#279 In which our hero relates the events of The Great Daycare Debacle (part 3)
The new daycare was a storefront building. Actually, two storefronts with the dividing wall removed. The space had some nice advantages over the rooms at the church, notably better security and self-contained kitchen space. But, there were some rather big drawbacks, too.
Overall, the space was smaller. Half of the place had been a dentist’s office, and was still very compartmentalized. The other half of the space was essentially one huge room, which would serve as the infants and really young kid’s space. Also, the only outdoor space was a small, fenced-in section of asphalt. This was a huge bummer for the girls, especially after the huge yard and swings and climbing equipment of the church.
Since this was an emergency move, the entire half for the infants wasn’t ready. A big sheet of plywood blocked the entrance to that side. It was really cramped.
But, the girls still got to hang out with all their little friends all day, and still had their favorite teacher, so all was well.
For a time.
Then, Susan ran into money problems again. A significant amount of the kids in her daycare were lower income, and those families paid for daycare with the help of government vouchers. Which was actually great for Susan because, unlike a lot of the parents, the feds always paid tuition on time.
Well, since Susan had moved in and started operating the daycare before renovations were completed, that meant that she was no longer certified by the state. And while you can legally operate a daycare without state certification, there are consequences. The biggest one being that you are not allowed to receive vouchers. Susan found out the hard way that a big part of her venue stream was suddenly shut off at the tap.
Then, things just got weird.
Susan was apparently have troubles in her marriage. Which is none of my business. But it was made my business when her husband emailed a copy of an IM chat to all of the parents in the daycare. In this chat Susan was flirting (rather innocently, IMO) with some other man.
A month or so after that, Susan’s husband called The Scientist at home. He told her that Susan had left him, and that she was now living with another man. And this man had a criminal record. He provided his name and birthday and invited us to look up his record on the Internet.
Which we did, of course. It wasn’t a violent crime, but it still made us feel strange. The Scientist asked one of Susan’s kids (her kids were always with her at the center) about this guy, and she replied that he was fine, “as long as you give him his respect.” This unnerved me, and The Scientist, too.
We both knew that if Susan was living with this guy, he was going to be around the center and, by definition, around our kids. And we didn’t like that.
There was some other stuff happening at the same time, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the little stuff, but the end result was that we decided that it was time to pull the plug on Susan.
It certainly wasn’t an easy decision, especially considering that we had been with her for more than four years and our kids loved it there. But we worried that things were only going to get worse, and perhaps even get to the point where unsafe things were happening.
As it happened, The Scientist and the girls were out of town for a week visiting the in-laws when all this came to a head. The Scientist and I hashed everything out over the phone. I had some time off, so I took it and started to look for a new daycare. Thankfully, there are plenty to choose from in our area.
I found one (more on that later), I signed papers, and it was a done deal. The girls would be starting in this new place the Monday after they returned from their trip.
All that was left was to tell Susan.
I wasn’t looking forward to it. I suspected that she would feel betrayed. Which, I decided, was fine… she could feel however the hell she wanted, because I no longer felt like my kids were in a safe environment, and that was that. It was good that my wife was out of town and I handled the “break up.” The Scientist probably would have apologized, and over-explained and most likely cry. In contrast, I went in, pulled Susan aside, and told her that we were leaving the daycare.
I told her that there was just too much drama around her. Between her husband calling us, her new living arrangements and some other things, we were done. I told her that we weren’t mad at her, but we couldn’t stay. There was no drama in this moment, just me telling her the way it was going to be. I collected the extra clothes the girls had there and their medical records, and was gone.
Meanwhile, The Scientist did her best to prepare the girls for the change that was coming on Monday.
To be continued.