Saturday, April 08, 2006

code orange

Things are holding up for now. My parents have been our saviors this week. At home, they discuss who's going to take "the first shift" (meaning showing up to our house at 6:00am) and who's going to take the "afternoon shift" while the other goes to work. We couldn't be surviving now without them. I had initially thought that Joe and I might have take turns violating the Supreme Code and actually call into work telling them that, due to childcare issues, we couldn't make it in--but that idea was nixed before it was even fully out of my mouth, because as we all know, the first rule of Fight Club is that you do not call in sick to Fight Club. "You can't CALL IN SICK when you're a RESIDENT!" my dad said, all aghast, as if I had just suggested that I just might drink some gasoline. "You HAVE to be there! You have to show them that you're A PROFESSIONAL." And so far, for all the troubles at home, we have been. But all thanks to my parents.

Cal also has an excellent fill-in nanny for the time being. For the sake of her privacy, I'm not going give you a million and one details about her life, but she's a reader of this page who lives in New York and offered to come and help us out while we continue our search for a permanent nanny. Let's call her "Mary," because she, like Mary Poppins, came down from on high with her flying umbrella and totally saved our butts. We met with Mary on Wednesday evening, and she's been coming by in the afternoons while my dad is watching Cal, just to give grandpa a much needed break and to play with The Boy. Next week, if she doesn't run away screaming in fear from all the piles of yet-to-be-recycled recycling that threatens to consume our apartment, we'll have her start with us for full-time work days. Thank god for nice people. And, it must be mentioned (not only because she reads this page, but because it's true), that Mary is also sweet and genuine and GORGEOUS LIKE A PRINCESS and probably the most overqualified nanny that Cal will ever have. I mean, she has a CHEMISTRY DEGREE, for the love of God. Maybe she can teach Cal how to build Bohr models out of his Linkadoos.

In terms of the search for a permanent person, it's been one step forward, one step back. We learned our lesson the first time around, obviously, and are proceeding our search with great caution. I'm going to trust my instincts more. One thing I found (in retrospect) with Georgia is that as far back as her first week with us, there were ample signs of what would be the problems to come, and if only I'd let myself see those signs instead of doggedly wanting to believe that she was the One True Nanny, maybe we wouldn't have been living as hostages for as long as we had. There's a difference between giving people the benefit of the doubt and being a total doormat, I guess, and what I'm realizing with some dismay is that while I thought I was just doing the former, really, I was a living example of the latter. It's just that I felt like I had no choice. I once told Joe months ago, when he was sort of subtly pointing out some not-so-cool things about Georgia, that I had to believe the best about Georgia, because otherwise, there would be no way that I could walk out the door to go to work every morning.

But I'm trying not to think about our old situation too much, because it just makes me all enraged, and serves no purpose anyway. It's over already, the reign of terror is over. Glory be. And now for something completely different. Aside from the rousing success of finding the glorious and talented Mary to fill in for us temporarily, the experience of looking for someone to step into the permanent position has been a little discouraging. We've had a good number of leads, but not many of them appear to be leading anywhere. We've had people on the phone ask about money before even asking anything about the job or Cal. We've had people who obviously know we have an infant at home call us at 11:30pm to confirm an interview time. We had someone come to interview who I suspect was borderline retarded. I don't say this in a malicious or a facetious way, I mean that in a purely clinical sense, like, I think her IQ was around 75 or 80.

First of all, she came along to her job interview with her cousin, which initially I tried to explain away by saying, "Oh, maybe it's because of some language barrier and she needs the cousin to help interpret." But then I realize that made no sense at all, given that both she and the cousin spoke English as a first language. Secondly, the cousin did all the speaking for her. Like we would ask her a question, "What do you envision doing in your position as a nanny with our household?" and the cousin would answer, "Oh, she'll watch the baby, play with him, read him books, do a little light housekeeping..." while the applicant herself just sat there and nodded. Furthermore, during the parts of the interview where Joe and I were getting into the nuts and bolts, talking about salary and hours and vacation time and such--you know, the KEY THINGS that you'd want to know when applying for a job--the applicant didn't seem to be paying attention at all, alternating between smiling sort of vapidly at Cal and drinking her coffee. Her cousin, on the other hand, was nodding excitedly and punctuating our little speech with "Uh huh. She can do that. She has no problem with that." It reminded me in a weird way of that scene in "Of Mice and Men" where George and Lenny are applying for that job at the ranch, and George is all, "Let me do the talking, they'll never hire us once they figure out all you want to do is talk about the rabbits and pet dead mice." Like Lenny, I'm sure that the applicant is a very nice person, I just don't want to come home one day to see Cooper dead in a bale of hay and to find that our nanny has absconded to go hide in the brush somewhere.

So we're still looking. There are a couple of more leads that we have yet to run into the ground, and Mary has certainly afforded us some breathing room so that we don't have to rush into a situation that's wildly inappropriate for us or for Cal. We're down from Code Red to Code Orange. Which, living in New York, we're used to anyway.

It's been a tough week.

Currently Reading:
The Irish Echo. One of my senior residents said that he found his nanny from an ad in this publication, and I figured it was as good a lead as any, considering that we're at the point of soliciting nanny references at the playground and asking nurses at work if they know anyone looking for a job. I don't think the people looking for jobs are actually Irish, but who knows, we might find a friendly leprechaun who likes kids.