S.O.P.

Before I begin, I’d like to advise you that your supervision skills came to us with the absolute highest recommendation from our associate, so we’re expecting you to operate fairly prodigiously by our high but extremely reasonable standards.

My husband and I run a tight ship here, and during your tenure at our residence you will uphold the same values and practices as we do. We don’t have a lot of free time, so try and keep up. Everything is in order, and you’ll only be told once how to keep it that way.

1.

This is the kitchen. The refrigerator is there, the sink is there, the microwave over there on the counter. The children are not allowed to come in here when my husband and I are not home. We will feed them before we leave, so you should have no reason to come in here either.

If you think you will get hungry while you are on your shift, you are allowed to bring something from home. What you bring must be able to sustain itself though, at room temperature. If you enter the kitchen and we find out, you may not be asked to supervise again.

2.

The living room is here. Make sure you take off your shoes before you step in the living room.

That includes right now.

…Thank you.

The living room TV is over there, the couch here. You are not allowed to bring food or drinks into the living room. The TV has been preset to our preferred volume level to allow you to hear if the children need you for anything. We have removed the volume buttons from the television itself and the remote has been discarded as it promotes laziness. You may touch the channel buttons on the television, but I will forewarn you: we do not allow movies, sports, local news, CNN, Reality TV, fashion, violence, MTV, sex, or comedy that is quote-unquote edgy in this household. Anything else is tolerated. Joey watches PBS occasionally, and Ricky enjoys FOXNews. Kate is a QVC fan and Leonard will talk the whole time, no matter what’s on. If we find out the television was on an unsavory channel, you may not be asked to supervise again.

3.

The dining room is here. Do not—I repeat—do not eat in the dining room.

4.

The first floor hallway starts here. Flip this switch when you enter the hallway, and you will turn the hallway light on. If you flip this switch, you must remember to flip the one at the other end, turning the hallway light off. Always turn the hallway light on when you enter the hallway, always turn it off when you exit. Which reminds me: before we continue, we ask that you sign this legal disclaimer. It confirms that you do not hold any individual of this household accountable if you injure any part of your body tripping in the hallway because you forgot to turn the lights on. It also allows us to dock your night’s pay for the electricity wasted if you leave the light on for longer than is necessary. Do not trip in the hallway and injure yourself, and do not leave the light on when you’re not in the hallway. You may not be asked to supervise again.

5.

This is the den and that’s the fireplace. You are not allowed to bring food or drinks into the den. Do not touch the TV in the den. The board games are over there. The boys may need you to play Monopoly with them at some point. If and when you do, you must lose graciously. Do not get involved afterwards when they begin to fight over which one of them has acquired the most property and, therefore, should get a larger percentage of the remaining funds. In most cases Ricky will win, as he is the youngest and most civilized of the three. He’s my little baby. I love him very much.

Do not call Ricky a little baby. He will complain, and complaints may result in you not being asked to supervise again.

6.

This is the first floor bathroom and those are the stairs to the second floor. You may use the bathroom at your own discretion, as long as you clean up after yourself. We don’t want to see any toilet paper soaking in the bowl. It is disgusting. Push this lever to flush the toilet.

As far as the stairs, the legal disclaimer you signed earlier also includes a provision that removes liability from this household if you injure any part of your body slipping and falling down these stairs. If you fall down the stairs and injure yourself, you may not be asked to supervise again.

7.

This is the second floor. There are four bedrooms on this floor. The one at the end of the hall to our left is Joey’s. It is the largest of the four. Joey does not come out of his room during the daylight hours. When he does come out of his room, do not ask him how he is doing. Do not ask him why there is a haze in his room or what that smell is or why his eyes are so red. Do not ask him any personal questions whatsoever. It is none of your business, it is nothing that requires any special attention, and he will not answer you anyways.

8.

That is Kate’s room. You may knock on any of the boys’ room doors to make sure they are still functioning, but do not knock on Kate’s. She will ignore you. Assume that she is safe and sound. Kate will come to you if she needs something. She more than likely will not need anything. Kate is thirteen now, and she values her privacy. We value it as well.

9.

That is Leonard’s room. His door is rarely closed. Leonard will talk to you for the majority of the night, mostly about the war in Iraq. He loves the war, wishes he was a little older so he could enlist and go fight for our country. He’s very vocal about his feelings, and he’s very knowledgeable about all things Iraqi.  You’d do well to take some interest.

You may indulge him in this habit until nine o’clock, at which point you must ask him if he has finished his homework. He will not answer you and will rather quickly run up the stairs and disappear into his room. Do not follow him. He doesn’t like that. He will wait for you in the first floor hallway or on the stairs and trip you.

10.

The room to your right is Rick’s. He is our ten year old, the youngest. He is very bright, three years above his age in school. Do not patronize him when he steps out of his room to speak to you about the current state of our nation’s economy, particularly the necessity of tax cuts. He will notice your insolence and call you on it.

11.

Those are the stairs to the third floor and our bedroom. Do not go up there or you may not be asked to supervise again.

12.

The second floor hallway lights must be off by eleven. Make sure they are, then go back downstairs to the living room. Turn off the first floor hallway lights when you are walking back to the front of the house. When you walk by the dining room, make sure the light in there is off as well, though you shouldn’t have been in there anyways. The front door must remain locked at all times. If anybody comes by and knocks, do not answer. We do not buy products from door to door salesmen, we do not accept Jehovah’s Witness documentation, nor do we enjoy Girl Scout cookies. We buy our products from American department stores, we are a Baptist household, and we are very health conscious. Anybody else is a potential robber, rapist, and/or kidnapper. Treat them as such.

13.

We have set up home invasion cameras in discrete locations around our home, so follow directions. You may not be asked to supervise again.

14.

My husband or I should be home by twelve. If we do get home by twelve, do not ask us for your payment. We will not be in the mood. Wait outside the front door until we bring you your check.

15.

In the event that we do not show up by twelve, you may leave at 12:01. Lock the door with this key, wrap the key in this envelope, put the envelope in this safe deposit box, lock the box, and place it behind the first bush by the front left window. That’s this window, not that one. Put the key for the safe deposit box underneath our doormat, and make sure nobody sees you do it.

Likewise, if we do not return by twelve, you will receive your check in the mail three to five business days after your shift. Do not pass by the house to ask about your payment. We will not answer the door. You may call if you have an issue, but I believe everything is self-explanatory.

Any questions?