I’m with the girls getting gas for my impractical off road man toy and thinking about how I’m going to navigate the fresh bagel line at Goldberg’s next door. It’s like walking on to the floor of the stock exchange during a bull run, where fresh nova and scallion cream cheese are on par with commodities like diamonds, plutonium or Yankee tickets. I can see already that the parking lot is looking like a gladiator double header at the Coliseum and I fear a confrontation with a 60 year old Soul Cycle devotee that might make me look bad in front of the children. I start to think about alternatives, like some runny 15 dollar eggs at the Poxabogue golf course greasy spoon or a $8 muffin at Pierre’s overpriced grab and go on Sag Main Rd. With the turmoil of breakfast choices coming to head, I decide to employ the coping techniques I learned from my online course at the School of Practical Philosophy. Relaxing my body completely, save the squeezing of the pump handle, I start a meditation that involves deep breathing, a special mantra and clearing of the mind. In this neutral space I hope to shoo off the chaos of choice and let the right decision just rise to the top. As my breath rises and falls, my inner voice starts to quite. Gone are thoughts like, “Crap, that’s getting to be a very big number on the pump” or “I wonder if I have the right parking permit for the Georgica Beach lot?”.
All of the sudden I’m bitch slapped out of bliss by a large crash. I open my eyes and turn around to see that a Mexican housekeeper has rammed the front of her employer’s new Escalade into the iron guard rail protecting the pump. She’s managed to smash an impressive section of the front right bummer, including the headlights. Glass and pieces of pre-molded body parts are lying everywhere on the pavement. The SUV is now one with the rail as my mind was one with the universe only moments ago. I can see her up in the cockpit in a state of shock as her fragile work status passes before her eyes. She looks like a child barely peering over the dash, not like the usual burly, under-employed Uber divers who more commonly captain these tankers. She starts trying to inch forward, which only makes the grind-fest continue. I instinctively hold up both hands, palms out, signifying the international signal for stop. She takes this as the international sign for “back up” and proceeds to rip the entire front bummer off the vehicle. Now free, the neutered truck sits idling, holding only 60% of the resale value it held only moments ago. I walk over and give her a sympathetic pat on the shoulder as she climbs down bewildered to inspect the damage. She speaks no English but words are a redundancy at this point. She knows the score and her eyes tell a woeful story of how the seemingly infinite promise of the American dream can go sideways with one innocent fender bender. We load the bumper into the back seat and she drives off to face the music, like a dead nanny walking on the fumes of gas she has left in the tank. Smart money has her on the 12:45 LIRR slow train back to the city.
My blog is by no means a political one but If anyone out there is still thinking about voting Trump to make America great again, please consider that many immigrants contend with far greater hurdles than the Great Wall of Donald to eek out a little bit of dignity in the land of the free.
The new nanny just got here today. I walk in and Thing 1 is writing down a list of her fallen comrades who have come and gone with some regularity since spring. It’s like running with the bulls in Spain. They come in with that giddy excitement of “winning the job” but leave trampled in the stampede of our domestic juggernaut. Better odds with the bulls.
Where’s my wife? Sounds like she’s on the phone in the office. The nanny’s looking at the five scrawled names like a list of dead hookers from some LA Confidential novel. Thing 1 wants to know how she spells her name. I tell her not to worry because half those names didn’t make it pass their first day. Oh, this is her first day. Not smooth. Now she wants to know what the others did wrong. Where’s my wife? I’m dying here.
I tell her the first one was from the Philippines. It only took 4 days to figure out she possessed over a hundred psychosomatic allergies. She also had a several intolerance to direction (either taking it or loosing it) and used her bed sheets as toilette paper ( maybe she though they were sheets of toilette paper). She asks why we hired her to begin with. I tell her it’s because she jumped into the swimming pool with all her cloths on to save a child who was a better swimmer than she was. This nanny assumes an expression of stark bewilderment. I go on, “See, what happened, is every time Thing 2 jumps in the water she screams “HELP!” you know, as a prank. So the other nanny though she really needed help but instead of looking over at me in my swim suit, legs dangling in the water and two feet from where Thing 2 was laughing and screaming “HELP!”, she decides to go all Bay Watch and jumps right in… again, with all her cloths on…. including shoes. I actually thought she was showing off some weird kind of Navy Seal code of bravery but in retrospect I think she was just bat shit crazy. “What about this one?”. She’s pointing at the name “Chewkey”. I tell her that one showed up to work in her pajama’s and left the gas burner on all day… you know… in case she needed it. The kids pretty much took that as an open invitation to make s’mores. She was followed by the Sag Harbor townie whose boyfriend talked her into using our beach house as a feral crash pad between his Phish tour stops. She was followed by the one who decided that, rather than washing the pillow slips, she would just simply throw away $2,800 worth of pillows with the slips on. She even got Thing 1 to help her cart them off to the trash. Somewhere in Long Island, a lucky Department of Sanitation worker is drooling on five star quality bedding.
My wife walks in. She surveys the situation like a homicide detective walking into a double murder. “What did you say?” She asks. “Oh nothing, we were just talking about the political situation in Tibet.” I’m summoned back into the office behind closed doors. “Listen!” she starts. “I thought I was clear. I don’t really need you to talk to nanny until I tell you I’m not comfortable with them.”
“You mean when you want me to fire them?”
Now I’m clear again. I’m also reminded of a line from that David Grey song. I think it goes, “This year’s love, it better last.”
Thing 1 just lost another tooth. It only took four for her to learn the tooth fairy is a fake. This realization came from her little first grade partner in crime. She calls her Frenchie because she’s French. Actually my wife started called her Frenchie and Thing 1 adopted it. You can never start cultural stereotyping too early is what I always say. My wife only does this with the french though. Once she came into my office where we had just hired a french strategist. For some reason he had some chalk or white paint in his hair and it looked like a skunk’s tail. Without even thinking, she called him Pepe, after Pepe-la-pew, the amorous cartoon character. He turned out to be a total Pepe. Pulling teeth in my opinion is the dad’s job. There’s something very frontier-ish about it. It demonstrates courage, confidence and self-reliance in both the puller and the pullie. Before I go in for an extraction, I usually wait ‘til the tooth is so loose that a good sneeze could knock it out. By that time I can usually pluck it out by hand but sometimes I use tweeters wrapped with sticky tape for theatrics. I left this tooth too long because the nanny yanked it out while we were out going to open houses, hoping I find inspiration for floor stains. I got really upset with her but I didn’t show it. I want to say, “Hey girl, that’s my job! I’m not paying you to be the hero around here! Go get you own act! Quit giving away the secrets to my magic show!” The next thing you know she’ll being loosening the lids of apple sauce jars and I’ll be out of a job all together. Back to Thing 1. She just wants the money without going through the whole “leave it under the bed” routine. I agree and ask her if she can break a five. Is there no mystery left in the world?