Posts Tagged ‘BART’

Total Change of Plans

August 6, 2013

I was supposed to sleep in today, relax, write, maybe work on my craft project a little–you know, more fun with glitter–then take a BART to Castro Valley to see me some Joan.

Not what happened.

In fact, all of today is a not what happened kind of day.

I was woken up quite early by a frantic mom looking for help, their regular nanny called in sick.

Actually, she showed up sick, and threw the entire household into a bit of an uproar from what I gleaned upon arrival.

I was in bed, naked, still warm and sleepy and I don’t know what compelled me to pick up that phone.

I mean, I am glad I did, although when I showed up and realized there was a full house–grandma and grandpa making a visit before the family leaves for Burning Man–I might have passed on answering.

That sounds like it was a horrible day, it wasn’t, it just threw a monkey wrench into my thoughts on how it was going to go.

Like I quoted the mom a time I could make it in, calculating skipping breakfast and going straight to BART.  Just roll out of bed, make bed, kneel down, take a moment to put on head, pull on clothes, and roll out the door.

I figured I would grab breakfast at the house.

I know there’s coffee there, oatmeal in the cupboard, and I have my own little stash of apples and humus and string cheese in the fridge, I’ll eat when I get settled in.

Surprise!

Grandma is in the guest room.

Frogs.

I had completely forgotten they were going to be there.

Breakfast took some time to get together and I had to pause and look at how I was going to take care of myself and the kids and also allow for the grandparents being there.

Super sweet, but they don’t know the routine, and well, hell, the routine is already thrown and I am scrabbling to get myself straight, let alone make sure all the baby stuff is aligned and ready to go.

You miss the magic window on a nap or a feeding time and all hell can break loose.

Things managed to pull together, without too much stress, but I will say, there are few things that can strike real dread into the heart of a nanny and it goes something like this:

Me–“it’s so nice that you can come and visit before the event!”

Grandma–“We’ve seen the playa, it’s really amazing, we’ve just never gone to the burn.”

Aside–got to love a grandma that is down with going to the burn.

Me–“do you have any special plans today?”

Grandma–“Just sitting around watching you!”

Oh my fucking god.

I just about peed my pants.

I smiled, and said I hoped to be entertaining.

Grandma–“there’s not much to do with them when they’re this age, is there, you just need to be there to watch.”

I smiled and nodded, yup, sometimes, that’s all you need.

And sometimes it is baby juggling and the babies have sharp little teeth.

Both babies are teething.

Both babies had interrupted nap times.

Which in the end actually worked out alright, the afternoon nap went longer and I actually had an overlap of a half hour when both the babies were down at the same time and the grandparents were out to lunch.

Heaven!

A cup of tea and a moment to sit down and finish a New Yorker article I started three weeks ago.

That may give you an idea of how much down time I have when I am nannying.

Sometimes, and I won’t lie, there are great big wonderful chunks of time to kick through a book or check your e-mails, or take a phone call.

Sometimes you can’t keep up with the naps and the poops and the snacks and the walks and the diaper bags and the swaddles, nooks, socks, shoes, water bottles, milk bottles, burp cloths, biodegradable diaper garbage bags, favorite toys, rattles, and teething rings.

Today was somewhere in between.

I like to think that I am a good nanny.

Somewhere in that is the ability to make it look like what I am doing is easy, that I am just chillaxin’ while the babies are goo goo ga ga’ing.

But it takes some organizational skills and some tactical planning.

I shit you not, there are days when a strategically placed warm bottle and can and will make all the difference.

Ah.

Breathe.

I am not a work anymore.

And today’s unexpected shift will cover the hair cut I am getting on Thursday.

A little Solid Gold action with my friend Calvin.

It’s been a hot minute.

Almost a year.

I was going to do something wild, glitter extensions, but I think I am just going in and getting a trim.  Nothing over the top here.

Although it is Calvin, I might walk out with neon pink hair, who knows.

But it won’t be short, I am still toeing the line with keeping the hair long.

The blog digresses.

Off into hair landia.

Back to babylandia.

Tomorrow is my normal Tuesday in the city, well, with the absence of my little girl, who I am missing!  What that means, is an early start to my day, so I am going to wrap this blog up, make a quick snack, have a cup of tea, and get my rest in.

I shall be girding my loins for the grandparent babypalooza on the morrow.

I bid you an early adieu.

Sweet dreams, may they not be about teething!

You Never Know

July 19, 2013

Who could be reading this blog.

Or who follows this blog.

I don’t.

Except, every once in a while someone I know will say, “I read your blog!”

Or, “I know that already, I read that on your blog,” and I can get a little prickly pearish.

I have a friend who once asked, “what didn’t you write about,” in regards to my time in Paris.

Smart man.

There were indeed things I did not write about.

Right about now I am missing the upcoming reading for The Bastille.

I got an e-mail from the editor in regards to how they were doing the reading, who will be there, and did I have last-minute thoughts about going.

Well, yeah, I would love to be there, you know, in Paris, reading a short story that I wrote, inspired by a trip on the Metro (although having absolutely nothing to tie the Metro to the story), out loud, outside, on the terrace to the Shakespeare & Company store.

Sounds like something out of a movie, you know.

Speaking of short stories, flattered today, to be asked to read a friend’s short.

It was good.

Not great, but good, and the potential for great was there.

I have to say, aside from getting text messages from folks thanking me for what I wrote, people asking me to read there work and critique it is also flattering.

I feel like I have something to offer.

And the ease of doing it is sort of astounding.

I chalk it up to reading a lot.

Writing a lot.

And thinking about writing a lot.

I have way with words, have I.

Sometimes.

The majority of folks that follow my blog are not folks I know, but when I get personal responses from my friends and community it is validating and makes me feel that every blog is worth while, that no matter what I think I am getting somewhere with this exercise.

It is also a way to keep tabs on me.

Who knows I am in East Oakland?

You do!

Who know when I have down time?

You do!

Speaking of down time, that dreaded commodity, I put it out to facecrack that I had down time and I will see if anything shakes out from that.  Whether work, recreation, or dating.

Not that I have ever gotten a date on facecrack.

There was a guy once, but I told him he had to actually ask me out, not just message me about having coffee.

That was a long time ago, though, I haven’t really gone on a date in a while.

Well, the mister, but he’s busy, or just not all that into me, despite the contradictory statements he has spoken, “I am attracted to you,” sounds like you’re attracted to me.

But the hasn’t sent a message, called, or asked on date in three weeks, says something entirely different.

Not that dating is going to fix me or make me different, better, or good.

I am just tossing out ideas to the Universe as to what I should fill my schedule with.

I thought about riding my bicycle out to Ocean Beach and to the nanny gig in Cole Valley, to see how long my commute would be.

Writing.

Submitting some more work.

Bugging my friend who has the manuscript to sit down and talk with me about it.

Reading.

I am going to be in the city tomorrow for nanny gig, but it is only three hours, 11a.m. to 2p.m. and I will have the afternoon until 6p.m. to wander around.

I shall meander to a book store or two.

I am assuming that by the time my two weeks roll around I will have actually filled them full.  And as though to prepare for the two weeks they will be gone, I do have a fuller nanny week then normal next week.

I bet the two weeks of quiet will be nice.

I am not cringing as much at the thought as I was.

I could take out my camera and do some down and dirty photographs of the ship yards.

I have been thinking about that for a few minutes now.

Every time I go on the BART and it passes over the freeways and the penned up shipping container yards, I see photographs.  I don’t relish the idea of riding my bicycle through the neighborhoods, but I do the thought of what photographs I could take.

I want to take portraits of the prostitutes I see on International too, but I don’t think my camera would be welcomed.

There was a triumvirate of girls this evening working 18th and International, including one girl who had square cleavage.

I did a double take as I was riding my bicycle by and realized that she did not have pointy cleavage, rather that there were phones stuck in the cups of her bra.

I could also ride over to Alameda, I know from having ridden over there many years ago, that there are some very pretty avenues and areas.  It feels quite different from the East Oakland hood I am sequestered in.

I could see the movie Fruitvale.

I mean, I use the Fruitvale BART all the time, it would be interesting to see how the movie is.  I may have some direct experience with the local flora and fauna.

So many things to do.

I am sure my calendar will get booked up and until then, the best thing I can do is just focus on the next action in front of me and that looks like a fresh cup of tea.

And some proofreading.

A Little Scared

July 14, 2013

A little wired.

A little relieved.

I ran into an old friend of mine whom I had not seen in years and I knew the minute his face lit up and we hugged that the gig was up.

The gig has been up and I have been nervously looking around saying, that’s not what I want to do, nope, not looking at that, you people freak me out.

Then there’s the other part of me, the rational, I could use some help with this, here’s the solution, feel free to pick it up or go back to crazy town.

I chose to call him back, minutes after riding my bike down 24th from Noe Valley to the 24th Street BART.

Which was surrounded by cops, van loads of cops, cops in riot gear.

If I thought yesterday’s lock down in the Nordie’s Off the Rack was disconcerting, rolling through the intersection at Valencia and 24th through flanks of cops in riot gear and vans blocking the street was even more so.

What the fuck is going on out there?

Zimmerman decision.

Oh.

Yikes.

Man, the last few days I have just rode my bicycle through some odd places.

I slowly pedaled toward the station which was surrounded by motorcycle cops and quietly asked one of them if BART was still running.

“Yes.”

Excellent.

I scooted myself down the stairs, doing my best to ignore the mob of people across the street at 24th and Mission making some getting angry noises and the bellow of one skinny white boy with a megaphone extorting folks to get really pissed now.

I just want to get on BART and get home.

I clambered down the stairs with my messenger bag full of groceries and saw I had just missed the train back, it was going to be another 18 minutes.

You could call him you know, I thought, my friend had given me his number and then said, “call me now so I have it in my phone,” I believe if he had not have said that I would not have called.

Not when I did.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever.

I would just keep trying to do it my way and then at some point I would pop from the pressure of keeping my food shit together.

You could call him now, you know, you could just ask.

GRR.

The window was open and though afraid, how come I have got to walk through this fear shit all the time?  I decided I better slip on through before that window closed again.

“Hi, it’s Carmen,” I said, after the fifth ring I figured there was going to be no pick up, but damn it, he did.

I could almost here the glee in his voice when he said hello back.

Gotcha.

Yup.

So, I asked for help and took out a piece of paper and wrote down exactly what was said and now I have, sigh, a wake up call to make in the morning and a place to go at 8:30 a.m. and some explicit instructions on how to start my day.

The road narrows.

Indeed it does.

But I am tired of trying to figure it out on my own and though my alarm clock is now set for 6 a.m.

On a Sunday?!

On a Sunday.

I am alright with it.

First of all, I can take a nap tomorrow if I need to.

Second of all, I will continue to get the same results unless I take some different actions, I want to take some different actions.

I also saw John Ater tonight who just said, “tell them your rates are going up and don’t underbid yourself.”

I did not even get to say well, I um, shouldn’t I, uh, shit.

Nope.

All the thunder stolen right out from underneath me.

Just tell them your rates are going up.

I will craft an e-mail tomorrow.

Most likely after I get back from my 8:30 a.m. all the way the fuck across town bicycle ride.  After I make a 7:15 a.m. check in phone call and sit quietly for a half hour.

I am so dreading this I was already trying to figure out how I was going to get to sleep to even get six hours of sleep.

I keep telling myself that all along this has been waiting and I can let go of the misery if I just follow some simple rules and I won’t be obsessive about the thoughts and I can try something different.

It’s just something different, which always induces fear, even when it is something good different.

There’s nothing wrong with getting up early, it’s not like I had some big plans tonight.

Watch a show, troll the interwebs, drink some tea, read a book.

I say this as I watch the clock tick forward toward midnight.

I dont’ want to do this thing.

I never have.

I have shied away before.

But in the shying away I believe I have been practicing contempt prior to investigation.

I have to go investigate.

I am not going to say it won’t work until I give it the old college try.

So, here’s to me getting up early, following someone else’s instructions and saying, my way sucks, I give up, how about I try something different.

Can’t hurt to try.

Hump Day Indeed

July 4, 2013

Ugh.

Almost through this weird week.

Although I am not really, I still am at the house sit in Cole Valley/nanny gig.  BART why fore art thou deserted me?

On the up side I now have had a bit of a dry run with the family and I got a taste of what living on playa will be like, although I am sure it will still be different.

The man burns in 60 days!

Shaddup.

I got an updated e-mail in my messages today about all stuff Burning Man and that was one of the notes on it and I just about passed out.

It is at the same time not soon enough and far too soon.

I don’t have a ton of prep to do but it weighs on the mind and there are things that I do need to attend to and 60 days goes by quickly.

You thought this blog was going to be about sex, didn’t you.

Hump day.

I actually could not remember what day of the week it was today on a number of occasions.

They have all just blurred and melted into one another.

I got the keys to the next house sit, they were sweet as pie and dropped them off to me here in Cole Valley.  And my friend sent me a text from the Farmer’s Market asking me what he should stock the kitchen with.

I love me my friends.

I do.

On the other hand I tried to bite off a little more than I could chew today and took the two charges to the Whole Foods on Haight.

The parents have been out-of-town for the last bit, hence the house sitting (apropos of nothing, an aside, a darling lady told me yesterday, “you use big words” I realized I just used hence in a sentence, it just sort of popped out of my head, I wonder if I have used hence in an actual conversation, knowing myself I probably have, and a lot of profanity with it, hence, to fuck off.) and the cupboards were not bare, but they could use some stocking.

So off to the grocery store I went.

Which was not a pleasant experience.

The double stroller that I was using is not a practical double stroller.

If I am walking in a straight line, it’s ok, but if I need to make any kind of turn, it sucks.  It has a very stiff turning circumference, it reminded me of driving a car without power steering.

The Whole Foods in the Haight is a smallish store as well and full of tourists headed off to Golden Gate Park and locals getting their shop on.

I had planned on going to the store earlier, but nap time schedule did not allow for it.

When I got there, after unfolding the double stroller, the one perk of it, it folds in half (unfortunately it is challenging to unfold and I banged it my ankle so hard against it that I saw white.  Add to that the horribly stubbed, nearly broken–not exaggerating–toe I got yesterday and it’s been a painful week here in Cole Valley) it was nearly commuter time dinner hour shopping and the aisles were packed.

I got yelled at by a snotty check out kid, who, granted did not see the double stroller, he was busy waving down the next person in line.

I got to say I find it amusing that Whole Foods actually has someone who monitors the line and referees people.

“No!  Excuse me, miss, she was in line first,” the guy in the queue directing traffic nearly yanked the yoga mat out from under this woman’s arm.

“Thanks,” I said and pushed the stroller precariously loaded down with groceries for the house, two toddlers, one over packed diaper bag, and a waning supply of patience to the next check out person.

In no particular order, the guy at the register ahead of me was insulting, as I was blocking the line with the double stroller, the cashier triple charged me for something, the baby in the back threw over the brand new hat that grandma had given him from vacation in Canada and  the little girl pillage the soy teriyake fake jerky that was piled next to the register.

I got them out, got the groceries, donated my bag credit, all good Samaritan like, and strong armed the stroller out the door.

Only to discover the hat was missing about half way back to the house.

The conversation the mom had with me about the other nanny, who is phasing out, and I will be replacing, and how she lost the babies quilt on a walk rang through my head.

Frogs.

I had to wheel the 16 wheeler back to the store, back through the fog of pot smoke (god damn is it always this smokey in the Haight?) and into the maw of the store again.

The hat had been turned in!

I was not a bad nanny.

Not that you are a bad nanny when you have juggled two children all day, grocery shopped, and made roasted squash, cauliflower, and zucchini for the family.

Or did not drop the baby when you couldn’t open the stroller and instead banged it not once but twice on your ankle.

Or did not drop the baby when you smash your foot so hard into the bottom step, wooden step with mean pointy cornice, that you break the skin, it swells up, looks mean and bruised and you are now wearing a Hello Kitty band-aid on it.

It was Hello Kitty or Mickey Mouse.

You know what the choice had to be.

It’s been a long week.

I am working tomorrow–the family is Canadian–what Fourth of July?

But I said I would and I am here in the city any how, hell I am in their house, so whatever.

Then Friday.

Sometime tomorrow after the nanny’ing is done I will transition to the Castro.

I don’t think the mom needs me for the whole day and I want to scoot sooner rather than later.  I am also kind of hoping to actually not work Friday, I feel in need of a break.

Either way, one more evening here, then onto the next place.

When I finally do move into my own place I am not going to know how to act.

Until then, just taking it moment to moment.

And trying to not bash myself on anything else tonight.

 

That Was Not for Naught

June 18, 2013

Despite the immediate, somewhat childish tantrum building in my head.

I went into the city today to do some work, although I knew I could do it remotely.  I wanted to be in the office space, I wanted to provide myself with accountability.

I wanted that to not be a ticket on the windshield when I went to move the car.

D’oh!

Damn it man.

$62

That pretty much negated going into the city to work.

I only had a few hours to put toward the project, although when I left and had packed up I had some more thoughts that will bear exploring, but not today.  Today it was get back, after a coffee date at Four Barrel, to the East Bay without getting any more tickets.

It was not a horrible day, it was not, I got to see a lady bug and do some work with her and I had a delicious cup of Four Barrel, I know folks that might pay $62 to just do that, a little trip into the city.

I took a walk down Valencia Street, I went to Dog Eared Books, I bought a book and a new notebook–my last journal from Paris was filled this morning–I saw my friend Carlos on the street, I got a hug.

I saw so many folks out there, in San Francisco and here in Oakland, pushing shopping carts that the sting of getting the ticket was gone before too long.

I paid it immediately.

It’s not my car.

I do not want my employers to come back from their vacation and wonder what the hell their car was doing on the wrong side of the street, in San Francisco.

Not to say that they did not give me permission to drive it, they did, but I get to be honest and adult and take care of shit before it bites my ass.

I was trying to remember when the last time was that I got a ticket and I could not remember, although the feeling of it was similar, annoyance, anger, fleeting financial insecurity.  Then I thought, I did not die the last time I got a ticket, I paid it and went about my life and forgot that I had been given one.

I will drive into the city again tomorrow, but I already secured parking for it.  I texted the family I will be nannying for and asked if I could park in their driveway.  I was given a resounding thumbs up and I shall motor back over again tomorrow.

Counting down the days when I will not be crossing over the bridge so much or under the water via BART.

“You’re moving back to the city?!”  She asked me in line at Four Barrel.  An old friend who last I saw was in Oakland a few days back.  She too does a lot of work in San Francisco, not too strange to see her in a coffee shop in the Mission.

“Yup, Ocean Beach,” I replied.

“You’ll love it,” and she gave me a hug.

I will certainly love it more than this commute.

I have a new appreciation for everyone who does this on a daily basis.

I feel challenged doing it and tired and grumpy and over it.

I feel grateful that I have a reason to come and go for work, despite there not being a lot of it this week.  Two nanny gigs and a few things for the design firm.

It feels like I will break even coming and going and groceries for the week.

Not much else.

I am hoping to have rent for the new place set aside before I leave for Burning Man so that I may secure the space.  Although I feel confident that my friend is not going to pull the rug out from under me and tell me it’s not available.

I just want to have it set up.

I am grateful for all the places and spaces, beds, guest rooms, couches, and fold out futons that I have gotten to stay on, the couches, oh the couches I have surfed.

However, the thought of being in my own room makes my panties damp.

Sorry, but it’s true.

I can live pretty lean and I have done so for many years now, not as lean as the lady pushing a cart in the bicycle lane at Valencia and 19th, though, truth be told, she may have had more belongings in her heaped up cart than I own.

I am not saying extravagant, I am not saying over the top, although I won’t sneeze at that.

I am saying comfortable and my own.

Yeah, I know life is transitory, stuff is stuff, but I am tired of being rootless.

Perhaps I am just not as spiritually evolved, but I can say it here, if I can say fuck and shit and piss and burning man and sex and kissing, then I can say it here, I am ready for my own damn place.

I am a material girl.

At least I know it.

I want to hang a hammock from the back and have a big cushy bed with white bedding and a wrought iron frame.  I want to have mason jar lanterns and wooden crates for night tables, I want a desk/kitchen table combo, a nice chair, fluffy towels in the bathroom, a plant or two to call my own.

I want bookshelves and notebooks and pens and candles that smell pretty.

Oh, I want it all.

Being satisfied with what I have is good and I am.

I am lucky and grateful and blessed, I have good friends, and good coffee beans to grind tomorrow morning before I begin my journey back to the city, all these experiences that help me to realize what it is exactly that I want.

None of them were for naught if they got me to where I am today.

Not a single one.

Well, Somebody’s Got To Do It

June 5, 2013

But tonight, I do not.

The thoughts that go through my head while on BART.

There was a woman who went through the train car with a baby on her hip and a cardboard sign asking for alms.

I had so many babies on my hips today that I had not a modicum of sympathy for what she was doing.  I was just grateful that today, who knows what tomorrow will bring, but that today, I don’t have a job that entails begging for spare change on the BART with my offspring.

Or scrounging through the recycling bins as they were being put out at dusk for the trash collectors that roll through the Mission on Wednesday mornings.

Although the dude sailing, and I do mean sailing, his cart down Folsom Street across from Rainbow Groceries, made me smile.

I mean, if you choose to push a cart around to collect cans for crack, at least have some fucking fun while you are doing it.

I also get grateful when I am walking through a beautiful neighborhood, Cole Valley, mid-morning pushing an elevated stroller with a bundle of cute just dropping off, the top of the pram proudly bore a Burning Man sticker on its crown and I smile to think, that yes, once again I am going a nannying at the Man.

There are plenty of folks that think what I do is complete bat shit, three?  Three babies?

Are you nuts?

Perhaps, but I pulled in half my weekly take today.

It won’t always be like this either, thank God, one of the families is going to be on vacation for the next two weeks.  Having two will feel like a vacation.

Heck, I cannot even fathom the ease of what just one is like.

I got my system down a little better today.

So I am wreck, but I am not a total wreck.

Last week I could barely move and I swear I felt the ramifications of the use of my body for the next five days.

I feel like I just physically recovered the day before yesterday and now I am sore and achy all over again.  However, the sore and achy is not quite as bad.

“How was it today?” Asked the dad as he picked up my charge this evening.

We have been practicing blowing kisses and catching them and she is getting so good.

“Maintained and then some,” I replied, “I got into my routine a bit better and I set up my stations well.”

“Nap time,” I continued, “is prep time for when they are not napping.”

“I set up a diaper station here, hydration station–there, feeding station over yon, and play station, here, here, and here,” I replied, directing his attention about the rooms of the house.

He laughed.

I was like a flight attendant directing the passengers on where the exits were and how to get to them.

And I was not lying, nap time is indeed prep time for what comes next.

I had lunch ready to go by 10:30 a.m.

Not that I was able to consume it until nearly 1 pm.

But I had all my things set up so that when I had the opportunity to do so I was able to prep and heat and get to my lunch.

Granted, I ate it all standing up, but that is what happens when you nanny, or you’re a mom, for that matter, or any parent or care taker.  I actually managed a few bites in a row instead of an isolate nibble here and an isolate nibble there.

Last week I was so overwhelmed with the crazy and juggling the babies I did not eat dinner until nearly 8pm.

Way past my dinner time.

Today I knew I was staying late, so I made sure to buy lunch and dinner fixings from the market.

That was another thing I did, I prepped my messenger bag and I got my clothes laid out and had my notebook and phone and pre-paid BART ticket ready to go.

I stream lined the operation.

Arriving, again, on the nose, five minutes early.

Enough time to wipe the sweat from my face, guzzle some water, secure my bicycle in the garage and hop up the stairs exactly at 8:45 a.m.

Two hours and fifteen minutes after I had rolled out of bed.

“I need to stop being concerned about my weight,” I thought as I huffed up the steps from the Civic Center BART station to Market Street.

I thought the same thing when I was prancing down them with my messenger bag again loaded up, but this time with a pre-emptive grocery hit at Rainbow.

My God is a merry prankster.  Want to lose weight?  Some one steals my lunch from the fridge at work.  Think you need to ride a little more bicycle, how about a longer commute?

I look like I am going to have an apple orgy in the kitchen, but I realized that between tomorrow and the next few days I won’t have a chance to do any kind of grocery shopping runs, so I pre-stocked my essential must haves.

I am working late for my North Oakland family tomorrow, I won’t get done until 9pm.

That being said, the mom told me today when she dropped off her little pie, to come in an hour later than we had previously discussed.

Sleeping in!

Well, not really.

Working from home!

Exactly.

I will finish up a project I started for my friend in the city on Monday and respond to some e-mails and allow myself to get in there and learn, and who knows maybe even make a mistake so that I can learn more, and try to do something new.

Nannying is a tough job and somebody has to do it, but it does not have to be me for the rest of my life.  As I looked into the three and a half month olds glorious hazel flecked eyes, and the blue raccoon ringed eye lashes of the one year old, and the precocious sky lit orbs of the 20 month old, I thought, it’s a rough job and somebody has to do it.

I get to do it.

I remind myself.

And I think that by the time the families don’t need me any more, I will have established myself in another kind of work.

How lucky am I that I get to provide a valuable service, get paid for it, and have a career to engage in while I learn the work of another.

Pretty fucking lucky.

Especially when I reflect on the smiles, kisses, hugs, and giggles I got to be a part of.

Oh, and the cat shit I cleaned up off the couch.

REALLY?

I know I wasn’t giving you enough attention but really?

That was my diaper changing station, I just realized in hindsight, of course the cat thought to poo there.

Going Back In

May 27, 2013

Moving forward-looking backward.

This is what I don’t want to be doing.

I need to turn around and face forward, walk towards.

Towards San Francisco, let’s be honest.

See, every time I say, ok I am here in the East Bay, all I have to do is a little commute and every thing is cool, man, then I get on the BART train.

It’s not horrible, sometimes.

Then it is, like today, heading into the fray, literally, I had forgotten it was Carnival, I was on a car that was more crowded than a normal Sunday, and stinky, and loud, and I soon discovered why.

And I got to get off at 16th and Mission, which was a cluster fuck of crazy.

After having ridden too long on a car that stank of weed and beer and a long weekend.

I thought, I would live just about anywhere in San Francisco happy and without a care if I don’t have to do this commuting in and out so much any more.

When I am at Graceland, in the compound, I joke, but you catch my drift, I am happy, warm, cozy, on an island of loveliness.

The sun scatters down through the high palm trees and the cats run amok, inside and outside and the flowers bloom, the fig tree is pushing out gigantic globes of luxuriousness to be harvested later this season, the bed is comfortable, the bathtub, the claw foot mind you, is alluring, the sun smoothed out from the red and blue and yellow blocks of church stain glass windows spreading rainbows on the wood floors, beckons me to nap on the bench in the back room.

Then, I get on my bike and pedal out into the world and shall I say, my perspective is altered.  I cannot live on an island forever, I must foray out into the world.

What sucks, again, just a matter of perspective, but a hassle to deal with, is that I did no grocery shopping tonight.

I could not get out of the Mission in time to bust a move on Rainbow and once I was off the train in Fruitvale I just wanted to get back to the house.

Especially since I had the stank of vomit in my nose.

Some knuckle head from Hayward with an A’s cap askew on his tow head spewed chunks all over the last car.

Thank you jeebus that we had come up from under the Bay.

The entire car off loaded to move onto another train.

I could not believe how much vomit this kid had in his system.

Like, dude how many super burritos did you eat at El Farolito today?

Sad.

Such a waste.

I scrambled onto another car and was able to enjoy the rest of the ride and I had a fun conversation with a kid who had a beat up fixed gear who had all sorts of questions about my bicycle.

We bantered, flirted a little, not too seriously, albeit a bright, attractive, young man, his eyes were so red I could have gotten high if I stared at them too long, and I rode the rest of the way to the station chatting about riding fixed gear.

I am a little more comfortable on my bike then I was yesterday.

Reminded me of when I started riding bicycles in the first place.

I had moved out to Bay View and lived off Third Street at Palou.

The T-line had just gone in and the commute to work in the Mission was just too long.  I decided I was going to get a bicycle.  I could bring it in to my job and have a way to and from work that did not include the slow, still working out the kinks, new train line.

I walked into Pedal Revolution and told them I did not want “hip, slick, and cool, just something comfy I can get from point A to point B.”

They sold me a hybrid.

Which makes perfect sense, I would have done the same to me too.

Man, how far I have come.

I am still grateful for that bike though, it taught me that I am teachable.  It brought me too and from the Bay View and helped me haul groceries all over the city until I gave it up and switched to a one speed Pogliaghi steel frame an old lover left with me when he moved out of the city.

My room-mate at 23rd and Capp Street said, “you do not deserve this bike.”

He grunted, flipped it over, spun the back crank and shook his head.

Then he apologized, “sorry, I know that’s not very nice of me to say that, but it’s sort of like someone gave you a vintage Porsche and you asked, ‘what’s a Porsche?'”.

“This is that kind of good,” he shook his head again and, “enjoy the riding.”

Oh.

Man.

Did.

I.

Ever.

That bike was like when I realized I was not having orgasms when I was having sex.

I used to think, what is all the fuss about?

Then I found out.

That Pogliaghi was like that.

I felt like I was flying on silken wings, I had never ridden steel before, I had never ridden a one speed before, it was like someone handed me a Hitachi Magic Wand and said, “have fun kid.”

I smiled for days.

I could not wait to get on that bike.

Then I got hit by a car that turned right on 16th from Valencia without using a turn signal and bye-bye bike.

“You might be able to salvage it,” Clancy at Pedal Rev said, shaking his head sadly, “but, the frame is bent and it’s not safe, it could break at any point, you are going to take a huge risk anytime you sit in the saddle.”

I sighed.

“Take it, have it, I donate it to the shop, strip what you can use, and thanks for being honest with me,” I said.

“No.  Are you sure?”  Clancy pushed back his messenger hat and rubbed a hand through his red hair, “it’s still a really beautiful bike.”

“Yeah, but I can’t ride it, it’s yours.”  I walked out, borrowed a bike, walked, took the bus, and got around.  I managed until I got the Felt 35 road bike that I used for the Aidslifecycle, which I eventually sold to my co-worker at Mission Bicycle after I designed my current whip.

“How much did you pay,” he asked me admiring the rims.

“I did not pay retail, I used to work at the shop, I don’t even know what price to put on it, I was a kid in a candy store, I got to pick whatever I wanted, I mean, I have glitter paint, and an Italian saddle, hard to price that,” I said, but leaned in and whispered under my breath what I paid at cost.

“Holy shit, lucky you.” He smiled.

Then I was at Fruitvale and, disembarking, getting ready to ride down the three-day weekend busy streets with side shows happening here, and hookers hanging here, and crack a lack a lack happening there.

“I might have a room,” he said on the message.

“It’s in the Bayview.”

I live in East Oakland, that’s a step up.

I’m down.

When can I move in?

I already know how to get to Rainbow from your house.

Logistical Nightmare

May 23, 2013

That’s what my brain says when it gets overloaded.

I was trying to manage everyone’s schedule and not succeeding.

Shocker that.

I also was realizing that I am a commodity and if you want me you have to work with me.  There are certain things I can do and certain things I cannot do.

I cannot figure out the logistics of three children for one day.

I tried.

I know there’s a solution, but I am not capable of providing it at the moment.

I am plum fucking tuckered out.

I was tired the minute I saw the e-mail.

I was tired the moment I tried to tell one family what the other families intentions and needs were.  I got more tired and then teary and then, yes, I cried in front of my employer.

I lost my train of thought, I could not make eye contact and tears just slipped and slid down my face.

“I’m a crier,” I said with a self-deprecating shrug of my shoulders.

“Just so you know, this will happen on the occasion, but I won’t break down in front of the kids, I promise.”

Which is true she was already down for naps having fallen asleep in my lap while I was reading a Doctor Seuss alphabet book to her with the sounds of the ocean on the noise machine in the nursery.

I tried to see my way into a little perspective this evening.

Let’s see today is day 22 since being back from Paris.

It feels like year 22.

I got in on May 1st.  In that time I interviewed with and met four different kids and four different sets of families.  I also moved into a “new” neighborhood with all the challenges therein, got over a horrendous case of jet lag, gone in and out of the city to talk with folks, meet with folks, and do those things that need to be done.

I have logged a lot of miles on my bicycle, house sat in a strange house for eleven days, agreed to pick up another house sitting gig, baby sat for friends, did a sit down at another table for the job I actually want to be doing, and gone grocery shopping a few times.

Note to self, there has got to be a better way.

I feel entirely stretched too thin.

And not thin enough, literally, at the same time.

I have to breathe and just know that whatever happens I am not going to die and I am not going to be a nanny for the rest of my life and yes it is awesome that people want to work with me, it is an ego feeding proposition, but when I am working this hard to stay just there, just sustaining, I am in the exact same place I was in Paris.

This is too hard.

That is what this feels like.

Too hard.

Too much bicycle riding past people with jacked up tires and loud sound systems that are not paying attention to the road conditions.

“Sweet Jesus,” I shouted and swerved to the right, “are you trying to kill me?”

“Damn, he almost hit you,” said the girl in the car as I pedaled on.

He was not even on International, it was Telegraph or Broadway, somewhere fair and pretty and innocuous, or so I thought, it was too early in the day for the swerving and I just slowed it down, just slow it down.

I have what feels like too much and not enough.

I also am living in Tuesday.

Today is Wednesday and who knows what will happen between today and next Tuesday.

I don’t have to.

I don’t have to figure it out.

I don’t have to manage it.

There are six adults to the three kids I will be responsible for, there is one place where I will watch them, they can all figure out the pick up and drop offs.

And nap times.

Well, that will be my responsibility.  And he won’t be sleeping in the stroller the whole time either.  Just the thought of having three kids to wrangle and this one only naps in the stroller while this one naps in the carrier strapped to your body while you push the other kid around makes me want to vomit up the banana I just ate.

That would be a waste, my body needs the potassium, I feel depleted from the bike riding.

There was also the thinking that I would not be able to have my bike on BART during the morning rush hour commute.  To get to Graceland in East Oakland to the house in Cole Valley by 8:45 a.m. made me cringe at the thought of how early am I going to be getting up to get there.

I can’t do this shit for very long.

Either I work harder, how, fuck if I know, or work smarter, again, not too sure what that looks like, or I give myself a break, I am going to have to or I am going to crack.

I also know that this is all change and not knowing what things look like and where they are going and not having a set routine in place yet leads to squirrels chasing none existent nuts in my head.

The only thing I want to do is sit down with my friend who wants me to work for her and learn the ins and outs of what she needs.  The better to show me what I need.

Yet, to do that I need to be self-sufficient here, now, and take care of getting up and running with the money.

I accept the consequences of my actions.

Going to Paris broke my bank and I am just going to have to suck it up and work it out.

This is not going to last.

There is nothing wrong.

My head says I cannot possibly do this.

And I probably could not for very long.

But I can for a just a little bit longer.

 

I Have to Go

October 13, 2012

I have to get on BART.

God, I hate saying that.  I dislike not being able to do things I normally used to do after work and doing the deal.  I miss the time seeing friends.

Friends who are already asking, “hey aren’t you gone yet?”

Or

“What are you still doing here?”

Bothering you apparently.

Though it feels like it is still far, far away, in a fairy tale place, The City of Lights, it is coming closer and closer and closer.

I got overwhelmed today trying to figure out what to do with my bike.

Then my co-workers said, carry it on the plane, don’t risk shipping it, bring your invoice from when you bought the bike and you won’t have to pay customs and then you have it ready to go when you arrive.

Oh.

Great ideas.

Things I do not know.

Like how do I put my phone to sleep?

Still have not figured that out yet.

“Figure it out is not a slogan,” I can hear John Ater in my ear.

Gah.

Yeah, well, then…

HELP.

I toss a prayer to the ceiling of the bike shop then I  saw Jessie on the street walking Zelda and I ran out the shop and after her.

She’s Juno’s aunt, my companion from the Burning Man ride home from playa in the the big white terrorist van.

I should begin the not saying terrorist right now before I get anywhere near the International terminal for SFO, shouldn’t I?

Nah.

I hollered out, “JESSIE!”

She stopped, turned around and came back with her lovely companion, a bright blue eyed husky with a diffident yet graceful dispostion, who deigned to lick my hand, but warmed to me and kissed my cheek by the end of the conversation.

“OH honey,” said Jessie, “I know, I read your blog.”

That still weirds me out.

YOU DO?

According to my stats I do not have the same readership I used to, but then according to how many people I see now following my blog, I actually believe more people are reading them than ever before.

I just don’t know how to read the technical parts of the blog yet very well, there are probably fifteen hundred things about the back-end part of my blog that I have no idea how they work.

I just sit down at the key board and start typing and see what comes to mind.

Apparently what comes to mind is readable, as 111 of you are now following my blog.

Who are you and where did you come from?

What is also interesting is how often my own name pops up in my statistic searches.  Carmen Regina Martines.

I feel like I am a character in my own life.

You do understand, don’t you, that this is not the full me, there is a lot more going on behind the sass of these pages.

Lots of fear.

Lots of fear.

Lots of fear.

I keep flying into the future where I do not have enough money and I am cold and lonely and the wolves are after me.

There are wolves in Paris, right?

Ugh.

Stay present.

I kept saying that to myself today, stay present.

Jessie exhorted me to do the same and also to get a hold of her and do some hang out time.

When?

Fuck if I know.

I feel like I could happily quit the bike shop now and just take the next few weeks off.

But mama ain’t got that kind of money.

And that much time may make me go temporarily insane.

Sex and shopping would probably end up filling the void, oh and other things, let’s not be dishonest, I would get to a few other things, but work, despite being a nuisance, is good for me to have for a little while yet.

If only from the stand point of getting my bike prepped for the road.

I had myself a moment tonight when I was leaving from Church and Market and seeing everyone standing around talking to each other and I was the outsider, I was already left behind.

The I need to catch BART syndrome tugging at my sleeve.  I need to go get on BART to get back to Fruitvale to ride like a bat out of hell past the crazy so that I can get to Graceland, strip off my clothes, put on my pajamas, it’s a Hello Kitty kind of night, and put on the kettle.

I will take care of the cats, wash the day from my face, eat an apple, drink some tea and write my blog.

As the self-pity tried to creep in, an acquaintance said to me, “that’s pretty cool that you give yourself the time to do that, you know.”

I looked up askance at her as I tucked my two bike locks into my messenger bag and affixed the light onto my handle bar.

“Not a lot of people actually take time out of their day, every day, to do something they love, you know,” she added dragging on her cigarette.

And there.

It was gone.

The I have to go, became I get to go, became I really do get to go do something I love.

I love writing my blog.

It does nourish me in some way that is ineffable and unfathomable.  I feel better when I see the word count tick its way up and I feel like I do a kind of daily inventory, of myself, my situation, and where I am in my life.

It is a valuable record.

One which I may wish to re-read somewhere down the line.

I don’t read my blog.

Oh, I edited it, I spell check it, and once in a while I will go back and look at it briefly for a moment or two if I feel especially proud of it, but for the most part, I write it and let it go out into the world.

I have to go catch BART so that I get to do what I love.  I have to go catch a plane so that I get to do what I love.  I get to get up to my alarm in the morning three hours before work to let myself do what I love.

I get to shower myself daily with presents.

Words are gifts to me, they are how I paint the world I see.  The words I use are not always as ripe and full as the figs I pluck from the tree in the front yard of Graceland, but each is a unique fruit I eat and suck the flavor from.

My life a story.

My time a gift.

I get to go.

I get to have writing to do.

I get to have words.

 

 


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