Thursday, January 29, 2009

Proof that katie (motherbumper) is kickin' ass and takin' numbers

So, you know I'm an actor, but did you know I'm in a play next month?

Well, now you do. No excuses.

It's been a long time since I've done show. A long time. I'm not sure I even remember how to act. (Sidenote: Ha! I couldn't even spell act! I kept typing "ackt".) It's good timing actually. Now that I'm home with the kids all day, I need an excuse to get out and have some "me" time. I often go to rehearsal with graham cracker sludge sticking to my clothes somewhere but - hey - still ME time. Just a dirtier version of me. And not in a good way.

Anyways, if you're in the Toronto area, would you like to come out and see it? I hope it's going to be good. If not, there's a bar up the hill and you can leave at intermission and go get hammered. That's where I usually spend intermission anyways. (Don't tell the stage manager.)

Moving on.

The super-fantabulous and always-busy-but-still-has-time-to-help-a-friend-out katie (motherbumper) has created this awesome button to help promote the show. I love the company I'm working with, but it's run by volunteers who don't always have the time to publicize the show as much as I would like. If you're coming to see the show, or even if you're not, and even if you don't live anywhere near Toronto, you can help us promote the bejeezers out of the show by posting the button on your sidebar. Word of mouth can do wonders. Support the arts! (Or hey, just read my post railing about arts cuts over at Playdate. It's fun.)

Who knows? Maybe there'll be so much press about the show that I will become rich and famous, and I can stop indulging my growing need for very cheap and very ugly purses that can pass as diaper bags. Please! Mr Earth will thank you! He hates carrying around the "rocker bags". Just ask him.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am a SHAM...uh, SAHM.

Boy, I just clicked on my Blogger Login Icon and it felt strange. Not strange-peculiar, but strange-unusual. It's been too long. The trouble is not that I've been at a loss for words. The trouble is that I've had a surplus of them. Whenever that happens, they tend to come out all a-jumble. Read on if you dare...

Early in December (the 3rd? who knows), I got a call at work from C, the woman who was watching Little G. He's fine, she said, don't worry. It's just that I've had a sort of family emergency and I need you to come pick up Little G asap. I did. Turns out that her dad went into the hospital with what he thought was bronchitis, but upon further investigation, he had terminal lung cancer. C called us later that night and told us that with caring for her father and watching her own two children, she didn't think that she could give Little G the care he needed and she was giving us her notice. She would watch him until our agreed upon break at Christmas, and that was it. I completely understood.

So we set about looking for a new care situation for Little G. I called daycares. I phoned home care agencies. No one had spots for infants. I trawled Craigslist, Kijiji, Daycare Bear and Go Daycare and followed up on any leads I could find. You read about those results if you read my recent post "The Daycare Game". I looked on notice boards in local stores, libraries and drop-in centres. I tried everything I could think of, and no dice. I even interviewed a potential nanny, eventhough financially that's not the best option for us, and eventhough I have been less than impressed with the Nanny Mafia that I have seen carousing our neighbourhood.

Just before Christmas, I went to my boss and told him what had happened. I asked him to consider a leave of absence - unpaid - because we could get Little G into Big C's daycare in March. It wasn't an absolute guarantee, but we are on the priority list since Big C has been there forever, they love him and they knew that we were desperate. My boss checked with Human Resources, and they said NO. However, my boss said I could take some vacation time in January to see if we would have any luck finding someone. It was difficult getting in contact with people over the holidays.

I took a week's vacation - found one nice home care lady who said that she didn't have room, but she could watch Little G for a month till we found something more permanent. That wouldn't get us till March, though.

Then we interviewed a fabulous, wonderful, amazing nanny. A nanny who changed my mind about what nannies could be like. One that was worth taking every penny of my salary to employ. We extended her an offer. I sent my boss an email saying that we had found a possible solution, and that I would be back at work on Monday. Monday morning, she sent us an email saying NO. She couldn't commit the time right now.

So, instead of going back to work victorious, I had to go in and tell my boss that we thought we had a nanny, but we didn't and would he reconsider a leave of absence? At this point, the leave would be about a month and a half, with luck. More, without. He came back from HR with an unequivocal NO. A Leave of Absence was simply not on the table, he said. So I resigned from my job.

Although it may seem like a precipitous decision, it was not. Mr Earth would support any decision I made - to stay home or to keep working. We had come to the conclusion that even if we found another home care situation, it wouldn't work. A nanny was the only realistic solution, and this was the only nanny I had found that met my expectations. I could, of course, find another with time, I am sure, but time is not something I had left.

You see, the double drop-off, and double pick up - two different daycares, two different children and only one me, was making me sick. Literally sick. I would leave work early every day (when I really shouldn't) and take off at a run for the subway. I ran from the subway, and got Big C dressed and shoved him in the stroller. I ran with the stroller to Little G's daycare. Got Big C out and up the stairs, got Little G dressed and both of them down in the stroller to walk home.

Mr Earth, in the meantime, left for work in the wee hours and had to leave work early (when he really couldn't) and go home to make sure that dinner was ready so that the natives wouldn't scream because they hadn't been fed soon enough and they were too tired to wait. We put them to bed, got everything ready for the next day, and it started all over again.

I was sick. I was nauseous all day long, for weeks on end. It got so bad, that I took a pregnancy test. A week after I had my period. And I hadn't had sex since. Does that make sense to you? It didn't to me either. But what else would explain it? It may have been the flu. But would it last so long? Would it magically disappear at Christmas break? And would it magically reappear just after New Year's, when I was supposed to be back at work? I thought I was made of sterner stuff. I thought I could handle this without making up imaginary illnesses. But I guess I couldn't, and there comes a point where you reassess and say - is this really worth it???

Many people have said that I should have fought for my job. Maybe. I was union. I am not a litigious person. I have also never loved my job. It was easy. It allowed me to do theatre in my spare time. When I became a parent, it allowed me to work, but not have that work spill over into my family time. But I have never loved it. I've never really even liked it. Why should I fight for a job that I don't love, in a company that very obviously does not love me?? Cause if they really valued the SEVEN YEARS that I had been a loyal - and exemplary (if I do say so myself) - employee, then they could find a way to make a leave of absence work.

Oh, yes, I am not litigious, but I am angry. I don't think I was treated well. I think that they could have shown more lenience to a working parent who was in a difficult situation. After all, it's not like I was asking for time off because I missed being with my kids (which of course I did, what working parent doesn't?). I asked for it because I saw no other workable solution. I wasn't going to leave my kid with someone I don't like. Not for any job. How could I work?

The last day of my job, I worked until the very end, waiting for something to happen. A chance to say my piece. An exit interview, or something. I finally asked my boss if there was something I was supposed to do. He said he had forwarded the necessary info to HR and asked them if there was something I was supposed to do, and they hadn't gotten back to him. I still don't know if they have. I don't yet have a record of employment or any sort of closure. Thanks for ...nothing.

I am hurt, and angry, and kind of embarrassed. I'm also kind of relieved. And I haven't been nauseous since I left.

I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that I don't have a job anymore. It kind of seems like I'm on mat leave, and that's kind of fun. That will surely change once the money runs out. Now that I don't have to look for care anymore, I can focus my attention on all the things I can do now that I'm at home. All the things I won't miss because I was at work. The future is blasted wide open, and it's kind of... exciting. And very, very scary. I am a person who thrives on structure. I'm not sure just what to do with all this freedom. I need to make some decisions. I need to come up with a plan.

This may be the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Or, it may be just something that happened to me. I won't know for sure until I start moving in a forward direction. One thing is for sure, I won't regret having more time to spend with the boys.

They may regret having more time to spend with me.

We shall see, shan't we?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


How did you get from a baby who screamed a lot, to a boy who calmly walks up the stairs and asks, "How did rehearsal go, Mummy?" How time does fly.

Love you, Boo.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Daycare Game

It's been really difficult to find the time or the energy to post here when I've been consumed with the search (scramble?) to find child care for Little G. I've known that our home care lady would no longer be available after Christmas since the beginning of December - her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer - but I couldn't find anyone in before Christmas, and trying to talk to anyone at all over the holidays was fruitless. Getting Little G into a licensed daycare is nigh impossible unless I got him on a list three years ago (yes, that was before he was conceived, for anyone doing the math), so I have to find a homecare situation or nanny. He's almost guaranteed a spot at Big C's daycare - which accepts kids at 18 months.

Perhaps I should clarify. When I say I couldn't find anyone, what I mean is, I couldn't find anyone suitable. Anyone I would actually choose to leave my son(s) with. There are people out there. I was telling my running buddy about the possible candidates and she laughed and told me they sounded like bad dating stories. I agreed. Although, I think it's more like a mommy version of the Dating Game. Remember that show? Who would you pick...?

Daycare-orette #1: The Scientologist
To be perfectly fair, I don't know for certain that she is actually a Scientologist. She had a bookshelf in her living room displaying all of Hubbard's Scientology texts, though. And those were the only books on the shelf. Maybe she just wanted a little light reading..? Who knows. I was just having a hard time not staring at the ridiculously awful portrait of her and her husband directly behind her head. It was painted all in shades of mud brown, and was not at all flattering. They looked like evil, leering cartoons. It was distracting. When I reviewed a copy of her contract, she had a "damages" clause in it stating: I expect your children to respect my property. If your child damages my personal property, the parent will be expected to pay for the damage. Those may not be the exact words, but they were pretty close. Of course I would pay for any damages caused by Little G. But it begs the question - if you run a home daycare with 6 children all under two years of age, why are there breakable things lying around? Is she deliberately placing things in harm's way to make a few extra bucks? Other than that, I don't think she interacted with Little G even once during our interview.

Daycare-orette #2: Crazy Potato Lady
This lady seemed very nice and got right down on the floor with Little G. Promising. She only ever has three kids total. Good. She never goes outside in the winter. Ever. I gently asked why and she said, "Well, what would I do if it started to snow?" She looked alarmed. When I asked about food, she said she serves potatoes, rice and pasta. No mention of vegetable or fruit. But she told me that she puts homemade chicken soup into all her food, on her doctor's recommendation. Her doctor said that chicken soup ensures that kid's don't get sick. And she told me that her son has never been sick. (Perhaps because he's never set foot outside.) She was also very proud that her two-year-old son was very adept with Nintendo. Plays it all the time! Oh, and she lives on the second floor of a house and her outdoor play space for the kids is the balcony. In the summer, she just leaves the door open and the kids can play outside or inside at will. (Am I the only one who has a problem with this?). Failing that, she charges $30 more a day than any other home care that I've looked at.

Daycare-orette #3 - Lovely Full House Woman
So far our most promising option. She seems articulate, and motherly and patient. They eat nutritious, home-cooked meals! They go outside! She's a little more free-wheeling about sleep than I would like, but with a house full of kids, you have to be. We just met with her the other day, the trouble is, she is not sure that she actually has a full-time spot for Little G. She is waiting to hear back from another charge who supposedly needed more days. She offered to watch him anyways, till we could find a more permanent situation. That was very nice and I was shocked that she would be so generous. I'm not sure that I would want Little G there if she doesn't actually have the space for him. One person can only look after so many. We hope to hear from her today.

We also have a line on a supposedly incredible nanny who is travelling in Europe right now, and next to impossible to contact. So although she would be our first choice, we don't know when she's back and if we can actually afford her (Nannies in our area cost more a month than I actually make. Boo.)

Who knew the search for the perfect person could be so exhausting??

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words?

The only thing I can think of to do when words escape me...