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Hiring first-ever baby sitter results in way more static than just worry

May 14, 2009 - Kelly Valeri
When my husband and I finally worked up the nerve to allow someone other than immediate family to baby-sit our daughter for the first time so we could have a night out, there were a million worries swirling through my head.

It was in no way indicative of our friend who had volunteered for the task or a lack of confidence in her ability to handle a 1-year-old for two hours and put her to bed. I would’ve been an anxious mess no matter who we had entrusted the job to — even if she had raised a world record 29 kids of her own.

With continual reassurance, I eventually became convinced that everything would be fine, but not without filling the dry erase board on our fridge with detailed instructions about everything from our daughter’s bedtime routine, sleeping habits and a list of acceptable snacks.

I walked our friend through the house before we left, showing her how to use the baby gates, pre-poured a bottle so she wouldn't have to worry about it and set out clean pajamas. When it was finally time to leave and I saw how well the girls were getting along, I was miraculously able to relax enough to enjoy the evening.

When we got home, all was quiet. The house was in better order than we had left it, and our friend greeted us with nothing but good news.

Except a quick bit about something happening to the TV.

My husband's face went pale. And I think I saw his left eyebrow convulse into an involuntary twitch.

It took all of his self-control not to run straight for the living room. He loves that television — a monstrous high-definition plasma screen we splurged on immediately after the Steelers clinched a spot in the Super Bowl three years ago. It’s his most prized possession. As he tells it, we have five members of our family: Him, me, our daughter, our dog and Phillips — the TV’s brand name.

As he attempted to subtly inquire what had happened, he shifted his position and slowly made his way toward the remote. When the screen illuminated, I knew it was bad. There were horizontal bands visible across the entire width, some darker than others. The bottom was pixilated to the point that I could see a blinking display of green, blue and red dots. And as the picture moved, gigantic vertical spikes of flesh flew off of the woman cleaning her house in the Swiffer duster commercial.

Our friend was calmly relaying how absolutely nothing out of the ordinary had happened to cause such a drastic change in picture quality. One minute it was working, the next it wasn't.

I tried to convey to Jerry silently with my eyes that now was not the time to flip out or start pulling the entertainment center from the wall until after we thanked our friend and walked her out. He reluctantly got the message and did his best to keep from dropping to the floor to check the wire connections. The minutes and hours and days that have followed have been stressful to say the least. We ruled out our cable provider as the source of the problem, and now Phillips is sitting unplugged on the floor as a big, fat reminder of the uphill battle we have to wage with the warranty company — but at least we’re covered.

And I have a feeling that the next time we leave a baby sitter in charge, our list of instructions will probably include a few scribbles at the bottom in my husband’s handwriting about our electronic equipment.


Article Comments



May-16-2009 8:25 AM

Next time hire a baby-sitter from Best Buy!


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