I have been missing you.

The Melrose

The Melrose: Pancake Specialties

“The Melrose is topless.”

That is the first thing I thought when I stopped to snap this picture. I’d already noticed, a few weeks earlier, that the ripped brown awning was gone, and wondered if a shiny new awning would go up in its place. I hope there is none. I love the vintage feel of the green signage underneath. Do you really need much more than “GRILL FOUNTAIN” and “PANCAKE SPECIALTIES” and “BROILED FOOD”?

I don’t think so.

In the weeks since Patrick’s visit, I’ve been busy with the job hunt. In the last week, in addition to the hunt, I have also found a temporary assignment! I am the fill-in nanny for my friends’ almost two year old daughter until the new au pair arrives in early March. I think I’m well suited to this as I’m friendly, a bit childlike, and always up for some good playtime.

When I am not taking telephone calls with recruiters or going on actual onsite interviews (more on that in a bit), I get up, put on comfortable clothes, and make my way to a charming house near Logan Square. In that house is an almost two year old girl. She squeals with glee with I come in, sometimes honoring me with a kiss, or a hug, or a tug towards the playpen where a bunch of her toys are kept. She issues instructions with in a firm yet inquisitive tone. “Colors?! Cars?!” I produce her crayons and paper for drawing, or her miniature plastic cars for playing on the ground. If she says “Mommy! Daddy!” I find the Little People figures from her school bus toy, and place them in her tiny fists.

Her last au pair was German, so we spend some time reading a picture book where everything is labeled in English und in deutscher Sprache. Also we watch “Micky Maus Wunderhaus” and trill “Oh Toodles!” along with Mickey. I wasn’t sure if the baby missed her au pair until, one day, as we were picking books to read for her afternoon nap, she asked for a book. She kept hopping and pointing as I went through the books on her desk, stopping when I picked up a picture of photographs of her and the nanny, a parting gift. The pictures were sweet, the book a record of the year they spent together, and I tell you it very nearly brought me to tears.

If I had to make a book of my time with the baby, it would most likely include pictures of:

  • the baby eating mac & cheese with a fork and knife
  • the two of us running around in circles, through the living room, dining room, and carpeted parlor where we do most of our playing
  • dancing to Robyn’s “Hang With Me” last Thursday
  • counting cars parked on the street in front of her house
  • both of us sucking on juice boxes during the tea party she threw last week

When the baby naps, I tidy up, do her laundry, and catch up on e-mails and phone calls. I update my rather disorganized notes on my job search and stay upbeat.

I’ve now had four onsite interviews, and loads of phone screens. I’ve got my story straight, but still get tripped up by occasional, really basic questions. Like, for real. On one interview (the first one, in fact), I was asked “How does a web site work?” and the way I sputtered and choked you would have thought I’d been asked to find, I dunno, the square root of the universe or something.

It was not my finest hour.

I’ve discovered I look good in the basic black suit I bought at Lane Bryant, and I wonder if I could pull off pinstripes. I’m beginning to think this is what dating must be like. You do your hair, put on a flattering but not inappropriately revealing outfit and some lipstick, and be charming, succinct, and intelligent for anywhere from 50 minutes to three hours. Sometimes there are beverages. It’s not romantic in the least, but it’s always nice to make a connection. You send a follow-up e-mail and hope they call back. I know that’s a funny thing for a 30-something year old lady to say, but it’s true: I’ve never really dated anybody (way to bury the lede, Davila!). I was always too chicken shit to date. I guess if you’d told me I had to have a boyfriend in order to pay my bills or be a grown-up, I probably would have gotten around to it.

But now I’m getting off the subject.

I’m finding that timing is a concern of mine, the closer I feel to finding a job. I don’t know where that feeling is coming from. Confidence? Hubris? Delusion?

Right now my idea of a great nightmare to have is to get an offer from one place while another place I am also interested in is nowhere near sending me a decision, and I have to make my decision like that very minute. I think it’s hilarious that my idea of luxury now is not a super expensive handbag or a gourmet meal but the idea of getting multiple offers from places where I want to work.

Also this reminds me of applying to college where you had to hear from schools on or around the same date so you could weigh your options at the same time. When I was a high school senior, I looked at my acceptances, and narrowed it down to two places. I liked that I had heard from these schools at the same time so I didn’t have to wonder and worry that maybe I’d have to go with one school just because they’d gotten back to me waaaaaay ahead of the others. It’s a problem I don’t look forward to having in my present job search but, shit, dudes, it beats the hell out of not having a job at all.


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