Well… we finally did it. Brad and I left the house of our own accord without Harper in tow. Why, do you ask? We had a DATE. That’s right, a planned evening of adult-related activities. No spit-up. No diapers. Just the two of us.
I have to back up here. This almost happened once before, on our anniversary. Actually, it technically did happen once before. We hired our wonderful neighbor, Karen, to watch Harper after we put her to bed for the night and then we left. But that evening was a comedy of errors that culminated with us driving around the greater Tampa area aimlessly. Almost certainly one day I’ll look back on it and laugh. But not yet.
Anyway, the disappointment of our lost anniversary inspired me to organize another evening for us. I started to hatch a plan to surprise Brad and called Karen to see if she’d be available to sit with Harper. She said she would be… in mid-July. Clearly that was not going to work. That was when I started calling everyone I knew to come up with a babysitter. As it turns out, finding a qualified, trustworthy sitter on short notice in these parts is about as easy as tracking down a live Skunk Ape (that’s a Florida reference for those of you who don’t get it).
Beware the Skunk Ape! They are non-aggressive but very, very smelly.
Eventually my neighbor gave me the number to her friend’s, friend’s nanny who was available. I was assured that she had been working for the same family for the past three years (so I could track her down if she stole my identity or ordered a bunch of Movies on Demand). I booked her immediately.
I was lucky. I knew her employers had run an extensive background check on her (they work in the DA’s office)and was reassured when she asked me to leave a copy of Harper’s full medical records in case there was an emergency (in retrospect, this may also have been interpreted to mean she was planning to abduct Harper, but all’s well that ends well). But I have glimpsed the dark side. I can now see why parents may be willing to settle for a less qualified sitter. A couple of more hours and I probably would have settled for Squeaky Fromme (“Well, Ms. Fromme, it says here you worked with children at a place called Spahn Ranch Daycare? And your former superior, Mr. Manson, had EXCELLENT things to say about you!”). A slippery slope calls for desperate measures, or something like that.
You successfully completed 7th grade? Great! What time can you be here?
The evening was a success. The house was intact and the baby was asleep when we got home. We returned to find the sitter doing just that; sitting. She was too afraid to move, actually. It seems that only ten minutes after we left one of our cats had scurried under the recliner where she was seated and she was terrified the chair would inadvertently crush him if it collapsed as she stood up. So she lay there, frozen and in full recline, for the entire three hours we were gone. I would feel bad but not for the fact that she was paid $45 to sit in a chair for three hours. She never even saw Harper (who slept through the whole thing). This whole babysitting gig is sounding more like a racket to me. Next time we’ll probably just rock Harper to sleep, put her in her crib, leave the baby monitor on and hit the road.
P.S. Did you notice that this entry, a post entitled “Date Night,” reported no actual details about the date its self? How odd.