Keep On

October 2, 2014

Keeping on.

I am making it through.

For the first time since I started the new job I did not feel exhausted when I got home.

I even made a pit stop for an hour at 7th and Irving and saw some folks I haven’t seen in a while.  That was super nice and relaxing and the ride home down Irving Street was chill too.

Lovely that the construction is done at Sunset and Irving and the dip down towards the sea was smooth sailing with very little traffic in sight.

I felt like I was flying.

My body seems to be getting adjusted to the work, which is harder than the work I had previous, the boys are bigger, and older than the previous little guys I was working with and the picking up and carrying around is making some inroads on my muscles.

The bicycle commute is getting easier too and I realized when I was stopped at a traffic light that I had not thought once about my ankle the entire day.

It seems I am having some acclimation.

Which I knew I would, but until it actually happens, is hard to fathom.

The job is going smooth and I am also starting to find a routine for myself and I have started setting little systems into place to help me stay on top of the ever mounting pile of boy stuff that needs handling every day.

They are such boys.

Rocks.

Dirt.

Sand.

Balls.

More rocks.

Bugs.

One of the boys actually discovered a chrysalis in the park and the butterfly just emerging on the leaf and drying its wings.

We were able to pick it up, careful to not touch the wings themselves, and watch it slowly open and close the wings until it was dry enough to fly.

Aside from the littlest guy when he naps, it was the stillest I have seen the boys.

They are in constant motion.

I can see why the other nanny didn’t want to work more than 40 hours a week, it’s exhausting keeping up with them.

And she’s 29.

I’m 41.

But, I have to say, I’m holding my own and enjoying my time with the family.

They are smart, capable, sweet people, who are really involved with their lives and their children are a reflection of that.

I feel super lucky to have gotten the job and when the mom apologized for the melee of yesterday evening with the double play date, I felt like hugging her, it’s nice to be acknowledged for my efforts and I am being seen for what I do.

I am being seen everywhere by people I have no clue who they are, but they notice too.

I have had a number of moms come up to me and say hello, recognizing either myself or the boys.

So many, in fact, that I am losing track of who I have met and which kids belong to whom.

But, I like that too, there’s a definite community of families in the neighborhood and I like that I am a part of that community.

It certainly makes me cheerful to engage with the people.

I never had that while I was nannying in Cole Valley.

I am not sure why exactly that is, but in the Mission I feel really connected to the neighborhood and the folks around the block where the boys live.

It has a definite neighborhood vibe to it.

Oh.

There’s the hustle and bustle of the Mission as well, and drug users, and derelicts, and pot heads, and homeless, but for what ever reason, not so much on the block they live on, it’s just enough removed from the ruckus that can get ahold of the Mission at times and make it a little rough and tumble around the edges.

All in all.

The job is working out.

I am grateful.

I am also grateful for the little epiphany I had this morning when I was doing my morning routine.

I have been reflecting on finances and financial aid and applying for it and what am I going to do as I don’t have a full year’s income on the books and I realized.

Oh.

I could file my taxes and include the income that I made off the books.

Yes.

I will probably owe money for taxes, but fingers crossed, I’ll have enough taken out for having claimed zero, to cover some of that.

I have records of what I spent and took in for every month in the year and I have saved all my receipts, and I have all my expenses noted that are in conjunction with work.

I know how much I made and I can declare it.

I guess that means I am really serious about going to graduate school.

I want to have a clean tax return to reflect honestly how much money I made, am making for this fiscal year, and to do the right thing and file a proper return.

I want to be able to apply for financial aid.

I won’t be able to do graduate school without taking on financial aid.

But I won’t be able to go forward trying to get in without being honest about my money.

It was revelatory.

Simple.

Honest.

Clean.

I laughed out loud when I realized that the one thing in my head that has been nagging at me was that I wasn’t planning on filing taxes properly for this year, how was I going to pull it over FAFSA’s head and get away with claiming less than I made so that I could get a larger loan package.

How about I just file properly and let what ever happens with financial aid happen.

If I don’t get aid.

Well.

I don’t go.

But if I don’t get aid because I was dishonest about my tax filing, then I am an asshole.

I don’t need to sabotage myself.

Honesty.

Today’s principle.

I still don’t want to claim my income, but that’s not going to stop me from actually doing the work.

When I know the work needs to be done, I can feel it in my gut and I am glad for it.

And things move forward.

And change happens.

Look ma!

I’m changing.

For the better, I might add.

That Took The Startch

October 1, 2014

Out of my shirt.

Whew.

What a way to end the day.

A play date at dinner time with two boys from the neighborhood and their mom and the dad and the mom and the other nanny, who came over to help the mom with some projects, and the dog.

And.

Oh.

Yeah.

Me.

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick.

That was hard-core.

And to think that I was patting myself on the back for how good I was doing today.

I got in, took the littlest guy over, played chalk drawings on the front sidewalk, got him lunch, and got him down for his nap with nary a problem.

Then.

Run to the market, pick up dinner stuff for tonight’s meal with friends and prep said dinner while the monkey napped–whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs, steamed cauliflower with olive oil and garlic, large tossed salad.  I also made sure there were apples sliced up with cinnamon for snacks and did the dishes, the composting, and some light cleaning.

Then I had my lunch and sat for a hot second before the nap time was over.

Then it was go, go, go.

Go to the library, return books, check out more books.

Go to the park.

Play like maniacs.

Then.

Shit.

The smallest one takes a header playing “sea monster with his older brother.  I could not tell if there was a push involved with the older boy, I suspect that there was, but since I didn’t see it, I did not report it as such.

I think there’s a bit of sibling rivalry that happens and the younger is often shoved out-of-the-way or has his toys taken or gets pushed around a little.

Granted.

The little guy is a tough cookie.

But he got a bang on the head and the skin was cut and there’s a bruise and I immediately thought, shit, not even week two and I’ll be fired.

I wasn’t fired.

Mom was great.

“Accidents happen, he seems fine,” she said and let it go.

Then the melee.

Two four-year old boys and two two year old boys and a dog and two moms and a dad and two nanny’s and dinner time and whoa Nelly.

The mom did step in at one point when I was corralling four boys to eat their dinner, and let me know that if it was all too much to tell her, but what could I say.

It wasn’t all too much.

It was just a lot.

And I knew it was going to be done soon.

But it did feel like a mad scramble to keep it all together.

Fortunately play dates like this probably don’t happen all the time.

I would be a dead nanny in the water if they did.

As it stands, I am just a tired nanny who left more than a touch frazzled.

I had a few minutes between work and my evening commitment and I sailed along Valencia Street on my bicycle stopping by Therapy to do a little window shopping.

“Carmen!” A co-worker of mine from the bicycle shop rode by on his bicycle and waved to me.

“Carmen!” A young woman who I taught swimming lessons to when she was ten, she’s no longer ten, and I had to bite my tongue to not say, “oh my god, how tall you’ve gotten.”

I got a hug and we caught up and then I ran into another friend a block up.

“You going to this thing,” I nodded to him out side the gate.

“Yup,” he said and gave me a huge hug.

“I see you riding up Lincoln Avenue all the time, do you live out there?”

Yes.

Yes, I do.

I live, all the way out there.

Though once I had a chance to sit and let my body and my mind rest for an hour, the fifteen minute meditation I did was spectacular, I felt rested enough to do it without complaint.

The ride through the park was superb and I felt rejuvenated from the brisk air and the delicious smell of night-blooming jasmine co-mingled with the ever-present sea salt smell and grateful, once again, to be living and working and commuting in San Francisco.

It is a pretty grand life.

Even when it is a pretty damn busy life.

Sometimes, like this morning, the thought of sustaining this pace feels a bit much, but I know that the routine is getting the kinks worked out and before too long it will just feel like what I do and it will just be what I do.

I have about a year of this.

Then the graduate school.

Which is its own kind of arduous journey, a journey my brain has been loathe to comprehend, and when it does it sees all the hours and the work and the money and whoa.

That too knocks me down and tuckers me out.

Then I thought, while I was writing this morning, that I don’t have to do it all by, say, this weekend.  I have time to go on the journey and I have time to prepare for it.

The admissions for next fall open in November.

Tomorrow is the first day of October and there are five weeks in October, 31 days.

All I have to do is one action every week.

Some will take a series of smaller actions to make them go, others just teeny tiny endeavors will bear great results.

One goal to set for this week is to order my transcripts from undergraduate program degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

I have done it before when I applied to the MFA program in Creative Writing at USF.

A program I obviously did not get into, despite being so cock sure that not only was I getting in, I was going to get a scholarship too and loads of financial aid.

I don’t feel that way about this program.

I do feel that I will get in, but I am uncertain how the funding is going to go.

That, however, is not a concern for me this week.

This week, the only action I take, aside from not letting the boys take me down, is to order my transcripts.

I will put off the worry for another week.

Perhaps indefinitely.

I have more important things to attend to.

Like sleep.

And They’re Off!

September 30, 2014

Holy cats man.

That was a day.

And I think most of them, at least for the next week or so, perhaps the next month, until I get a little more of a routine down, is going to be this fast.

I mean.

I feel like it’s been pretty non stop.

Even when there’s down time at work, there’s really not down time.

And that’s cool.

I certainly do not feel like I have idle time on my hands and the day goes by super fast.

“Super cool!”

That’s my favorite saying from the two year old.

Also.

“Super sleepy.”

Yes, lovey, super sleepy indeed.

He was pretty tired when we were first leaving the house and a couple of times I had to stop the stroller on the way to the park and chat him up to keep him awake.

I did not want him falling out in the stroller before we had even gotten to the park, too early a nap is almost as good as no nap, especially when I needed to be back to the house to take care of the business of running the house.

The house and the family run on a pretty good schedule and if I keep abreast of it I will be fine and I was fine today.

A little overwhelmed, but not badly and I am getting my bearings and finding what works for me and experiencing the moods and ways of the boys, what is easy for them to handle, what is a challenge, where I need to step in and when I can step back.

It will all come together.

And it really is lovely to be in the Mission.

I got to run to the bike shop and replace a faulty light for my bicycle that I would have had to make a special trip for otherwise and then I got to say a quick hello to one of my favorite people in the hood and her awesome pup.

I know the landscape, I know the parks, I know the stores, and though I don’t know everyone in the neighborhood quite like I used to, enough of it remains the same that I feel quite at home and “super grateful!” to be home.

Even the smell of Pete’s BBQ on Mission and 20th said home to me.

I remember the smell of the restaurant when I first moved to San Francisco 12 years ago the beginning of this month.

I lived at 20th and York with four other ladies.

I felt a little bewildered by the neighborhood for a few weeks, but I got used to it quickly and the smell of Pete’s always was a welcome sign that I was heading in the right direction toward home.

I only ate at Pete’s once, it’s not really my scene, but I remember it well. And I am nostalgic more about the smell of the place in general than the food itself.

Every once in a while I do miss some of the eats I used to get in the neighborhood–the super quesadilla suiza with carne asada at El Farolito, the sandwiches from Mister Pickles, the super al pastor burritos from the truck on Harrison and 22nd, anything and everything at Lucca Ravioli, the slices from Serrano’s, but then I get the trade-off.

I am in one of the best neighborhoods for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Plus, the farmer’s market that’s at 23rd and Bartlett on Thursdays.

Side Walk Juice for green juice concoctions.

Ritual for coffee.

I feel really spoiled to be able to have a job in this neighborhood.

The parks are great, well, ok, not all the parks are great.

I swung through Alioto park on Capp Street and 20th and pretty much swung right the hell back out.

There is a children’s area that most folks are not aware of, but the foremost part of the park had a hung over hooker taking a cat nap on a bench and a gaggle of teens skipping school smoking a blunt, and some guy poking aggressively through the trash barrels.

Plus, the park equipment was a bit down trodden and sad and it just wasn’t a great scene.

However, not too far away at 21st and Folsom is the Jose Coronado park and we went there.

What I look for in a park often has a lot to do with bathroom access as well as whether or not it’s enclosed.

For instance, I love Dolores Park, but the playground is not enclosed and when you have a frisky two-year old who likes to run and a busy four-year old who likes to chase, having an enclosed park area is super key.

And the renovated Mission Pool and Playground is fabulous.

The front is “super cool” and I get the impression that the boys have spent a lot of time there, many of the moms and kids and nannies and grandparents and Rec Center workers recognize them.

I like the feeling of community that the neighborhood has.

I feel a part of.

Which is also a lovely thing to have.

I told my friend that I ran into that I would move back in a heart beat if I could find a place that has the amenities that I have here and the rent.

It’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

And the truth is that it’s good for me out here.

It’s good to have a little quiet after the hectic of the city scene and the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood.

The sound of the ocean crashing on the beach as I write is certainly no drawback either.

It is a wonderful place for me to live and I get to commute to a wonderful, changing, yes, but still a good place to be, neighborhood that I have so much history with.

It’s good to be working from “home.”

Sunday Slacking

September 29, 2014

I know.

I know.

I deserve a down day once in a while.

But when I don’t have much to report I do wonder what to write about.

I am always of the assumption that no one is too interested in my napping, soup making, and laundry doing, or marketing.

I mean.

These things need to happen and they did so in a sense I did not sit around on my ass all day long eating Cheetos and watching movies.  I meditated and I rode my bicycle and I shopped and I cooked and yeah, I napped.

That feels actually like an accomplishment.

Especially since I did do a lot of running around yesterday.

Not included in my break down of yesterdays comings and goings was the fact that I also went to three different scooter and motorcycle shops in the Mission/SOMA area.

SF Moto.

Mister Scooter.

Scuderia West.

I have officially decided to sell my scooter and upgrade to an automatic.

No more kick starting for me.

I cannot afford to have another ankle injury.

That being said I am a little flummoxed as to how I am going to sell the Vespa.

How do I sell something that I am afraid to start to demonstrate to a potential buyer that it works.

And it does work.

The only problem is that my ankle does not work.

So.

I had thought, perhaps the best idea would be to take the scooter to one of the aforementioned shops and have them appraise it and then see if I can trade it in for something that works better for me.

I got some information.

First.

SF Moto.

Your staff was not cool to me.

I was ignored for a good long while and when I was finally spoken to, the guy was a dick.

Condescending, assumptive, and rude.

I ended up cutting the conversation short, thanking him for his time, and leaving the store.

I know that one negative experience does not a store make, but I don’t have any desire to go back and chance the repeating of it.

Plus the store didn’t really carry that many scooters I was interested in.

The next stop was Mister Scooter on Mission and 14th.

The guy was sweet, but he didn’t think he could do a trade that would work for him and the shop and I didn’t think he had anything in the shop that was suitable for me.

On to Scuderia West.

Where I was treated, far and away, the best, respectfully, immediately approached, and honestly dealt with.

I showed the guy who stopped to speak with me a photograph of my scooter and he told me, “don’t trade it in, you won’t get what you deserve for it, sell it privately, then come back and buy a new scooter.”

“And don’t tell my boss I said that,” he looked around, “he’d kill me, but really, you deserve to get better and I don’t think he’ll give you what you can get for the scooter.”

Good to know.

Plus, the shop had some cute offerings and I was impressed that I could do financing and even set something up with the shop before I sold the Vespa.

Although I am not certain that is the route to go either.

I don’t want to have two scooters on hand.

I do, however, want a scooter that works for me.

I feel like I am in a bit of a conundrum, but that if I just put it out to the Universe, something will shift.

Who doesn’t want a 1965 vintage Vespa in great running condition and with low miles?

I mean, I still want it, for fuck’s sake.

I am really bummed that I can’t ride it anymore.

Really bummed.

I am thinking that one thing I could do is offer it privately to my friends on my social media networks.

For friends and family I will ask exactly what I paid for it (still paying for it, I have $750 left to go) $2650.

For anyone else, I think I’ll start at $3,000.

Then if I get someone who wants to offer me a little less I am able to negotiate a little without losing money on it.

Hell.

My friend sold it to me at a huge discount.

He paid $4,000 for it and then still dropped a new engine into it.

Then, there’s the thought, maybe I could get that kind of money out of it.

But, I’m not interested in trying to flip my scooter.

I am just interested in getting a scooter that works for me and making room for it by letting go the Vespa.

If I don’t find someone to buy it I will trade it in.

I am going to give myself until December.

I’ll have it fully paid off by then.

My friend asked that I pay $200 a month to him to cover it and I have been paying $250, so I’m knocking it down faster than he asked and I can consider it an investment in money.

I didn’t have $2650 to buy a scooter.

When I sell the Vespa, I will.

I can got to a shop and buy something new.

I am also considering going to Vespa of San Francisco and seeing about getting a new Vespa with them.

I won’t have as much toward a new Vespa as I would towards a used or the Kymco’s I have seen that I like, but I will have a big chunk and I can finance the rest and have a new Vespa for my birthday in December.

Then pay it off within a year.

It’ll be nice to have something to ride to work that is not my bicycle, though, it’s doing the deal for right now and I have no complaints about it, and something for when I am in graduate school.

I cannot see being in the intensive all day long and then riding my bicycle home from it.

I would probably fall over in exhaustion riding the Wiggle to the Pan Handle and that’d be all she wrote.

A scooter is in my future.

A scooter is in my present.

I re-phrase.

A scooter that I can ride with a bum ankle is in my future.

Zipping on down the road.

I can just see her around the bend.

Do they make Vespa’s that glitter?

It’s A Date!

September 28, 2014

I was chatting with a friend of mine this evening about how friendships evolve and how I am forever grateful to have been able to escort him about when he visited Paris while I was living there.

He assured me that I would be going back.

I know I will.

Just not certain yet how that’s all happening, live here, live there, go to graduate school, do this, do that, it’s all a muddle.

But.

Then as I was describing to him the renovations being finished on the Peninsula in Paris he pulled out his calendar on his phone and said, wait, wait, did some quick calculations and voila!

We spontaneously, ironically in an Italian restaurant, decided to celebrate a special anniversary of his in two years together in Paris.

We’d meet up and go have tea there.

It only costs 80 Euro for two.

But I think that’s the high tea, which is called Pink Tea, and is served with Madelines and pastries, not that I would partake of the pastries, but yes to tea, yes to making plans, yes to visiting Paris again.

Or perhaps we can have a cafe creme in Le Oiseau Blanc, the restaurant on the top floor with 360 degree views of the city.

I’m also excited by the prospect to go in September, which is a really great time to go.

The heat and humidity of the summer will have passed and though the days are a little shorter, the rainy fall season will not have started.

Late September is a perfect time to visit.

And it with this much notice, I can surely save up for the trip.

I vowed the next time I went to Paris I would go in style.

And by making a date to have an anniversary tea with my friend to celebrate at one of the grandest hotels in Paris, probably on the continent, I believe that may qualify me.

The Frank Gehry and Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation will also be open in the Bois de Boulogne.

I want to go there as well.

It will, of course, coincide with the start of my second year of graduate school.

Not should I get in.

But when I get in.

Not will I go.

But when I go.

And I am going.

I had some moments of self-doubt and freak out and what am I thinking and this is too much work and I don’t wanna and I’ll just be a nanny all my life and go have some pity party in my coffee, after I went to the open house today at CIIS, and well, it passed.

And I will be able to go to Paris because I will be doing the weekend Intensive in ICP.

At least that’s the current plan.

I did enough research that I can see that a PsyD is out, it doesn’t make sense for what I want to do and it would be two extra years of school and a total cost of a quarter of a million dollars.

No thanks.

Not to say that the Masters won’t cost a pretty penny, it will, it just won’t be that much.

The course work will cover a three-year period.

I can apply to do the intensive and I can work.

I can also do other things.

I thought the intensive met weekly and it turns out that it does not, and though, yes I will have to do work and read and write papers during the off time that I am not on campus in the intensive, and man, they do mean intensive–Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 8p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.–I could plan vacation time around my class schedule.

So making a plan to go to Paris in two years is not out of hand at all.

Here’s to setting an intention and sticking to it.

Here’s to setting a whole bunch of intentions.

I will apply for graduate school when the application process opens for the school in November.

I will also check out other programs, there may be better programs for me elsewhere–I am just compelled by the scheduling for the intensive which would allow me to work while attending graduate school (though doubtful I would work full-time, I could)–but I will be applying to a graduate program somewhere, CIIS will be one of my schools I apply to, but there will be others too I suspect,  in the city for the fall of 2015.

The next intention.

I will be going to Atlanta, Georgia in July of 2015.

There’s a special convention that I want to attend and it will also be in the year I will be celebrating a decade of sobriety.

Sort of a special time.

And Atlanta is going to be the place to be.

The registration for the conference just opened and is $100.

I plan on registering for it with my first official paycheck from my new job.

I can’t really think of a better way to celebrate my new job.

Graduate school, travel, a new job, this next year is definitely shaping up to be something beyond what I had been thinking about before I went to Burning Man.

Burning Man is like my New Year.

I often find myself ending things just prior to the event or making big moves around in my life, whether it be career wise or life wise, or relationship wise, right before and after the event due, in no small part, to the absolute crucible of pain that I often find myself in out there.

Pain is not a bad thing, fyi, just a discomfort, something to not stuff down, but walk through and experience.

And.

I learn from it.

I had a hard time out there this year and I acknowledged it briefly here and in bits and pieces elsewhere, but mostly with my close friends.

I tell a lot of my story here, but not all, not all is appropriate or applicable to this forum, suffice to say lots happened and I had to walk through some doors with faith that I would be taken care of.

I had no idea about the new job that I would be embarking on or that I would come back from the event intent on going to graduate school and pursuing child therapy or an MFT masters with the goal to be in my own private practice.

And yet.

When intentions got set.

Things started moving.

I set the intention to help my friend celebrate his anniversary in Paris.

I set the intention to travel to the convention in Atlanta.

I set the intention of going to graduate school.

Done and done.

Oh yeah.

And a boyfriend.

I’d like one of those too.

But Mom!

September 27, 2014

I don’t want to go to school today.

Hack!

Hack!

Cough.

Sniffle.

Sneeze.

I actually do want to go to school tomorrow but I don’t at all either.

I will be getting up a half hour earlier than I have all week-long to go to an open house at the school I am looking into for graduate work next year–the application for the fall semester 2015 opens November, that’s just a couple of months away.

And the open house was heavily recommended by the admissions officer I spoke with on the phone just prior to leaving for New York.

September is turning into quite the month for me.

Ending a job.

Beginning a job.

Burning Man.

New York.

Graduate school investigation.

“Honey, why don’t you take it easy for a day or two, sit back, put up your heels, relax, this new job is taking it out of you,” he said to me on the phone earlier when I checked in.

In between the end of the work day, grocery shopping, and doing the deal at Our Lady of Safeway, I made a phone call to get some perspective and clarity.

Mostly, I think, I just really needed to check in with a human voice that was not one that I work for.

Not that I don’t like my new job.

I do.

I really do.

It’s just been a big, full, overwhelming at times, transition.

I had my first day all on my own and it was great.

Full.

Busy.

I never really had down time.

But I did have time to find things and make things and help the mom prep for the weekend, run to the store, food prep, cleaned out the fridge from the week, recycled, took out the garbage, did the compost, took out the diaper pail, cleaned the kitchen from breakfast, put away the dishes in the dishwasher, took a walk with the youngest boy in the morning when I first came on, negotiated lunch time with him, read stories, put him down for naps, organized the bedroom, the nursery, and rearranged the books in the older boys room.

And that was before I had my own lunch.

I was just sitting down to eat my lunch when the little guy squeaked.

Oh shit.

Then I remembered the other nanny had said that he often would do that, sit up, babbble a little bit, then re-settle himself and sometimes sleep for another half hour or more.

Yes.

I was able to eat my lunch and navigate through my calendar and make some notes about the boys schedule and my schedule in the next few weeks–I’ll be helping some extra hours next week and also the week after–one will be in regards to the eldest boy having a school holiday for two days and the other is a work trip function for the dad.

Then it was time for the nap to be over and the snack to be had and the milk and a snuggle with grandma and grandpa.

Then mom was home and the oldest was back from school and we had an outing to the park and to the book store with the grandparents.

After that I went with the family to Sugoi Sushi on Valencia and had an amazing meal en famille.

Watching a two-year old eat sushi rice is an incredibly messy and entertaining time.

I also felt very much a part of the family and needed and wanted and that was great.

At times the boys have done some push back in regards to certain things, behavior at the playground, some playful testing of my boundaries, but really they seem to be adjusting super well to me and I to them.

That’s not to say that there were a few moments when I was exhausted and wondered, will I be able to make it the year.

And it’s just the first week, which means, it gets easier, I will establish routines and systems and I will navigate my way through.

When we got back to the house the mom wrote me a check, my bonus, for $300 to help me transition until next week when I get paid from the accounting firm they use.

I am so grateful to be working for people who appreciate and care for me and support me as I support them.

I feel really lucky.

“They are lucky to have you,” he told me point-blank.  “Really lucky, don’t forget that.”

I won’t.

But I am grateful too, to have this opportunity that seems to be working really well for me to pursue a graduate school goal as well.

So.

Despite not wanting to get up early tomorrow, my first day off from a full and busy week, the alarm is already set for 7:30 a.m.

And I will get up and shower and get my breakfast on and go.

The one thing I may decide to do differently is not take my bicycle.

It will mean that I have to be on MUNI much longer than my bicycle ride would be, but I think the ankle needs a break.

I had to take some ibuprofen pretty much as soon as I walked in the door and I have been icing it the entire time I have been blogging.

It is doubtful that I can take the entire weekend off from my bicycle, but I can take tomorrow off.

Sunday will be my day of rest.

I have nothing planned.

Just grocery shopping and making food for the week, which is a chore, but one that is quite helpful in making my week smooth and easy.  I’ll probably stay out here in the Sunset the entire day and just market and cook and read magazines.

That’s the plan for the weekend.

It always feels like a lot of work, and when I acknowledge it, it is.  I worked a new job for 40 plus hours this week, rode my bicycle back and forth to work every day for the first time since I injured my ankle (13-15 miles every day), went to do the deal every night, wrote morning pages every morning, and blogged every night.

No wonder I am tired.

I suppose I best get used to it.

That’s what I hear graduate school is all about.

More work.

And that’s cool.

I would rather work it out than not.

I’ll see you on campus soon!

All The Things

September 26, 2014

And then some.

“Oh, before you go,” the new mom told me tonight, “I just wanted to let you know that we talked about how you’re pay is delayed and we want to help the transition, so we’re going to give you a $300 bonus tomorrow in cash to get you through.”

Well ok.

If you insist.

Damn Gina.

I mean I wasn’t thrilled to learn that my pay would be delayed a week, but as I looked over the calendar this morning when I was writing, I realized that, another bonus, October has five Fridays in the month.

So.

I am fine.

And now I am more than fine.

I was really touched when I was told this, it does help the transition and I felt like, whew, they like me.

I mean you wouldn’t give someone a bonus in their first week if you didn’t like them.

This may also be the fastest I have ever received a bonus at work.

Four days in.

Thank you.

And thank you for the latte yesterday and the smoothie today and the Diptyque candles from Paris.

“Do you like candles?” The mom asked me yesterday, handing over a white box to me.

Yes.

Uh.

Wow.

I have been surprised in these kind of sweet unexpected ways all week.

From the littlest boy grasping my name so fast and being trusting and giggly and the oldest boy wanting a bite of my apple tonight at dinner, to the grandmother thanking me for the awesome photos I took at the Farmers Market.

That’s a bonus.

The Farmer’s Market on Thursday is right down the road from the house and we went this afternoon.  The outgoing nanny introduced me to some of their favorite vendors and to some of the other nannies in the neighborhood.  I met the apple farmer the family loves and I have to say, I now love that apple farmer too.

I got some of the prettiest, tastiest apples I have had in a long while, and I eat a lot of apples.

We sat awhile in the long slanting sun of late afternoon watching a local musician play guitar and banjo.  The boys danced, the other nanny and I ate black berries and raspberries and counted down the minutes until the return to the house for dinner.

The other nanny has a really nice routine in place for the boys and I will be using said routine tomorrow as it will be my first full day alone with they boys.

Well.

Not really alone.

Grandma and Grandpa are visiting and mom and dad work from home.

There’s not really alone time.

There is, however, some down time built into the schedule as I was witness to this afternoon.  Time to run to Walgreens and pick up prescriptions, time to run to the local market on the corner to get a bunch of bananas, time to cook and prep meals for the family.

I may not also stay as late as my typical day will run.

Grandma and grandpa visits are special and they will be spending some time with them tomorrow as well.

Tonight was special and sweet too.

Literally.

As the grandmother told the little boys about Rosh Hashana and the New Year, mom sliced apples from the farmer’s market in the kitchen after dinner and poured out clover honey in a deep glass bowl.

“You dip the apples in the honey,” the grandmother showed the two boys, “for a sweet New Year.”

It was one of the most endearing things I have witnessed.

I love bearing witness to family traditions and holidays, there is such a special feeling of family, community, home, maybe that’s why I nanny, aside from loving the little ones I work with, I get to be a part of a family and join in their celebrations and rituals.

And drink coffee from Ritual.

“Would you like a latte or an Americano,” the dad asked me this afternoon.

He made a coffe run yesterday and brought back a latte for me.

“Uh, well, as much as I would,” I laughed, the generosity of my new family is way above the average, “I just was asked about a smoothie and I have a juice coming back from SideWalk Juice.”

“Ok, you change your mind, you text me.” And the dad set out to Ritual.

Pinch me.

I must be dreaming.

I don’t want it to sound like I haven’t had super amazing families before, I have, this is just a different set up for me.

It’s the most I have been paid (well, sort of, I will be having taxes pulled, so it ends up being a little less than other jobs), it’s the first family to give me a health insurance stipend (I get up to $200 a month, which will over and above cover my Healthy San Francisco payment which I have for another year.  So much so, that I am actually going to get dental insurance on my own.  The outgoing nanny told me about Delta Dental and how it’s about $100 a month.  Perfect.), and it’s also the most household work that I have experienced.

There are times when I feel overwhelmed by it, but I feel like once I get into a groove I will find the systems that work for me and them and be able to become extraordinarily efficient.

The cooking and marketing and the household running is not anything that I haven’t done, I reminded myself as I set the table tonight for dinner.

“I have done this before, I know how to do this,” I told myself in my head.  I adjusted the silverware on the thick cloth napkins and placed the water-glass above the knife tip.  “I can do this now.”

I can do this.

Especially when they are already making me feel like a part of their family.

I sat and ate dinner tonight with the family and then helped with the dishes, clean up, watched the ritual of dipping the apples and eating the honey–the littlest one got smart quick and just kept dipping his apple slice in the bowl of honey and licking it off–helped with bath time, did pajama time, and some snuggle time before dropping them back with the grandparents.

“FART on my belly!”  The littlest guy tugged my hand.

I laughed.

“That’s called a ‘zerbert,’ not a fart, come here, let me see if I can find one on you.”  I lifted his striped pajama top and blew a raspberry on his perfect, round, full of sweetness belly and then gave him a big hug.

“I’ll see you tomorrow!” I ruffled his brother’s hair, “see you after school, pumpkin, it was an awesome day.”

And it was.

Full.

Busy.

Detail oriented.

But a really good day.

And tomorrow’s Friday.

Whew.

Almost through my first week.

Amazing.

Sure

September 25, 2014

I’d love a second shower.

Wait.

Let me get off my bike first.

Oh well.

Apparently my bicycle needed some cleaning off.  I really have put on some miles on her over the last four days.  From zero to 50 in just a few days.  I haven’t been on my bike this much since before my accident spraining my ankle.

Said ankle is holding up ok.

It’s tender, although it’s tender on the opposite side of the main injury, as though the muscles there are just tired of supporting the outside of the ankle that sustained the worst of the injury.

Yesterday my shin hurt too.

The bicycle riding has put a little stress on it, but not so much that I am going to give up on the bicycle commuting in and out of work.  The commute is 6.4 miles from door to door.  Plus throw in the little bicycling I do after work to do the deal and I am putting about 13-15 miles on my bike daily.

At least this last few days.

Sunday I probably only did seven miles.

Which is nothing to sneeze at when I consider that I was out of the saddle for as long as was.

Today was definitely a 15 mile day.

I got off a half hour early today, grandparents in town, which helped me decide to ride over to 41st and Ulloa for the 7p.m., who got to do the winding down routine with the boys after dinner and bath time was done.

Which in case you were wondering is quite the fest of child juggling.

I know I will get used to it, but there was a lot of activity today for the little guys and when you throw new nanny in with grandparent visit and old nanny leaving, the circus comes to town and they throw temper tantrums for fun.

I got a small preview yesterday and full on fun today.

I am actually really proud of how I handle it.

First.

I let him have it.

In front of grandma, with mom and dad in the office behind me, said office that has the floor to ceiling windows so everything that is happening in the courtyard is able to be seen, basically in front of the whole wide world, and I just let him have it and stood firm on what I knew had to be a time out or I would be a marked nanny.

Most temper tantrums run their course and are over far sooner if they are just given their reign.  I let them know I understand they are having feelings and even better, they get to have them.  But they do not get to continue the behaviour that caused the time out.

Then we do some breathing.

Then the topic gets changed.

Then, well, then, it’s like nothing happened, let’s play some more, “hey look, did you see the airplane?!”

And like that.

What I really appreciate is that neither the mom or the day interrupted what was going on and let me do my deal and let him have his time out and it was fine.

The job seems to be really going well and the mom told me today that they felt really lucky to have me and that was nice.

And the littlest one called for me on the monitor during his nap time, which just creamed my heart, “Carmen, Carmen, Carmen, help.”

He’d taken off his sock and was trying to put it back on.

He wasn’t ready to go down for his nap and knew, they always know where the camera is, like a honing device, to stand under the camera eye and give the monitor the big, brown puppy dog eyes.

Oh my gosh.

Those eyes.

Turns out he really did end up needing help, poop, it happens, so nap took a little while to happen, but it was so nice to see the smile and here the chatter and know that he trusts me and is already asking for me.

The older is  a little more reserved, but still quite happy to snuggle up on me, eat his lunch, read stories, and he went right to me when he hurt his foot and I put on the bandage and hugged him and it was all good.

What is also all good is having the outgoing nanny help me with the set up of the routines and the daily comings and goings of the family and what needs to be taken care of when.

There’s a whole lot of work going on, dinners, lunches, marketing, errands, phone calls, organizing, outings, play dates, events.

I have been very privileged to get the insider track on all of it.

I also got the insider track on my paycheck which is not as much fun as I thought it would be.

Number one, it’s a delayed pay period.

Which means that no, I won’t get paid for my first week of work until next week.

This can be nice when you are finished with a job and that means that you still have another week’s worth of money coming; but man, it sucks on the front end.

The mom was super nice about breaking the news and said if I should need any cash prior to that happening to let them help me out.

However, since I was let go of from my previous nanny position a week early without pay I had already made the decision to pay my rent to have it out-of-the-way.

I am so grateful I did that.

I think I must have just had a gut feeling, well, I know I did, which is why I paid early, I am just grateful I listened to it instead of banking on the income that until this afternoon I thought I would have.

My intuition has also been speaking to me of rain gear–no joke, thought of it twice today, time for a rain coat, time for rain boots.

So, I found it funny to be riding home this evening with the fog so heavy it felt like rain, and wouldn’t you know, it is rain.

I was drenched by the time I got home.

I won’t be able to buy rain gear this week.

But I will the following.

All the things are happening.

Just got to keep showing up.

Rain or shine.

Whoa Boy

September 24, 2014

It’s about to be a party up in this nanny gig.

Tomorrow the grandparents are coming into town for a six-day trip to visit the boys and mom and dad and the new nanny and the old nanny and the dog.

Oof.

It’s going to be a lot of adult navigation of space on top of two little monkeys.

And the are capricious little things.

Bath time literally had me in a sweat.

Juggling a two-year old boy and a four-year old boy into and out of a bath is no small feat, and then into pajamas, and then ready for story time and snuggle with mom and dad time.

I realized about half way between juggling one little guy and the other, potty training, the older boy also taking care of business, that I had forgotten the towels for the boys and not gotten the pajamas either.

I had been busy herding the cats up the stairs after dinner, dishes, kitchen clean up, and a mellow wind down moment on the couch with two new books from the library at 24th and Bartlett.

The day went by quickly.

It was pretty non-stop go from the minute I walked in.

Which is good, but just a little exhausting at the moment.

Day two.

No whimper.

Lots of BANG!

The boys have a great routine and routine is what saves a nanny behind every time.

It’s also a task keeping to that routine when you are fresh to the scene.

The out going nanny has been absolutely fabulous helping me adjust and there’s no awkwardness at all between us, which has been helpful.

There’s been a moment or two when I have felt odd asking the mom a question, but had no qualms asking the other nanny.

“Camera’s?” I asked yesterday as we walked to the park.

She nodded, “yeah, I’m pretty certain there are, I could even show you where I think they are.”

Nah.

I’m good.

I act like I’m on camera anyway most of the time.

I have been in so many households now with nanny cam or a drop cam or some sort of surveillance that I just assume it’s there.  However, it is nice to know.  The last place I worked in Cole Valley had camera’s right out in the open.

I will never forget the weekend I was cat sitting for them and I was watching a movie and had riotous gas and was letting them fly, I mean, no body was around, the cats didn’t care, and as I shifted on the couch, I heard the camera shifting with me.

Scared the crap out of me.

Well, thankfully, not really.

But I did swear.

I was not at my best, had relapsed for three weeks into some really negative food behaviour and the reason I had gas was I had just eaten a box, yes, an entire box, of cereal, with milk, and was at that time also consuming a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

I am lactose intolerant.

Not a huge amount, I can eat dairy, but it, well, makes me gassy.

Let me tell you about mortification.

They had seen the entire thing.

Not me at my finest I can say with complete candor.

So, I am used to being on camera, still it’s a nice thing to know and I don’t have any plans on testing whether or not they are actively engaged in watching me or not.

I suspect I already have been closely observed, and that’s fine.

I’m with two new boys and despite my squeaky clean record and my many years as a nanny, sometimes it takes a family a few days to trust.

Mom and dad do a lot of work from home, it seems doubtful that I will have much away time from the parents, they have a big home office right off the kitchen and they will be very much a part of my day.

My very, very, very busy day.

“Yeah, I was a little resentful at first when I started with them, I was taken aback at the amount of work, I think they should rename the job and be a little more accurate about it,” the other nanny said today in the kitchen as we were preparing food for the day while the youngest was napping and the oldest was still in school.

“Mother’s assistant,” she said, rolling out a pizza crust on the counter top, “is probably more appropriate, don’t get me wrong though, I love them, they are a great family to work for.”

The job is definitely above and beyond the nanny experience I have had, much more marketing, errands, household running, organizing, and cooking than I have experienced.

Household assistant for certain.

That being said I feel like it’s a great fit for me.

I am organized and capable and despite being a little overwhelmed, let me remind myself it is only day two of the position, I feel ready to take it on and grow with it.

I am also hoping to grow with it as the youngest boy enters into pre-school next year.

The family is still going to need help, but not as much as what it does now.

This seems to be the perfect fit for the imminent heading off to graduate school.

“There’s an open house this weekend!” An acquaintance said that I had not seen in years said to me this evening after work; turns out she is in a program there as well.  “You should come.”

“I am, I RSVP’d last week, I’ll be there.”

“Yeah, and don’t do the PsyD, it’s too long for what you want, do the Intensive program, get your MFT, and then you won’t have to spend a quarter of a million dollars to get your degree.”

Good fucking point.

I’ll still be laying out a pretty penny, probably around $50,000, but it’s certainly a bit less than $250,000.

Besides.

Should I decide later on that I want the PsyD, I can go back to it.

But first get the MFT and transition, perhaps with this family, it seems like a good fit, from nanny to therapist.

It’s still going to be a couple, three years.

But it’s going to happen.

One sweet little day at a time.

But it will.

I just have to show up for it.

And get a really good nights sleep tonight.

There’s going to be a slew of people there tomorrow.

I got to gird up my nanny pants.

I’m going in.

Easing In

September 23, 2014

Day one down!

Whew.

I can relax now.

Bahahaha.

Oh shit.

It’s a new job, new family, new routine.

New dog!

Awesome dog though, it’s nice working in a home with an animal, especially an animal that is all about giving me the kisses when she sees me.

Plus, there’s the added plus of an in home vacuum cleaner.

After lunch this afternoon I was looking about for a dust buster or broom and dust pan and the outgoing nanny said, “oh don’t worry about it, the dog will eat it up.”

Ok then.

I will probably worry about it anyway.

That is my nature.

I worry about getting the schedule right, the food right, the laundry right, where’s the light switch, how do I turn this on or off, where does this, that, the other go.

And I have to take a breath and pause and relax and now that, hey lady, it’s like your first day, chill.

It went really well too.

The boys like me and I quite adore them.

They are two and four.

And perfect and boy and all things digging, pointing, throwing, garbage truck, fire truck, bang, clang, sand, bugs, dirt, “nature,” and snuggly and read books and hugs and good smells and adorable.

The youngest already clambers right into my arms and languishes there like a little man adrift on an island of words, “read more, read this, next book, read, please.”

Yes sir.

God.

I love kids that love books.

The family is fortunate to be in a neighborhood that has a good library and also a used book store with a decent, albeit small, children’s section.  I foresee many trips to the library.

There is so much to do in the neighborhood and I am so grateful I know the neighborhood.

I am back in the Mission.

And the commute, yes, it’s long, but it’s not too bad.

I did it today in 40 minutes.

I gave myself nearly an hour to do the ride.

I left wanting to be mellow, get there in a timely fashion, have time to wipe the sweat from my brow, not push myself or wrench on my ankle, to gather myself and go in relaxed and easy.

I was leaving a phone message and doing a check in when I saw the mom come out of the house and walk down to the garage to play with the littlest boy in front of the house.

He was dressed in a firefighters outfit, I was, of course, won over in an instant.

I joke that I like nannying so that I can dress up my charges.

There is something deep and satisfying about it, maybe because I did not play dress up much as a child and certainly did not have costumes at Halloween.

One year, sixth grade (fyi sure way to be marked a pariah in your school) I dressed up as a homeless woman with a hunchback.

I thought I was being really clever with my costume.

I did not realize how sad it was and of course my mom didn’t have the spare cash to outfit me, I just put together what I thought would make a great bag lady and smudged dirt on my face to complete the look.

Maybe it was mascara, I’m not actually sure, but as I was already treading on ostracized waters, this costume was sure to sink my ship.

Lucky for me I am a smart kid and figured out right away when I got to school and saw the costumes the other kids were wearing that what I had on was not the Halloween costume of choice, EVER, I went to the bathroom, got rid of the hunch, wiped my face off, straightened out my clothes, ditched the bag (I think I actually had a brown paper bag with crumpled up newspapers in it) and re-emerged as myself.

“Where’s your costume?”

“I forgot.”

Yeah.

So, perhaps I like dressing up the kids I work with to compensate for that lack of childhood acceptance that I wanted to have, I can see that; you know insight, perspective, etc, etc.

The family I am working for has the cute costumes on lock down.

Which is awesome.

I will definitely be dressing up for Halloween with them.

I will also be doing a lot of household assisting.

Which I rather enjoy.

It makes the day go by faster and gives me extra stuff to organize and prep and do.

Grocery shopping, picking up cleaning, doing the boys laundry, sorting and rotating toys, preparing food, cooking, for both the boys and doing some food prep for the parents.

I love going to the market and I adore cooking, so combine the two and I am happy as a clam to assist.

The oldest boy is in school from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or thereabouts, I don’t actually know that exact time, what I do know is that I don’t start until after he’s already at school. Which makes the cooking and market running and errands doable.  I will come in and only have the youngest boy until about 2:45 p.m. then either the mom or I will pick up the older at school and I will have them both through dinner and on until bath time.

My schedule will be Monday 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. then Tuesday-Friday 10:30a.m. until 6:30p.m.  I get paid, and taxed oh yes, the tax forms have all been filled out, once a week, direct deposit, for 40 hours a week.

The family wants 45 to 50 hours and I will start out with 41 hours a week and see what else I can work into.  Any hours over 40 and I am paid cash.  Knowing me I will definitely work the 45 and possibly on occasion 50 hours, but I told the mom nothing over 50 hours.

I am just not a good nanny when I work that many hours.

I am excited to work for them and get to know the boys and to be back in the Mission.

I wish I was living in the Mission too, man would that be a huge help, but I don’t know that I could find the set up that I have here in the Mission.

The other nanny lives with her boyfriend in Noe Valley in a 800 square foot apartment, they pay $3,000 a month.

Uh.

No.

I’m fine right where I am.

And the bicycle commute will be my gym membership.

It means an hour and a half commute on my bike daily, but it’s a great work out and as I was zipping through the park on my way home this evening with the delicious smell of woods and evergreen needles in my nose, the stars over head and the wet smell of fresh-cut grass, I thought, yeah, I can do this.

At least for today.

Day one new family.

Success!

 

 


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