Monday, November 21, 2011

"But a fool and his money soon go separate ways, and you found a fool lying in a daze."*

Evil Woman Part II.
            This is continued from my earlier post, which you can find here, in which I describe my glamorous journey to New York City with an aging rock star and his evil young bride.
            Continued from my journal of 2009:
-We walk over to FAO Schwartz and Beth buys a bag of candy—at this point I’m so sticky and wet I’m making a conscious effort to widen my stride. (I know, it’s gross. Forgive me, especially if you happen to be a man and can’t handle hearing about these kind of realities.)
- I make several comments in the course of the day’s outing to the effect of “I feel really gross” and “I have to buy some tampons…and underwear,” and Beth keeps saying cheerfully that she fully plans to stop at Duane Reade on our way home. I don’t understand why I couldn’t have run off and done it while they were at the toy store (or at any other point) but I think I forfeited my complaining rights when I slept those two hours this morning instead of playing peek-a-boo with Sophie (like I did all night long).
-We do FINALLY stop at Duane Reade and I buy, on accident, the largest underwear I've ever seen in my life. I mean, these go up to my boobs. But who cares? I buy other (clearly) mentionables and when we get back to the hotel I feel better than I've felt in ages.
-John and Beth take Conor to dinner somewhere nice and leave us to watch Sophie. Beth gives us money to buy dinner—telling us that one of us should run out and get it. I volunteer because I am so excited to have a few minutes to myself.  So I ask the concierge where to go and he sends me out the back of the hotel onto 58th and I walked half a block to the deli on 7th avenue.
-I contrive (somewhat unintentionally) to spend the entire $50 bill Beth had given me. But mostly, I just didn’t know what to get for Lucia. She’s a bit of a picky eater and she doesn’t tell me much about what she wants. So I fill three containers with different kinds of salads, potatoes, chicken, ribs—all kinds of yummy stuff. I really like walking around New York by myself. I wish I had more time to do it.
-My bag finally arrives at about 9:45 pm. I am so happy.
-John rather discourteously, and with many a disgusted gesture and facial expression, says I should clean up the dinner dishes and put them outside for housekeeping. I start crying (no one sees but Lucia).
-Wednesday morning at 7:30, after another wakeful night, Sophie wakes up. I try repeatedly to get her to go back to sleep, but no good. It’s probably because she hasn’t pooped since Monday morning and it is now Wednesday morning. I would most likely be crying too. I did bang my head against the bars of her crib again in exhausted frustration, but believe me: it didn’t solve anything.
-At nine a.m., Beth comes to get her for nursing. I tell Beth to bring her back when she’s ready for me to take over and I lay back down. I sleep until 10:30, and feel much better—but I’m scared to find out what’s been going on. Fortunately, all is cheerful because Sophie is sleeping in Conor’s room and Conor and Lucia are playing quietly in the living room.
-Beth buys Starbuck’s breakfast, explaining that room service is so expensive and it’s not that she doesn’t have the money, it’s the principle of the thing. So I eat a stale bagel and drink a delicious coffee and feel great.
-We go back to Central Park and take Conor to Heckscher Playground to run around on the equipment. Lucia and I push Sophie in circles around the playground while Beth and Conor go on the slides and jungle gym. She likes to take these opportunities to play “fun mom.” We talk about how upsetting the trip has been so far.
 Heckscher Playground, Central Park.
-Beth said we’d get some lunch at one of the copious restaurants along the way to Dylan's Candy Bar. But as is often the case in New York, once you need a restaurant, you can’t really find one—especially one with chairs. So we ate at Subway.
-It was good until I got in a weird sort of argument with Beth about the peppers on my sandwich—I could’ve sworn there was a third kind of pepper I’d never had and she was adamant that they only had two kinds of peppers at Subway and I felt sort of like she was being a little unreasonable—I mean, I saw the man get peppers from 3 different bins, and I suppose the jalapenos could have been sliced two different ways, but it was weird that she was arguing about what I was tasting on my sandwich. Sort of like how she consistently argues with me about people who live in cold climates. She says they can’t do anything when it gets cold outside and snows—that they have to just stay in. Since I come from a place where it frequently snows, a place far colder than New York City, I feel like I can speak intelligently to the fact that people can do plenty of things outside when it snows. But she knows I’m wrong.
-We go to Dylan’s Candy Bar and Beth and Conor go on a crazy shopping spree. Who cares? It’s just overpriced junk food. But she’s Ralph Lauren’s daughter, so she gets to have her own store. Nice. I will say she’s a marketing genius. Way to take a really simple idea and make a fortune out of it. She’s the Willy Wonka of the new millennium.

Willy Wonka.
Dylan Lauren.

-I take a moment when we get home to check my email—I do it in the living room so that I can still supervise the children (makes sense to me, considering Beth and John do it all the time and both Lucia and Beth are there). Conor, being the shit he usually is and hopped up on the pound of sugar Beth gave him on the way home, got into the baby aspirin and spilled it on the floor and Beth flipped out at me saying, “Lacey, can you help? Maybe you can just be here now and there will be time later to play on the computer!”
-I cleaned up the mess and when she came back from her panic in the next room over Sophie’s spit-up (oh my sweet lord! a baby spit up!), I told her I was just checking to see if my rent check cleared and I was sorry and it wouldn’t happen again. I’m starting to think part of the problem is the way she acts as though her children are combustible or fragile—like they’re different than other kids and we have to treat them like we would baby Jesus or a king’s kid or something. They’re fucking kids—and sometimes they get hurt (of course, not when they have 15 care-takers surrounding them at all times) and sometimes they get dirty. That’s life.
-While Beth and John are out to dinner, Lucia and I play with Conor and Sophie. When they come home, we're all dancing to Madagascar’s “Move it, Move It” scene. Beth likes this and imitates it the next night. She can't come up with these things on her own.
-The following morning, I learn that Lucia is sleeping on a four-foot-long LOVESEAT because Conor thinks it’s cool to sleep in a “big boy” bed. Beth allows this—does not stand up for Lucia or attempt to discipline her child so that the grown woman can have a bed to herself. But then again, I’m now sleeping on a couch NEXT to a room with a crib (Sophie’s) and two EMPTY queen size beds—because Beth is afraid Sophie will be kidnapped if she sleeps in a room with a door leading out to the hallway. And if Sophie sees me when she wakes up in the night, she won't stop crying (at least this much we've figured out). But at least my couch is long enough to fit an entire adult human body.


-I go to get the coffees the next day, and Beth says she’ll meet me down there and help carry them back. She doesn’t show. And it’s raining. And there are five coffees, a bagel, some granola, and a muffin.
-We get picked up by a car and go to the three-story Toys "R" Us in the middle of Times Square. It is a hideous monstrosity.  Beth and Conor ride the Ferris wheel while Lucia and I walk around each floor with Sophie and talk shit about Beth.

-When she can’t find us, Beth begins SCREAMING Lucia’s name (I was playing with the baby while Lucia went to the bathroom). It was mortifying. I called to Beth so she’d come find us (and shut up).

-She makes me feel like I’m in high school and I’m about to get caught doing something bad--like I used to get caught smoking cigarettes in the parking lot. But I’m not doing anything bad! It’s like I was saying to Lucia, she makes you feel so crazy because she acts like everything you do is so atrociously wrong that you start to think that maybe it really is atrocious. Maybe you are the horrible, idiot monster she’s making you out to be. But the truth is: she’s completely insane, but has courtroom experience and a law degree, so it’s like she’s a debate Samurai—but though she will win, her argument is asinine. Does that make any sense?
-She sent Lucia to a touristy shop next to Stage Deli so Lucia could buy presents for her family and then got mad when she wasn’t back in 10 minutes and asked me to call her. Lucia got no chance to eat, since Beth was acting like we were in a mad rush to get back to the hotel. Why? So she could go shopping. (Oh, poor Beth! She hasn't had ANY free time with all the parenting she's been doing!)
-Beth made me climb over the back seat of the Escalade because she didn't want to move Conor. (This ended in me losing my cell phone for a day, thereby cutting off all my contact with the outside world.)

-I ask about Lucia and I having a brief chunk of time to ourselves each day—she assumes we mean to have it inside the hotel. With her children. I gingerly explain that we'd each like what some people call "a break." Which is legally required in a work environment. Especially when one's work day is 24-hours long. She is silent. (I think at this point she is REALLY mad that she hired an American-born nanny who knows to what she is entitled and isn't afraid to ask for it.)
-We wash the kids’ clothes in the bathtub with Woolite from the drugstore because it’s “too expensive” to have the hotel do it—and she’s got cheap labor in her suite! It works out okay, though, because I’m able to wash a few things of my own. And laundry gives me satisfaction the way few things do.  I heard from Lucia later that Beth bragged to one of the roadies that with all the money she’d saved having us do her laundry, she was able to buy herself and the kids new clothes at Barney’s. Nice.

Okay, this was another long one. If you're still with me: many thanks! I know that the verb tenses are varied, but I was high on misery when I wrote these entries. Lighter and shorter entries in the next few days! I promise.

*Yet more lyrics from ELO's "Evil Woman."

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