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.