"Yes. I've lived in LA almost 15 years, I know where the beaches are."
"It's beautiful there. Mr. X has a beautiful house there, right on the water."
"That's nice, we have a small house on very dry land."
"Yes, I see that."
"Mr. X bought me my car and put my daughter through law school. He's a very generous man."
"That's so great," I said through clenched teeth. Moving on. "My oldest gets home from school at 3:30 and we do homework when I'm not at work, it would be great if you could take the baby for a walk ..."
"Is that the stroller?" she interrupted me, pointing to a previously owned 2001 Mountain Buggy stroller my father-in-law gave us. He has been known to jump in a dumpster for a dented can of beans, God bless him.
"Mr. X bought me a Bug-a-boo stroller so I would always have one for the baby in my car. Mr. X BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH."
These kinds of exchanges went on for a year and a half. But when my part-time nanny wasn't recounting her previously glamorous life with the enthusiasm of the "band camp" girl from "American Pie," she was great with my kids. I would hear peals of laughter from their room, mostly hers. She genuinely enjoyed them and I believe she would have thrown herself in front of a bus to save my baby. And sometimes listening to stories about Mr. X's life as the head of a movie studio was fun, like flipping through People magazine. Certainly he and his second wife were magnanimous people, with whom, unfortunately, I was always trying to compete.
Despite everything I read about how the recession meant people were cutting back on gifts this year, I put $500 cash in an envelope for her, (money I took out of my meager savings), for Christmas. The next day she mumbled "Thank you" and then said clearly, "I need to leave early on New Year's Eve."
"We'll make sure we're home by 11 then," I'm never more people-pleasing than when it comes to keeping my kids safe and happy.
"I mean 11 AM," she clarified.
My first thought was, "What would Mr. X do?" My second was, "I wonder if she treated Mr. X this way." Then I got all Donald Trump on her ass and blurted out, "You're fired!"
I wish. But I did let her go. Literally. On a two-and-a-half week vacation she was taking with two days' notice. I told her I would be replacing her while she was away. When she came back, she asked me for a letter of recommendation.
"Dear potential employer, are you wealthy and high-status? Because have I got a gal for you..."
|Dani Klein Modisett is the mother of 1-year-old Gideon (pictured) and 5-year-old Gabriel. She is comedy writer/creator/producer of the show "Afterbirth...stories you won't read in Parents magazine." An anthology of stories from this show will be published by St. Martin's Press, in stores in May 2009.|