Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Gold Diggers and the Rich!

Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated...but stupid is forever!
                                                                                                                  - Aristophanes

Although comic playwright Aristophanes wrote this way back in ancient Greece around 385 BC, it's as if he'd come face-to-face with my employer's new girlfriend. I kid you not, this woman is driving me nuts with her unrelenting antics and idiocy. (I said new, but she's actually beginning her second year around here.)

Don't misunderstand me. She's actually quite charming in her own déclassé sort of way. And her appearance is unquestionably pleasant for a sixty-year old woman - tall, slim, with long blond hair - regardless the gauche and unskillful makeup. But with my employer's money, her wardrobe has decidedly improved from off-the-rack at Nordstrom's to off-the-rack at Neiman Marcus - although it's still far from haute couture, if she even knows what that is. We've also noticed some recent and glittering diamond baubles mixed in with her regular and somewhat gaudy costume jewelry. All of which is none of my business, of course.

Since the divorce a few years back there's been a steady stream of gold-digging women in and out of my employer's life. But this one actually told me in confidence that she's not looking to get married, but just enjoying the friendship. (Which, I might add, includes the above-mentioned luxury gifts, travel on my employer's jet, and expensive five-star hotels and restaurants. What's not to enjoy, right?) 

But there's something missing about this woman. I would call her an airhead, a dumb-blond, or a bimbo - but that was sound rude and sexist, wouldn't it? Not to digress into clichés, but it's like her elevator really doesn't go to the top floor. When my employer invited her on her first trip to Europe, she asked Ester the Upstairs Maid to help pack the things she had laid out, among them being a whole roll of United States First-Class Stamps.

Ester: Are you taking these, Ma'am?
The Girlfriend: Yes, I want to send post cards to all my friends.
Ester: Excuse me, Ma'am, but you might need to buy the stamps in whatever country you're in.
The Girlfriend (after a pause):  Oh, silly me, I hadn't even thought about that. Do you need any stamps?

Then, back in January of this year when there was that awesome total lunar eclipse, just to make conversation I asked The Girlfriend the next time I saw her:

Me: Did you happen to see the eclipse last week?
Her: No, I missed it - I was out of town.
Me: Where did you go, China? (Although I didn't actually say that out loud.)

As innocuous as this all may seem, I don't understand how my employer puts up with her. It's difficult if not embarrassing to watch her try to host a cocktail party, where her conversation rarely goes beyond the weather or something silly she's watching on Netflix. But perhaps that's the whole key to their relationship; her naivety, lack of sophistication, and non-taxing tug on the intellect. Who knows?

I just try to mind my own business (well, to an extent), keep out of their way, and remind myself that there's a paycheck involved here every couple of weeks. Besides, July is coming up and it's time to begin Christmas plans - gifts, designer cards, decorations, caterers - so I'll be too busy to focus on Her Ladyship Duchess of Dumb.

I do hope you're having a splendid restful summer this year, between the spring and fall social seasons.

And as always, thanks for stopping by this evening,

Andrew


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Do Rich People Iron Their Sheets?


You'll have to admit that when staying in a fine hotel that offers turn-down service it's always a pleasure to see ironed sheets and a chocolate on the pillow or bedside table. It not only lets you know that the bed has indeed been changed from the previous night's guest, but it also feels quite nice to slide in between freshly ironed bed linens.

But after that first momentary pleasure, five minutes later the sheets get all wrinkled again, don't they? Which is why in my own humble apartment the sheets come directly out of the dryer and straight onto the bed - skipping all the labor of ironing.

Hotels have these massive rotary machines to both iron and fold the sheets in one quick and easy task. But in a private home, there's nothing quick or easy about it. The whole procedure is labor intensive (to say the least!) and can take a couple of hours or more to complete. It's common knowledge that Martha Stewart has her sheets ironed and changed every day. But she's rich and has a full house staff (including a laundry tech no doubt) to accommodate this obsession without having to lift a finger herself.

The Butler Academy I attended attached great importance to ironing sheets for our rich employers, and part of my two-year curriculum allowed for home studies. So one day I got this box of freshly-washed but crumpled sheets from FedEx and my task was to both iron and fold them correctly and send them back to the academy as soon as possible.

Oh dear lord, what to do? I'd never ironed so much as a handkerchief in my entire life! My first thought was to hire someone to do it - which would be efficient of course, but cheating. And I really wanted to learn the job top to bottom, especially since part of a butler/house manager's task is to train new employees.

So the next step, simply borrow an ironing board and iron, right? But oops, not one of my déclassé wash-and-wear friends owned such a thing. So off to Walmart I went to purchase the clumsy instruments. (And then back again an hour later to buy an ironing board cover. Who knew, right?)

I have to tell you that this whole procedure, being the first time, took me the entire afternoon! The pillow cases were a snap and the king-size top sheet, while time consuming, was relatively easy as well - compared to the fitted bottom sheet that turned out to be a real bitch to wrangle and iron.

Then folding them correctly into tight little bundles was another nightmare altogether - especially, again, the bottom sheet sheet. Mercifully Cheryl Mendelson's brilliant book entitled Home Comforts (required reading by the academy) has detailed charts about how to fold anything from clothes to dinner napkins and bed sheets - which was a life saver! And all said and done I got a 90% grade on that test, which was a huge relief.

There are such things as small Rotary Irons for home use. Miele makes an affordable one (about $2,000) that's great for ironing dinner napkins, pillow cases, and the top bed sheet. But there's nothing on God's green earth to help with the bottom sheet.

I hope this post has been somewhat helpful in deciding whether or not to iron your sheets and how to go about it. Personally I don't recommend it one bit if you can avoid it. I think it was Socrates who said, "Work once begun must be continued." (Or was that Gandhi?)

Good night, and as always thanks for stopping by this evening.

Andrew