Thursday, October 28, 2010

The List grows longer

Perhaps I should rename this blog "The Diary of Debbie Downer". Maybe it is just easier to write when I'm in a sour mood. I apologize. For those of you who would prefer a peppy positive take on life, I know there are plenty of mommy blogs out there for you.

I guess that I'm on a roll. First on my list was Mr. Pickles. Now we can add "Bertha" the babysitter. I am calling her Bertha to protect her identity, while I am sure she doesn't read my blog, you just never know who does.

Bertha has babysat for us probably about 6-7 times over the course of the past year. She works at my son's preschool, which is how I met her. She is a fine older lady. Not the spry, energetic type my children would prefer, but rather the trustworthy person who you hire to watch the munchkins for an hour or two before bedtime. She feeds them, sticks them in front of the TV for a half an hour, then tucks them into bed.

I'll be honest. I have always been slightly dissatisfied with her services. For $15/hour, you think she could give the boys a bath before settling on our sofa to watch Dateline until we arrive home. Nope. No bath. Cleaning up after herself also doesn't seem to be a strength. One night we arrived home to not only a mess of dirty dishes, but a full pan of almost untouched lasagna sitting on the counter. It had been there since I removed it from the oven upon her arrival, five hours ago. The lasagna, needless to say, went in the trash. I don't know why I kept calling her. Maybe because finding a new sitter is so much work, and at least I knew Bertha would show up.

Well today was the final straw. This camel's back is broken. I can take no more. Goodbye Bertha. True, I may be over-reacting, but I'm not feeling very well, so cut me a little slack.

Tonight, at this very moment I am suppose to be in San Francisco with my husband at The World Series! The hubs scored tickets from a generous vendor, and I was invited to attend. Now, I am not a huge baseball fan, but I do enjoy a game, the crowds, the junk food, the beer, it's a good time. And The World Series? That has to be one heck of a party. Bertha was scheduled to babysit. But here is the problem. I am sick. Sick-sick. Too sick to go out and have fun, even if it means that I am stuck at home with rowdy kids. So I called Bertha with the news this morning. Bertha was not happy. Bertha was not shy about her feelings. Bertha went on and on about how she had just turned down another job and how she had planned on working tonight.

Okay, before you think I am totally heartless, to some extent I get it. She was planning on making $60.00 tonight for sitting on her butt watching TV in my living room. Maybe she had that money ear-marked. But it isn't as if I have ever cancelled on her before. It isn't as if this is her regular job. I am not her employer.

What really ticked me off? The fact that she didn't have an ounce of sympathy for me. Did she think I was lying? Did she think that I decided that it would be more fun to stay at home eating saltine crackers than going to see the ball game that everyone is talking about?

In the end I asked her if she wanted me to pay her for a portion of what she would have received tonight. Her words? "You just have to do what you think is right." I gave her a check for $45.00. You can be damn sure that was the last dollar she is going to earn from me.

Maybe I am not being fair. Maybe it is common practice to pay a sitter when you cancel on them. Perhaps I just have some pent up anger about the lack-luster job she does for us, and some general dissatisfaction with the way this evening turned out.

What do you think?


  1. I wouldn't have chucked the lasagna ;). I agree with both sides. It sucks counting on the money if you've turned down other jobs but to be so rude about it isn't right either. I would have offered 50% but that's also because I was a babysitter/nanny in my day. HOWEVER, I also did EVERYTHING mom would have done (cooked, cleaned, bathed, etc.) I think you're fair in your thinking.

  2. I think she doesn't deserve a cent. You were beyond generous. I screwed over my carpool buddythis morning becuasi had jury duty. I forgot to tell her hat I couldn't pick the kids up from school . Total asshole move on my part. I offered to pay for afterschool. She thanked me and didn't take meup on her offer becuae ---stuff happens. She can be pissed and talk about me later, but anything else is just rude. You so in the right here. Don't even sort of feel bad. In fact, have a glass of wine to celebrate her depature. You need people in your life that make you feel good. Dead weight needs to be pushed out of the boat.

  3. see, here is where you rely on your strong network of local mommy friends to help you out. you can bet your ass i would have babysat for you while you went to the Giants game FOR FREE! yes, FREE! even would have missed the mommy dinner. i couldn't do that anyway... not because i am busy but because i couldn't get my act together in time to get to the city looking presentable. but I could have shown up at your house in my sweats whenever you needed me. and i could even come over w/ some chicken soup for you. what can i bring you tomorrow? do you want me to take the boys so you can rest? see? you have friends, woman! use us!

  4. She sounds lazy. Good job you've cut her loose. I like to think under the circumstances you've described I wouldn't have paid her and would have then explained why (again - she's lazy). In truth though I'm chicken and would've just done anything to get her off the phone and then blacklisted her ever in my house again.

  5. Wow! First, that you had the opportunity to go to the Giants game is so awesome. Wow! Two, that she had the nerve to complain to you that because you're sick you have to cancel on her sitting gig. Ridiculous. It's not like you just changed your mind. You were probably feeling like crap initially, then even crappier when you realized you had to miss the game, and then like complete and utter crap when she gave her sob story. You are more generous than I. Good riddance to her!

  6. I don't know if I would have paid her anything for the cancelled job. It happens. I know it's hard to start over with baby-sitters, but it doesn't sound like she was doing a bang up job. Here's hoping the next baby-sitter is the best baby-sitter in the whole world.

  7. $15/hour? Holy crap! The going rate around here is $7 or $8. In my sister's neighborhood, they hire 12 year olds for $3.50/hour (I don't generally hire 12 year olds but in her community it's normal, since all the 12 year olds have like 6 younger brothers and sisters they're responsible for at home.)
    Of course, you only make $7/hour working at a coffee shop here, so I guess the standard is totally different.