Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why my driveway has the traffic of a room-by-the-hour motel parking lot

My jaw hurts. No, not from that. Gawd, didn't you read my last post?

My jaw hurts from cradling the phone in the crook of my face—yah, I got crooks—while drawing big Xs on my calendar.

It's Sunday night, baby. It's time to firm up the week’s childcare playbook (aka "The bain of existence for working parents who decide to rely on somewhat senile/overly accommodating grandparents and a fickle 25-year-old for childcare."

Shorter title? "I'm going to go play in traffic now."

Tonight's pre-game upset is that the babysitter forgot she had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday and wanted to know if she could switch days with someone.

In a moment of sheer stupidity, I said sure. (Important side note: I didn't even say sure in a deadened, annoyed way. It popped out as a sunny, chirpy sure, which still pisses me off.)

I called my mother, who babysits two days a week despite living in Assachusetts. Could she switch her babysitting days of Thursday and Friday for Wednesday and Thursday? She said no, then apologized 50 times. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels, and if she rescheduled again, the director was going to kill her. But I should call her if I got into a jam.

I called Chuck’s mother. Could she come? Yes, but not until 11:30 am. She’s a quasi-retired nurse who is still trying to get off her night shift hours. Before 11:30 am she’s a zombie. She swore she’d remember to bring the booster seat so she could pick up Junior at nursery school.

Did I still want her for Friday? Wait, I said, I thought I booked my mother for Friday.

Oh yes, she said, she was looking at the previous week on the calendar. Sorry!

(It's always reassuring when the person who is scheduled to watch your children doesn't know what day it is.)

I called my father. Could he come from 9 am to 11:30 am Wednesday morning and watch Everett while Junior was at nursery school? Chuck’s mom would meet him at the house with Junior. He said he’d love to, but he needed to call my aunt to see if she could take my grandmother to the doctor’s instead. If I didn’t hear back from him, Wednesday morning was fine.

(Also not reassuring.)

My mother called. She had just called Meals on Wheels and explained the situation. The director didn't want to kill her. Wednesday was fine.

I told her I didn’t need her. My father was coming Wednesday morning, then Chuck’s mother.

But, my mother said, she could come down Tuesday night and sleep over so my father didn’t have to drive all that way for two hours. What if it rained or snowed? What if he was tired? Could Chuck’s mother babysit Friday too? That way, if my mother slept over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, no one would have to cover 9 am to 11:30 am until Chuck’s mom got to the house.

I relayed all this to Chuck, who frowned. That was an awful lot of pajama time with my mother. But since he’d be on the road for most of it, he left it up to me.

My father called on the other line. I clicked over. We were all set for Wednesday morning. My aunt would drive my grandmother to her appointment. I thanked him and hung up.

I clicked back to my mother. I told her we were all set for Thursday. I meant Friday. I meant Wednesday.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” I wailed. “Who am I even talking to right now?”

She snorted and told me to read back what was on my calendar. “Babysitter for Monday and Tuesday. My father for Wednesday morning. Chuck’s mom for Wednesday afternoon. You for the rest of the week.”

She laughed and said she’d see me Thursday morning. Everything would be fine. We’d manage this changing of the guards somehow.

"Hang in there, kid!" she said.

I smiled and hung up the phone. Maybe it would be all right after all.

Then I saw I had a text. It was from the babysitter.

“Tried calling u but couldnt get thru. So sorry! :( Dr. appt is Tues. Can I switch that day?”

I won't lie. I thought about texting her horrible, inappropriate things. Most of them started like this, "You little [expletive, expletive, expletive]... Do you have any idea how much I want to [expletive, expletive, expletive] you...Why don't you [expletive, expletive, expletive] yourself and your doctor."

But I am an adult. A mature, 37-year-old mother. I wear turtlenecks for fuck's sake.

I refrained. Instead I texted her "no" and turned off my phone.

I have to say, it wasn't very satisfying. Not like, say, shouting it while holding a sledgehammer would have been. But a no nonetheless.

It's a good word.


Pricilla said...

You need AbbyGoat and her big strong horns.

Keely said...

Wow, am I ever grateful for the daycare centre right now.

But yes, the person you are paying to be there should get the 'no'. Cripes.

Sparkling said...

That's awesome! Ever notice when you try to accommodate one person you end up in such a clusterf**k that you end up accommodating no one??? It's awesome that you have family who can help out, even if they need an interpreter to know just which date and time they really need to be there!

Man! There are a lot of holes in my neighborhood

Our young neighbors Bob and Claire are wonderful —which is a fricken relief because we basically share a yard. A flat, treeless yard. When ...