A few months ago we decided to hire a nanny two days a week while I work. Yes, I know, I'm aware of the ongoing theme in my comments section that I'm an entitled princess and now you know I'm a housewife with a nanny. Let the caterwauling begin! I may as well throw in the fact that sometimes I don't even work for money during this nanny nirvana. GASP! Once I took advantage of the time by getting a massage and yesterday I scrubbed the kitchen, so really, the judging can go either way. I'll pause here and let the haterz shake it out of their system for a minute.
On to the parking ticket. When the relationship with this nanny first began, she was an occasional babysitter and we were giving her (expensive, scarce) parking passes for our zoned neighborhood. As we did the dance of getting to know each other and she started working more frequently, her politeness kicked in about the passes. One day, I think in an effort to be frugal on our behalf, she declined our offer for a parking pass and said, "oh, I'll just reuse the old one. I wrote the date in pencil". All of Chicago, say it with me: NOooooOOooo!
Well, okay, maybe I should have screamed "no" at her, but it's her car and her decision and I did offer the pass, so whatever. Guess what happened? She got a ticket. But wait! It gets more complicated! She waited several weeks to tell me, so I assumed it was too late to contest it. I thought the ticket was $50, so I offered to pay for it because I felt bad that she is newish to Chicago and she shouldn't have to incur parking violations to work for me. (By the way, now she parks on the adjacent street that isn't zoned. Problem solved.)
She then reveals that:
1. The ticket is $75, not $50.
2. There is still time to contest it.
I then leap at the opportunity to contest it for her. Literally, I think I jumped into her lap to grab the ticket. The hubs and I are wiz kids at getting out of tickets. We have a standard letter all ready to fire off when we get them and it has an 80% success rate. I should sell this letter on Craig's List Chicago and make millions, it's that good. Seriously, contesting Chicago parking tickets is one of areas in which we really excel in this family. (The other areas are "holding our liquor" and "singing duets in the car".)
She declines. What? Why? That answer is unclear. In retrospect, I think this was another effort of politeness on her part. Maybe she was trying to save me the hassle of letter-writing? Or maybe she thought she'd be better at ticket-contesting than us? I should challenge her to a drinking/duet-singing contest and see how she fares.
It is at this point I believe she is taking responsibility for the ticket. Her car. Her decision. Her ticket. She's contesting it. Politeness is prevailing. I've offered several solutions, I'm out. Right?
Yesterday she brought the now months-old, unsuccessfully disputed ticket to me and asks me to reimburse her the $75 she had to pay The City Of Chicago. GONG. [Piano drops from sky]
I paid it. But I'm salty about it.
After conferring with some friends, what it boils down to is even though we are paying someone to do a job for us, when it comes to childcare, parents still feel like the nanny is doing a favor. We inflate the value of the work based on the value we place on our children, but really, a nanny is an employee. Does she deserve better treatment than a housekeeper or plumber? If the plumber had come to me and said, "I got a $75 parking ticket while I fixed your sink, you mind helping me with that?" I'd laugh and the answer would be no. I wouldn't be jumping in his lap to help contest it and I probably would have asked him to park in the non-zoned area half a block away from day one. I can't think of any employer I've ever had who would solve my transportation concerns.
What would you have done? Did I do the right thing? Do you challenge us to a duet?