Archive for September, 2014

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.”

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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!

 

 

You Can Do Everything

September 22, 2014

She said, and hugged me.

I have no idea where that came from.

I mean none.

Perhaps it was the expression on my face as I listened or just that when some one speaks your language, they really speak your language.

She had my numbered dialed right up.

I was not even going to go.

I love that.

My best ideas always have me hanging out (aka hiding) in my own space, taking care of business, getting ready for the week.  Doing my thing to make things happen.

I forget, too often, that the point of having down time is to enjoy it, not perpetually be getting ready for the work week.

I do have a new job that I am starting tomorrow, so of course there is more to prepare.

Mentally.

Physically.

Spiritually.

Emotionally.

The whole gambit.

Fortunate for me I also have a speaking engagement to keep me pre-occupied with after work.  I have a place to be and service to do.

Which is also how I show up for the new job.

How may I best be of service to the family unit?

What can I give to the situation rather than take?

I mean, yes, I will get paid, and yes there is recompense, but to go into the job asking myself what I can bring to it instead of what I can get out of it, though perhaps not a new idea, is a radical one to me time and time again.

Everything is ready to go as well.

I am ready.

Especially after taking the hour I just did to hie on over to St. Gabe’s at 41st and Ulloa.

I saw some faces I hadn’t seen in a while and got reminded of my primary purpose and grateful, just so grateful, to be starting a new chapter with new players and experiences.

“You’ve done it before,” my friend sent me a text earlier in a long line of texts back and forth regarding our experiences with travel and the leaping that is so often necessary to live this life to its fullest.

I have done it before.

And that is called faith.

I have experience, these things, they turn out, this new family will turn out too.

Not that I have any expectations of it failing miserably or anything, just some general nerves about starting with a new situation and putting my best self forward.

So.

I took care of business today too.

I have my outfit ready for the morrow, laundry done, food prepped and prepared, groceries bought, coffee at the ready, water bottle chilling in the fridge, tires pumped up and inflated on my bicycle, bike lights recharging as I blog.

Yes.

That is correct.

I am riding my bicycle to work.

Not only will I be starting the new job tomorrow, I am starting it with a bang.

Well.

Actually.

Hopefully without a bang.

I don’t want a flat tire tomorrow, no thanks.

Rather.

I want smooth sailing, calm morning commute hours, a steady strong wind at my back, no rain, no fog, just me and my bicycle and my messenger bag full of good homemade food for me to eat at work.

I tested out my theory of my bicycle riding ability today.

I rode first to do the grocery shopping–Noriega Produce Market–just eight blocks, round trip.

Then after I had a nice lunch at home, I rode my bicycle over to Bunny Meadow for a lovely lady’s going away party.

Bunny Meadow is in Golden Gate Park up behind the Conservatory of Flowers.

I took Lincoln Ave up to right before it becomes Oak Street and turned down the blocked off-road to ride up and around the Conservatory and through the Dahlia Garden.

Not because I wanted to look at flowers, but man, they were a riot of beauty, but because I was thinking I could cut through to the meadow.

I circled back and proceeded closer to 8th and Fulton and found the correct little road up to the meadow, which was a delightful surprise, underneath a canopy of trees, loads of picnic tables and benches and really quite secluded from the main thoroughfare.

It was an awesome bunch of people and I sat around and got caught up with folks and then played Cards Against Humanities for the first time.

Hilarious.

I almost peed my pants a few times laughing.

I hung out for a few hours then rode my bike back through the park, exiting on Chain of Lakes, at 41st Ave then back down Lincoln Ave to 46th Ave.

The ankle held up.

I did take some ibuprofen with dinner.

I was half way to talking myself out of going out again, I did have that thing to do, that get right with God thing, but I was busy, you know, mentally preparing myself to have a freak out about tomorrow being my first day back at school.

Er.

Work.

Ha.

That’s so what it feels like, first day back to school.

In the end I decided that there was only so much more prep I could do and the best thing to do would be spiritual preparation.

So.

Back out the door and over to Saint Gabriel’s at 41st and Ulloa Avenue.

And back again.

I did it.

The bike is a go.

I do have some soreness in my ankle, but really, not too bad.  I also have a little tenderness in my arms, which makes sense, I haven’t really ridden a good distance on my bicycle in three and a half months, my arms should be tired from holding up the weight of my torso.

I suspect my quads will be a little sore tomorrow too.

But not so bad that I can’t make the bike ride.

Which is going to shave 45 minutes off the commute time for me in the morning.

It felt good to be back in the saddle and good to do all the things for me so that I can continue having all the things.

Self-care equals I can do it all.

But I don’t have to do it all overnight.

One little step at a time.

Easy does it.

Everything.

In due time.

You’re Going To Get Old

September 20, 2014

Anyway.

Might as well do it with panache.

And daring.

And walk through the fear.

I received the materials today from the graduate program that I have been looking at and realized, fuck.

I don’t have all the pre-requisites.

I would have to put off the program for another year.

I got abysmal.

I trashed the program materials in the recycling.

Then I called a friend.

Who would know about having to do more school than she thought to get her degree and it was really good to get some perspective and the fact is that I do want to do this and I do think I would make a really great child psychologist.

I do.

The program is five years.

I would have to do the pre-requisite classes, which would add-on another year.

But.

Then.

Hey, you know, I would be a doctor.

Not a medical doctor, no, but a doctor and I could teach and I could have a private practice and I could lead a richer fuller life by helping others lead richer fuller lives.

I wanted to cancel on the open house I RSVP’d to.

I did not.

I wanted to throw up my hands in the air and say, what am I doing?  Am I just having the same experience that happens, quite frequently, it would seem, am I just having another weird side winding wonk at a career?

Am I grasping for something that will fulfill me?

Because I don’t need a thing or a career or a person to do that.

So.

More investigationship is what is needed.

I will go to the open house and I will talk with advisors and maybe there’s a different program, maybe I get my MFT and I practice as a therapist and not as a psychologist.

Maybe I find out I am not interested in the degree at all.

But I have to explore it.

Too many things seem to be pointing at the program and I am not going to ignore all those signs.

I am just going to show up for the next action and ask questions, exploring my options is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the only thing to do.  I cannot figure it out on my own.

I mean a child therapist is still a noble career and I know I would be great at it.

I am not afraid of the work.

I am a bit afraid of the financial bits and pieces.

But then I think, if it’s what is supposed to be it will fall into place and it will be obvious.

I mean a month ago I had no idea I would be starting a new job today.

Which is what I did.

I started a new job.

This family wasn’t even on my radar, I didn’t even know they existed, I was out in the high Black Rock Desert getting my pre-event Burning Man on.

I knew that my time with the family I was working with was probably going to be ending, but I did not think it would end the way it did or the manner it did, I didn’t expect two weeks with no work, but it was perfect, I had a great staycation–ferry-boat ride to Larkspur, lunches at the Ferry Building, a lot of iced coffees, reading books in the back yard, going to the Legion of Honor and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, sleeping in, having lunch with friends–and I interviewed with and got the job with a new family.

I also passed my back ground check.

“Squeaky clean!”

Not even a speeding ticket.

I joked with a friend of mine that I had delusions of Grand Theft Auto Grandeur.

Like I had done something felonious in nature and just like, I don’t know, forgot it, and it was going to come up in the back ground check and oops, no job for you!

But that’s not how it worked.

I got the job.

I am above-board.

I am being taxed and doing it right and I have a signed contract and benefits and paid holidays and days off.

I have employment that will carry me forward while I explore graduate school.

I am supposed to go to graduate school.

I know it.

I have always believed I would.

This time feels like the time.

I have a gut feeling and I am going to go with it.

And the doubting, well, it may come up again, but I can keep on exploring until the right fit happens.  And the doubt, it’s just a habit, one I have broken in regards to so many other things that it doesn’t even really seem applicable.

Sort of like an old habit that pops up once in a while to say howdy.

I can just wave and move on.

The dream is this:

My own practice in my own home in my town–San Francisco.

I know that’s a lot to bite off.

But that’s what I want.

I want to own a home in San Francisco and have a private practice out of my home wherein I am a top child psychologist/therapist.

That’s the dream.

At least the dream this week.

I have had the dream of wanting to be a writer in my own home in San Francisco too.

The dream typically has a house attached to it.

Sometimes, but not always, in fact, more infrequent than I might care to mention, there is not a family or a man attached to that dream.

Just me.

A house.

My own studio space, writing space, office space, and my own practice.

Therapy.

Children’s therapy.

Sunny, bright, warm, trees, play area, cozy couches and cushions and stuffed animals and play therapy and helping kids.

I have a dream about a picket fence and children.

The children don’t have to be mine biologically.

The house, while I don’t plan on birthing it, I do want to be mine.

Ah.

I have plans.

Yes I do.

I don’t have to know what is going to happen.

I just need to take another little step through on this path.

Show up for a new job, be a good employee, work with two new little boys, love the home I get to be a part of, be present, and then, go to the open house next Saturday and just ask some questions.

That’s all.

Nothing to it.


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