Friday, April 28, 2006

Shut UP, Susan Blake

You, too, Joke of the Day. I don't know why you both won't end up in my spam box, but whatever. I'm coming to kick you in the shins. Be waiting.

This morning Mary Liz had preschool graduation photos and, much to my delight, her teacher told me I could leave and come get her in an hour. I thought of all the things on my to do list, considered a few of them, and finally settled on a plan of action: I was going to Starbucks. Alone. Also known as "BY MY FREAKING SELF." I was going to eat a cheese danish and have an iced mocha and I wasn't going to have anyone touching me or asking for more receipts to draw on or calling me or having their own personal crisis or needing anything at all from me. I was going to sit there and do sudoku and let everything else roll like water off a duck's back.

If you ask me, it was a far better use of my time than accomplishing any of the things on my extensive to do list.

Monday, April 24, 2006

It All Seems a Bit Surreal

I mean, there was a limo, and a magician, and then, oh, dear, a job offer, which, for those of you who just like to cut to the chase and get on with it, I did accept. But still: Limo! Magician!

Please tell me you're just a little impressed about the limo and the magician.

To be honest, I had no idea what to do with the limo. I was expecting a sedan, but when the driver (um, chauffeur?) clicked the "open trunk" button on his key fob, it opened the trunk of a stretch limo. He put my suitcase in the trunk, opened the door for me, and said, "Now you can stretch out." Um, yeah. From there I proceeded to call Jarod and say quietly, so the driver wouldn't guess that it was my first time in a limo or anything (um, sure, sir, I do this all the time), "I'm in a LIMO." Jarod asked if I was taking lots of pictures and I said no because I didn't want to seem like a moronic idiot, even though I was a moronic idiot, all starstruck by the limo I didn't have a clue how to use. Can I turn on the stereo? How do I get that TV to pop down from the ceiling? Can I drink something out of one of those crystal glasses?

In the end I just sat there and enjoyed the quiet ride. Stretched out, of course. I sank down in the seat and extended my legs as far as they would reach, and still they didn't begin to bridge the gap between the seats.

It was kind of, um, really awesome.

As for the magician, he was part of a birthday party, and wasn't there just for me, so, yeah, not as exciting, even though he did bring a snake and a rabbit. And you know how I am about the rabbits.

Once all was said and done in the way of necessities with the kids on Saturday, we adults sat down at the table to talk about expectations and my salary needs. We all left the table satisfied and did what I imagine everyone does right after the formal part of the interview, which is to watch March of the Penguins and see what happens next. Like if there's a job offer (yes) and if the pay is more than adequate (double yes) and if the applicant in question accepts (triple yes).

I'm still a little bit in shock, but in a good way.

The pay is better than I'd hoped, I'll get to travel internationally with the family, and, best of all, I like the family immensely, and they return that favor. That last bit, truly, the part where we like each other lots, is what is most important. I felt comfortable with them, as if I could easily slip into their lives with a minimum of fuss. I like that very much. I like them very much. It almost seems too good to be true, but then again, well, maybe it's not.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Payoff

All these years I've worked as a nanny, I've accepted fairly low pay and some strange quirks. But I love my job, and I wouldn't change anything about the way my career has progressed. Surely at twenty-one, graduating from university, I didn't see myself as a career nanny. At twenty-six, when I took my current position, I didn't see myself that way either. I'm still not sure I do. But I do know this: I'm so glad it's what I'm doing now. I'm grateful for the opportunities that are coming my way thanks to the combination of an English degree and years of experience with children. Of all the positions I've held, this one is the one that has taught me the most about who I am, about where my strengths and weaknesses lie, about why it's not only acceptable, but admirable to do what I do. Despite the degree. Despite people continually asking what I'll do next, if I have other plans. I might have some ideas, but there's nothing I'll set in stone right now. I'm happy just living my life as it plays out, enjoying the now, understanding that what I have to offer as a nanny is indeed quite important. It's enough for me for now.

This evening I'll board a flight that cost my potential employers a pretty penny to book. I'll be met by a driver bearing a placard with my name on it. I'll spend a weekend in the lovely family home, getting to know the children and their parents. I never dreamed that this could be part of my life as a nanny, but here I am. And if all goes well, it only gets better. I won't spill all the details of the potential of this and other positions I'm considering. It's too early to bank on anything, but I do know this: For now, it looks like everything leading up to this point is about to pay off in big ways.

Wish me luck...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Oh, Internet, I Have Been Withholding Things From You

I have been depriving you of things that could bring you great joy. If you have been living a mirthless existence, I take the blame. I apologize. I repent. I will change! I promise!

First, I bring you this:

it's not bubble bath; it's riesling!

No, it's not bubble bath. It's wine! Riesling wine! My brother gave it to me for Easter because (and I'm sure you know this already), nothing says "Celebrate our risen savior!" quite like unnaturally colored riesling in bottles shaped like kitty cats. I would never be a cat sweatshirt person, but I am most definitely a cat wine bottle person. Particularly if those wine bottles came from some random store in Lone Jack, Missouri and are filled with my favorite kind of wine.


Next, we have evidence of Saturday's craftiness. Meet Virgil:

virgil

I found some like him on the internet, but couldn't afford one, so Deanne and I whipped him up (hey now, not like that) with felt she already owned. Actually, it was mostly Deanne that whipped him up. I pretty much just brought the picture and cut some stuff, like my finger. (Deanne goes, "Be very careful with these scissors; they're really sharp," and not five minutes later, while gesticulating, I cut myself. Yes, I am awesome. All the time.)


Finally, behold my uncle in his John Deere suspenders:

uncle jim

The man loves him some John Deere. That's all I have to say about that.


Now doesn't your day feel brighter?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Weather or Not

So: How many of you Kansas Citians experienced yesterday's weather and pronounced it delightful? Don't lie; I know you're out there. I HEARD YOU TALKING ABOUT IT. To you folks, I ask, "Are you NUTS?!?" I drove by a bank sign yesterday and it read 91 degrees. Ninety-one! In April! This is not natural, nor is it at all comfortable. If you were one of the ones who declared the weather delightful and then went on to actually hope for more of that nonsense, I have this to say to you: A pox! A pox on all your houses!

I hate summertime. Seriously.

Hey! Stop throwing your popsicles and flip-flops at me! I stand firm. Summer is misery incarnate. If you're wishing for an early summer, knock it off already, or believe me, in August when it's been above 100 for three straight months, you'll be sorry.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy Easter!

Another holiday, another bad pun. You're welcome.

I hope your Easter has been hoppy indeed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

You Can Stop Calling Now. Really. No, REALLY. Now.

What is it with the repeat callers? I mean, good grief, people, I WILL CALL YOU BACK WHEN I CAN. Stop making my phone ring; it's irritating. Do you not understand that my house is a pigsty, my hair looks like crap, and I feel fat? Leave a girl alone for a minute or something. GOSH.

Other than that, though, things are going really well. I just had a family pay an exorbitant amount of money to fly me out for an interview, which feels pretty good. I managed to handle a situation involving another family chasing me down and trying to convince me to Please! Meet! Us! Too! Even though you asked us to wait! without tearing my hair out and sticking hot forks of displeasure into my eyes. I returned a call from a financial advisor who has called me five times today but left just one voicemail (I can tell when you're calling, you know; your number shows up on my phone every time) and (thank you, God) got his voicemail. I had a Coca-Cola even though I've been doing without caffeine, just because I wanted one. I doubt one Coca-Cola will make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. (And if it does? I have serious problems with the way the world works.) Jack is sleeping. I may get off early tomorrow. An end to the madness is very much in sight.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I Hope You're Used to This By Now

It's just another update for those who are so curious, they just NEED to KNOW.

But first, a note about my pillows: I love them! Go get some! (That means you, Holly. And don't forget the toilet paper.)

Okay, the update. *SIGH* I'm happy to report that I have not hyper-ventilated into a paper bag yet. I've sent too many e-mails and made too many phone calls, but the way it looks now I've got things just the way I want them. I'll have one interview in a week and a half, and everyone else is waiting to see how that goes before they buy me a plane ticket. If it goes well and I am offered the position, I will most likely accept it in short order and be done with what is, to me, the hardest part. From there it will just be a matter of negotiating the rest of the move, which should be fairly straightforward. I'll be busy, but it won't be so unsettling. I'll be able to do my favorite thing, which is plan ahead. (Stop laughing, it really is my favorite thing.) (I mean besides chocolate and chocolate-type products.)

So there it is. I don't have much energy left to put thought into anything else, so you'll have to live with this sort of boringness for now. Don't worry, though. I'll get interesting soon enough.

(And also maybe I'll get those vacation photos processed and put in a flickr album. You can only hope.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Frivolity

First of all, yesterday I checked my credit card balance and discovered that it's not as high as I thought it was, and is, in fact, easily paid off by the end of the month. Second, the day before I'd spoken with my dad about how much he'd pay for my car so I could have a definite figure in mind, and he agreed to the price I proposed. And finally, today I had an eye exam that cost $21 less than I thought it would. What do these things spell? More money! And also: TROUBLE. Meaning: Danger! Red alert! Impulse shopping may ensue!

It shouldn't be a surprise, really, what occurred today in Target. After all, it was just yesterday that I was slipping pillowcases onto my sad, tired pillows, remarking that I needed new ones. Who am I to turn down pillows on sale? Twenty dollar pillows for fifteen dollars, ten dollar pillows for eight dollars? I am no one to do such a thing, that's who I am. They practically called to me, these fresh, white, partially down-filled rectangular items of comfort. "Take me home, Mary," they cried, "for we are fresh and clean and so much better than your old, crusty pillows." And even though I had walked in repeating to myself, "Only toilet paper, only toilet paper, only toilet paper," intending to leave with ONLY TOILET PAPER, well... What can I say? The pillows, they were right.

Monday, April 10, 2006

One Thing I Forgot in the Last Post and Then I'll Bore You to Tears

TEARS, I tell you. Like the pastor said at the funeral I attended last week: It's okay to cry. You'll probably want to.

But first! I'd like to give a special shout out to Em, who de-lurked and asked a question I didn't bother to answer. Not because I couldn't be bothered, mind you, but because my mind is like swiss cheese, and that thought slipped right out. Hi, Em! I did take that picture; it's in Chicago on State Street (I think) (pretty sure) (but don't place bets on that or anything) (because of that whole swiss cheese memory thing).

Anyway.

Get out your tissues now. That or stop reading. I'm warning you; it's boring. If you proceed and begin weeping, I cannot be held responsible.

I had my last interview (that I know of) in the car last night before church, and I actually really enjoyed the woman I spoke to. At the same time, it was really nice to hang up the phone, knowing that my phone obligations were through until someone else calls. No one has called me yet this morning, and I am enjoying the break. I'm trying not to stress out about how I'll end up meeting everyone or when or what I'll have to skip out on because of it. It's not really working, but at least I'm trying. I could have just given up by now and had brownies for breakfast.

Oh, wait, I did have brownies for breakfast.

I have a very busy week ahead of me. I need to do a whole passel of things related to Passover and Easter, including finding a food processor to use to make my Passover contribution, which is a giant bowl full (enough to feed thirty!) of the best charoset you'll ever sneak under the table with that matzoh you also nabbed because getting to the eating part of the seder was taking too long. (Not that I've done that before. Ever. I've just, you know, heard it happens. At other seders. In other, um, parts of the country or something. Or maybe only in, like, Morocco.) I'm also already working on my bunny cake for Easter dinner with my family. In order to stand up, the cake must be fairly firm, more like a quick bread, so I'm making it out of fat monkey, though without the cream cheese ribbon (there will be cream cheese frosting instead). Just to keep it really awesome all week long, I'm scheduling an eye exam for tomorrow morning and changing my sheets. Rumor has it that I'll also be making some brownies, attending a potluck, making a (or some) felt owl(s), and probably taking more job related phone calls. Oh. Yeah.

By the way, did I mention I'm doing all of this decaffeinated?

Well. That's another story for another day. I sense you're bored enough already. Go throw away your tissues and get back to work.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Some Sort of Update Which May or May Not Answer All Your Burning Questions

So. I'm tired. I'm tired of the phone and the calling and the phone and the calling and the not knowing and the waiting and the phone and the calling and STILL THE DANG PHONE. I don't care to enumerate every call, but let's just say it's a lot! A whole many very lot! With still one more to go today! And I'm trying to be positive! (And actually am kind of positive because I know that all these calls will eventually lead to a good job which will allow me to pay off my debt in comfort.)

I will be ever-so-glad to have this all settled, to know where in the Land of Plentiful Chocolate Babka I will be located. (Yes, A, the chocolate babka is a necessity.) I rejected one family (this part's for you, Dawn) because they didn't offer a private bath for the nanny. I'd be sharing with the children, which: NOOOOOOO. I didn't ask about their feelings about chocolate or Starbucks, which is obviously an oversight on my part (thanks to Cara for mentioning it so I can ask about those things in the future). One family has a birthday celebration planned for when I visit, so they already have a leg up on the competition by offering me cake. Cake goes a long way with me, people, please let that be noted.

In other news, which is one thing that made the whole week more complicated, I had a fairly painful localized reaction to my tetanus shot. It took a full 72 hours to regain full range of motion in my arm and shoulder, and it's still a bit swollen and tender around the injection site. Let that be a lesson to you, grown-ups: Tetanus boosters are not as easy as they were when we were kids. (Also I'd like to pause and give mad props to my ever-patient boyfriend, Jarod, for putting up with all my whining about it. And also for carrying in the cat litter. That was really nice.)

I suppose that's the news for now. Any and all other questions can be directed to the comments section or to marymuses@gmail.com, and I will answer everything I deem appropriate.

Over and out, yo.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Something, But Not Everything

So, um, remember that time I told you that I was going to process my vacation photos and make a flickr album? Um, well, right. I'm still doing that. Just not, you know, very quickly.

However, if you also remember the time I told you I'd share photos of the Jamie Cullum show and maybe even some video, I can come through for you. The photos are here, here, and here. None of them are exceptional, as I was using the cheapish camera, but it's better than nothing, right? (Say, "RIGHT!")

For the video, which is silent (again, cheapish camera), you can go here. Please note that this is one of the calmest moments of the show. Yes, that's right, he moves that much and more ALL THE DANG TIME. If I'd had space left on the CF card to record him jumping off the piano, I would have done it. Let it be noted that Nicole and I felt very sorry for his mother, for he must have bounced off the walls for the entirety of his childhood. At least that sort of energy is paying off these days. This was truly one of the best shows I have ever attended, and I think that it had as much to do with the energy Jamie projected as it did with the high quality music. If you ever have the opportunity to take in one of Jamie's shows, I highly recommend it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

WHOOOOOOOA, Nellie

All the time I've had my phone, if I've been staying in my own home, I have never seen the low battery symbol. Until this week.

My nanny information went out one day later than expected, on Tuesday afternoon, and by Wednesday evening I had received calls from five prospective families. One I've rejected, a second was a mistake (no, I don't want to work in Wyoming), and the rest I've spoken with on the phone. I have one parent left to speak to before I can verify this for certain, but so far it looks as if all three families very much want to meet me. I have a favorite, and am not-so-secretly hoping that things go so well with them that no further interviewing will be necessary. I fly out in two weeks to meet one family, possibly two if everyone agrees to it. It's only been since Tuesday, and already I'm exhausted. Is it terrible that I'm ready to be done with this, to be settled on a family, and it's only Friday of the first week that my info is out?

Unless you're answering, "No, of course not, talking on the phone is haaaaaarrrrrrd," then keep your thoughts to yourself.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

In Loving Memory

This afternoon I attended the funeral of a dear lady who meant a whole lot to a whole lot of people. Betty Clinton was kind, selfless, caring, and generous. Her generosity was so meaningful to me that every time I write a check to a charity, I think of her. Every. Single. Time. Without fail. I probably will my whole life long.

Betty wasn't wealthy, but she gave freely whenever there was a need. Hers was often the first check in the coffer, and sometimes she gave more than once if the need prevailed. She was extraordinary. I only hope that someday I can be like her.

Betty had a daughter, Denise, who was kidnapped from her grandparents' hotel when she was just nine years old. For two and a half years, until Denise's body was found, Betty and her family endured the sorrow of not knowing what had happened or where she was. The story was reported across the nation, and there were many cruel calls made to their home as a result of all the exposure. It was the most difficult time of Betty's life, yet she holds no bitterness. Throughout the ordeal, Betty held her family together. When her pastor asked her how she made it through, how she lives with such grace towards such a terrible situation, she simply answered that finally she just forgave. Remarkable.

I find it fitting that memorial contributions should be sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I know that most of you don't know Betty, but I am going to give you an opportunity to give in her honor anyway. She is the kind of person you would most like to meet, and she will be sorely missed. As a tribute to her and to those you know like her, and to contribute to a most worthy cause, for which there is always a need for funding, please consider sending a donation to the address below.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
699 Prince St.
Alexandria, VA 22314-3175

We miss you, Betty, and we are all better for having known you.

The Fact That It's Called "Salon Style" Does Not Mean That They'd Use It in an Actual Salon

Here's my advice for today: If you need to save money on your hair care equipment, go for the mid-priced models, not the cheapest. You won't save any money by buying the cheap heated hair care implement; in fact, you'll just waste whatever you spent because, guess what? The cheap kind won't really work, and you'll have to go back and get this mid-priced one anyway.

Be wise. At least go for the Conair.

Monday, April 03, 2006

You Do the Math

I've convinced myself that if I eat foil-wrapped Hershey's chocolate eggs as opposed to the candy coated ones that I'll eat fewer of the little suckers. You know, what with all the unwrapping (Level of Difficulty: High) and such and the extra time it takes. Also with the digging bits of foil out of my teeth when I miss a small piece. However, looking at the quantity of small foil wrappers I have amassed during naptime today, I'm beginning to wonder if I've been deceiving myself. I don't want to know, really, but if you do, you can come over and count them.

In other potentially pretty big if not kind of huge news, I just spoke with the nanny agency which is going to help me find a job in (the) New York (tri-state area). My information goes out to families this afternoon. That's right: THIS AFTERNOON. Yo.

(Remember my sudden affection for using the word y'all, which hasn't exactly faded (see previous post)? I am experiencing the same thing with the word yo.)

Here we go, yo.

By the Way

you are beautiful

I mean that.

Thanks for reading, y'all.