Back to Square One

So, we’re back to where we started: We really need to solve this nanny situation.

(Here’s the backstory).

After at least four failed attempts, the agency finally sent us a reasonable nanny.

Or so we thought.

The cracks appeared about six weeks after she started. She was taking the kids out for fast food almost every day after school. A few times we came home and she was busily texting on her phone. MGM wasn’t doing his homework. Her car broke down and she canceled at the last minute. Little things. Tiny little things.

One night we asked her to stay late. I arrived home at nearly 8 PM. The kids were wild. And hungry. It hadn’t occurred to her to feed them dinner.

Our DVR queue is also completely full of episodes of “The Bachelor,” and by no stretch of the imagination can I even accuse Ever Patient Spouse of secretly being a fan. It’s her.

I blamed myself for trying to appear too laissez-faire during the interview process. (“Oh, yeah. We’re not like those uptight helicopter parents. The kids can do, you know, whatever. Just make sure they’re not dead.”)

Then this: Last week, frantic calls from the school indicated that she simply hadn’t shown up to collect the children. Spouse and I had no idea where they were. I finally reached Nanny and she simply said that she had been taking a nap in the middle of the day and just didn’t wake up. 

If the situation had been reversed, I would have been profusely apologetic and appropriately mortified. She wasn’t at all. There wasn’t even an “I’m sorry.”

The school principal informed us that this isn’t new. She’s frequently late. The principal has taken to watching MGM and Trixie by the front door to make sure she shows up.

Tonight: Spouse came home and the house was quiet. Investigation determined that the kids were upstairs watching Netflix shows on an iPad.

But where was Nanny?

Further investigation revealed that she was soundly asleep on our sofa, stretched out from end-to-end, snuggling in a cashmere blanket with numerous decorative pillows.

It took Spouse shouting her name four times before she roused. Again, no apology. No “Mea culpa.” Zilch.

Spouse told her to go.

A terse email to the agency confirmed that she will not be welcome on Monday.

So now we’re back at square one. Sigh.

Time Travel

Isn’t it great when you hear a song you love and it immediately transforms you back to the time and place when it was relevant to you?

That’s what happened to me today when I heard this excellent tune:

Ok, for reference, I am still happily married to Ever Patient Spouse, but Liz Phair’s “Divorce Song” totally kicks ass.

Last year “Exile in Guyville” celebrated its 20th anniversary, and a whole bunch of other people expounded on the meaning of the album, its relevance as a feminist manifesto (or not), and its place in history.

All I know is that in 1993, I couldn’t get enough of it. The tug between Boys are Stupid and I Really, Really Wish I Had a Boyfriend was very real to me back then. Looking back now, the fact that this was one of my primary sources of angst is hilarious, sad and quaint.

And then there is also this righteous ditty:

So, yeah, basically I want to be friends with Liz Phair. I think we’d get along famously.


Near Perfection

One of my (younger) coworkers is my go-to source for everything that is seriously cool. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s street food in Singapore, late night DJ sets in London, or the top diving spots in the Pacific Rim, he knows what he’s talking about. The best part is that all of this information is spot-on and comes with zero attitude, so when he makes a suggestion, I listen up.

Like his recommendation to watch this movie:


Lena Dunham’s opus from 2010 is near perfection.

The awkwardness just about killed me.

I loved it so much that I watched it twice in a row.

P.S. It’s available for streaming on Netflix or rental through YouTube. Watch it now.

Crossbody Bags

Two weeks ago when I went to California to run in a half-marathon, I spent a day at Disneyland*** and found myself wishing I had a crossbody bag to hold my stuff and keep me hands-free when I tooled about the park.

Had I been better prepared, I may have selected one of these:

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

Clare Vivier

Clare Vivier

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs



Kate Spade

Kate Spade

Kate Spade

Kate Spade

This one’s too glam for a day at the amusement park, but it’s still pretty awesome:



Finally, here are my two favorites. The leather one is more laid-back whereas the nylon one basically will inspire envy in the other moms checking each other out while waiting in line for two hours to ride on “It’s a Small World.”





*** Yes. I went to Disneyland alone. My kids were at home with Spouse. Awful. I know. One of my good friends found this situation to be incredibly weird. I didn’t! I was killing time before the race. And FYI, you can get on just about any ride with barely a wait when you’re a single rider, not to mention being able to freely people watch and walk about the park without stopping every ten paces to buy a souvenir or take one of a zillion potty breaks. I recommend it. But note: It’s much easier to go to Disneyland solo as a Midwestern-y adult single female, than, say, a mustachioed middle-aged man with a windowless van.


Today I am 41.

How do I feel about that?

Honest answer: Worse than I felt about 33, but better than I felt about 40.

Last year was tough. The bad parts of last year slammed into me like a wrecking ball. By mid-year, I found myself feeling like I was in a “Talking Heads” song, and by that, of course I mean this one:

Yes, this was not my beautiful house and this was not my beautiful wife.

But why the ennui? Why the dissatisfaction?

Critical analysis points to this: When I was 38.75, I celebrated my dear, dear friend MA’s 40th birthday with her in Aspen, Colorado. Several months prior to that date, MA took stock and changed things about herself. Lost weight. Got into amazing shape. Prioritized her priorities. Found The One.

I so admired her (Still do!). I wanted to emulate her with my own personalized Life Makeover.

But I didn’t. 39.5 rolled around. And I didn’t get it in gear. 39.9999 rolled around. And I didn’t get it in gear. 

Then there was 40. 

I started strong, running a marathon and then a half-marathon in the same week, one on the East coast and one on the West. It was fun.

Then I lost my mojo.

That was distinctly *not* fun.

The thing is – and I truly believe this – we’re all a work in progress. Just because boxes are ticked on some imagined Life Checklist doesn’t mean all the checkmarks add up to unequivocal bliss.

I re-examined what made me happy. The list was pretty simple.

  1. Sunshine
  2. Laughter
  3. Exercise
  4. Being with people I love (and who love me)
  5. Intellectual stimulation
  6. Dreaming 
  7. Coffee

Ok, that last one was a bonus.

And today, at 41, I also recognize this to be true:


(Photo snagged from my friend JB’s Facebook page)

Priorities have been re-examined. Stock has been taken. Resolutions have been made. Family and friends remain cherished. Battles are picked, but only when necessary. Laughter is easy. Stuff is just stuff. Progress is being made.

I have a good feeling about the year(s) to come. Time to celebrate.