Saturday, 24 March 2012

Fancy Innocence Lost

It’s sunny in London! And it’s sunny in the Fancy Home! We may have found a new weekend Nanny! Celebrate good times!

Yes, it’s a fabulous development. And right after meeting her I went for a long jog
along the Thames, soaking up the sunshine and doing my best not to run smack into throngs of tourists.  And then I realized that I had completely forgotten to keep you, my fabulous Fancy Readers, up to date on our Nanny #2 v3.0 progress. I’m so sorry!

What? Oh, that’s right. Nanny #2, who you all considered Nanny #2 v1.0 was actually a replacement model. The real original weekend Nanny #2 was gone long before Frau Fancy found her voice. It’s the reason we were so willing to overlook so much of Nanny #2 v2.0’s, um, shall we say, lapses in judgment?

Yes, H and I were once Fancy Innocents. We used to believe that most Nannies were good people who would know what to do with small children and blend seamlessly into a busy Fancy home.

We were wrong. Very wrong. We've since learned this lesson well.

Shortly after the original Nanny #2 came to work for us, H and I were eating lunch and listening to her talk to the Minis downstairs. Actually “talk” is a very strong word for the sounds she was making.

H looked at me, fork stopped in mid-air. “Is she human or do we actually have Snow Fucking White down there? I feel like I’m living in a Disney Cartoon. Early Walt, not this Pixar stuff. Nemo would be fine. But that shit, that’s fucking annoying.”

But you can’t fire someone because they squeak, can you?

No, it was the fact that when she wasn’t physically in charge of the Minis, she lay on the floor and watched TV. Apparently she’d never heard of a dishwasher.

Anyhoo, that’s why we were happy to find Nanny #2 v2.0. She filled her days with a myriad of tasks, some of them childcare related, others caring for our home. And it was in near silence that she continually ruined my silk shirts.

But now she’s gone. And the search for v3.0 has been slow. Our one requirement (other than being a normal human with a brain) is that she speaks some variation of the German language. Swiss. Austrian. It doesn’t really matter. So long as the Minis’ language skills are reinforced and they continue to chatter away in two languages.

But fucking hell, I was almost to the point of considering Afrikaans a viable option. Fancy PA and I were working every agency in London and coming up with little to show for it. Apparently the German’s love their weekends.

Then again, there had to be somebody out there who would be a good match for us, right? I remained hopeful and it appears that we may have found her.

Keep your fingers crossed. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Fancy Shoots

There is frankly nothing more annoying than a bad massage.

Okay, that’s a lie.

Having to fire your weekend Nanny and then spend Saturday and Sunday cleaning and doing laundry and parenting your own children. That is annoying.

And because Nanny #2’s departure has left me irritable, I decided to take Babysitter #1 and Nanny #1 up on their offer: go to dinner with H. On the Continent. Where he was working. That way I could take full advantage of the childcare that remains firmly in place, spend time with my husband, and still get back to do Nanny #2’s—ahem, I mean my—job.

Which is how I found myself last week being slapped around with a bamboo shoot.

I know. Even now I’m not quite sure how this story evolved. Well, that’s a lie. I told Fancy PA to book me a massage at the hotel. After all, H was going to be in meetings all day and without the Minis pulling on my luxury hotel robe it wouldn’t take me long to get through the more urgent of my emails.

Now, I’ve had great massages in my life. And I’ve had shitty ones. And I have had quite a few that fall somewhere in between. The best? That little Japanese woman looked tiny but man was she powerful. The time out on the beach in Mexico is memorable. And then there was the bizarre cage in Tahiti where the therapist hung from a bar and used her feet to dig into my back.

The bad ones, well, there’s no reason to make me relive those, is there? I mean lying on a bed, clenching my teeth, feeling my blood pressure rise in response to some well-meaning vegan’s desire to “sweep away the bad energy” rather than doing what I want her to, which is rub the fuck out my aching body. No, don’t make me go there.

But this one, well this was just bizarre. Neither good nor bad, but odd.

It started with the therapist insisting that I put on the paper underwear. Now I understand many women don’t feel comfortable lying naked on a massage table but I’m not one of them. So I tried to explain that I wouldn’t need them. But she was adamant. And as my legs were each thrown over a bamboo stick and twirled in big circles around the room, the reason for her insistence grew sparkling clear.

Then came the “massage” part of the process. This is when the therapist climbed on the bed and began using the dried trees to literally roll me out like a pie crust.

Tap, tap, short roll, short roll, loooonnnnnggggg roll, turn.


So here I am. Back at home. The weekend was both pleasant and painful. Lots of quality time with my kids. But no one to unpack my suitcase. No one to clean up the dinner dishes. No one to give me a lie in on Sunday mornings. 

And only the memory of a woman beating me with a stick to sustain me.

Clearly the solution is another massage. Possibly in the South Pacific or East Asia.

Either that or hiring a new Nanny. One or the other. And soon.  

Monday, 5 March 2012

Fancy Fires Away

Firing a Nanny sucks.

Am I alone in this? Is there anyone out there who enjoys firing their domestic help? I mean, never mind the quivering lips and the watery eyes (all mine by the way), it’s the thought of searching for a replacement that really brings me to my knees.

It was Nanny #2. I was okay with the Veganism, the gospel television on a Saturday evening, the fact that she allowed them to first dump dry pasta all over my floor and play with it a la Montessori style.

Actually, I even overlooked that she then reportedly cooked the fucking pasta and fed it to my children. 
So all in all, I think I’m a pretty tolerant employer. Which means things had really gotten bad.

We had a chat a couple of weeks ago about the fact that I seemed to be picking up after her, instead of the other way around. And that she was spending the entire day folding the same basket of laundry while watching reality TV. While I was upstairs trying to wrangle the Minis into their clothes and scrub oatmeal off my floor.

It was a classic case of Fancy here not managing her help effectively.

So we had a talk. I really tried to be supportive and gentle. But apparently Nanny #2 can’t accept any feedback that is not glowing. And retaliated by not showing up this weekend because she needed to “gather her thoughts.”

And therein lay the final straw.

Don’t fuck with the Fancy’s Saturday night. Not without a very good reason.

Family emergency? Okay. The flu? It happens.

Thinking? No.

There was surprisingly little argument. I feel good about that. What I don’t feel good about is explaining to the Minis that she’s not coming back. Or about the stack of resumes I’m about to begin wading through.

On the other hand, maybe I’ll no longer be finding the Minis’ socks in my drawer and my silk DVF wrap dresses in the washing machine. This could be a good thing.