Hoity Toity Ness


A long day for me, but things went well. I started my day with “the Mom” home for an extra couple of hours in the morning.   A fluke.   The girls were just beside themselves since Mom was home.   Sadly they were mostly hysterical because they were extremely tired from a fun packed weekend.  Including a Super Bowl party at the neighbors.

Of course, it was a teenie weenie bit awkward since I was the only Patriot fan in the group.   I was smack in the middle of Seahawks territory, SEATTLE!  It looked like the Tweetie Birds were going to win.  There was a sense of arrogance in the air and then BOOM! Of course if you follow football you know what happened next!  The New England Patriots won the 2015 Super Bowl in a nail biting exciting last minute game.

Our hosts were nice and all of that, but there was an edge of hoity toity ness……not only about APPEARING to be winning the game, but an additional  I live in Seattle and I am totally cool, earth loving, dog owning, bicycle riding with state of the art water proof, but breathable, gear.

I digress.

Nonetheless there was a sweet satisfaction when my favorite team won.  Especially since I was knee deep in the opposing teams turf.  I’ve had a Cheshire cat smile on my face all week.

My life as an au pair is quite eye opening into the sacrifices  young families make to live the American Dream …….





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Flexible Whippersnapper NOT!

Did you know if the child locks in a car are enabled the back doors of that car will not OPEN from the inside no matter how much yanking and pulling you do.  They will not budge even if you have just struggled to get twin 2 year olds buckled into their car seats with their  5 year old sister watching like a hawk.  Nope, not a chance.  Then the 5 year old says, “you”re gonna have to crawl over the front seat.  That’s what the au pair does.”

The definition of “au pair” flashes in front of my jet lagged eyes……”usually females in their teens or early 20’s.”   Oh well…..no matter.  I’m a modern female, not a young flexible whippersnapper so I pull out my cell phone and call “the mother”.  After a few moments of laughter at my expense “the mother” let’s me out of the car and we continue on with the plan for the day.

The plan for the day includes me working at the twins nursery school to fulfill the co-op part of this co-op school.  After a short 8 hours of arriving at my destination I find myself working a 2 hour period helping take care of 17  tiny tots.  I’m not a morning person so I rationalize the 3 hour time difference is working in my favor.

I finish my stint and pile the twins back into the beast of a car being extremely careful of not letting the door slam shut.  Seriously this car is so big I could run one of those Mini Coopers and not even feel a bump.

Onward to pick the 5 year old up.  All of my charges in the car we head back home.  I park in front of the house on a hill as everyone does in Seattle.  I manage to get out of the car by jumping down about a foot.  Then to get into the back seats  I have to grab side bars and pull myself up.  Gasping for air I start to unbuckle the twins.  My foot is holding the door open.  I must have moved my foot ever so slightly I hear the unmistakable slamming of the car door.    A few inappropriate words flew out of my mouth when the 5 year old looks at me without blinking and says, “I got it.”  I notice she had started to open her door.

“Don’t let it close!” I yell in a desperate voice.  Her tiny, but strong body, holding back the bulky car door.   I practically throw myself  at the open door.  I told her she was my rock star!  We all happily climbed up the 15 stairs to the front door.  I put my key in the lock and it took 4 tries before it worked.

I had a huge glass of wine with dinner that night.   All’s well that ends well.

The end of day 1


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Florence Puts On a Different Hat

Yes, I’m traveling. On the spur of the moment.  Due to circumstances I’m at the airport 4 hours before my flight takes off.  After some investigation I figured out how to get connected to the airport wifi.

I’ve found a sweet spot to take my boots off, put my feet up and sit in a rocking chair.  The only thing that would make it better is to be sitting in a recliner with someone rubbing my feet, being careful to not knock over my beverage disturbing the little umbrella sitting precariously on the edge of the glass.   Dreaming.

The reason for my travel is a bit of an emergency.  Someone near and dear to me is in need of immediate help.   In fact the urgency involves three cutie pies who’s world is rocked right now.  I’m going to try my best to keep their world from spinning out of control.

Me, Florence Wannabe, is taking off her nursing hat.  I am putting on another hat.  I’ll find out soon if the hat fits.   The au pair hat.

An au pair (plural: aux pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, aux pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance for personal use. Au pair schemes are subject to government restrictions which specify an age range usually from late teens to mid to late twenties; some countries explicitly limit the scheme to females. In Europe, where the concept originated, aux pairs are only supposed to work part-time, and they often also study part-time, generally focusing on the language of the host country, but in the United States, they are permitted to provide full-time childcare.

uh ohhhhh…..I see a few problems with the above definition.

I’m about to get on the plane.  A new story begins.

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The Rest of MY Life


This is the day that I accomplish my goal.   As of today I’ve  worked 1003 hours.  I’m happy that I’ve done it that’s for sure.  However there is a tiny bit of a letdown.  What will I do next?  It’s sort of like all the anticipation before Christmas and then boom it’s over.  I know myself though and I will be happier and happier as time goes on. When I’m 80 years old and looking back at my life it’s one of those things that will make me feel good.  Or….when that check comes in the mail EACH MONTH for the REST of MY LIFE  I get to save it, spend it or give it away because I earned my PENSION.  It isn’t the size of the prize.  It’s the point.  I DID IT.  I WAS HERE.  I worked at this hospital.  I was part of a team.  I counted.

I did it my way…..la la la…..Jump_for_joy

A special thanks to all of my co-workers, the cast.  An amazing group of women + one man who work their butts off making me laugh, cry, whine, love, go insane and live life to the fullest.

TIDBIT  Maybe, just maybe, this one humble experience is something that I have in common with Florence Nightingale.  On second thought NOT!  I want to JUMP for JOY!!


Starring in alphabetical order:

Alpha, Boss, Chatterbox, Darla Dear, Delightful Dora, Hummingbird, Florence Nightingale Not, Golden Girl, Jellie Jewel, Mani Pulation, Night in Shining Armour, Pot-de-Stir, Red Pleather Pants, Savvy Savoy, Smart as Whip, Strong Like Bull, Tall Skinny Red Head

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She arrived into PACU via stretcher.  Two hearing aids, one in each ear.  Stirring a little when she first arrived and then settling into a snooze after I covered her  in warm blankets.  I slid the paper hat off revealing white gray hair.  Permed.  Her skin was in good condition.  As a youth she must not have been in the sun too much.

About an hour passed.   I tried to rouse her.  She looked at me with her 90 year old blue-grey eyes.  Without saying a word she sized me up as if she were asking, “who are you and where am I?” Remembering she feel back asleep.

hearing aid

I invited her husband into PACU to sit at her bedside. Two grown men came with him. The man with dark hair was pushing the husband in a wheel chair.  The other man, a blonde-white haired man was trailing close behind.  Both large men in their 50’s.  All of this activity woke my patient up which was what I was hoping for.

Looking more alert now she sipped some water.   I proceeded to go over her discharge instructions.  “What?  What did she say?”  she’d ask her husband or one of her sons.   The combination of anesthesia plus poor hearing made communicating tough.   The plan was for me to get her ready to go home.  One son left to get the car.  The hubby and the other son moved to moved into another area of PACU while I helped her dress.

It’s always important to develop a rapport with someone before you help them get dressed.  Just take my word on this one.  We were chatting.

She told me about her first husband….. how he had died in a car accident.  She remarried and had the second son.  “He’s a towhead,” she said.towhead

My eyes lit up.  “My brother was a towhead too!  We always told him that the milkman was his father.”  I haven’t heard “towhead” for years. It’s most likely not politically correct now.  It brought back memories.

Our conversation was flowing now.  I took her IV out, held pressure and put a nice clean dressing over it.  She said,  “I have small hands.  I worked  48 years in a white room.”

“White room?  What’s that,” I asked.


“It’s a room where no dust or particles can get in the product that we were making.   We had to wear white suits over our clothes.  Everything had to be very clean.”,  she explained.  ” I have very small hands.  I could get into small spaces.  I loved the work.  I looked forward to going to work every day.  New girls would come and go.  Of course, I liked some of them and some others I didn’t care for.  Some of them would bleed the company to death.  They would say that they developed “that carpel tunnel”.  Then they’d  have to have surgery.  Some of them would only work 3-4 weeks before they were saying they had “that carpal tunnel.  Terrible.”  She said as she shook her head.

“Have you had any trouble with your hands?  Any arthritis?”  I asked.

“Oh no.  I always exercised my hands when I was going to the lady’s room,” she answered opening and closing her hands.

“Try to keep your hands still right now because I just took your IV out.”   I requested of her.  Her hands were moving a mile a minute.

She was still  sitting in the bed while I started to help her dress.  Undies on first.  They kept getting twisted.  Pants were next.   Doing all of this maintaining a Foley catheter in place. Not an easy task, but doable.  Now we’re ready for her to stand at the edge of the stretcher and pull undies and pants up.  This is when the shit hit the fan.  Her feet didn’t seem able to kept contact with the floor.  “Sit back on the edge of the bed”, I pleaded.  Little fretful noises from her before she got situated on the bed.

She kept talking oblivious to the fact that I was struggling.  “Then one day I’d had enough.  I told my supervisor that I was leaving.  The supervisor asked me if I was sick.  I said no.  I’m done working.  The supervisor said go home and rest.  I had not missed one day of work in 48 years.  Not one.  I told her I was not sick.  I was done working and I was leaving.”

That’s when I noticed her IV site was saturated with blood.  Maneuvering back onto the bed blood got all over her undies.    An awful lot of blood oozing out of that IV site.  A blood bath.  Using my THIRD HAND, yeah…..I wish,  I reached for her flailing wrist while keeping my feet in front of her feet so she wouldn’t start to slip, I reached for a packet of large gauze dressings.  Ripping the package open with my teeth I slapped the dressings over her  bloody wrist.  Lots of firm pressure.  Not pumping blood.  “HELLO!  Is anyone out there?  Can someone come in here and help,”  I finally asked.

Here comes Golden Girl,   “what can I do for you?”

“Open this and that, stick them together and put them there on the pillow.  Get me a warm wash cloth too.  PLEASE make it snappy Goldie.”  I demanded.

“Did you know you have blood all over your shirt”, Golden Girl asked.

Getting back to our conversation, “You mean you quit on the spot?”

“Yes.  I was done,” she told me.

“Did you get a pension?”,  I ask sitting on the edge of my chair.

“Oh yes.  I got a nice pension.”  she answered.  “They called me and asked me to come back.  They begged me.”

“What did you say?”

“I said, no.  I was done.”  NO

“Did they offer you more money?”

“No, they didn’t.”

“Would that have made a difference?”

“No.  I was done.  They begged me to come back at Christmas time.  You know we worked 7 days a week.  8 hour days during the week, 8 on Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday.”

My mouth was wide open.  “Get out!  You’re telling me you worked 7 days a week for 48 years?”

“Yes.  When they “begged” me to come back over Christmas I told them it was the first Christmas in 48 years that I’m able to stay home and enjoy.  So No.  I’m done working.  I was 78 years old.”


We are both a little bloody, but it looked much worse than it was.  However here comes hubby in the wheel chair being pushed by Towhead.  They are watching with big eyeballs.

She was cleaned up, ready to go home.  No more blood dripping from anywhere.   She looked great.  It was wonderful to meet her.  Wonderful.

Me, on the other hand, I was a mess.  My hair frizzing up around my face, mascara smeared,my glasses sitting cock-eyed on top of my head and blood splattered on my uniform.

It was a good day.

TIDBIT   tow head

A person with very light (almost white) blond hair, “tow” being flax or hemp fibers. Tow-headed, along with fair(-haired) and flaxen-haired, is a tradional way in the English language to refer to blond hair or lightly-colored hair, having come from its old Germanic roots (which are quite rare).
“The tow head is an illusive creature, a minority.”
Not to be confused with albinism.



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Baking is a Requirement


Nurse Delightful Dora is retiring.  Last night we had a party,  with amazing FOOD,  for DD. Alpha nurse, graciously,  hosted a party, at her home.   I do feel a tiny bit guilty for being so hard on Alpha.  By the way baking is a requirement to work in PACU.  Not kidding.

The setting was in Alpha’s  charmingly old 2 story home.   Numerous sofas and overstuffed chairs with a perfect crumpled comfort.   Beautiful old oriental rugs cover the floors. Furnishings that take a lifetime to collect.  Memories in every corner.  Now including the memory of saying goodbye to Delightful Dora.

One of my fondest memories of Dora is when she was my preceptor many moons ago.  I was a brand new nurse ….hot off the press.  While I was working on the floor taking care of patients I messed up.  I put something where it wasn’t supposed to go.   Without blinking an eye she said to me, “you put the suppository where?   Uh…no problem the body will absorb it there also.”    Not just any nurse would react that way.  BELIEVE ME!

Many of us were in attendance at the party, Alpha, Chatterbox, Pot de Stir, Red Pleather Pants, Boss, Golden Girl and Darla Dear, Strong Like Bull, Jellie Jewel, Mani Pulation, Smart as Whip, and Tall Skinny Red-Head. Plus many others from other departments and half dozen or so spouses.  As the evening went on nurse Tall Skinny Red-Head started playing the flute.  It was the magical part of the evening.  Dreamy.

RedHeadFlutesflute notes


I will miss Delightful Dora with a bitter-sweetness.  I’m happy for her to finally earn retirement plus PENSION.    She is lovely, smart, funny, humble and competent.  I dare say she would be approved of by my hero, Florence Nightingale.

TIDBIT    In the summer of 1856, after the Crimean War Florence went home.  A hero’s welcome awaited her.  The welcome made her uncomfortable due to her humble nature.   The Queen rewarded her with an engraved brooch and a large sum of money.  Of course, Florence used the money for the betterment of her school for nurses.  Florence was admired.  She changed the thinking toward nursing.  Women wanted to become nurses. Instead of a lowly position nursing became a career to be proud of among society.

TIDBIT  2   The two “on call” nurses got called in during the party.  An incarcerated hernia.

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I do not want to be in charge neither here Nor there Nor anywhere!


There is something wrong with the schedule for this week.  I’m “in charge” on Wednesday evening.  What the heck!  I do not want to be in charge neither here nor there nor anywhere!

Feedback from being “in charge” last week was not all good.  I can’t believe my boss is asking me to do it again.  Seriously, I am not an “in charge nurse”.

I will have to rise above my fears and make the most of it.    I will treat those hard working women right!  The hospital budget is going to be out of whack.  This time I’ll order dinner for all of us. The operating room staff too.   Take out delivered right to PACU.  A little sushi or beef tenderloin. 

bannermargaritta I’ve always thought a margarita machine would be a morale booster.   Salsa and chips but of course.  Perhaps a nice veggie tray to go along with our snacks.  After all we are a hospital and we want to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle with a well balanced diet.

Maybe I’ll so some redecorating too.  I have never liked our seating at the bedsides.  They are small, sterile looking cold stools.  Comfy padded chairs designed to make our bottoms look smaller will be one of my first decor improvements.

We all get sore feet and backs.  I think an “on call” masseuse would insure happy relaxed nurses which would result in better care for all of our patients.

Being in charge isn’t so bad.  Maybe things will go my way now.



TIDBIT  “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

TIDBIT 2  Just saying…… 973 HOURS DONE.

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