10 (Thu) May 2012
Tori Oyako Bento
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, In-Laws
Nanny 6 Bullshit Saga: Part 3 (see previously 3.118 Zaru Soba)
Mid-afternoon, W called me at work with news that Nanny 6 had quit – after all the bullshit that she’s put us through over the past few weeks – offering to stay on to the end of next week until we could find a replacement. I was so infuriated that I could barely resist the urge to smash the phone into the wall, so disgusted that my initial reaction had been to kick her out that very moment. But W begged me to defer, promising to find someone new by the end of the weekend. So, I’ll have to deal with the indignity of having this woman in our home for another day, which now seems like 37 days too many.
In retrospect, red flags abound. We’d hired her in mid-March, well in advance of the baby’s expected due date in mid-April, to give us ample time to evaluate her and, if she didn’t work out, to hire someone else. At first, she impressed us early on with what I described as “an unrelenting work ethic” (see 3.076 Ssamjang with Scrambled Egg), but it’s now clear that cleaning was the only task that she was really capable of, or willing to do, certainly the only thing that she was required to do at that point. When it came to cooking, she invariably made the same thing (see 3.088 Pork & Celery Stir-Fry), each time lamenting her limited range, which now seems an excuse to get out of the kitchen rather than a sign of humility. She pulled the same line when asked to iron my dress shirts and did such a half-assed job on the initial batch – a total of 3 for the entire month of April – that I redid them and never asked again. She seemed attentive and enthusiastic with DJ, which we took to be a hopeful indicator of how she’d be with the baby, which is why we were willing to overlook the rest, though DJ himself uncharacteristically lashed out towards her on occasion. The biggest concern was her apparent need for inordinate amounts of sleep, typically turning in before 9PM, barely managing to get up by 8AM – barely in time to prepare cereal for DJ before preschool; yesterday over dinner, when we told him the news about Nanny 6 leaving, he claimed that his biggest gripe had been her inability to cut the banana for the cereal into slices of uniform thickness – and napping at intervals throughout the day. The running joke, always with an anxious undertone, was that she was storing up on the sleep that she’d be missing once the baby came.
But then, after five and a half weeks of doing little else but cleaning, and sleeping, she came down with a cold on the eve of the IZ’s homecoming. We had to deal with the situation on our own for 4 days and nights – admittedly, this may not seem like such a big hardship for some mothers in some cultures, but it was an endeavor of epic proportions for this particular mother in this particular culture – eventually calling in Nanny 2 for a week until Nanny 6 could recover. By the end of the week, Nanny 2 was so exhausted that we had to call her a taxi to go home.
Nanny 6 returned last Sunday, finally to do the job for which she’d been hired. From that point on, the only task that she could accomplish was to feed the baby. She slept between feedings. During that time, we rarely saw her or the baby, whom she preferred to keep in the room, presumably to facilitate the feed-sleep pattern. 4 days later, today, she quit. She said that she was too tired to do it anymore
Upon hearing the news, I knew that I couldn’t go home in this condition, so the family rendezvoused at a neighborhood restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately, as with the previous visit, the extenuating circumstances probably affected our perceptions of the food. The bento tasted as jumbled as it looked.
(See also FOODS)
(See also PLACES)