July 18, 2022

last minute travel & fearing the fall

When we were younger my dad used to say, "What'd you do Friday night?" - a rhetorical question he posed to himself. This was his way of referring to an evening spent doing something mundane, or irritating. This might happen if, for example, we had to drive somewhere and we were stuck in traffic. 

Since February, Coach and I have done a lot of driving both out of state and in state to transport Reg and Curly to travel basketball games. June involved lots of local games when they played for their high school summer league two nights a week, not always the same two nights, and never in the same gym. Reg's school team also had weekend tournaments in June. Add to that the drive I took to collect Tank for Omaha in mid-May and the weekend in late April when I attended Notre Dame's admitted student day with Mini. Then our family spent that long weekend in Wisconsin in June with my side of the family. And last week, I was in GA with Reg for travel ball. 

I packed this box of toiletries for Georgia,
 and I ended up leaving it on my bathroom
vanity so it was ready for Milwaukee. 
I might just continue this
method of toiletry storage.

In a word:  busy. 

I wouldn't trade it, honestly. I could've stayed home this weekend. Coach was willing to take Reg to Milwaukee for his last out of state b-ball tournament of the season. Tank, Mini, and Curly were caddying in a big tournament, so the house would be quiet. Messy, but quiet. I could JUST write, but would I end up doing laundry and being distracted by stuff at home?

I was on the fence about going to Milwaukee. Ed was like WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? Funny, sometimes I can't decide what I want to do, because I am busy thinking about what I should do. The house could use some attention, Lord knows. Coach texted me from work Friday a few hours before the departure time to Milwaukee. 



So, I'm drafting this post Sunday afternoon in my car between Reg's games. There's been a nice mix of getting some writing done and some social time- meeting the other parents out for a drink. While I've written so many chapters for my memoir (some forever ago), sometimes I realize that I've left something out. I finished up a chapter about some funny events from my freshman year of high school. I won't know if it's any good or not until I hand it off to Mini to judge read. 

Saturday between games, Reg was hanging out with teammates at a different hotel. I was typing on my laptop and Coach and I had a movie on in the background. The Proposal. Did you know? This is one of my favorite movies. It isn't deep or thought provoking, but I just love it. Any other fans of The Proposal out there? 

When we left our hotel for a game, we accidentally left the TV on and the movie had about 15 minutes left. No joke, when we walked back into our room the movie, which played repeatedly on the channel all day, was playing and was at almost the EXACT same spot as when we'd left. What can I say, it was like the universe was saying YEP, YOU NEEDED TO BE HERE THIS WEEKEND, PLEASE FINISH YOUR MOVIE NOW. 

So, all this to say that prior to this relaxing, almost-didn't-come weekend, I had a frustrating encounter with one of the new sisters that I'm going to babysit for in the fall. (insert dramatic, doom-day-ish music here: . . . dum, dum, DUM, dum).

While I was in GA, one of the sisters, who I'll call Chloe because it's close to Clueless, texted me to ask if one of my girls could babysit on Friday the 22nd. I reached out to my girls. Mini already had a sitting job. Curly was supposed to play b-ball in Indianapolis, but her coach decided they aren't going. Not enough girls could attend. I texted Chloe back saying Curly could sit.


Um, your address, what? 

In the chaos of packing the car and cheering for Reg I didn't respond to her. I needed to consult with Curly about her rate anyway. I decided to give Chloe the benefit of the doubt, she might've gotten my two girls mixed up and thought she'd lucked out and gotten Mini, who drives - thus, her text supplying her address. Since Curly doesn't drive, Chloe would need to come pick her up. Standard protocol for hiring a babysitter. 

After I got home from GA, Chloe texted and asked if Curly needed to be picked up. I texted her Curly's rate and apologized for the lag in my response, explaining how hectic things had been. (The day after I got back from GA, Curly played ball in downtown Chicago for 3 days.) I said, yes - Curly will need a ride, since we are limited on cars and Reg plays in a tournament that weekend and game schedules don't come out till a few days beforehand.  

Next she asked if Curly could get a ride home after babysitting. 

What now? 

Why would I be expected to pick up my kid from a sitting job? Before you answer that, understand:  I would be more than willing to help out if someone asked me as a favor, as a one time situation. As in, MY HUSBAND IS OUT OF TOWN AND THE BABIES/CHILDREN WILL BE IN BED WHEN I GET HOME. ANY CHANCE SOMEONE CAN COME PICK HER UP WHEN I GET HOME? 

There was no communicated 'favor.' A ride home? Seriously? 

Coach and I collect our kids from friends' houses late Fri/Sat nights regularly, until they can drive. We often fall asleep on the couch, or are nodding off and have to decide who's gonna stay up. 

Also, it's a Friday night. Given the Coach and I have done nothing but b-ball and travel, we would really, REALLY hope to meet another couple out for dinner or a drink that night - depending on Reg's game schedule. We've reached out to a few couples letting them know that our schedule is about to open up since b-ball is ending, and we'd sure love to get something on the calendar. Nothing has been set in stone, but should an opportunity arise - I'm not about to say SORRY, I HAVE TO PICK UP CURLY FROM A SITTING JOB. Shit, I'm not getting paid to give up my Friday night. I am not an Uber driver. 

I saw this t-shirt in Wisconsin and it was
 hard not to buy it for Coach. He could
 wear it when he meets Chloe,
 so she can have an 'aha' moment.
As in:  oh, I get it, Ernie knows all.

This woman has 3 children ages 2 -8 yrs. Can she really only have ever asked her mom to babysit? Has she always managed to hire a driving babysitter? Or a neighbor who can walk? Asking parents to drive their kid to and from a sitting job is unheard of to me. And, as you know, this is not my first rodeo. 

I texted her back and let her know that one of us might be able to get Curly, but I really wouldn't know until closer to the actual date. 

Chloe:  CAN YOU LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU KNOW? IT'S MY HUSBAND'S BIRTHDAY AND WE ARE GOING TO THE ADULT NIGHT AT THE POOL (I belong to that same pool, so I'm aware of these parties). I WILL BE HAVING A FEW BEVERAGES AND WON'T BE ABLE TO DRIVE HER HOME. I HOPE IT WORKS OUT. (I'm assuming they plan to stumble walk home from the pool - it would be a bit of a walk, but I guess that's their master plan).

I stared at my phone in disbelief. I've attended similar events with my spouse. One of us always has to stop drinking at a certain point in order to drive home, or drive a sitter home. Can one not refrain from drinking after a point in order to be responsible? Isn't this a universal concept? 

I'm not gonna lie. My visions of a smooth school year with normal families has become blurred. Is this just a one-off, or will these sisters be expecting services beyond the norm from my in-home daycare? Before our distracting and mostly relaxing trip to Milwaukee, I felt a little very down in the dumps, as in  WHY ARE PEOPLE SO STRANGE? Is my school year going to by challenging, again?



Coach just wanted me to text back, I GUESS YOU'LL HAVE TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE  (implied:  you can't drive the sitter home, then you can't have the sitter).

Chloe has not responded. 

Also, may I point out that I've never received SO many text messages about one babysitting job. When I responded to say what we've been up to, can she not figure out that life over in Chez Shenanigan is not the eating bon-bons on the couch type of lifestyle?

Depending on Reg's schedule (which won't come out until Wednesday and he plays really close to home, for once), we might be able to meet a couple out. I'd hate to have to ask myself, rhetorically, SO WHAT'D YOU DO FRIDAY NIGHT? . . . only to answer, I PICKED UP CURLY FROM A BABYSITTING JOB. 

Anyone with a crystal ball? Can you predict whether or not by school year will be a headache? I know it might've been awhile for some of you since you last hired a sitter, but do you find this strange? Who else loves The Proposal?


Nicole said...

Wow, you're so busy! I don't know how you know what day it is, even. We didn't really have babysitters when the kids were little, and when I used to babysit it was usually for people in my neighbourhood so I have no idea what the protocol is. Sorry, can't help! Also, I've never seen The Proposal!

Ernie said...

Nicole - I must know the day, or I won't go to the right place at the right time. I keep a large desk calendar on my island and I consult it multiple times a day. Today I am meeting a dear friend for a walk at 9 am. We don't see each other often enough and I am so excited.

Didn't really have babysitters? Not sure how you survived. Maybe family lived nearby?

I am blown away that you haven't seen The Proposal. Do.Yourself.A.Favor. It is funny and cute and entertaining and Betty White is in the movie. I enjoy Ryan Reynolds so much. Isn't he Canadian? I will anxiously await your thumbs up or down after you've viewed it.

Pat Birnie said...

Holy moly you are so busy! I did a lot of babysitting as a teen and they always picked me up and drove me home. Even if it was close by they would walk me home and see that I got in safely. When my kids were young I occasionally hired a teen & fortunately both of my sitters lived right on my court - fortunate because as a single mom I couldn’t leave my kids to drive them. That’s crazy them asking you to pick her up - how about putting her in a taxi, or an Uber? In my opinion it really is part of the deal to get your sitter home.

mbmom11 said...

My kids babysat, and I did do the pick up and drop off before they could drive. I've never hired a sitter, UT I think I would also offer to drive. I'm just a chauffeur at heart- or a control freak.
Maybe the parents think you would not be comfortable with the husband driving your daughter home? However, I think With some people you need to be very straightforward. Subtle hints escape them.
And your Coach is a great guy- that text message? Swoon!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I like your Dad's "what did you do Friday night?" line! He's funny.

My girls didn't babysit. I hardly babysat at all. I had a few babysitters for my girls, and I recall one of us driving them home if they didn't drive yet.
Chloe might be a bit of a headache. Sorry.

I LOVE THE PROPOSAL and watch it several times a year. 😳😜
Your weekend away sounds like just what you needed.

Nance said...

A hundred years ago, when I was a babysitter, the employers picked me up and drove me home. That was standard protocol. Occasionally, if it was a neighborhood job, I walked there, but they always, always drove me home. Chloe sounds like a project. I think you already gave her way too much of your time.

When our boys were little, I often had students babysit, and even if they could drive, we picked them up and drove them home. I don't ever remember any of them driving to our home.

I've never even heard of The Proposal, sorry. How do you feel about Napoleon Dynamite? I love that goofy movie.

Jenny in WV said...

I don't have kids and growing up the only babysitting I did was my younger sister. I didn't know that providing transportation to a teenage sitter was a standard expectation.

Hopefully Chloe is just unfamiliar with the babysitting norms and will quickly catch on.

I haven't seen the Proposal, I will have to see if it is streaming anywhere.

joymariecooks said...

Hmm on the babysitter ride thing... We have a mother's helper who comes once a week for 3 hours and it's been about 50/50 of we get her/drop her off or if one of her parents does. Sometimes it's been where we pick up at the start and then her dad picks her up at the end or vice versa. It really seems to depend on her parents' schedules with work, and hasn't been a big issue either way. I get the sense her parents expect to do the pick up/drop off because when her mom has asked if we can do it she's always said it in terms of us doing them a favour. So, are we being rude? Are they uninformed of babysitting norms? Is it that they're passing by on the way somewhere so it's easy? I have no idea lol. (I did ask if they wanted us to pick up/drop off the first time and they said no so I don't feel too bad if we're breaking some kind of unwritten babysitting rule.)

joymariecooks said...

Another quick thought on the babysitting driving thing, is that for many/most other teenage jobs, it would be the teen's or family's responsibility to get to/from work, the employer wouldn't be doing pick up. So, I can definitely see where this could be viewed as, if you accept the job it's on you to figure out your way there?

Kara said...

The Proposal is a cute movie!

It's been almost 10 years since I've needed a sitter, but yeah, I always either had sitters with their own cars (and therefore who charged a higher rate) OR gave the sitter transportation. Once, when my kids were babysitting, my daughter called me and told me that the kids' older step brother showed up unannounced, and it was making her uncomfortable. The parents weren't answering their phones, so I went over, and stayed with my daughter and the kids (and the step brother) until the parents stumbled in. Suffice to say, she never babysat for them again.

Ernie said...

Pat - Yes, life has been very busy. I agree, from my vast experience transportation is supplied by the family in need of a sitter. It is always a plus to find a valued sitter next door, but if not - the hiring family is responsible for the driving of the babysitter. I've been involved one way or another in babysitting for, um, for as long as I can remember and I don't think the rules have changed. I would go out of my way for single moms or for people in unique circumstances, but admitting that you just don't feel like bothering to curb your drinking a tad in order to drive a sitter home, well, that's just ridiculous.

I'd probably be OK with Curly being in an Uber, but she is a tad young to Uber on her own. It is probably only a 5 minute drive. A mom Mini sits for offered to put her in an Uber this summer when we were so short cars and Mini had planned to drive, but I insisted that we would pick her up because she'd planned to drive (before she totaled the minivan).

Ernie said...

mbmom - I would be completely fine with a dad driving Curly home. I was driven home by various dads over the years. I have dropped kids off at babysitting jobs during the day, - often a mom would have to load all of her kids in the car and she's the solo adult home, etc. but evening jobs? Nope. The family assuming I'm going to pick my kid up from a sitting job sort of implies that they believe that I don't have plans on a Friday or Saturday night. How am I supposed to know what time they are going to come home? What if I want to go to bed? My sitters sometimes come home really late.

Yes, Coach's text message was very nice. We haven't seen much of each other lately and really, absence DOES make the heart grow fonder. We haven't had any time to get on each other's nerves.

Ernie said...

Suz- If you like that line, do you like the standard YOU MAKE A BETTER DOOR THAN A WINDOW line? Dad said that whenever one of us blocked his view of the TV. I was the kid that continued to stand there while I tried to figure out what he meant. ;)

I do worry that these sisters might be add a challenging element to my babysitting routine. Dang - I just want people who GET IT. IT being all the stuff that is so straightforward it shouldn't require an explanation. Sigh.

Look at us, Proposal buddies.

The hotel room smelled so awful and if Coach hadn't been there rolling his eyes at my wish to change rooms, I would've changed rooms. Sadly I didn't bother and I never got nose-blind to the smell. Otherwise, it was a good getaway.

Ernie said...

Nance - Exactly. Even though Mini can drive, she hasn't always had a car at her disposal for babysitting jobs. There are families that know she can drive, but still ask if she needs a ride. I'm hoping this is a one-off deal and she isn't a pain in my behind all school year.

I highly recommend The Proposal if you like romcoms. Yes, I do enjoy Napoleon Dynamite. Sometimes when dishing out my kids food, I call TINA, TINA!

Ernie said...

Jenny - I am old school, for sure - but to hire someone to come to your home in the evening of a weekend and to assume that the sitter's parents don't mind sacrificing their weekend even thought they aren't getting paid. It just stands to reason, honestly.

I am hopeful too that this was an isolated incident with Chloe.

Dang, The Proposal was showing round the clock apparently on whatever station I had on in the hotel, but it is not a new release so I bet you will find it. Love, love, love.

Ernie said...

joymarie - I don't think you have crossed a line here. It sounds like this works for your people and you offered to drive. I have dropped off my kids for daytime sitting. Often I can work that around errands, or my kids are coming from b-ball camp, etc. Also, I get that it is a hassle for a mom to load up babies, some who might be napping, in order to get my kid. Curly was a mother's helper last year and I drove her there almost every time. Sometimes she watched the 5 kids at our pool, and I arranged it so that I was at the pool at the same time. These drop offs and pick ups seem more feasible and the mom always checked with me to see what would work best and if she needed to get Curly, then she got her.

Friday and Saturday night sitting is different to me. The end time is tough to pinpoint. Plus when both parents are there and they just prefer to drink alcohol, what? If she tried to ask me for this one favor, it would've been different - but it was just an expectation, which is weird.

I get what you are saying about kids who work places like the grocery store, and yes - they need to get transportation to those jobs, but babysitting is a whole other kind of thing. When you work at McDonalds, your hours are set. Babysitting ends when folks get home. It entails a kid providing a service. Driving kids home from a babysitting job that infringes on the sitter's parents social time/sleep time is not the norm.

Ernie said...

Kara - It is such a cute movie, isn't it?

Back in the day, when I started driving, families I babysat for practically did a flip. My parents never once came to pick me up from an evening babysitting job. I rode my bike a ton to jobs during the day, because I mostly sat for people in my neighborhood.

That ordeal with the step brother showing up sounds very sketchy. I'm glad you were around to go over there.

Colleen said...

I just wanted to say that Coach's text to you was so sweet :)

Ernie said...

Colleen - It was sweet and I'm glad I decided to go. Reg's team ended up winning the entire tournament in a very exciting final game. After being down my 13 or more, we came back and were within 5 with a minute and a half left. Then we managed to score a few baskets with less than a minute left for the WIN! I was glad I was there.

Kari said...

We were very lucky that our babysitter lived across the street from us. Also, I'm envious that you can get shitfaced at your pool at night. Like WHAT?? Ernie, you sure did bury the lead in your blog post. Xoxo

Bibliomama said...

The story of trying to decide whether to go reminds me of once when Angus had a baseball game, Matt was coaching and Eve was off somewhere else so I was trying to decide what to do with my free time - until I realized I really wanted to go to the game and sit with the other moms and eat sunflower seeds and watch Angus play baseball. It is hard sometimes to get 'what should I do' out of the way of what you want to do. The babysitting thing is weird - I think I would just say find someone else. It shouldn't be an extra job for you too.

Ernie said...

Ali - I feel like there are so few times I get to choose which thing I'm doing, that I get a bit stuck when I have to decide. I met all the parents from his team in Georgia (Coach did his travel games all spring and I did Curlyl's), so I did want to hang with them too. I also realized that if Reg had a great game and I'd stayed home just because I felt like I should, then I'd feel bummed.

The babysitting thing was weird. She got her in laws to do it, when I told her I couldn't guarantee I'd be available to drive home and that I felt if she needed that she should keep looking.

Ernie said...

Kari - I'm out of order here - your comment snuck in there. Our pool does hold occasional adult only nights. They also (back in the day, I don't really pay attention anymore) used to have late nights, where kids could swim and parents could sit around and socialize and drink. We did attend those YEARS ago when we knew a group going to the pool. It was so much fun. Our kids stayed up crazy late and we laughed for hours. I was usually pregnant, so I drove us a few blocks home.

My kids have had many sitting jobs that are walking/bike riding distance. That makes things very simple.