Sunday, February 20, 2005

the nanny diaries

I was on call Friday night, and and a punishing call at that--illustrating the principle that even on a 25 patient service where 24 of the patients are being good, that one kid acting up can ruin your whole night. Babies that don't squirm around when you poke at them are bad news. And a blood gas with a pH of 7.1 and a CO2 of 136 is very bad news. But in the end, despite the fact that I was hovering all night by that one isolette instead of plotting ways to break into the Launch Pad, I don't really mind, because a Friday call over a three day weekend equals a GOLDEN WEEKEND, and I'm never golden, since I have Friday continuity clinic which means that I'm never, ever on call on a Thursday. (Other programs have strategies to deal with this--for instance, a "float" clinic day, but our program is adamant that once you're assigned a clinic day, it's set in stone until the end of time. And maybe even beyond that.)

Blah blah blah, boring residency shop talk aside, it's been an exciting weekend for us because this evening, we had our first in-person interview with a real live NANNY. For our CHILD. I'll call her "Georgia" (not quite her real name), and we got her name from some mommy group listserve that one of my co-residents forwarded me. Aside from benefits of being a nanny that 1.) existed, 2.) needed a job, and 3.) spoke English, she had impeccable references from her current family, consisting of an adorable Eurasian toddler and two parents who are doctors at [University Hospital]. Aside from knowing these parents on a professional level, I've actually (coincidentally) treated their kid once before in the Peds ER. Asian mom, white-guy dad--they are our spiritual twin family! And Georgia is our spiritual future nanny! Or so we hope. For what it's worth, the interview went well, and while nothing is set in stone yet, she said she'd be ready to give us a final decision in a month. So we'll be crossing our fingers and toes until then, hoping she doesn't get propositioned by another family with deeper pockets, shorter work hours, and a more attractive fetus (though that last part is doubtful).

While this was our first actual interview with a nanny, it's by no means our first foray into the prospective employer market. We actually were in communication with another nanny prospect a few weeks ago, a college grad who had answered an ad that we had posted on Craig's List a while back. She too, sounded great, but kind of in a scary way. It sounds strange to say this as a negative, but basically, she was too good to be true. Seriously. Not only did she offer to cook and clean and go running with the dog on top of taking care of Cletus, she had absolutely no problem with the salary or schedule we were proposing. And she had these ridiculous overqualifications, like a double major in Psychiatry and English with a double minor (people have double minors?) in Spanish and Early Childhood Developement. And she had the exact same sense of humor as me, even making similar jokes about "Single White Female" and "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" as I had made with respect to hiring a nanny. AND (at this point I was starting to think that maybe I was dreaming up this whole correspondence) her e-mail closed with an Atticus quote from "To Kill a Mockingbird." I mean, that was really the kicker, a quote from one of my favorite books of all time. Clearly, she had to be a stalker. Either that, or I have a split personality, and was e-mailing myself.

Though it sounds paranoid at first pass, the stalker theory deserved some more attention. I've been keeping this online journal for more than four years now, and it's possible that someone had seen our ad on Criag's List, figured out that it was us, and decided to fuck with our minds. The thing is, I didn't put any identifying information on the ad. I didn't use our names. I didn't use our phone numbers. I used an anonymous e-mail address that forwarded to a new personal account that I set up specifically for our nanny dealings. And the name I used to register our Craig's List at was my married name, which I never, ever use, and for which a Google search would, I'm sure, turn up nothing. Most importantly, I never mentioned on these pages that the ad we posted was on Craig's List. So if it was a stalker, it was a clairvoyant stalker, because I don't know how the hell even our own parents would have recognized us from this ad.

So OK then, let's say then, for the sake of argument, that this girl was legit. Subsequent e-mail volleys only strengthened the eerie feeling that she and I were the same person. Her writing style, her weird sardonic parenthetical asides, her way of itemizing an e-mail response. I kept asking Joe, "Seriously, is this girl for real? I mean, does she really exist, or someone fucking with me?" There was no way to know. I contacted one of her former nanny references (another double-doctor family with infant twin boys--again, are you kidding me?), and their response was nothing less than glowing. Only I was still suspicious, because it was an e-mail reference, and the tone and prose-style was suspiciously similar to that received from the applicant herself. Could it still be someone elaborate ruse? No way to know for sure.

We had been scheduled to have a phone interview later that same week (an in-person interview would have to wait, since she was currently working in another state, as--get this--a copy-editor for a medical journal) but then, all of a sudden, it fell through. She heard back for another childcare-industry job for which she had applied, and she decided to accept, because it was a real job that included health benefits. And she was completely right to do that, I would have done the same, and a young college grad should try to look for a more upwardly mobile job than being our nanny. But the sudden end to our correspondence leaves me with more questions than answers. Primarily, did this person really exist or not? Because between all the perfect little pieces to her application, she seemed like a fictional character that someone concocted just to get us all excited.

Anyway, forget you, creepy stalker girl. Georgia is where it's at now. We're giving her a month to think things over and consider any other offers she might get, because I think that's only fair. But hopefully, by the middle of March, we'll have an answer in the affirmative and be able to relax. About this one issue, anyway.

Currently reading: "Black Hawk Down." I had to look around a bit to find a copy without Josh Hartnett on the cover, but finally found one lone copy on a back shelf at Shakespeare and Co. When I think about this book, all I can think about is that Dave Matthew's Band song from the movie trailer where he sings, "the space between..." in that incredibly whiney voice. Hopefully that will start to fade as I get more into the story.

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