Friday, September 19, 2008

Can You Spell N-A-N-N-Y?

A couple of weeks ago, I felt it prudent to check in with my boss about my coming back to work. You know, because it's the professional thing to do and all. Before I went on maternity leave, I was clear that I would not be interested in coming back full time, but I did leave the door open for some part time or consulting work. So I gave her a ring and we chatted about it. Long story short, I told her that I wanted something part time, from home, and she said that "we should be able to work something out."

The minute I hung up with her, I immediately felt a dread in the pit of my stomach. What the hell did I just do? I'm all kinds of conflicted about my work situation as a whole, but I'll save that for another post. I figured that if going back to work was even a remote possibility, I'd better start taking a look at some nanny prospects. I'm aware that there are nanny placement agencies. I'm also aware that they charge fees that are too steep for our budget, so I headed for the nanny websites and did a cursory search just to see what was out there.

Holy hell, this is going to be a toughie.

I'm only going to need a nanny part time. That's already going to make one more difficult to find, I'm aware. Apparently, some of my other requirements might make it difficult as well...

If you cannot spell, you cannot be my child's nanny. The fact that you cannot spell to be begin with just irks me to no end (shame on the public school system for allowing that), but the fact that you cannot even use spell check to check your lousy spelling just indicates a lack of motivation, or even just pure laziness. It's a button, people. If you can't spell on your own, at least push the damn button.

If you cannot use proper grammar and/or punctuation, you cannot be my child's nanny. Reading your endless run on sentences is about as much fun as a pap smear, and double negatives have no place in Ava's vocabulary.

If you type in ALL CAPS FOR YOUR ENTIRE POSTING, you cannot be my child's nanny. There's no need to yell.

If you need sponsorship, you cannot be my child's nanny. I used to handle visa issues at work; I sure as hell don't want to handle them at home as well.

If you have your MySpace photo on your nanny profile, you know, the one where you are posing seductively for your webcam, or showing me your hot pink tongue stud, you cannot be my child's nanny.

If you don't have transportation to my house, you cannot be my child's nanny. We don't exactly have a stellar public transport system here in the Houston suburbs, and having to load up my kiddo to drive you to and from my home kind of negates the convenience of working from home and having a nanny, don't you think?

I think it's great that you are a stay at home mom looking to make some extra money. Very admirable. However, I'm not running a day care, so no, you cannot bring your own child to your nanny gig at my house. I am amazed at the number of these kinds of postings. If my furniture gets scuffed, or my walls get marked on, it should be my kid doing it, not yours. Besides, can you really tell me that your kid won't get more attention than mine? I would love to help you out, but I just can't see paying you to hang out with your kid at my house.

Yeah, so finding a nanny isn't going to be easy. I keep thinking that perhaps I'm being too picky, but really, I can't see being okay with any of the scenarios above.

This might be a loooong search.

Update on Ava's sleeping habits: I decided to focus on night sleep for now, and we will tackle naps later. She had a few rough nights getting used to not being swaddled at night, but she is sleeping much better now. We moved her bedtime up to between 7:30 or 8:00, and we have a nice little bedtime routine. Pretty soon, we'll tackle the daytime nap situation again. Not looking forward to that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We Don't Like Ike

I had a lovely post about the trials and tribulations of finding a nanny (first requirement being no MySpace tongue ring photo on your nanny profile if you want any chance of being my child's nanny), but then Hurricane Ike came in and bitch slapped Houston, so I'll write about that instead.

We don't live in Galveston, or even the south part of Houston, so I know that things could be a lot worse, and my heart breaks for the people who lost everything in the storm. Our neighborhood had a lot of downed trees, which in our little part of the neighborhood isn't too bad, seeing as they leveled all the native 60-70 foot pine trees in our development before they started building. I guess there is a positive side of living on "the moon", as we put it. We lost our gate and our new landscaping is kind of shot to hell, but we consider ourselves very lucky. In other parts of our subdivision, the 60 foot majestic pines were snapped like twigs, or simply uprooted. They were on houses, IN houses, in pools, across roads, on power lines and through fences. House after house had a tree on or in the roof. Although we had monstrous amounts of rain, there were no real flooding issues in our neck of the woods, except the ones attributed to the shitty drainage in the neighborhood next to us. So all in all, we were really lucky. Down in Houston and Galveston, they weren't so lucky.

I could go on and on about the craptastic job I feel the mayor of Galveston did with calling the evacuation, but what's the point? I could also bitch about the people who made ridiculously stupid choices and required rescue, tying up resources that could have been used to help people that really needed it, but I won't. It will just piss me off.

For the people still in Houston and the surrounding areas, at this point, most everyone has no power. No power = no pumps at gas stations. The few gas stations that are open have lines that snake down the street and around the block. People are getting squirrely. Even if you CAN get gas, in areas of town that don't have debris-covered streets, there are no traffic signals, which make driving anywhere (even if you could find gas) a scary proposition. Add to that all the issues in our area of town concerning food, ice, supplies, heat, mosquitoes, and we decided enough was enough. We came to Austin last night when we learned that most of our county will be without power for two to four weeks.

I realize that I am whining about things that are really inconsequential in comparison to the devastation that Galveston and other coastal communities are dealing with. I may be bitching, because that's what I do best, but I realize just how incredibly lucky we are.

To find out how you can help, visit Texas Responds or Network for Good.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sleep Training is Not for the Weak

When Ava was a newborn, she had no problems sleeping. She slept great at night. She napped well during the day, anywhere, and through anything. Then, somewhere around eight weeks, the naps dwindled, and then several weeks later, she went from sleeping 12 hours a night to sleeping 9 or 10. You see the pattern here: less sleep = grumpy baby.

Fast forward to today. Ava is 15 weeks old, and daytime naps are still few and far between. She may take two or three a day, if she happens to feel like it, but they never last more than 30 minutes. Never. 30 minutes to the minute. She is still only sleeping ten hours at night. This is having an effect on her disposition, and it's one that is causing me to run for the wine bottle.

So we decided to try sleep training. I have a book, a stupid, useless, talk in circles book that has been of little to no help to me, in the sense that none of the ideas presented in it are working. I'm afraid we've created a monster by letting her nap in her bouncy chair so much, but the vibrations were the only thing that would calm her down at times. Because of that, she rarely will take naps in her crib. We just finished up 30 minutes of crying in her crib and now she is continuing the fit in my lap and in the bouncy chair. I have no idea what to do. It's like I am being punished for trying to do the right thing for her. Try to help her learn to sleep, and it results in such massive fits at times that I'm afraid she is going to make herself throw up. She fussed constantly last night, to the point where I wheeled her travel crib (where she still sleeps at night) into the front bedroom with me, so M could get some sleep, because I sure as hell wasn't getting any. Miracle of miracles,she actually took a small nap in her crib this morning, so silly me, I tried to put her down for her second nap in the crib and I am now being rewarded with a fit that has now lasted 45 minutes and counting.

As we've been trying the sleep training, we've also decided to unswaddle. In fact, the unswaddling really came first, and necessitated the need for the sleep training. She's days away from rolling over, and once she is rolling over, I don't want to swaddle her. Well, the unswaddling thing has fucked her world up. She has an even harder time now. This sucks. I feel like maybe we aren't doing something right, or that we made a mistake in swaddling her for so long, or rocking her to sleep, or having her in our room, or any of the other things that we've been doing. It's so obvious that she is tired and not getting nearly enough sleep, but I'm not sure what else we should be doing. I just feel so bad for her, and for us. But shit, what are we supposed to do? They don't make swaddle blankets cool enough for the college set. So I figure at some point, she has to settle into a groove with the no swaddle thing, I just wonder how very tired we are all going to be before that finally happens.

She just now went to sleep. In that stupid vibrating bouncy chair that I am a slave to. I caved.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Scared, Hold Me

We have slowly made our way through the piles of boxes in our house, and I'm proud to say that we have NO MORE boxes to go through. Wait, no, that's wrong. We still have the Christmas boxes in the garage. Blast it!

Still, it's been no small feat, especially since Ava has been a little grumpy lately. She's decided that she is just peachy keen as long as someone is holding her. Oh, and naps? What naps? She won't sleep for longer than 30 minutes unless someone is holding her. So all that's made it a little difficult to do much around the house during the day.

Triad #1 and my mom came down this weekend and helped out so, so much. We've been using the dining room as a catch all room for all the crap that we have no idea what to do with, so between all of us, we tackled that this weekend, and we also saw carpet in some rooms for the first time.

Now that most of the boxes are emptied, and things are slowly finding a home, here comes the scary part. New Home Decorating. We've decided that our decor needs an overhaul and so M has told me to basically go for it.

This is the part where I look like a deer in headlights.

Most women would be ecstatic that their husband has basically given them carte blanche. I guess I'm not most women. Don't get me wrong - I'm giddy that we will be redecorating. I just don't want to be the one to do it. I didn't get that gene. At all. I can tell you what I like and what I don't like, but I can't start from scratch and create a room. Hell, it took me 20 minutes to decide how I wanted to hang a wall hanging in Ava's room. Seriously, I beat that horse until it was dead, and then some. I'm not cut out for decorating an entire house. I'm tempted to hire an interior decorator, but that seems so silly and excessive. I mean, it's not like we have a mansion to decorate or anything. Plus, I guess I feel like I SHOULD be able to do this myself, what with having a vagina and all. My husband, he really lucked out in the wife department - I can't decorate and I don't cook. It's a good thing it's not 1957.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


If I think that some of the shoes in the Jessica Simpson line are kind of cute, what does that say about me?

Ava and I were at the mall yesterday, and I stopped to admire a pair of fun red peep toe pumps. Maybe they were a little trampy, but they were still ever so cute.

This is of great concern.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just Follow the Sound of My Voice

...because I'm buried in packing paper. Our sea shipment was delivered last Monday. By 3pm on Tuesday, we were drowning in a sea of boxes and a ridiculous amount of furniture. 3 trucks. 5 containers. 240 boxes. I started feeling a little short of breath. Oh, but wait, the fun wasn't over yet.

On Wednesday, our long term storage arrived. Adding 137 boxes to our movefest. We just stacked it all in the garage, because we figured that most of that stuff was not going to live in our house for very long. When two semi-packrats get married and combine households, you are bound to end up with a plethora of crap. Likewise when you move overseas. So, combine those two situations and you end up with a house that looks like ours. It's bad. Very, very bad. I keep reminding myself that at least we are not in the same boat as some friends of ours who recently moved back to the US after ten years overseas - they have to throw most of their long term storage away because of rat infestation. They learned this AFTER the boxes were delivered to their house. Rat traps had to be set. could always be worse.

So we spent all week just trying to chip away at the mountain of unnecessary crap that we have accumulated over the last 15 years or so. We are slightly disgusted with ourselves at the amount of junk we have accumulated. It's gluttonous. We made a really good dent on Saturday by going through EVERY box in the garage, also known as the "Why the hell did we keep this?" game. A plastic punch ladle, a pillow from Triad #1's childhood bedroom, a wooden fish. Why? Two donation trips and two dump trips and we were able to see part of our garage floor again.

Inside is still pretty much a total mess. Furniture everywhere. Paper and boxes are strewn about. We are trying to take it room by room but I'm going to bust a blood vessel if things don't get straight soon. Unpacking these boxes creates even more of a mess because of the insane amount of packing materials they use. A huge box and a giant pile of packing paper in the floor and for what? Three coffee mugs. And then there are what our friend affectionately refers to crapwads. When movers pack up your stuff, they pack up whatever is laying around. Trash, passports, pen lids, change, if it's not nailed down or a weapon of some sort, it gets packed up. So you come across some nondescript wad, and after unwrapping the approximate 87 layers of paper, you discover it's a tiny plastic gold ball. Or a container of pencil lead. Or four paper clips. It's a fun game.




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