Posts Tagged ‘routine’

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!

 

 

Put Your Hair Up

February 26, 2014

It’s time to write.

I have the same routine when I get home.

I say, “hello house,” and set my messenger bag down on the table.

I turn on the heater, which is off all day and my little space it pretty cold, although after the conversation I just had with my best friend back in Wisconsin I feel that I have absolutely no right to complain.

Wisconsin has been experiencing the coldest winter in record for quite some time, tomorrow’s high?

-5 Fahrenheit, with the windchill making it feel like -21 Fahrenheit.

That’s the high.

And I am worried about whether or not it’s going to rain.

This is a legitimate concern, I feel, especially, since I commute on a bicycle and rain slick streets in the morning are no fun.

No fun at all.

After the heat goes on I turn on the little lamp by my bedside and the Ipod cube with its little color faded.

Tonight, jazz.

Some Chet Baker to get me going and in the mood.

Then, I light candles.

I like candles.

I buy them all the time and yes my house probably smells like a potpourri shop, but fuck off, I like it.

Actually it smells like this currently: dark Mexican chocolate and coconut.

I would hazard that I have the best smelling room on the block.

I like to have a cozy environment.

Then I strip down out of the jeans and put on some yoga pants, the watch comes off, as I don’t need to look at what time it is for naps anymore.

Not that it mattered today, oh lord, no afternoon naps at all and the morning naps were staggered so I had no down time again today.

I was pretty beaten by the end of the day.

Plus, both boys are in a transitional period, one of them is entering the twos and is experimenting with temper tantrums, the dramatic, throwing of self on the floor and banging it with hands and feet.

The other, is realizing at the ripe age of one, that he is an independent creature and wants to do whatever he wants to do.

Like navigate up and down the stairs.

I am all for learning, but hey kid, you’re giving me a heart attack.

You can’t walk yet, please don’t climb that.

I watched him push a toy fire truck up to an ottoman and climb up onto the fire truck, then onto the ottoman, then onto the chair and then attempt to scale it like Everest.

What do you think you can do up there, fly?

Please don’t try.

His mom told me today that they are calling him Evil Knevil.

He really has no fear.

Which is awesome and scary for me.

Oh well.

It’s just part of the territory.

So, the watch comes off, and the earrings come off and then I grab the foam back roller and while the room is warming up I roll out the kinks in the back and sigh with deep pleasure whenever there is a little popping noise that I can feel my spine getting re-aligned.

“Up, up,” he pleaded with me all day.

“Lap, lap, up, up,” he repeated all day.

All day.

Normally my little nearly two-year old boy is independent and all about doing it on his own and he is amazing with it, climbing stairs, coming down the stairs, opening and shutting things and he’s a great little helper, likes to help sweep and pick up and it’s great.

Today.

Nothing doing.

It was all about being held and all about me holding him.

Which made sense too, he’s just getting back from a vacation and getting back to being in the groove, and he’s also getting used to sharing his people again.

I almost feel like I could use another rolling of the foam roller just from writing that.

After the back gets rolled out, the kettle goes on and I get my tea-cup ready and then I do the last bit before I do this, the writing, the getting down and getting serious.

I always put up my hair.

I never do this with anything else.

I don’t always eve wear my hair up at work.

This can be fun or not fun, depending on how much the one year old wants to tug at my hair, less and less these days, but it still does happen.

Nope.

The hair goes up.

I wonder if it’s because I am all business when I sit down to blog or if it’s that I have this idea of what a writer looks like, hair in messy bun, glasses perched on end of nose.

Which would bug the fuck out of me if my glasses were perched at the tip of my nose.

I believe that it’s more the former than the latter, but that the latter does have a little weight behind it.

Yeah, that’s right, somewhere in the convoluted mechanism that I call my brain, I have an idea that I will be a better writer if I look like a writer.

Then again, it’s nice to have it out of my way, it’s become its own creature.

I can’t remember the last time I wore it this long.

I rather like it, but it is something else to contend with.

Then, with my tea made, my hair up, and my laptop open, I set out on the hunt for what I am going to write my blog about.

I drink my tea, after it’s had a chance to cool off, right around 450/500 words, then I proof it lightly, mainly for spelling errors, read it once, change anything that’s glaring, and send it out to the world.

That’s it.

That’s my night.

After which an apple, some yogurt, a cup of tea and a down loaded video.

I have some Walking Dead cued up, but you know, I am just not in the mood for the zombie apocalypse.

I have to tell you sometimes I put off watching the show because I want to enjoy my snack and I can’t when listening to the sound of zombies getting thwacked.

It just doesn’t do it for my appetite.

Tonight I will probably watch Glee instead.

That routine was thrown of a tiny bit, as I was sitting down my best friend from Wisconsin called.

And I don’t care what routine or how important the blog, I answer her calls.

We talked and it was like getting love blown straight into my heart.

I owe this woman my life, sometime I will tell you about it, suffice to say I made a really important phone call to her January 12th of 2005 that changed my life.

And the debt of gratitude is almost as big as the debt of friendship.

There are those in your life that won’t let you go, whether or not you have seen them in the last year or five, and you won’t let them go.

She is always going to be one of my keepers.

We talked and made plans.

I really am going to go see her and her family this summer.

I am.

I probably will wear my hair up then too.

Nothing says Wisconsin like extreme temperatures.

July is hot, humid, saturatingly warm.

The average temp is in the mid-to high 80s with humidity bringing the heat index up over 100 degrees.

Sexy.

But oh, the nights, the warm, delicious nights without having to wear layers, to have that for a weekend is well worth the heat of the day.

And that’s a wrap on my day.

Hair up and ready to decompress so I gets to do it all over again tomorrow.

Hair will be wearing itself in weather appropriate braids.

Yes, and shut up.

I know I just wrote an entire blog about my hair.

It’s fabulous.

You would too.

 

Wash the Dishes

December 26, 2013

Wrap it up.

Bid adieu to Christmas.

Well, not quite, it’s still here, it’s still happening, the day has not quite ended, but I am back at the house sitting gig, my hands slightly softened from washing the dinner dishes at my friend’s house, the cat fed, the garbage taken out and another Christmas for me, put almost to bed.

A day of reflection and gratitude and sunshine.

Warm sunshine.

I took a walk this afternoon after doing my routine, that’s the nice thing about a routine, no matter what day of the year, I do it.

I don’t break away from it for my birthday or Christmas, or any other special occasion, I used to think that I could not afford to, but now I know that I do not want to.

My life, in great part, evolves because of the time I take in the morning to write, read, sit and be still, eat a good breakfast, and be settled in myself before going out into any day, any situation.

Christmas, then, being no exception.

Well, excepting I slept in a little.

The cat did wake me up to feed her, but I went back to bed after I did and that was luxurious and the nice hot shower after I woke up was lovely and the nice leisurely breakfast and writing and meditation.

Actually, said cat disrupted said meditation.

I was sitting in the big stuffed chair by the window in the back room, one of the only places the house gets any direct light, and there is a cat tree next to the chair.

About five, six minutes into my nice warm silent get right with God, the cat started washing it’s paws.

Yick.

Have you ever heard a cat clean it’s paws?

RASP, slurp, click, click, click (chewing it’s toenails), slurp, RASP.

Oh my god.

I stopped meditating right then and there.

But I received what I needed and I needed to get outside for a while, so I strolled up and down Dolores Street, enjoying the sunshine, the palm trees, the lack of traffic, the plethora of parking, and the occasional greeting being shouted out by other folks on their way to or from their holiday gatherings.

“Merry Christmas!”

He shouted, weaving around the sidewalk, “Merry, Merry, Merry!”

I crossed over to the other side of the street, definitely not engaging.

Although, I did find myself relaying a brisk, cheerful and bright “Merry Christmas” to a couple underneath the highway overpass who were torching up some rock.

It just sort of popped out.

And it was a better interaction than I had feared.

Which, all in all, most of my interactions are, even when awkward.

I think they are going to be awful, but they end up being fine, or good, or even great.

I don’t like taking CA Bike Route 25 because of that underpass, but it’s the only way to navigate Bayshore and it was the only way to go unless I wanted to go more than a mile or two out of my way and up and over Bernal Hill, and I still would have had to be on part of the wonky anyhow.

Made my hyper grateful that I was just there “visiting” that I did not have to take that kind of bicycle commute again.

I knew the underpass from years ago when I briefly worked in the Bay View wholesale vegetable and fruit markets doing some real basic data entry at wholesale market that a room-mate worked at.

I disliked the commute then, and I didn’t fare so well this time, but I got back and forth in one piece and the middle was lovely.

The house was warm and smelled amazing, in fact, it might just be the best meal I have had at the holidays in the last nine years.  The host had made the majority of the food to all the dietary restrictions of her guests–sugar and gluten-free–for all the mains and side dishes.

I had an amazing, beautifully cooked, home cooked, abstinent meal.

Now that is a Christmas miracle.

Of course there was amazing dessert for all, but I partook of  an adorable little raw fruit plate my darling host set down at my side without even asking.

I felt sweetly spoiled and taken care of.

That’s what the holidays for me are about and what, in my opinion, I miss about them from an earlier time.  Christmas was holy, special, a day were things weren’t open and places were shut down, where Christmas Eve was about the grandparents house and you had to make plans.

That it was not instant, effort was made, and when the effort wasn’t made it was really obvious.

The effort was made tonight and I felt really honored.

I also felt like I needed to show my gratitude and help where I could.

Which meant before the meal basically lighting candles, and having catch up conversation with old friends who had moved over to the East Bay.

But after the meal, meant washing the dishes.

And I don’t know what it was and I don’t know why I had my Christmas moment there, but that’s where I had it.

Normally, I have my Christmas moment in front of my Christmas tree at night watching it with the lights off, I get swept with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and rightness coupled with sweet nostalgia for all past Christmas trees.

This time it was over the dish pan.

Maybe it was the little kids, three of them, two boys and a girl all around three years old, being coaxed to say “Merry Christmas,” for the camera.

Maybe it was the pattern of flowers on the eggshell china.

Maybe it was the smell of the meal being wrapped up and put away for delicious left overs or the wife of a friend saying, “let me get a dish towel, I’ll dry.”

But suddenly, I was in the kitchen at my grandparents house in Lodi washing dishes over the sink, looking out the back window at the golden light falling onto the snow from the bay window in dinning area, listening to my aunts gently gossip, my hands plunged in the water, washing a plate, being quietly swept up into the adult dramas as the younger cousins sat huddled impatiently around the Christmas tree waiting to unwrap presents.

Dinner dishes always were done before the presents on Christmas Eve were opened.

And I was there, in Lodi, in Wisconsin, smelling the turkey and ham, hearing the fire crackle, listening to my uncles talk gruffly with my grandfather and wishing I hadn’t had the sticky popcorn ball my grandfather had made–dyed either bright red or bright green, wrapped in clear cellophane, made with thick, gooey heavy corn syrup, heated up, then mixed up with the popcorn that my grandfather grew–and yet, I can still taste it and am grateful to it.

Rituals.

Traditions.

Routines.

They bind me to who I am and where I came from.

I can never decide if I am more Californian, having been born here, raised my first formative years here, having spent nearly the last eleven years in here.

Or Wisconsin, having moved there at the age of 5 and staying, with a few detours, for almost 25 years.

I suppose I am a mix of both and I can be grateful for that too.

As I navigated the pee smelling streets and passed the crack couple having their holiday hits, I realized that I can perhaps make a hybrid of the two parts of me here, that I started by allowing myself a Christmas tree this year.

Maybe next year I make some traditions for me.

Or I visit Hudson, Wisconsin.

If I want a taste of that Midwestern thing.

That’s something to think about next year.

For tonight, a cup of tea, a cuddle with the cat, Downton Abbey’s Christmas Special, and I say thank you Father Christmas, it’s been a wonderful day.

Thank you, too to my friends who made sure I was included all the day long.

I feel loved and that, any day, Christmas, or otherwise, is a gift.

 

 


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