Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roman Polanksi Raped a Child - Time to move on

As Kate Harding points out, Roman Polanski Raped a Child. But so what? After all, we should be looking forward, not backward. Any attempt to prosecute is just making criminal what is really a political matter (political protest of silly age-of-consent laws).

Time to move on.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Outsourcing Daycare

Gotta love the Onion for looking for a way to leverage the power of outsourcing for my largest expense. If only I were paying only 300 a week for child care.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dungeons and Dragons Self-Defense

Who needs a gun when you have a sword? Brutal. And with the dismemberment, the sword-wielder must have rolled a "20".

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Public Option is Dead

It was clear from Obama's speech this week that the public option is dead. He is not pushing it. He is not selling it. Democrats are saying they won't even vote for a bill with it in it - I heard Senator Nelson on NPR (a Democrat) saying he would only consider voting for it as part of the bullshit "trigger" option put forward by Olympia Snowe.

So it is dead. To me, there is no reform without a public healthcare system (and the bullshit "co-ops" don't count - those are just another way for private insurance companies to get our money).

Once again, corporate interests and the Republican noise machine dominate. We are fucked. And fuck Obama for not even trying. He gave up on the public option without a fight. Democrats in Congress have also given up without a fight. Progressives yet again must just sit down and shut up and be ignored while the conservative agenda moves full speed ahead.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Revenge is Sweet

My four-year-old daughter likes to take toys away from my 18 month old son. She pulls on him, pushes him down, pushes him out of the way when he's snuggling with mom or dad so she can snuggle, and so forth.

Then this past weekend, my daughter was washing her hands in the bathroom after using it, and I was standing across the room from the door when my son opened up one of my daughter's dresser drawers, grabbed a bunch of her clothes, and then ran into the bathroom. I got there just in time to grab one end of the clothes as my son dumped all of them right into the toilet.

Revenge is sweet when you're a toddler. It is somewhat bitter when you are a parent who just put those same clothes, clean, in the drawer after doing laundry. I guess she deserved it. He is a very patient, sweet little boy and she pushes him hard. We now keep the bathroom door closed all the time. Not that he can't open it, but probably he couldn't with a handful of clothes, and it gives us more time to catch him if he tries to dump anything else into the toilet. Like a phone. (He did that a week ago - into the bathtub when my daughter was in the bath). Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nanny Saga

As I posted about before, we got a nanny to watch our two children, ages 1 and 4. Well, this has turned out to be quite a drama.

The nanny started just over two weeks ago. We had made plenty of preparations. We had her come over and just spend time with us and with the kids so they would get to know her (as would we). Her first week, my mother-in-law was still here (she came for three months this summer) and so she was also here to help out and help the kids make the adjustment. The nanny repeatedly said how committed she was and she did fine with the children.

Then came the first warning sign that things would not be going so smoothly. I sent her a text message asking essentially if she was all set for her first full day - this was like on the Friday before. I did not get a response. Then later I saw there was a posting on Facebook (she has a facebook page and I had recently gotten one - she added me to it a few months ago - we were curious to know more about her given that we were going to be inviting her into our home to take care of what is most important to us - our children.) The facebook posting answered the message - apparently her phone was not working and she was getting a new one. In it, she also asked about when to start and things like that. I didn't think much of it - we had already made clear to her that the hours would be 8 to 6, repeatedly.

So then comes Monday morning. I get out of the shower and get dressed and then get my cell phone and see that there are new messages on there from like 7:22 am. It is the nanny, asking when she needs to come. Mind you, she never sent any text messages before that nor did she try to call us at our home phone number or even on my cell before then. I texted her back quickly to tell her that it was always 8 to 6, and she says she's coming. She gets here a little bit late. But not before sending a bunch of text messages about how she had asked me for the time and essentially blaming me for her being late. She continued this even after she got here, in that when I asked her about the calendar we had given her, she replied in an irritated tone that she didn't have it with her because she had to leave her apartment in a hurry.

Well, whatever. I did not really get into that with her. I did not want to make a big deal out of what could be a simple miscommunication, but it did bother me the attitude she displayed about it. I mean, if she really had doubts about when to come, she had our numbers, she could have called or sent a text message long before 7:22 am on the morning she was supposed to come. Still, I said basically nothing about it when she got here and I went off to work.

The rest of the week flew by - she seemed to be doing ok. That Friday, both I and my wife were home for at least part of the day. Apparently this caused some issues with the kids, as they were more unruly than when we were not home. We had wanted her to come that day so we could have another day when we could see how she was with the kids. I left around 4. Apparently the kids were particularly difficult after that. I didn't realize this was a problem until the next Monday, when yet another warning sign appeared.

This next Monday was the first day she would be home all day with the kids alone. As I was holding my daughter in the morning, I listened to the nanny on the phone talking to my wife before I left. She told my wife that she was very upset on Friday because of how difficult the kids were at the end and that she would just "have to see how things would go" that day. This was news to us. We had told her from the beginning that our daughter could be difficult and that she would have to be assertive with her - and she had repeatedly assured us that she had watched lots of kids and did not think there would be a problem. On the phone that morning, she told my wife that she had never seen kids act like they did. Well, they were just kids being kids - it is not like 1 year olds and (then) 3 year olds just quietly do what they are told.

Hearing this whole conversation really upset me. It sounded basically like she was contemplating quitting. We had stopped day care and we had no backup for child care on such short notice. Since we both work and don't have a lot of wiggle room on days off, that was a big issue. I was, frankly, quite mad. But I didn't say anything. I did go to work and started looking again for another nanny, a process I didn't look forward to given how long we'd already spent on it and how much time we had spent getting the current nanny ready (and money, too).

I was about ready to just find someone and tell the current nanny to go as soon as I did, but I calmed down by the end of the day. I figured I should just give it some time, let her get used to things, and maybe it would be fine. My wife called during the day to see how things were going. The nanny told her that it was much better and that maybe it helped that we weren't home. She repeatedly assured my wife she was not quitting and would be staying. She asked to be paid that week (I paid her already for her first week). She said her rent was due, and she had originally thought she would get a check for the first two weeks at the end of the month. I had done the first week first to figure out the payroll stuff and also to sync her pay (every two weeks) with my own paycheck. So I wrote her a check in advance of her second, full two-week paycheck, and gave that to her on Thursday (my wife was home Friday, so she didn't need to be here).

So then this week completes - her second week, her first week alone. She never seemed particularly thrilled to be here, but then maybe she just wasn't a morning person. She was usually a little late in the mornings, but not so late that I said anything. She certainly left on time. (But then I'm sure that's true of almost anyone with a job). Now I started to feel bad about starting to look for another nanny, mostly because now there would be people contacted who I'd now have to tell there was no position to interview for. Then came Saturday.

My wife was out shopping in the morning, when she called me. We have to find a new nanny. Apparently the nanny called her, and through tears, told her that she had to move back home because her mother had cancer. I really didn't know what to make of that. She had never mentioned anything about it before. She said she just found out and was in the hospital. She said that there would be surgery the next Friday. Honestly, my first reaction was that I did not believe her. Given what she said Monday, and her asking to be paid that week, it seemed a little too big a coincidence. She told my wife she wasn't sure she could even be here the next week (this week now). So I spent a sleepless Saturday night worrying just what we'd do for the next week for child care. I was thankful I had at least started the process of looking for another nanny, but we probably wouldn't even meet or interview anyone until the following weekend.

This was particularly annoying because Sunday was my daughter's birthday - her fourth. And so instead of looking forward to that, I was up half the night, unable to sleep. Fortunately, the birthday itself went well - my daughter had a blast, my parents came up, two of her four regular babysitters came over, and it was fun for everyone.

Meanwhile, we heard nothing from our nanny - she did not answer her phone or texts. Finally, she send messages that were somewhat strange - saying she could come this week but that she'd be driving back and forth and could she be paid on Monday - that I couldn't quite figure out. Oh, then she said she was turning her phone off again. Well, given what had happened, I did not want to count on that for the week. We had already made arrangements for either my mother to come that week or for a babysitter who had another week before school started to come. That fell through, but then as luck would have it, one of the babysitters who came had a friend who lived nearby and who was available. She had worked in day care with her and had known her since elementary school. We liked that - while we did not know her, we really like this babysitter and knew her well (2 years now) and so at least felt like we'd not have a complete stranger over.

So our babysitter went and got her friend and she spent four or five hours here Sunday with the kids, getting to know us and our home, and we made arrangements for her to watch our kids this week. We also moved ahead with our plans to interview people this week.

Finally, later that night, our nanny called and my wife talked to her. She told her that we would not need her this week. My wife said that she did not seem thrilled when she found that out. For me, I was not at all sympathetic. I felt like we were being left in the lurch - and given that she gave no warning and at first said she wasn't sure she could even be here this week, I did not think she had cause to complain that we had already made other arrangements.

I was still suspicious. Maybe her mother was sick, but even so, she could just be using it as an excuse. She said she was moving out of Lansing that Friday.

Then another warning sign - that night, she removed me from her facebook page. What had struck me as odd before that was that there was apparently no indication that her mother was sick or that she was even moving on her page - and she had been updating it. Now, she did not put all that much in the way of personal details on there, but she would say when she was moving or going out of town or whatever on there. But there was nothing. And now I could not see what there was. That set off big alarm bells in my head - what was she hiding? I suppose she could just have been mad we weren't having her here this week, but really, how could she expect otherwise when she's leaving for good this week one way or the other?

So the nanny came over one last time last night to give back the key we gave her and for me to give her the last of the money owed her and her last pay stub. My wife talked with her a while. The nanny told her about her mother and also that her step-father and brother got in a car accident that same weekend on the way to the hospital. No one hurt, but the car was wrecked. Ok - whatever. I did not comment. But then my wife asked her about facebook. The nanny said that she had a stalker who somehow was stalking her in Lansing on facebook. She did not explain how, given that her address or any information like that was not on her page. She said her mother made her delete her facebook page. Or maybe later she said just that she was "not updating it" - but I heard her say delete. Of course, I later checked and it was still there, with like 541 friends still on it (I couldn't see the page itself). Which means that she did not delete the page, she just removed my name from it. She had spun quite a tale of this stalker, including him following her home along dirt roads and such. She claimed he was arrested and that he was stalking four different women. I didn't ask for details.

Since she did not delete her page, and in fact, had simply removed me from it, I later knew for sure she was lying. And if she was lying about that, I wondered what else she was lying about. I wondered what she was hiding - did she just find another job and delete me so I wouldn't see she was still in Lansing? Really, in the end, it does not matter. I admit I'm curious what the truth actually is and I wonder if there is any way I can find out. It worries me that someone willing to lie this blatently, to our face, was watching our kids. I think she was actually fine with the kids when she was here, but I think she has maturity issues. She seemed eager to blame others for her own shortcomings - at least that was my impression.

I don't know what we'll do going forward. Maybe our sitter's friend will work out. Maybe we'll find someone else. I'm worried about that, but less worried now that we have at least someone for now. Obviously I'm still worried enough I'm up at 5:30 in the morning writing about it.

Damn, having kids is hard.