Thick southern drawl, sexy swingin' walk, brother she's all. . ."
-Jason Aldean, "She's Country"
In the end, a trip to the zoo was inevitable for me and my American charges. We piled into a taxi and showed up about 10 minutes early Thursday morning. People were gawking at the kids' ridiculously fair hair while we waited in line (sometimes people ask me if my husband is blond, or if the kids are albinos), but there were also several mothers who offered to help me control the stroller while we waited (did I mention that the family's top of the line, two-seater, Hummer of a stroller blew out a tire last week, so we're using their backup, which only has room for one child? Yeah).
Both the kids were young enough to get in free, so mine was the only ticket that needed paying for. No problem; the parents had given me a generous quantity of pesos to cover cab fare, zoo tickets, a snack, and any other expenses that might arise. Free trip to the zoo? Yes, I do love my job.
"Are we gonna see the giraffes today?" the three year old kept asking. (Apparently, the family
had been to the zoo once already, and the giraffes had spent the day hiding in their barn.) "Honey, we are going to see everything in the zoo today, don't you worry," I reassured her over and over.
First up were the flamingos, and the ducks, swans, geese, and turtles that shared an unenclosed pond with them. Yep, unenclosed. So there were ducks with pink face warts chasing us around all day. They really have a thing for letting animals just sort of roam around the place- there were also these things running around that looked like mutated rabbits. And all of the enclosures seemed either super old school or ineffective. . . I feel like the Buenos Aires Zoo is setting itself up for a lawsuit.
I started to make a list of all the animals we saw, but I realized I didn't know all of their names. And then I started to think about how to describe them to you. And that made me think of this clip from the Mighty Boosh, which is a British comedy series that partially takes place in a zoo. The manager of the zoo, a guy named Bob Fossil, doesn't actually know the real names of any of his animals, so he gets creative. Anyway, I think it's hilarious.
Seriously, though, there were macaws, and skunks, and coatis, and striped hyenas, and zebras, and rhinoceri, and elephants, and chimpanzees, and orangutans, and so many more things. And yes, there were giraffes. Except when we got to the giraffes, the three year old suddenly stopped caring. So we walked on to the rainforest, grabbed some popsicles, and then tried to exit the zoo. Except the exit I'd planned on leaving through was closed, so we had to backtrack through the entire zoo to the entrance. As a result, we were about 20 minutes late getting home. I told the parents that it was my fault we were late and they didn't have to pay me for the extra time, but they said it had worked out fine and paid me extra. I really do have the best job ever.
Friday was rainy. The kids and I attempted to go to the playground, but just as we arrived, it started to rain, so we sat on someone's stoop and ate our snacks before heading back (but at least their two-seat stroller was fixed). We spent the rest of our time coloring, reading Where the Wild Things Are, and building things with Duplo blocks. And the little one actually let me change his diaper! He even giggled when I saw the mess he made. The only struggle was when I tried to put his pants back on, so he ran around in his diaper the rest of the time.
When I got home, I had an email from the single dad asking if I could come over and watch the boys while he had a business dinner. He asked if I could be there around nine, but didn't give any specifics about when he'd be back. I need the money, and what could be easier than watching tv for a few hours while three boys under the age of six sleep soundly?
Maybe that sounds like a trick question. I know if I were reading this I would expect the next sentence to be about how they were little terrors and it was so not worth it. But it was worth it. I walked over and arrived at nine, hung out with the kids and their dad while they got ready for bed, he left around 9:45, I spent the next 5 and a half hours seated on their couch watching Eastern Promises (one of my favourite films), SVU (never fails), Scrubs, the Soup (I laugh in spite of myself), Will and Grace (it's been too long), and my first episode of Deadwood (gee, people in the Old West sure did swear a lot).
And I was paid much better for it than I would have expected, but a) I was watching three boys aged 2-6 by myself, b) it was the weekend, c) It was THREE IN THE MORNING BY THE TIME HE GOT BACK, and d) it was super late notice. Oh and also e) I am a hella qualified sitter. So I would say I deserved it. I mean, we did discuss my usual rates, and I mentioned that they vary depending on the situation, but he also threw in that his maid only makes 1500 pesos a month. For working eight hours a day. And that would not even cover my rent. But apparently she found such compensation unsatisfactory, as she had quit earlier that day when he asked her to stay and watch the kids that night. Cue Lizzie.
So all in all, it was a good night, plus he paid for my cab fare back to my house. Because I was not about to walk 40 minutes down the streets of Buenos Aires at three in the morning.
So yeah, I might use the money to buy some clothes, so I can look a little more professional and whatnot (I'm not sure jeggings really inspire confidence), and I definitely need a cell phone. Anyway, I have the whole weekend free now, and I'm so looking forward to having nothing to do!