Watson hasn't been doing too well lately, and Kristy has noticed. He's been keeping himself awfully busy with work, and he seems to be getting tired very quickly. When Kristy sees Watson trying to shovel the snow in the driveway, she quickly takes over and sends Watson into the house to rest. He only makes it as far as the porch before he collapses; he's having chest pains. Kristy rushes into the house and yells for her mom and Nannie. She calls 911, and the operator promises to send an ambulence and tells Kristy how to keep Watson comfortable. When the ambulence arrives, Elizabeth and Nannie go to the hospital, leaving Kristy with David Michael and Emily Michelle. The kids (including Kristy) are worried. Shannon, Mary Anne, and Dawn all come over to keep them company, and to help Kristy take care of everything that needs to be done (notifying Sam and Charlie, getting stuff ready for school the next day).
Nannie comes home that night with good news: Watson did have a heart attack, but it was mild. He's been ordered to make some changes, though: better diet, more excersise, less hours at work. Watson doesn't seem to have any trouble with those orders; all he wants to do is spend time with his family, and he's become awfully emotional about doing so. In fact, Watson makes a big announcement at dinner one night. He's decided to turn over most of the day-to-day operations of his business to one of his vice presidents, and become a stay at home dad. This decision goes over pretty well with everyone...except Nannie. She starts to feel like she's not needed anymore, and surprises the family with her own announcement. She's found her own apartment and will be moving out.
Things go okay at first without Nannie there. Everyone misses her, of course, but the household runs relatively smoothly. Then, February begins. That's one of Karen and Andrew's "big house" months, and adding two other people to the mix just makes everything fall apart at the seams. The place is a mess, things aren't getting done, the kids are running wild, and Emily Michelle is sick. Plus, Watson is finding that he can't just give up on work like he had planned; it keeps creeping back into his life. When Kristy goes to visit Nannie in her new place, she confesses how bad things have gotten, and asks Nannie to move back. Nannie had wanted that all along, but didn't want to be in Watson's way. In the end, it's decided that Nannie will take over her old role in the house, and Watson will work from home three hours every day.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Marshall has created a difficult situation for the BSC. Dawn is the first one to encounter it; she goes expecting to take care of only Nina and Eleanor, but finds three other children there as well. Their mother and Mrs. Marshall are taking an exercise class together, and Mrs. Marshall had told her it would be fine to leave all the kids together. Nothing really awful happens to Dawn, but Mallory's experience is a little different. One of the kids falls down the stairs and cuts his lip, and the others are running wild. Mal has to call Jessi for backup, but when Mrs. Marshall comes home, she refuses to pay Jessi for her time. Stacey is the the next one to get a job with the Marshalls, and she brings Claudia along right from the start. When Mrs. Marshall again refuses to pay for two sitters, they both walk out. Later, they realize that Mrs. Marshall probably didn't know that the club has a rule about two sitters being needed for more than four kids, so Kristy calls and explains it to her.
Thoughts and Things
- This book had an almost "early BSC" feel to it in some places, but I can't put my finger on why.
- The hot SMS gossip in this one is that Pete Black and Sabrina Bouvier went to the movies together. I have two things to say about that. First, I guess Pete must have run out of BSC members to date at this point. Second, I sincerely hope it's the 13 year old Sabrina he's dating, not the little pageant kid Sabrina.
- Why didn't the mother of the other kids offer to chip in for the sitter? Even though Mrs. Marshall was wrong to just expect the BSC to take care of all those kids for the same pay rate as taking care of just Nina and Eleanor, it was also wrong for Mrs. Phillips to just expect to leave her kids with a sitter for free. Some friend she is....