Monday, June 25, 2018

My Employer Is Flat Out Crazy!

It's only June but it's already hot as the dickens right now, more like something we'd expect in August! At least the summer solstice arrived this week and our dear planet earth starts to tilt northward again, one slow day at a time until Autumn arrives. I for one can't wait! Cooler temps, football games, and all the crazy holidays headed our way.

I don't know if it's the heat that's affecting both me and my employer but we've been at odds lately. On a huge property like this I'm pretty good at hiding out and conveniently running errands without ever having to come face to face with him. In fact sometimes there's ten-day to two-week stretches when we never see each other at all. But when we do there's nothing but whining, bickering and quarreling about every damned little thing around here:

He: There's a couple of tree lights out in the driveway.
Me: Yes, bulbs do burn out, don't they?
He: When you find the time would you mind changing the batteries in my remote?
Me: Certainly Sir, I've been waiting all day for such a challenge.
He: Why's the TV not working?
Me: Because it's raining and I'm not the one who chose satellite for this house!
He: Are you happy here Andrew?
Me: About what Sir, if I might ask?

The thing is, in my mind the rich have nothing very much to complain about in this life. They have luxurious secure housing, as much gourmet food as they want or need, top-dollar health insurance, vacations, travel - and free time out the wazoo. What else on earth is there to grumble about?

The big rub right now is that he has a new girlfriend - I've lost count but she's like seventh or eighth since the divorce several years back. Some last a few months, some a couple of years, but this new one has a strange grip that I've not seen before. She's like a Goody two-shoes type (nothing wrong with that) but she's planted Bibles all over the house, including the old man's bedside table. And she's even coaxed him into going to church on Sunday mornings - which is way too late in my opinion.

So here's how it goes: the pharmacy delivers Viagra to the house on Saturday, they go to church on Sunday morning, then come home and fornicate all afternoon. Which is fine, I'm no one's judge - and it certainly does keep them out of my hair for the day.

But the other thing is my employer is getting up there in years and showing signs of dementia and paranoia. Which is scary! He has total recall of things that never happened, and in his mind everyone is trying to steal from him or screw him in some kind of way. He'll devour an entire can of nuts while watching a soccer game, then claim the next day that someone stole his cashews. It's not just the house-staff here that gets the evil eye, but the office staff as well. He'll approve a new purchase or renovation for a property he owns, but then forget about his approval and chew everyone out for spending his money! This gets old really fast. How can we know what to do without running afoul of the bear?

The good news tonight is that my spy confidant at the office said the pilot has been alerted and the old man and new woman will be away during the week of July 4th celebrations - a much needed respite for all of us! And I think if I'm wise I need to sit down and update my resume while it's quiet around here for a few days. Who knows what the future may bring?

Thanks for dropping by this evening. I hope you're planning some fun events for the Fourth. I'd love to be with my family for some outdoor grilling and homemade ice cream, but it's not in the cards this year. House sitting and dog sitting are never-ending tasks, whether the old man is here or not.

Andrew
         

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What Is It Like To Have Servants?

I love this question, often asked by friends and associates who daydream about being rich and not having to lift a finger to get through a day. It's like, what else is money for if you can't have other people help you with all your stuff, right? For example, what if:
  • You don't have to make your own coffee or breakfast when you wake up? Thanks to Chef it's already waiting for you on the breakfast-room table. Or if you're feeling poorly or lazy you could ask for a tray to be sent up to your room - complete with a bud vase and the morning newspaper. 
  • You don't have to make your own bed or change the sheets (ever) since the Upstairs Maid will do that for you? (my personal favorite!)
  • You don't have to dust, vacuum or mop (again, ever) because that's the Executive Housekeeper's job to assign to her assistant House Cleaners.
  • Nor do you have to do your own laundry, ironing, or shine your own shoes since the Laundry Tech takes cares of all that. 
  • Do you need to take your car(s) out for inspection, an oil change, or routine maintenance? No, that's the Chauffeurs job of course - along with washing, waxing and filling them up with petrol.
  • Do you need to call a repairman (and wait hours for them to arrive) when the air conditioning, internet, or the washing machine goes out? Heavens no, that's what your House Manager/Butler is for.
  • Is it your job to mow the grass, trim the hedges and tend the flower gardens on your precious weekend off? Not bloody likely when you have full-time Groundskeepers to do that for you. 
  • Is it on your schedule to pick up the dry cleaning or drop off alterations at the tailor shop? No, either the Butler or his assistant, the household Errand Runner will take care of that for you.
  • Do you need to dash out to Neiman's to buy a few gifts for a wedding or other such reckless events? You can if you like, or your Personal Shopper is on hand anytime you wish, waiting for your call. Likewise she/he's there for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and the enormous task of Christmas shopping.
  • Do you need to make your own travel arrangements, acquire theater tickets, or write your own Thank You notes? Not when you have a Personal Assistant.
  • Is it your responsibility to fly your own plane or steer your own luxury yacht? Not if you have a Pilot and Sea Captain on retainer, ready to go at your every whim. 
  • When you're having a gala at your estate for five-or-six hundred guests, do you have to be involved in any way? Not really! Just turn it over to your Events Planner who will organize the Caterers, Musicians, Florists, Decorators, Valet Parkers, Security Personnel, and Party Rental companies if you need tents and canopies. Then you can arrive at your own party stress free, dressed to the hilt in haute couture, dripping in diamonds - ready to enjoy a pleasant evening!  
While this list is hardly exhaustive, you at least get the drift of what it might be like to have an army of people helping you run your busy daily life. However, as noted in the previous post entitled Privacy For The Rich, there's a price to pay for all this help. And there are some situations, no matter how rich and powerful you are, when you have to do a task all by yourself - like standing on line at the Department of Motor Vehicles to have your picture made and driver's license renewed. (Although it's not uncommon to have a servant stand on line, then the boss steps up to take his place when his name is called.)

With the narrow definition of a servant being someone who provides a service, we all have a degree of unavoidable helpers and service workers in our lives, right? Beauticians, barbers, manicurists, dry cleaners, plumbers, electricians, repairmen, tax accountants and lawyers to name a few. Some of us can afford to have house cleaners and lawn-care workers come in once or twice a week. Some of us can afford to get a facial or massage now and then. And let's not overlook all the doctors, dentists and pharmacists trying to help us live healthy lives.

But there's one area when we actually choose to have service, even if we're not rich or powerful - that being when we go out to a restaurant. Depending on the establishment of course, here's what we might have available when we dine out, to a greater or lesser degree:
  • Valet Parkers to eliminate finding a parking place.
  • A Host/Hostess to escort us to our tables.
  • A Table Attendant brings in water and a menu.
  • Then a Waiter shows up to take our aperitif orders and dinner choices.
  • Right beside him a Sommelier (fancy name for Wine Steward) steps up with a wine list, ready to explain all the fine vintages in their collection that might be suitable for our dinner selections.
  • In the kitchen we have Food Preps washing lettuce and dicing veggies, and a Sous Chef and Executive Chef arguing about recipes and how the plate should be laid out.
  • Throughout the meal our Waiter shows up to observe, poor more wine, and his Table Attendant brings more water or bread and butter as needed.
  • When dinner is over, a Busboy comes quickly to take away the dirty dishes and clean up the mess we've made.
  • And back in the kitchen, the Dishwasher cleans all the plates, flatware and stemware so we don't have to do that when we wake up in the morning.
It's a nice experience to have a hearty meal and nourish ourselves without lifting a finger, right? But a word of caution here: this is NOT the time to act silly and snobby. The way we treat our Waiter and his crew reveals our entire personality, not just to the restaurant staff but also to the people we've brought along to dinner. Playing the uppity Big Shot here only gets us bad service, and scorn from our table party guests. And trying to show off our extensive (yet still sophomoric) wine knowledge to a dedicated Sommelier is a lost cause to begin with. In fact, here's a fun and informative article from the Food Network entitled 8 Things Your Waiter Wishes You Knew!

I guess the bottom line is that professional servants take care of needed, legitimate jobs in this world. Not because our rich employers are little Gods on this earth and feel entitled, but for a fat paycheck or a big tip in a restaurant! Abuse, whether it be physical, verbal or emotional, is not allowed - illegal in fact, and can be prosecuted. Arrogance on the other hand might be tolerated by those of us in service - that is, for awhile and to an extent. But it gets tiresome and reveals the true character of the person we're working for -  and provides a big clue as to whether we need to move on and get away from such a self-centered person at the first opportunity.

As always, thanks for stopping by this evening! I hope this post wasn't too tedious, but it's always fun to write about the master/servant relationship. Especially with so many instant and clueless billionaires popping up these days all over the world - like corn kernels on a hot skillet.

Andrew