Bi-Coastal Nanny Gains Perspective

When my bosses told me that they’d need me to go on an extended trip to NYC, I wasn’t too pleased to be ripped away from my beloved Los Angeles. We’d be traveling for well over a month and I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I’d be paying rent in LA for an apartment I wouldn’t be living in.

Expensive rent.

Add that to that the fact that we’d be there in the hottest, most humid months of the year and that I’d be limited to taking the kids to activities within walking distance of their apartment (no subways/taxis allowed), I was pretty sure I’d be going stir crazy from the minute we stepped off of the plane.

The truth of the matter is that I WAS stir crazy as soon as we got off the plane but only because I was on a plane ride with a number of small children–my charges included. I’ve decided, from this most recent experience, that I’m not suited to be a travel nanny.

My sour attitude wasn’t remedied by the fact that people in NYC have absolutely no consideration when total strangers (ME) go out of their way to perform niceties (like holding the elevator open for someone!) and the ever present din of honking taxis that make one’s anxiety skyrocket.

In short, within the first few minutes of having my feet firmly planted on the Newark, New Jersey soil (or asphalt, really, cracked and hot), I was ready to get back on the plane and go home.

That’s when I knew that I needed a serious attitude adjustment: there was no way I’d survive the entire trip if I didn’t take a few deep breaths and review the positives of my situation. Here are some of them:

  • My living quarters, though a 30 minute trip from the apartment where I’ll be working, is completely separate from the family and is in a building that I deeply suspect doesn’t allow children at all. It has AC, a dishwasher, an in unit washer/dryer, and a gym–all things my apartment back home lacks.
  • I have a lot more friends living in NYC than I previously suspected! And then I have friends of friends that are willing to keep this poor west coast stray company while she serves out her time in kiddie prison in the concrete jungle.
  • Rain. It’ll probably rain here and I do miss it. But I don’t miss being caught IN it…so maybe I’ll stop this subject right here before it gets too messy.
  • I’ll probably lose a ton of weight with the combination of sweating my butt off (literally) and walking everywhere so WAHOO!
  • There’s a ton to do and see here that I’ve never done before (as my NYC experience has mostly centered around Time Square). And I hear some of it’s free, so there’s that.
  • Everything is completely paid for–so that’s not a worry. Transportation, apartment, food (while on the clock). Woot!
  • I’ll get time off. A lot of nannies that travel extensively with their families don’t actually get much time to themselves but I’ve been promised that I will.
  • My boss gave me a new iPad mini upon my arrival. Hells yes for getting hand-me-down SWAG. This single handedly changed my perspective on the whole experience. If all else fails, I’m going to take that beautiful hunk of technology and zone out–preferably not while watching the kids.

 

 

A Silly Boy with a Horse and a Stick

If you know what magical movie masterpiece the title is quoting from, you know the way to my heart.

[Answer: it’s A Knight’s Tale, but you knew that already]

Admittedly, that quote is referring to the antiquated sport of jousting, and that’s not actually the subject of this post.

But the sport we’re going to chat about does include boys (and one girl) on horses (rather, ponies) with sticks (or mallets, really).

Can you guess what it is?

If you’re from the United States and weren’t raised in Country Club Culture, you may be scratching your noggin trying to come up with an answer. Or maybe, like me, you’ve seen the movie “Pretty Woman” and you know a thing or two about POLO.

Basically, this game is like soccer mixed with golf on horses. Two goals at either end of the field, two teams, and a ball that needs to make its way through. There are tons of rules that govern the game: which direction the ball must be hit, which side of the horse the mallet has to be swung on, and which direction you’re allowed to ride your horse in–I’m not going into any of that because, frankly, it’s hella-boring.

I hope that last remark brought you back to the 90s when that expression was coined.

Los Angeles has its own polo club and it’s located at Will Roger’s State Park. It used to be home to its namesake before he died and left it to the state–on the condition that polo be played there regularly. There are many requirements for membership (duh, the rich just loooove exclusivity) but some of them are that you must own several polo ponies and have lots and lots of money.

When you’ve reached the elusive silver-spooned level of existence, you get to sit apart from the “commoners” and be fed gourtmet food and top shelf spirits while you disregard the announcer’s requests that you “stand back from the field or risk getting trampled!”

The tent for the hoity toity folk--across the field from the poor people (most of whom still drove to the match in Mercedes and BMW's)

The tent for the hoity toity folk–across the field from the poor people (most of whom still drove to the match in Mercedes and BMW’s)

However, to watch the match on the less accommodating side of the field is absolutely free–which is my favorite price.

One of my pals and I went on “British Polo Day”–presented by Land Rover. If you didn’t know it already, they let you know pretty quickly. There were signs, Land Rovers driven on the field, Land Rover specs announced, DID WE MENTION IT’S SPONSORED BY LAND ROVER?

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Some of the boy’s Polo team from fancy, schmancy, Eton College in England came to play and, from a distance, I couldn’t see how hot they were, but my pal and I decided they’d be worth flirting with if we could get through their aristocratic fan club (spoiler alert: never happened).

The American team? Bloated, middle aged, pot bellied, white dudes.

God Bless America.

We had one young-ish woman on our side, but since the Eton folk didn’t have a full team come across the pond, she played for their side.

It’s no wonder that by the middle of the first game, we were significantly having our butts whooped by the jolly old English boys.

Although, one of the Eton kids was unseated from his steed. After he fell off, the horse just galloped around the field as many of the Mexican/South American stable hands tried to subdue him.

Also: OUCH for the horses!! Balls whacked at their bodies, old farts banging at their sides with their knobby knees, and mallets swung way too close to their heads. It was almost painful to watch sometimes.

The most interesting part of the day, from an anthropological perspective, was listening to the auction they held before any of the horse games had even begun. I couldn’t tell you what cause they were raising the money for (as it was rarely mentioned) but here are some of the items and what they sold for:

  • A book about polo signed by the author: $4,250
  • A 38 year old bottle of scotch (signed by the Duke of Argyll who was in attendance): $6, 000
  • Brompton Folding Bicycle: $6,000
  • A Pelican Pro Gear Back Pack: $3,000
  • A week long vacation at a home worth $30 million, anywhere in the world (apparently there is a network): $15, 000.

Astonishment was the purest and most prevalent emotion running through my mind as I watched these people easily raise their hands and pledge thousands of dollars to things that were valued at thousands of dollars less.

Makes me wonder what I’ll do with all of my riches when I’m a millionaire…but that’s another blog post. Unitl then, enjoy this photo of a bunch of dudes prancing around on ponies.

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Have You Seen this Girl?

Our search parties have been assembled and given specific stomping grounds around the city of Los Angeles. Somehow, our run-away has escaped the confines of her nanny job and is at large.

She’s short–she’s feisty–she’s probably going to be sporting large bags under her eyes and she may be stooped over from picking children up all day.

Her shirt will probably be spattered with a combination of oatmeal and regurgitated milk–most likely on the shoulder section of her sleeves as that is where the littlest minions are perched when they choose to belch up their bottle.

Her hair will be unkempt, unwashed, and displeasing to the eyes (but that’s nothing new).

If you come in close contact with her, approach her slowly, as her nerves will be incredibly frayed: she’s been doing the whole “live-in” nanny thing again this month and regularly wakes up to the sound of ear-piercing screeches, tantrums, and foot stomping around 6am every morning.

Don’t attempt to lure her from her hiding space with fruits, vegetables, or other varieties of healthy and nutritious food–that’s all her nanny family eats and she would kill (almost literally) to “get a damn piece of candy around this joint”. Instead, crouch low to the ground with a slice of double-chocolate cake outstretched upon your bare palm. Be careful to withdraw your hand as quickly as possible or you risk losing your fingers.

Should she take the cake and be lulled into submission, offer her respite upon your couch with the fluffiest of blankets and access to both your Netflix and Hulu accounts. This is sure to pique her interests and you should be prepared to help her buckle into your vehicle–she’s been too busy buckling other people that she’s forgotten how to take care of herself.

Insist that she shower as soon as she gets to your place–she will fight you, but it is imperative that she bathes as her stench will surely soil your furniture. Once in the shower, limit her to one hour, as she will not want to come out after fighting to get her in. She has taken on certain characteristics of her nanny kids–and not the good ones, either.

Should she fall asleep while watching your television (most likely old episodes of Parks and Rec), DO NOT WAKE HER. I won’t tell you what the repercussions of making such a grievous error are–for they are too terrifying to type here.

You have been warned. 

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