The inevitable daycare post.

So, the daycare post.

Daycare around here is…an adventure, to say the least. There are a lot of two-working-parent families, so there’s a lot of need, but the state requirements (for the state we live in, in this multi-state area) are pretty stringent for infant care, so there’s not a lot of supply. That means wait lists at pretty much every day care center anywhere near where we live, and pretty high prices.

As soon as we had confirmation that I was, in fact, pregnant, we got on the wait list at the daycare center at Mr. D’s office. We figured we’d have the best shot getting in there because he works there and we thought it would be better to have daycare near one of our offices so that the nearby parent could deal with emergencies.

We’ve since rethought that. We’re not getting off the waitlist, of course! That would be…ridiculous. But Mr. D. works way outside the city, not particularly close to our home or to where (we think) our pediatrician will be, and his office is only accessible by car. Of which we have one. Which he drives.

So we’ve also looked at daycares in our neighborhood. And a month or so ago, I thought I’d hit the jackpot — there’s a small daycare center about a mile from our house that is highly reviewed on the neighborhood listserv, is reasonably priced (which is to say, barely affordable instead of outrageously expensive), and when I called, the assistant director assured me there was no wait list for infants for next spring and that we had a spot. Hallelujah! We scheduled a tour for a couple of weeks after that and…discovered that there is a wait list. We are first on the wait list, but because the center is so small, there’s really no way of knowing if there will be a space for us in March or April. And since we went on our tour, I have not been able to get in touch with the assistant director. She doesn’t return my emails and I haven’t been able to get her on the phone. To say the least, I am no longer feeling all that good about this daycare.

Of course, we still need daycare, and now we’re a few months closer to when we’ll need it than we were when we started this whole process. So I’ve started looking at the other options — a nanny (out of our price range), a nanny share (possibly out of our price range and difficult to figure out logistically), or in-home daycare.

Turns out there are a lot of in-home daycares in our area. I am personally OK with an in-home daycare, possibly because for many years, I went to one (though it was more afterschool and summer care than true daycare). Mr. D. is not. I am thinking he is going to have to be OK with in-home daycare because we are frankly running out of options. There are a few other daycare centers in our area, but all of them have very long waitlists and most of them are quite expensive. In contrast, there are several in-home daycares available (at least one within WALKING DISTANCE of our house) and of the ones I’ve contacted, all of them have room for an infant in March or April. And they are affordable.

So I think we’re going to be visiting some in-home daycares soon.

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What’s next?

The movers are about halfway done getting everything out of my apartment. So the question is, when it’s all empty, what should I do first? Clean the floors or get the hell out of dodge? I’m afraid if I wait to start cleaning, it’ll just never get done, but I’m equally afraid of sitting around this empty apartment for any longer than absolutely necessary.

It’s like fording a river

I go back and forth on the upcoming ten weeks apart from Mr. D. Not back and forth on whether it’s going to suck — it is, undoubtedly — but on how bad it’s going to be.

Sometimes I think, It’ll be OK — I’ll make some progress on that article I keep trying to write! And I’ll probably eat less and more healthily. And I’ll fill my time with yoga and running so I’m not bored. When I’m thinking that way, it doesn’t seem all that awful.

But other times I think, I am going to be all alone. I’ll be watching TV by myself, I’ll come home to an empty house, I’ll only be making coffee for one person. I’ll have to get up early and stay up late every day to take the dog out. I’ll go days without talking to anyone outside of the office.

The reality will probably fall somewhere in the middle, at least for the first few of our ten weeks apart.  I may, in fact, go an extended period of time without talking to anyone (though hopefully we’ll be regularly Skyping, so maybe not). But I probably won’t be completely deprived of human contact — I will go to yoga once a week and I’ll have choir on Sundays and I’ll obviously being going to work every day. And I’ll have the dog.

At least for a few weeks.

Because, while those few weeks won’t be fun, at least I’ll be in our current apartment — our home, where we’ve lived for three years — with all of our stuff and the dog. But somewhere in the middle of August, the dog is going to go stay with Mr. D’s parents for a while and the movers are going to come and get all of our stuff.  And then I’ll spend two weeks in an empty apartment.

And you know what? Those two weeks won’t even be all that bad. I’ll still be in a familiar place, my clothes will still be in my closet, I’ll still be showering in my shower and cooking in my kitchen, albeit on a very reduced scale.

No, it’s the last four weeks that have me pretty much terrified.  I’ll be moving into a sublet, because our lease on our current place will be up.  I think I’ve found the sublet and, while it has a lot of pluses, I’m not sure they outweigh the minuses. It’s at least a wash.

The sublet is a tiny studio in an old building that looks like it was probably once a hotel — probably, in fact, an SRO at some point. The unit has its own bathroom and kitchenette, but the room itself is no bigger than our current bedroom. The hallways are dim and sort of depressing — long corridors with evenly spaced doors behind which the occupants do little more than sleep, bathe, and maybe eat.

There are some good features: it’s a block away from one of my good friends here, and three blocks from another couple of friends. It’s in a lively neighborhood with lots of amenities (including three grocery stores in walking distance). It’s a short walk to an easy express bus route to work. And it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. I mean, really really cheap.

But it’s insanely small. And a little dumpy. And I won’t have any of my furniture in it — just a mattress on the floor that the current tenant is willing to leave for me to use for the month, and maybe a small table she might also leave. I can live in cramped quarters if I have my personal touches, but a lot of my personal touches will be across the country by then. And I’ll be without my personal touches in this depressing, former SRO building.

I know I’ll get through it, past it, and there may even be things about the experience that will be good for me. Maybe I’ll be forced to be more social, to make plans with other people more regularly, to get out from behind my computer. And maybe I’ll lose some more weight because I’ll be cooking for one instead of two very differently sized people and living so close to a nice running path. And maybe I’ll learn to be a little more OK being alone.

But I’m really not looking forward to it. Right now, I’m really struggling with serious sadness, in fact. The kind of sadness that compelled me to buy the fixings for pimento cheese and make a huge batch of it. I know from experience that I can’t bypass this part of the experience — I’m going to have to get through it before I can come out on the other side of it. And once I do, I think I’ll be pretty much at peace with all this reality. The getting there, though…oof. Not fun.