Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentine's Day for a Billionaire!

Normally my relationship with the new Missus I work for is icy cold and professional, and rightfully so. But now and again there's a moment of genuine affection. Today, Valentine's Day, was one of those moments.

This morning, with the house full of  guests all over the place, the Mister came down to breakfast promptly at 10:00am.  

He:  "Williams, would you mind picking up a couple-of-dozen red roses for me?"
Me:  "Of course."

Obviously the old buzzard had forgotten until the last minute that today is St. Valentine's annual resurrection. And just where the heck am I going to find some decent red roses at this late stage of the game? Three flower shops later with no success, I went to our regular market. And to my relief there were still dozens of reds, wrapped and ready to go, although I'd have to arrange them myself. I swung by the candy counter and grabbed a nicely-wrapped box of Belgian Walnut Fudge, zoomed back to the Residence, and threw the roses into a cut-crystal vase.

Much to my relief  the Missus had not yet descended for breakfast.

He:  (upon seeing the hasty floral arrangement) "Those are nice."
Me:  "Yes, and you also bought her a box of Belgian fudge."
He:  (with a grin), "That was nice of me, wasn't it?"
Me:  "I thought so."

When the Mrs finally did come down for breakfast at 11:30, I pointed out the roses and candy on the kitchen island.

She:  "Who are those from?"
Me:  "Your husband."

And then, in a very rare moment indeed -

She:  (with a smile and affectionate touch on the arm), "So you saved my husband's butt again, didn't you?"
Me:  "I'm sure I don't know what you mean". (And then I smiled back at her.)  

And off she went to the breakfast room. An hour later it was, "Williams can you do this, Williams can you do that"- business as usual. But just for one brief moment this morning this household celebrated St. Valentine's Day in our own peculiar way.

Thanks for reading tonight, and Happy St. Valentine's to you.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Five Thousand Dollar Sheets!

As the butler in this billionaire's home, I just wanted to tell you there's a scandal in this house that I'm not quite sure how to divulge. However, and as hard as this might be for me, I'm just going to blurt it out right now - my employers buy cheap sheets! There, I've said it out loud.

You're probably already aware you can pay three, four even five-thousand dollars for one set of luxury sheets. For example there's an Italian company in Tuscany called Pratesi. Five thousand dollars sheets with them is not unusual - exquisitely made in every detail. Take a look at their website if you don't believe me.  

A butler buddy told me about a family he works for in Manhattan with a four-floor townhouse - which includes a Master Bedroom and five Guest Rooms. Six beds altogether with two sets of Pratesi linens for each bed, at roughly five grand per set. Do the math and that comes out to $60,000  just for sheets. (You'll want to iron these very carefully, by the way.)

However, in the house where I work I'm mortified to report the bed linens here are only in the $800-$900 range. It's been my observation that rich people can get very cheap in the strangest, most unexpected ways. But I just don't understand it. Everything else in the residence is so out-of-the-ball-park exquisite. Why cheap out here? I can hardly look at guests in the mornings, wondering if they're blaming me as house manager for their misery and discomfort the long night through.

My only saving grace is that my employers don't require turn-down service at night, not for themselves nor their guests. So I'm hoping the guests just pull down the sheets, turn off the lights, and jump right into bed without even noticing the cheap linens. (And considering the amount of alcohol consumed around here, that's a very real possibility.)

Sorry to stress you with this silliness, but this unhappy situation with cheap sheets is totally disturbing, bordering upon scandal.   

Thanks for stopping by,