Baby has just gone down…

Baby has just gone down for her morning nap, so I can a) do some housework, b) write some fiction, c) shower and dress, or d) write a journal entry. Guess which I picked? :-)

Great comments on the previous entry, guys -- thanks! So far, the new housework regime is going well, and peace prevails in our house. Kevin's cleaned the sink the last several nights, ordered this week's groceries and put them away, and made a healthy and tasty pasta primavera last night for dinner. Yay! I may actually have time to finish unpacking if this goes on. :-)

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. I watched baby in the morning, then woke Kevin up to come help me with the roof deck. If we had been here last fall, we would have done a variety of things to 'put the garden to bed,' and essentially, none of those got done, either because our tenant forgot to do them, or because we forgot to tell her. Leaving aside the actual gardening parts, there are just some practical things that should have been done -- for example, the fabric on the gazebo should have been taken down. We got a call from our tenant last November saying that there'd been a huge windstorm, and the wind had caught in the fabric and dragged the heavy iron gazebo along the roof, finally tipping it over into the gap between our roof and the one next to us. I guess we should just be grateful that there actually was a building close enough to catch it (so the tenant and her friends could pull it back the next day) -- otherwise, it might have plummeted four stories and killed someone standing below!

The upshot of it all is that the gazebo is somewhat bent, but probably can make it through one more summer. The sari fabric was totally shredded though, and to minimize the chance of it all happening again, we cut the remnants down yesterday. We also took the stained casings off the garden cushions, washed them, put them back on, and then tied chair covers over all the furniture. And coiled up the garden hose and moved it out of the way. And moved the furniture and pots to be up against the walls (to minimize blowing around and toppling over). There's all sorts of actual gardening that probably needs doing too, but at least now we've dealt with the structural issues. In terms of housework, per previous entry: 1.5 hrs of actual work (plus the laundry, mostly done by Kevin the previous night), which we switched off tasks, so the other person could carry the baby and play with the dog. Kavya loves being outdoors -- it was unseasonably warm yesterday, around 50, and there was a lovely warm-ish breeze up on the roof; she was so happy. She kept trying to strip the leaves off the surprisingly hardy jasmine that got left up there by mistake, but it was too tough for her little grabby hands and stubbornly held on to all its leaves. :-)

Afterwards we came inside and straightened up downstairs, preparatory to the first meeting of my new writing workshop! I realized last fall that I'd really been missing having a regular workshop -- so I've started one. There are about ten folks signed up, and seven of us were there yesterday. We workshopped a few pieces, including the short YA fantasy story I wrote last December. They essentially liked it -- I think an hour or two of fine-tuning should actually get it ready to send out. I have no idea where to send a YA fantasy story, though! Just the regular genre markets? I haven't read F&SF in years; any idea whether they might be interested in that kind of thing? The main characters are around 15, and taking on adult responsibilities, so it's not little little kids...

Today the plan is to get dressed around 10, pack up Kavi and head up to Nilofer's house. We're going to try nanny-sharing today. Nilofer works from home, and has a full-time nanny, Laura. Nilofer's actually at a meeting all day today, and is taking the new infant (Anushka) with her, since she's breastfeeding. (Nilofer works in child services, so I think they're a bit more flexible and understanding of things like bringing babies to work meetings than most jobs, huh?) So it'll just be Kavya and Zara (Nilofer's daughter who is now...umm...I want to say 1.5 or so) for Laura to watch today. I'll stay in the house and be available if needed to soothe Kavi, but am hopeful that I can get a bunch of work done -- I'm massively behind on e-mail again, it seems. We'll see how it goes -- if it goes well and we're not too intrusive in Nilofer's house, I think we'll aim on doing this two days a week, which is about what our budget can afford. It may even help with the getting-into-shape goal, since Nilofer wants to start going to the Y and working out on her lunch hour...which means I get a gym buddy. Cool. :-)

(Interestingly, on the budget front, hiring a cleaning service in Chicago costs $17.50/hr or thereabouts. Whereas an au pair costs about $10/hr. What does that say about the relative value of cleaning vs. childcare in our society? Is it just that people think it's more fun to hang out with babies than scrub a toilet? Even if the babies occasionally pee all over you (poor Kevin was got good the other night, getting Kavi ready for her bath). Is it that children are even more firmly women's labor than cleaning is, and thus devalued? Or that cleaning is a few hours a week, vs. a full-time job as an au pair, and contract work generally charges more per hour? All of the above? Or is it something else?)

This morning my cold has started transitioning from a mucus-y head thing into a hacking cough. So my voice is a bit hoarse and funny-sounding, but I'm finally feeling like I can think again. Which is good, because classes start tomorrow! It'll be good to be teaching again...

2 thoughts on “Baby has just gone down…”

  1. I’d assume it’s the hours-per-job issue. The commute has to be paid for, and also that full-day jobs are more likely to attract people who are carless or incapable of driving.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I should also note that that rate is for an au pair, generally a young woman who is also here to study; an experienced nanny charges quite a bit more, I think.

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