Monday, March 24, 2008

The Nanny Blues

Yesterday, Miss Sue came over for the first time. She stayed two hours while Lloyd was here and the boys both liked her. Lloyd asked her if she would be willing to clean while Shane was asleep and she agreed. The plan was for her to come again on Thursday, then start coming next week to watch Shane while Weston was in school. Great plan, until Miss Sue called and said she didn’t want the job because she didn’t want to clean. Lloyd told her we didn’t care if she cleaned or not, and she said she didn’t want it anyway. ?????? I have no idea. We are paying better than the going rate, we're relatively pleasant people, our house usually doesn't stink, and the kids are pretty well-behaved. She was a bit befuddled by the cloth diapers and positively flummoxed when I told her Shane does not take formula, only breastmilk. That's the only thing that I can think of- we're too crunchy for her.

We have been looking for someone for months and she has been the best of the lot we have talked to. There was Miss Jean, who was great, except that she was from another country (so illegal to hire her as you can only hire US or Korean citizens) and she came here (or was trafficked here, more likely) to work in the bars, doing favors for money. There was Lucy, a Korean lady who is engaged to an American. Nice, but she doesn’t speak much English. In fact, so little that she can’t communicate to her fiancĂ© the situation with her possibly wacko not-yet-ex-husband. He thinks they are getting married this spring but I think she has news for him, if only he could understand it.

Fire in the hole

I wanted to make Lloyd some cinnamon rolls for his birthday. NOT the healthy kind, which “suck”. This requires using the oven, of course. In fact, it requires using the oven for the first time since the fire. Our oven situation is a little hairy: The apartment came with a four burner gas range and a small pull out drawer that functions like a toaster oven. I have used it precisely once, not very successfully, to make a chicken melt concoction. The less said about that, the better. Anyhow, Lloyd arranged to get a loaner oven/range from the base, because we can not live without baked potatoes and cookies. The loaner over barely fits in the corner of the kitchen and partially blocks the door to the laundry room. It has a 110 volt plug. 110 outlets are in short supply in the entire apartment, but especially in the kitchen. The only kitchen outlet is as far away from the oven as you can be and still be in the apartment. We use a barely-long-enough extension cord whenever we use the oven, and it has to traverse the gas range and the sink. Last week, the extension cord got into the flames on one of the gas burners. More accurately, I forgot to remove it before turning the burner on, but I’m not one to quibble over details. The resulting fire was small but intense and when the flames were beaten back, the cord looked like a toasted marshmallow. I had planned to have it checked out and replaced if necessary but I decided the cinnamon rolls were much more important than that foolishness, so I slapped masking tape over the damage and let ‘er rip. Best cinnamon rolls ever! Unfortunately, there was some collateral damage. Since I hadn’t used the oven for a while, we had gotten into the habit of storing things on top of it. I guess that’s not the greatest idea because it apparently does get quite hot and now we have a huge bunch of heat-blackened bananas and a couple of soggy misshapen apples.

No sticking, no staining, only SUCKING!

I have been intrigued by moon sand for a long time. The box says it all: "Never dries out! No sticking! No staining!" Why, it sounds positively dreamy, and it can be yours for only slightly more per ounce than the finest ambergris can buy. In other words, a jillion times more expensive than playdoh. But TOTALLY worth it, right? So worth it that I gave a whole set as a gift to Nicolas at his birthday party last summer. Let me just take this opportunity to apologize to Kim. Sorry, and I guess I now know why you no longer speak to me.

But now I am buying little trinkets for entertainment for a long trip we'll be taking next month, and what could be more perfect for a long flight than moon sand? It doesn't stick, it doesn't stain, it doesn't dry out! Wisely, or luckily, I decided to let Weston try it out first. Okay, he was whining yesterday and I couldn't think of anything clever, so I dipped into my stash.

Let me give away the secret of moon sand: it's damp sand. With food coloring. And glitter. The marketing department at moon sand is entirely correct when they say no sticking. It falls apart. Like sand. As soon as you open the container. All over the floor. The only thing that distinguishes it from regular non-moon sand is the glitter. Which is all over my floor