Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shall we say, "Trying to trust"?

Since you asked...here is why I find it hard to trust anyone who wants to come work for Kim doing child care right now. I have good reason (as does she) to be gun-shy about hiring someone else. Still, that doesn't give me the right to assume the new girl is like the old girl. If you're interested in the story, though, here it is in a nutshell...
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Before I got here, there was a nanny. This nanny had never been a nanny before, but she was a friend of a friend and supposedly could handle the job. The agreement was made that she would get full room and board in exchange for taking care of the kids while Kim worked. She was trying to get disability for a "panic disorder" and wanted to stay under the income radar. Mind you, the "room" part of "room and board" meant a full basement, equipped with a private bedroom, private living room, kitchen, bathroom, and closets. Very nice place! The basement also had a flat screen TV with surround sound and satellite. Use of the Lincoln Navigator was provided for running errands with the boys. Kim is very trusting and gave this woman the run of the place.

Soon, though, the nanny wanted to renegotiate. She didn't realize what she was in for. So she wanted an additional sum of money each month to do her job (which was supposed to include "light cleaning," i.e., picking up after the boys, putting the dishes in the dishwasher and things like that). This new demand was put into a 3-page letter immediately after Kim's first night out with me. We think the nanny might have been jealous, because she apparently acted that way around other women, too.

After this new demand was met, someone died in her family, and she had to take off with little notice. Fair enough. But doctors don't get to just call out sick or say, "My sitter had to leave town." Doctors aren't supposed to have lives or families or illnesses. As it was, Kim only took 2 weeks off (instead of the recommended 6) after an abdominal surgery (which may have lead to the wound that developed). The lives of doctors are unreal. There is no glory. It's just a job that takes over a person's life and never lets go. I'm sure she explained those kinds of things to this nanny when she hired her.

So Kim started paying the nanny in addition to room and board - but the "light cleaning" was never done. The first time I walked into the house, it was chaos defined. I'm not sure we could even see the floor, and the nanny disappeared as soon as I walked in. Additionally, when I observed her care of the boys, she was watching what she wanted to watch on TV and talking on the cell phone, ignoring the boys completely. She never checked to see if Tom had homework, and he was falling behind in school. Kim was working her butt off, and she had to trust this nanny to do what she was hired to do. Clearly it wasn't working!

The next round of negotiations was as to whether or not the nanny wanted to work all of the days that Kim had to work. So there was Kim, trying to work 60-70 hours a week, and the nanny was whining that she only wanted to cover 3 days a week. Kim's stress was growing by leaps and bounds. What was she going to do with the boys? Well, she had to go back to the drawing board, talking with her ex-partner, who had adopted the boys with her, and dealing with the conflict there in order to have some additional coverage for her work days.

Then the nanny said her grandmother died. She left on a Thursday - leaving Kim high and dry as far as child care went - and then she later announced that the funeral was the following Wednesday. It was over a week before she even talked about coming back. During that time, she texted Kim and said she wasn't sure she wanted to come back and that she thought she'd just move back to Ohio. Meanwhile, she never mentioned when or how she would move out her things (so now Kim's basement apartment became a storage facility!).

All of this finally required Kim to push back and give the nanny a deadline to get her things out, because we will need either another nanny or to get the basement ready for her elderly father, who hasn't been well.

Whew - enough stress yet?

So the nanny finally shows up another week later with a couple of people and a U-Haul truck (with which she proceeded to tear up the muddy yard and then get the truck stuck -- she ended up having to get it towed out). During this move, she proceeded to steal Kim's flat screen TV and surround sound system in addition to her coffee table and end table, AND the satellite receiver! Kim discovered the TV and surround sound system missing after the bee-otch had driven off the property. She called and made them come back. The TV was sitting in the nanny's back seat. She claimed that she thought it was a "gift" and that the rest of the system (including the power cords, etc.) were in a box, packed in the very front of the truck and that she'd have to ship them.

The woman was a liar, a thief, a cheat, and overall a very irresponsible person. We finally got a box in the mail from her today. I hope it contains the cables and such that belong to Kim, but we haven't had time to open it. It's been another busy day around here.

While we're trying to decide whether we even want someone to live in the basement apartment and help look after the kids, I'm filling in and this other sitter is helping, too. I think I was just a little sensitive about the look she gave me the other night when I arrived home. I don't know her well enough to know if that was a look of concern, frustration (because Justin was being a pill), hunger (because I'm not sure what the status of dinner was), or boredom (taking care of the boys an extra two hours because I was at the ER). I just don't know.

But she stayed with the boys this evening so I could finish up work and then take my son out to dinner to celebrate his upcoming offer letter for his first "real" job as a programmer (he heard from the company today). And when I got back, she was quite nice. We had a conversation about how things went and about how to handle some of the defiance coming from the littlest boy. He's not easy some days!

I found myself humbled and grateful that she was around on Sunday. I thanked her again for staying late that day so that I could go be taken care of. I explained a little about what happened with me, and I told her I'd be having surgery April 8. Just five days after the 2 year anniversary of losing my beautiful daughter who, oh by the way, would be the same age as this sitter. Maybe there's some weirdness and coincidence there that was bothering me subconsciously.

If we decide we need a nanny, we'll make sure we get one that is reliable and who really loves the kids. If not, we'll take it a day at a time or make arrangements for the days we really need the coverage. I think I'll be better equipped to handle all of this when things get straightened out with my bladder. For now, it's just a day at a time. More than that becomes too overwhelming for me, so please overlook me if I sometimes come across as petty. I'm often tired and in pain, so it's off to bed I go. Most of this probably didn't make sense, anyway, but I felt the need to clear the air.

Peace - D

1 comment:

Daryl said...

You've never come across as petty, Doris, not ever. And I think taking things one day at a time is the best way to handle this until you are done with your surgery and feel able to handle two small boys .. hugs