Natalie works a lot. Saving the world takes effort. I’d like to think this blog is my contribution to making the world a better place but who are we kidding… it’s mostly a way to keep myself (and you) distracted and make your jobs more tolerable.
Natalie, on the other hand, works constantly. It isn’t unusual for her to work her full day and come home and sit in a phone conference for another two hours a few nights during the week. I have already been told she has work to do Sunday. During this time I don’t bother her except on the rare occasion I enter the room to get something (usually a cable or a comic book) keeping my noise and time in her space to a minimum.
The other day she said she needs a Stacy* at home for her organizing. Stacy is her legal secretary at work that keeps her pointed in the right direction. She’s the Odd Job to Natalie’s Blofeld. The one who knows where all the bodies are buried.
Since we can’t afford another Stacy and I suggested she needs a Vanessa.
Vanessa is my friend Jon’s seventeen year old niece.
She’s a senior in high school and applying for colleges so I figure she is going to need stuff on a resume. Maybe some kind of course credit. I picture it working something like this:
We have two bedrooms one of which has become a defacto Guest Room/Junk Room/Natalie’s Office. We set out a small TV table and one of our ottomans at the top of the staircase with a desk lamp. We get Vanessa a little pant suit (I envision very similar if not exactly to what Natalie would be wearing the same day). Vanessa sits outside the door at the top of the staircase with a Bluetooth and a laptop making phone calls, arranging meetings and getting her coffee from the Starbucks across from the Walmart. She would do a little filing, laugh at Natalie’s jokes and take her breaks in my kitchen where she would read Natalie’s old Domino and Architecture Digest magazines uninterrupted for an hour. Maybe the two of them would bond over shoes at the Payless and Natalie would gives her advice about being a woman in America. At times I would try to see my wife and it would go something like this:
JIM goes to open the door at the top of the staircase.
VANESSA: I’m sorry. You can’t go in there.
JIM: I want to see Natalie.
VANESSA: She’s not in right now.
JIM: Yes she is. I’ve been downstairs for two hours playing Gears Of War 2 and she hasn’t left. I saw you go downstairs and get two cups of coffee and you’re drinking one.
VANESSA: Do you have an appointment?
JIM: She’s my wife. I don’t need an appointment.
VANESSA: Sir, don’t make me call security.
JIM: This is my house. Natalie screams when the toilet overflows. I am the security here.
VANESSA: Sir, there is no need for that tone. You can make an appointment or you can leave a message.
JIM: But… I just wanted to know what she wanted for dinner.
VANESSA: Make an appointment or you can leave a message.
JIM: Fine. I’ll leave a message.
VANESSA: Very well. Do you have a business card or a number she can reach you at?
This ends with a frustrated Jim going back to his Xbox 360 and Vanessa goes back to updating her Facebook page, Twittering, text messaging, writing a blog to dodge real work or whatever it is kids do these days. At the end of the semester Natalie would write her a letter of recommendation good at pretty much anywhere accept at FoxNews (where Natalie is considered an Enemy Of The State).
I realize that my brother and I were essentially personal assistants to my dad when we were taught to mow the lawn at age ten or shovel snow from the driveway. Sure, these are chores and there are parents that don’t make to their kids do chores but my father would call those kids lazy and their parents suckers. He also said allowance without chores is called welfare. We once complained we didn’t have a remote control television and he told us he had two remotes. When I asked to see them he made me get up and change the channel so he could watch Magnum PI.
I watch my brother and nephew and they have a very father/son/partner relationship. Very much a Batman/Robin thing happening there. Years ago I asked my brother does he ever think about how old our father is (who was 49 when I was born) and he told me he doesn’t even think of dad as dad but more like the guy that lives with us. When I watch Alex and Bobby together that’s what they seem like. Like they’re hanging out.
Except every now and again Bobby gets some cheap labor out of Alex.
*Stacy is not the real name of Natalie’s secretary but when I told her I was writing this blog she said I should get her permission and quite frankly I am too lazy to do that. Vanessa, however, can handle the fame and fortune that comes with getting mentioned in my blog.