Scandalous Story of Love: Jobs, Kids, and Automobiles

Junior year came to a close in the spring of ’94.

Duff and I planned to spend the summer in Boston subletting an apartment with a few friends from school.*

We found the perfect second floor apartment, near the intersection of Commonwealth Ave. and Harvard Ave., and moved right on in.

I secured a job at the Pizzeria Uno Restaurant right across the street and began my waitress training.


Duff found employment at EMC² which was a good 35 minute drive from our rental. He borrowed his parent’s Honda for the summer so he could make the daily commute.


Duff’s mom came for a visit early on in the summer. She was always a pleasure to hang out with.

I was dreading going to work that Saturday during her visit and must have been complaining about how much I disliked my waitressing job.

Duff had already encouraged me to quit more than once, but I must have needed his mom’s input to push me over the edge.

Life is too short to have a job you hate, she told me.

She was soo right!  This job was going to ruin all my summer fun.

I ditched it that very weekend, and never looked back.

But what would I do to earn money over the summer months?

I checked out the listings of employment opportunities that were always posted on campus.  I found a few nanny jobs that interested me.

For some reason taking care of children never seemed torturous to me. It was something I always enjoyed.

One job was a good 40 minutes away, but a car was provided as part of the gig.  I made the call and set up an interview to meet the family.

My duties would involve taking care of two toe-headed girls ages 6 and 8, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 6pm.  Their mom had a good job working in downtown Boston and their previous nanny had recently headed back home overseas.

How hard could this be, I reasoned.  I would watch them poolside at the local swim club, take them to tennis lessons, and venture out on little excursions.

I had NO idea what I was in for; it was to be my first lesson in parenting.

Duff and I left for our summer jobs early in the morning and returned home late in the day to our humble pad.

We each had a car now and neither one of us payed for designated parking initially.

If we happened to arrive home earlier than expected we might quickly find a spot, but generally we’d spend a good while driving around looking for an available space.

Duff tired of this routine very quickly and began shelling out money for a reserved spot.

I (being the frugal creature that I am) stuck with the lengthy evening routine of cruising the area looking for free parking.

And then came the challenge of parallel parking the big honkin’ 1970′s nanny mobile I drove that summer.  If Duff was around, I would jump out and let him impress me with his maneuvering skills, but usually I was forced to manage on my own.

I learned lots about parking in Boston that summer, most especially what constituted a parking violation.  There were several mornings when I was greeted by that bright orange envelope sitting on my windshield. Ugh!

Dinner time became my absolute favorite part of the day.  Our freezer was stocked full of Horizon Foods’ flash-frozen meats, compliments of Duff’s parents.  We would pull out our meat of choice and start whipping up something delicious while we shared about the details of our respective days.

I’m ashamed to admit I definitely did most of the talking that summer. But Duff was such a good listener and always had logical advice to share, and boy did I ever need some advice.

I found myself in a constant state of confusion during those warm months in Boston, about how to nanny my two charges.

The older sister was giving me a run for my money.  She would look at me and blatantly say “No!”, when it was time to leave for tennis lessons.

I didn’t know if I should allow her to stay on her bed, essentially caving, or carry her out to the car kicking and screaming.  She was constantly testing my authority.

I’d call her mom late in the evening to discuss my approach and she’d encourage me to treat her as I would my own child.

I know this girl had a lot going on in her life, as her parent’s had recently separated.

I know she probably feared becoming attached to me, only to have me walk back out of her life.

I understood her insecurities…but also knew she had to learn to respect me.

I hit a new low that summer as a nanny, when the eight-year-old, locked myself and her younger sister out of the house.

I had to call her mother, from the neighbor’s, for instructions on how to handle the situation.

I eventually talked my way back into the house, but I was having trouble forgiving this child for her erratic behavior and obvious distaste for me.

I plowed forward though, trying to hide my discouragement, until one day everything changed.

The spunky little blonde, who had tortured me all summer long, fell off her bike.  And as she got to her feet, I could tell something was not quite right.

She appeared ashen-faced and fought back tears with the same stubborn spirit I had battled for weeks.  I brought her inside and placed ice on the injured arm.

Judging by the way she guarded it and responded sensitively to touch, it was probably broken.

I called her mom, who made arrangements to meet us at the doctor’s office.  I splinted the arm with a thick magazine and headed out the door.

I calmly tried to prepare my little patient for what might lie ahead as we drove to the medical center.

After a little waiting, the doctor confirmed my suspicions, a fracture in her lower arm.

She was casted up and we both went our separate ways that evening.

I was not prepared for the metamorphosis I would witness in this little girl, all because she finally learned to trust me.

Night and day.  Day and night.

She became an absolute joy to care for.  She willingly followed my lead and showered me with love.

I felt like Duff and I had overcome our first parenting obstacle.  After the many hours we’d spent trying to get inside that wee one’s head…we had done it!

Is there anything that can come between a couple after they achieve their first success in parenting?

Well, perhaps.

Duff was having car trouble you see.

His battery had died multiple times and now it wouldn’t jump start at all.

He was certain it was a problem with the flux capacitor or possibly the johnson rod.

Anywhoo, he did not want to shell out the cash to have the car towed a 1/2 mile down the road, to the mechanic.

Instead, he came up with a hairbrained scheme all his own.  Now I’m all about saving money…but this was NOT a plan I could stand behind.

Let me see… You want to push your broken down vehicle, through a major intersection in Boston, using my nanny mobile?!


This is the first time I can recall being genuinely angry with Christian Edward O’Melia. See?  I used his full name.  That my friends, is real anger.  

He insulted my overly cautious ways, explained the logic, and then begged me to take part in the madness.

Before I even fully processed what was happenning…

I was behind the wheel of his father’s Honda Accord,

being pushed across Commonwealth Avenue,

my blue 1970′s nanny mobile powering the operation.

I was mortified.

I slinked down in the driver’s seat as I steered the jaloppy onward towards the service station.

And then it happened…

The bump in the middle of the road, where you cross over the T-track, lifted Duff’s bumper up just enough…SMACK!

He busted something.

Oh…I was livid.

We finally arrived at the mechanic’s, and I wondered if I could ever forgive him for getting me involved in this cockamamie stunt.

I jumped out of the car immediately inspecting my nanny mobile for damages.

Boy was he lucky, I exhaled.

He had only managed to bust one of the Honda’s tail lights, everything else looked intact.

The car was repaired.

It turned out to be the alternator, I believe.

And just for kicks, we spent several Saturdays visiting local salvage yards, looking for a replacement tail light, to ensure paternal wrath was kept to a minimum.

Oh yes, people, we were really getting to know each other…;)

*I was not a Christian at this point so obviously didn’t behave like one.  By sharing my story I do not mean to imply that I made all the right choices.  In fact, I wish I had done many things differently, because I really could have messed up my life in big ways.  I am only thankful that God has shown me so much grace, even in my days of foolishness.

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