Friday, February 17, 2012
Maggie is off school today. It is a furlough day. A day that the state took away from the education of California youth and a day that teachers and other district employees go without pay because of the budget problems. I will just let that stew out there for everyone. If you don't find it ridiculous and upsetting please wait and think about it again until you do.
Generally, a day off is just another excuse to hang out together and go on one of our many outings. Not today, though. I have to go to work. Because I am self employed and can control my schedule, I have always been able to work when Maggie was at school. I recently agreed to work somewhere else on Friday mornings. After nearly 18 years of making my schedule work for Maggie, I have to make sure I have child care so I can go to work. I feel like it's 1991 all over again!
My job is only on Friday mornings. I work about three hours a week at UCSF Benihoff children's Hospital. After volunteering there for years, they finally decided to make me a contractor. I work in the Family Resource Room, which is a place where parents of inpatient children can go to use computers, make long distance calls if needed, grab a cup of coffee and a magazine or just take a break from being at their child's beside 24 hours a day. This place saved me when Maggie was in the hospital for long stretches. Now there's wireless access, for those who have portable computer devices, but five years ago and more the only way to get online was in that room. I am one of two parents doing this and I can tell you it is a big deal. The hospital hired us BECAUSE we are parents, which demonstrates an understanding of the unique role veteran hospital parents can play in supporting families in the hospital.
I guess you can say I'm a professional parent. Becoming a lawyer only took three years after college. The preparation for this job was much longer and more arduous.
I just started this job. In fact the unbelievable amount of required paperwork was finally completed yesterday. Obviously anyone working in a medical center has to show they are not carrying any diseases. In the past two weeks I've had a flu shot, a tetanus/diphtheria shot and a TB test. In addition I had to show immunity for or get a shot to prevent MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and varicella (chicken pox.) Because of my advanced age I actually HAD all four of those diseases when I was a kid. [Yes, I know there are vaccines now, I hear they have also invented fire.] I did not want to have live viruses injected into me and opted for the blood tests to prove I had the necessary immunities. Sadly I forgot to tell the doctor to order the varicella and had to go back for a second blood draw. I asked if I could just bring a note from my kindergarten teacher that I did in fact have the chicken pox in 1961, but they wanted it done their way. Very well. I feel like a pin cushion, but mission finally accomplished. I can now tell you that I am immune to nearly every disease known to man.
I am not immune from child care issues, though. Generally the nurse come after school and works with Maggie into the evening. I asked Josephine to come early today so I can go to the hospital and do my gig. I promised Maggie we would go to the mall at dinner time. This way, even though she's stuck in the house all day, she has something to look forward to. She is excited about that because there will actually be people her age at the mall on Friday evening, not just the old ladies like me that we see when we go on weekend mornings.
Maggie knows that Josephine is coming and that makes her happy. She also knows that we are going out after Josephine goes home and that makes her happy. She's ready for this great day to begin. For the first time in her life Maggie just made the following sentence:
"Mom, go to work Mom"
I have to tell you that made me quite happy. So I'm off.