I was desperate. That’s my only excuse. I was struggling for money while doing odd jobs and my mom’s coworker was looking for a nanny for her daughter for the summer. The kid, Freckles, was 9 and mostly independent so I accepted thinking it would be easy. Since I needed to drive Freckles around to her various summer camps, I started to look for a car. Joy! Freckle’s mom Sandy owned an old car that she was trying to sell; what a coincidence. I had some money and the car was dirt cheap so I stupidly bought it. And I do mean I was stupid.

It was a Nissan Maxima from the early 90’s with serious issues. Within the first day with the car I realized that the antennae for the stereo was stuck, it ended up never becoming unstuck so I couldn’t listen to music. There was a sun roof but it’s ability to open and close was spotty at best. Finally, the A/C was broken and the heater was perpetually on. In July. Basically this thing had some issues that should have been disclosed but I totaled the damn thing after less than 2 weeks — when the brakes failed. Lucky me. Being young and naiive, I had bought the car without having a mechanic check it; trust me, I learned my lesson and was just glad I hadn’t been hurt when I rammed my car into that tree while attempting to stop.

I was ridin’ dirty..literally the car was filthy when I bought it and I never cleaned it

I let Freckle’s family know that I couldn’t nanny for their child, since I had no wheels and no money to buy a new car. They were desperate for me to stay on, offering to pay for mileage if I used my mom’s car and she drove her old car (I couldn’t drive her old car due to my complete inability to master stick shift). My mom and I agreed to the mileage deal and soon I was driving Freckles around in my sexy…minivan.

From the start it was a stretch for me to deal with all of the drama. Freckles’ parents were divorced and her father had remarried. Freckles would live for one week at her mom’s house and one week at her dad’s. Her dad and his new wife were strict and had Freckles on a regimented schedule. She had homework assigned to her (during summer) that she needed to complete daily as well as practicing the piano. Imagine being a kid, during the summer and spending the majority of your time doing math while you listened to the sounds of delighted children playing outside. Now imagine my job in forcing this kid to sit still. AWFUL.

She also had to read out loud to me for an hour every day. I tried to find books that she would think were interesting but still fulfilled the “educational” requirement but after just 30 minutes of reading to me her voice would go hoarse. She was never allowed to read silently since her tutor said that she had a tendency to skim without absorbing the material. Poor kid.

Her stepmother would often show up early and would sneak in trying to catch us avoiding homework or piano time. If we had finished early there was always something more we could do, one suggestion was that I use my spare time to come up with science-based experiments to challenge Freckles. I was a high school aged nanny…not a professional.

If her father’s house was overly controlling, her mother’s was completely devoid of rules. She never required any of the extracurricular learning that her ex-husband did and encouraged Freckles to go outside and run around. This was great, but then Sandy (her mom) would leave me alone with her until hours after she said she would be back. Which meant my plans went to hell.

Only later would I discover that she wasn’t working late, as stated. She was dating Thaddeus (you know, my current boss’ boss’ boss!) who coincidentally was her boss at the time. So while I tapped my fingers against the counter waiting for Freckles’ mom to get home so I could make out with my boyfriend, she was probably making out with hers! Unfortunately, this isn’t the most annoying thing they did…