBS to remind Dr. X of his overdue bibliography for a revised manual. He's "working on it. Should be in mail by next week." I try to pin him down by telling him I'll be at the bureau for meetings next Wednesday. Can I pick up the bibliography then? "Call me Tuesday to check," he replies. It won't be ready.

Carpool meeting for Jonathan's nursery school. All the mothers are on different schedules -- trying to juggle the demands of motherhood and part-time jobs.

Morris working overtime at Office of Naval Research to process last-minute contracts. It's the end of the fiscal year; contracts must be processed or money will be lost.

I watch the kids outside after supper. They are playing frantically. Morris comes home exhausted at 8 p.m. I spend some time with him, then off to a PTA meeting. Wednesday

Morris leaves for work at 5:30 a.m.

Day starts with kids fighting. Bad omen. Can't squeeze in any work time today, just phone calls.

I call the "government agency" training office. No answer. After numerous calls, I learn the office has moved and people have new extensions. I call the head of training; he can't be reached. All is chaos. Today is moving day.

I call the training coordinator for my course. What's the story with my check, Mr. P? He's very apologetic, as he's been for the past month. "The woman handling contractors' bills was on maternity leave and no one handled her work." I know that, Mr. P. But she's been back a month. Where is the check now? "I'm going down to finance now to look into this matter. It's very sickening."

Mr. P calls back from finance office. Check was mailed. It should have been received already. They will stop payment and have Treasury issue a new check, which I can pick up next week.

I asked Mr. P if the paperwork for the invoice of my July course has been processed. He'll look into it. This means no.

Morris is home for dinner, but exhausted. Work in office on NBS progress report. Thursday

Call NBS to set up appointment to deliver progress report next week and invoice for Phase I payment. I sneak in an hour's work on parts of the NBS bibliography.

I shop for Saturday company, then babysit for a friend's baby. She's a sweetheart, but I'm glad my kids are out of diapers.

The afternoon is equally as busy -- I make article and photo assignments for the PTA newsletter, play school with Jessica and "Sesame Street" with Jon and clean upstairs.

Morris home late; it's the last night of the grad course he's taking at the Pentagon. Exhausted. (So what else is new?)

No check, of course. If I don't get the check next week, I'll have to call my congressman. Friday

I clean downstairs for company. Take kids to PTA open house. Air conditioning at school is broken. Punch runs out. Jon lies down in middle of the hall and refuses to move.

I prepare Sabbath supper -- Morris is home for dinner. We collapse in front of the TV. It's been a long week.

No check. Saturday

Up early to attend Bat Mitzvah of our babysitter. Then I rush home to prepare for our 3 p.m. guests.

Bills come in the mail, but no check.

Jessica, Jon and our friends' children tear the house apart. We all agree -- no more get-togethers with our children for a very long time. Sunday

We get a late start this morning so there's no time in the morning to work on the NBS project. The whole family is off to Baltimore with friends to enjoy Jewish-American Day at the Inner Harbor. Baked in the sun, but enjoyed the entertainment emceed by my dad.

I manage to queeze in two hours of editing after tucking in two very tired children.