Time seemed to pass more slowly here. Days seemed to stretch out forever. Susan’s family had called it “Chelan time.” Her family had been closer here than they were at home. Literally, there just wasn’t a lot of room to escape from each other like there was in Bellevue, but also, they wanted to spend more time with each other. Susan was hoping that Jesse would be able to experience some of those same feelings.
Susan knew that she still had most of the same issues that had plagued her in Vegas. Fortunately, she had a home and Dad’s credit card to stabilize her now. But, she still needed a job. And finding something in Chelan that made use of her degree was even more of a challenge in the small town than it had been in pulsating Vegas. She also needed to find some daycare for Jesse. A quick perusal of the paper for a caregiver left her scratching her head, so she continued her quest online. She finally came across a site with good reviews that advertised babysitting services. There were a few ladies in her area that looked promising. Mostly, they were college aged students and a few stay at home moms who were willing to take on another child. Susan honed in on the grandmother just starting out on the site who said she was ready to take on a few kids to help pass the time since she’d been retired and widowed a few years ago. It didn’t hurt that her listed prices seemed the cheapest. In fact, if this woman was willing to work for what she had listed, she would be undercutting the daycares in Vegas by half. Susan hoped she was for real.
When Susan met Thora the babysitter she knew she was supposed to ask for references and make some kind of stab at an interview, but the matronly woman with the easy laugh and fly-away gray hair put her at such ease, that she just felt this would be the right woman to watch Jesse while she figured out a job. Over tea, Susan and Thora discussed life in Chelan, the job market, and babysitting rates. Half the time, Jesse crawled around Thora’s front room without Thora freaking out even once about what he was up to. Too bad her own mother couldn’t put up with Jesse the same way, Susan thought with a bit of sadness. The other half of the time, Jesse hung out on Thora’s lap, contentedly munching on baby rice puffs. When Susan left Thora’s home several hours after she had planned to leave, she felt like she had a new adopted relative. The last thing Thora said as Susan finally left was to make sure she got a job quick so she could start babysitting her buddy Jesse ASAP.
At least Susan now had someone to leave Jesse with if she ever got an interview. She had applied at a lot of places, but they were coming to the end of the season and so much of Chelan’s economy was based on the tourists. Most businesses were gearing up to let the seasonal help go, not hire on someone new.
On craigslist, Susan kept coming across an opening for a 911 dispatcher in Chelan county. There were so many hoops to jump through though, that she had been put off from applying. First, a statewide standardized test and then if she had high enough scores, more testing through the county. And then if she was hired, more training and psychological examinations, drug testing, the works. Susan had hoped to have something to show for her diligent job seeking, but so far, weeks into her move, she had nothing. So, with only days left until the standardized test, she signed up, paid her fees, and downloaded the study materials, hoping that any skills she had picked up in college might come in handy.