Nanny for Granny

Since 2006, my go-to headline for my classified ad for PCAs has been Nanny for Granny. It’s catchy, it’s fun, it rhymes.

These days I can rhyme anytime, but I’m no longer fun. I can only be clever in print, but in person I’ve lost my censor, and I’m told I’m no longer even nice. Ask my PCAs, like sweet, lovable Angelic Franklin who told me “You are in pain every day, Cale. It’s just a hard job.” 

Not counting these one-week wonders, I used to average one PCA per year. Now it’s like one every three to six months. I try to prepare them for what I’m sure is my worst failing–my bossiness–in the training, so how did I become this ogre? The woman I was recently replacing told me that I acted superior, like I was better than. I may speak with authority, but at least I know that to feel superior just because you have better grammar than someone else is ill-mannered. Although I have a been an editor, and my English-teacher self is built in, I do resist correcting  spelling on the their grocery lists. However, I confess I couldn’t resist poking fun at the PCA who wrote “sos” on the Tupperware to signify spaghetti ‘sauce.’) There you see, I am condescending, and arrogant. 

I also confess that I resented spending two hours out of a four-hour shift to explain how to fill out the time sheet. The second time my PCA needed the explanation repeated, I said, “I cannot believe you forgot that already.” A good teacher resists belittling, so I should not be surprised when my last PCA was hurt by this. “I’m not stupid!” she said. “Who said were? I just don’t have the patience to go over it again,” I said, adding “And you’re so defensive!” One day when she had HAD IT, and heatedly threatened to quit, I finally acknowledged to myself that I’ve lost my impulse control. I hotly gave her the option to leave, and when she called wanting me to give the job back, I did her another favor and didn’t.

After recruiting, interviewing, and finally choosing one of only two appropriate candidates for my PCA position early March, my newest employee was a no-show on the first day, and the #2 candidate decided the job didn’t pay enough. I then did what I did not think possible. I lived for nearly six weeks without a PCA to much ensuing madness, paperwork pile ups, missed appointments, disturbances of the bowels, etc. At least no one was insulted during this time.

When I decided this week I could no longer go without a helper, I groaned with the thought: How many potential PCAs would recognize my Nanny for Granny headline, “Oh, no not her again.” So I considered an ad headline reading “Granny Eats Nanny.” I will explain in ad copy that granny has become irritable and unfriendly since the side effect of her meds is hallucinations. “She thinks that Nanny is a wolf, but won’t you help us find granny a nice new reliable nanny who can understand granny in her decline?” I am as good as Little Red Riding Hood when it comes to protecting my Granny. Will it work?

Nah, that will take up too much space, I assessed.

The ad needed to stand out. So I drafted “TLC for PWD” as the header. I created all acronyms for ad copy. PWD, is jargon known as Person With Disability; that I followed with ADLs, (Aids to Daily Living) CPR, AM/PM, M-F, PCA. I threw in a challenge where they have to think: instead of PWD, how about: WWWD? White Woman With… Then I’ll rhyme it with something else. I began reciting the ad to the classified ad lady, Brigit, and Brigit nixed that mix as unreadable.

I resolved instead that if you see this, just call me. Ask for Little Red in the Hood. We won’t talk, but I’ll pay you if you can find my nice granny. I lost her a few months ago before our nanny vanished.

Author: Cale Kenney

Cale Kenney is a writer, teacher, editor, and publisher in that order of interest and experience. She grew up in Revere, MA 01915, a city on the ocean just 8 miles north of Boston. She went to University of Mass in 1970 and during that freshman year of college she had a motor cycle accident that changed the course of her life after she lost her left leg, hip and pelvis due to gangrene. Ms. Kenney writes about that experience in her first published volume Have Crutch Will Travel The Adventures of a Modern Day Calamity Jane. In 2008, she began a blog and has set up many of her early stories at www.howlings.com. Cale moved to Winter Park Colorado after graduating from UMASS in Amherst, where she lived from 1970-1975. Once she fell in love with the Rocky Mountains, Cale said she began her career in journalism writing for the local newspaper, the Winter Park Manifest. She also began freelance writing for several magazines as well as the national known Powder and Ski Racing magazines. Cale trained for the national handicap ski team in 1979 and was named to the team in 1980; the US raced in the 1980 World Olympic Disabled Games in Geilo, Norway. As she was moving ahead in ski racing, Cale was also writing more articles for Powder and Alpenglo magazines and in 1981 became the Sports Editor for the Winter Park, Manifest. Cale has called this years living as a writer and skier in the beautiful Rocky Mountains as her glory days. In 1983 she had a knee injury three days before the team left for Switzerland. She has said the injury set up a time of reflection that led her onward to graduate school in Fort Collins, at Colorado State University. In 1990 Kenney moved back to Colorado and took courses in business development and began her business, Kenney Communications through Mi Casa Womens Center and their circle loan program. From 1993 to 1999 she began writing desktop publishing pieces like newsletters and brochures and other public relations instruments, while she developed her small ‘litzine, for authentic women’s voices: Howlings: Wild Women of the West and created Tell Tale Publishing, her imprint for her own work. An injury to her hands and arms sidelined Cale for several years as she took three years to recover their use, though she would have to give up her crutches at the very time she wrote a book that celebrated her crutches. In 2004, she published Have Crutch Will Travel, a memoir, and moved back to Massachusetts to be closer to her family of origin. She began a blog in 2008 and has been slowly self-publishing through the help of Tracy Pilcher, her webmistress and Katrina Martin, an office worker who was also a close friend, clips and articles that were published elsewhere as well as poetry, articles, short stories, and other works that have yet been published—except on Wordpress. Cale retired in 2010 from her business of teaching a correspondence course in writing, and Ms. Kenney says she would love to teach again.