It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The unease grows…

Those clients I was musing about on Monday, the ones who just give me the impression they’re not quite on board here?

They don’t pay, as all the others do, with a series of post-dated cheques, given to me upon signing of the contract. They pay by electronic transfer. This is not a problem at all. In fact, being able to plop the funds into my account while sitting in my living room all warm and cosy is a distinct convenience this time of year.

It has crossed my mind, however, what with all the niggling going on in there anyway, that this arrangement makes it easy for them to abscond, leaving me with no recourse. But then, it’s a small matter to put a stop on a cheque, so having those extra pieces of paper doesn’t really make me any safer. Though it feels that way.

But at least they have it set up that the money is transferred to me automatically every month. Except this month, when it hadn’t arrived on the usual day. When I tell mom the bank must’ve messed up the transfer, I discover it isn’t an automatic transfer; she’s been doing it manually every month.

Manually every month rather than automatic? I don’t even have that much security. Huh.

But that’s a small issue compared to the most recent concern. It’s February, and it’s cold, and we’re all bundled up all the time, but…

I think she’s pregnant.

Now, it could be the bulky winter coat — hers is down-filled, and you know how puffy they are. It could be bad posture — she does tend to slouch with her belly pooched forward. But… it could also be that she’s pregnant.

Pregnant enough to be sort of visible under a down-filled coat would be pretty damned pregnant.

Okay. I need to ask her. I need to sort this out.

Except, every woman knows you don’t ask “Are you pregnant?” unless you’re SURE she is. Because what if you’re wrong? You’ve now got some poor woman having to admit that no, she’s just put on a little weight, and then you know she’s going to be all “GOD! How fat do I LOOK???” That’s a rotten thing to do to someone.

But I need to know. It may be rotten to embarrass someone, but it’s rottener to find yourself high and dry and income-free… Okay, not income-free, but a twenty percent drop in my gross income is not a small matter.

I need to ask, but I need to ask kindly. Because, you know, while I have my suspicions, while my alarm bells are thrumming a steady, low-key buzz and my intuition is niggle, niggle, niggling at me, I don’t KNOW anything. If I blurt out something prematurely and too forcefully and it turns out to be unfounded, I could damage a perfectly satisfactory association.

I could even precipitate what I fear: insult her so badly she decides to pull her child from care.

So… I need to get the information, but without being confrontational.

Got it! What’s my issue here, really? It doesn’t really matter how they pay me, and it’s not a sure thing that she’s pregnant. The one thing I do have, and is a clear and tangible issue, is the damned contract, which is now six weeks past due. I’ve reminded them, and even sent a second copy, in case the first was misplaced. And still no contract. Hmph.

So, what I will ask is this:

“Is there a reason you haven’t signed the contract yet?”

That’s good. If I say it in a politely enquiring way (which I will), not a dark and sneering way (not my style), it’s a perfectly reasonable question, innocuous even. It’s also open-ended, so it’s impossible to answer just ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Hopefully I’ll get a fuller response, more information for me.

“Is there a reason you haven’t signed the contract yet?”

Yes. I like it.

I’ll do that tonight. And keep you posted. Wish me luck!

February 3, 2010 Posted by | daycare, parents | | 13 Comments