Monday, July 17, 2006

Back Physically, Not Mentally **EDITED**

We're back from our long weekend rafting the Rogue River. What a great time we had! The weather totally cooperated this year and was hot and sunny - just as you want it to be if you're spending all day, every day, out on the water or at a campsite. Everyone put their SPF to the test - some more successfully than others - and it was probably my favorite rafting trip yet.

Despite getting bumped out of the raft and having to go through some fast rapids with nothing but my life vest and a paddle (I didn't drop the paddle!). Scary at first, super-fun in hindsight.

We rafted for 3 days and had 2 fun nights camping. Mr. Chick and I checked out early the first night - just after dinner - and slept for probably close to 11 hrs. 11 HRS! It was just supposed to be a quick nap between dinner and evening fun, but clearly we were tired and kept right on sleeping. We woke at one point, having gone to sleep when it was very light out, to a gorgeous starry night. To say we were a little turned around would be an understatement. So we just rolled over and went right back to sleep. Ah, THAT'S a vacation right there: sleep and lots of it.

We took out of the river yesterday around 2pm. We were on the road home by 3pm. We got home by 9:15pm. The kids were still up and happy to see us. The nanny, Mr. Chick's cousin, was ready to go since she had a long drive still ahead of her that night. It's at this point of the story that I start feeling conflicted. You see, I busted my ass cleaning up this house in preparation for her arrival. I scrubbed bathrooms, I vacuumed, I mopped, I changed sheets, and everything was in its proper place. I did this for two reasons: 1) so she would be comfortable staying here, and 2) she'd get an idea of my standards. Well, I guess 1 out of 2 ain't bad. Because this house? was totally dirty when we got home.

There was dog hair EVERYWHERE. The kitchen had dirty dishes piled up in the sink AND on the stove. Cups and containers were collected next to the sink vs. put in the recycling bins. The kitchen table had gunk dried on it. Nicholas apparently burped-barfed and she wiped the chair - sort of - and then just put it out on the deck for me to deal with. The was a pile of wet clothes on the floor in the kitchen from having taken the kids to the water park. Now, I appreciate that she kept them busy and entertained (and safe! and alive!) but leaving wet clothes on the floor?? Unacceptable. She left our bed unmade. She sure as shit didn't find it that way. Lauren somehow managed to sling wet mousepad-like game pieces all over the hardwood floor in the eating area and they left marks on the floor. The nanny panicked, called around for ideas on how to fix the floor, and was told to use Pledge. Pledge! On my hardwood floor! It's a greasy mess now, and is making the proliferation of doghair stick to it. I appreciate that she tried to fix it, but it's gross and filthy.

Is it me? Was I just raised differently? When I babysat I left the house as clean or cleaner than when I got there. Toys were picked up, the kitchen was cleaned, and things were where they should be. I just knew that I was expected to.

I am not a clean freak, but I do have certain standards. Especially when I'm in someone else's home.

Also, and maybe this is petty (in fact, I know it's petty, but whatever) we gave the nanny $60 to have on hand for this weekend so she could buy and do things with the kids and not have to have it come out of her pocket. OF COURSE we left her some money. And she did take the kids places (they ate/played at Burger King one day, they went to Taco Bell, and they had pizza for dinner one night), but none of that money - the change, if you will - was offered back to us. We're just chalking it up to helping her cover the cost of gas for her to drive all the way to us and back, but still - ! Had it been me, I would have left whatever cash was leftover, for the people to decide what to do with it. I probably would have told her to keep it, but it would have been nice to have been given the option of letting her keep it or not. I guess it's a tip, because we paid her well for staying with the kids. I myself would hardly ever blow through $60 in 3 days entertaining the kids, especially if we're talking about mostly fast food runs, so I have to imagine there was some money left over. Oh well, whatever. It was cool that she could watch the kids at all. And she did do a really good job on that front.

So today I've been trying to put the house back in order. It took me quite some time to clean the kitchen and pick up. I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry, but that's a job for tomorrow. The kids were tired all day and in rare form, crying and whining and carrying on, that it made me wish I was still on the river and not home again. But I'm sure that will pass soon, too.

A woman's work is never done.

I just received a very nice email from the nanny. It seems she WAS raised well (as I'd suspected - she's family, after all). She emailed to apologize for the state of the house when we got home. She KNEW it was dirty/messy and felt bad about it. She was overwhelmed, I think, by the demands of the kids and didn't know how "alone" she could leave them to catch up on dishes, etc. Don't I relate to that! So I completely appreciate her acknowledging the less-than-desirable state of cleanliness and told her so. Because ultimately, we hired and paid her (probably not enough, in hindsight, for all she did do with the kids) to be with the kids and make sure they were taken care of versus being our housekeeper. It would have been GREAT to come home to a clean house, but it's more important to come home to happy, healthy kids. So on that front, she excelled and I need to relax a bit about the house. I got it pulled together yesterday and we're back in our groove. I think I must have been really cranky when I wrote my post about it because I ended up crashing at 9:30pm and feel much more chill about it all today, having gotten caught up on sleep last night. So alls well that ends well.

sixty dollars? Where do you live? I give my nanny sixty dollars for a morning out with the boys. Why on earth would you expect a nanny to clean? I have four full time nannies and I have a full time housekeeping staff. I have a dog trainer. It seems to me you are asking quite a lot from one single person. I think people who can't afford to top well should not be allowed in restauraunts and people who cannot afford a proper staff should stay home and scrub floors themselves. No offense.
I am with you on that one. I always left the house in order. In fact, I used ot babysit for one of my mom's friends. She would tell my mom that I left the house cleaner than when she had left.

I about cringed when I read about the hardwoood floors! Some day when she is a mom, she will understand.
Glad you had a great time, though.
I am SHOCKED, but I don't know what I am more shocked from. The comment from Marge or the lack of effort put in from the nanny. I babysat ALOT as a teen and would have NEVER left a home in the condition your's was left in. Like the "former teacher", I went the extra mile and the place was typically cleaner than when I got there. (I wanted to be asked to babysit again!!)
Marge may have four nannies, spend $60 a day for her boys and have a full time housekeeping staff but the rest of us that live normal lives in the real world do it all ourselves (with help from dh)!! Imagine that!!!!
fPlease tell me Marge is kidding...I'm glad you had a great trip. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised at the condition you found your house in. I feel like I sound really old when I say this but it seems to me that the work ethic has really changed and I've seen that so much in babysitters. My mom drilled it into my head that when I babysat, I should always leave a house cleaner than when I found it. My oldest child is now 13 and it has been the rare exception to find a babsitter who even rinses a glass let alone takes the time to straighten up!

But, I guess on the bright side, you had a great trip!
I'm not sure what to make of Marge's comment about expectations, but it seems she lives in a different universe than I do. 4 nannies?? Why bother having kids if you need to hire 4 nannies to care for them?? Also - a full housekeeping STAFF? Um, sure. Must be nice. In my world, a trip to Starbucks for a latte is a treat - an indulgence - so $20/day for pure entertainment is a lot. Parks are free and it doesn't cost much to pack a picnic lunch for kids. And since I CAN'T afford a "proper staff" (I AM the staff), I DO stay home and scrub my floors, because if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done. Period. We also do our own yardwork, and prepare our own meals.

We are so ghetto.
OK, so weird. Out of curiousity I followed "Marge's" webpage link. I think it's a put on, an attempt to gain a readership for some kind of online soap opera blog.
Anyway. I agree that standards of cleanliness seem to be different with babysitters. Is it an age thing? Actually, my in-laws have babysat for weekends, and left our house looking worse for the wear, so I can't say that, can I? It is nice that you got an apology from her, though!
Hi MP,

It was nice of her to email an apology - at least she knows the house was left an unacceptable mess. My first thought when reading your post was perhaps the nanny/cousin was just overwhelmed with caring for the kids over the course of a couple of days. However, wet stuff on the floor is pretty extreme. Glad you had a good time!

Whoa! what a comment! Not nice at all.
When I babysat, I was taught to leave the place cleaner than I found it! Did not matter how busy it was. My mother drilled into my head, not literally, the importance of the parents coming home to a clean home so they would not have to feel stressed from a mess.
Well, sorry about the mess, but relieved to hear the cousin stepped forward with an apology. I would bet that she stays on top of things a bit more next time.

And I am so confused about Marge's comment. I'm so with you on that - in my world I AM the staff. Who is this strange person and why would she comment on your blog??? lol!
Hey, Marge, maybe people who can't spell shouldn't comment, too? It's tip not top you meany face!

It was my understanding that the sixty bucks was just spending money and not her pay.

Anyway, I just wanted to add my 2 cents as well. My sitter is fabulous with the kids. They absolutely love A*bby and we take her everywhere with us. I learned early on that I would have to accept a bit of mess when she was in charge. It wasn't out of disrespect or laziness, just that she was much younger and totally oblivious.

I have a reverse pledge story. One time she was making strawberry milk for MJ. She went to place the powdered Quick on the table while she grabbed the milk. She accidentally lost her grip and pink powder went everywhere. We have linoleum in the kitchen and she ran to the laundry room to grab something to clean up with.

She grabbed our hardwood cleaner.
What I cannot figure out is why you left $60 for spending money, if you really did not intend for her so spend it?
Perhaps, in the future, you might require recipts.
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