Followers ♥

1.28.2011


this story has now been told several times to friends and family, and it has come to my attention that the use of profanity while recounting this tale is absolutely, and completely necesarry.
sorry for those who are offended by R rated language.

let me start off by saying this:

i'll try anything once. i'm a big fan of "don't knock it til you try it." but just so we're all clear here, there are three things i will never do again:
1. eat fois gras
2. jump off of the cliff at waimea bay
3. be a personal assistant

on my quest to find a steady job out here in hollywood, i've come upon all sorts of interesting positions. on craigslist, i've seen ads for everything from go-go dancers to delivery drivers. however, one of the most common "professions" out here--if you can call it that--is the personal assistant job. as you all know, this industry is filled with rich people who are more than happy to throw their money at anyone who will do something for them. although being a personal assistant sounds like you might get a cool sneak peek into the life of some pseudo-celebrity--who is most likely attending morgan freeman's golden globes party and owns fancy things from brookstone like sock warmers and shiatsu massagers--most people out here know that the job of a personal assistant is anything but glamorous.

on tuesday, i became a personal assistant.
on wednesday,
i quit.

my entire reasoning behind even applying for this job was that there was some cooking involved. if you've been paying attention to my blog, you know that food is a big part of my life. when i stumbled upon a craigslist ad for a part time chef/housekeeper i thought to myself:
i love to cook. and i'm a damn good cleaner.
i may have grown up as a messy kid who refused to brush her hair or put away her underpants where they belonged, but in the last decade of my life, i've become one of the neatest people i know.

example: three days ago, i was using my computer when i realized that the screen was a bit dusty and the crumbs from my english muffin had gotten stuck in the keypad, making it impossible to press down the "T". i stood up and grabbed a paper towel. twenty minutes later, i had dusted and wiped down every surface in my apartment. twenty five minutes later, i was on my hands and knees scrubbing the backside of my toilet. after finishing and washing my hands, i sat down at my computer and realized that the screen was still dusty, and i was still unable to properly type the word "frittata."

after applying for endless jobs on craigslist, i had little to no expectations for ever hearing back from anyone. next thing i knew, an email popped up on my gmail with the subject "RE: Part time Chef/Housekeeper Position" (yes, i actually use correct capitalization when i have to). i was invited to west hollywood for an interview. i jumped for joy and immediately called my mom to tell her of my potential job. i explained to her that although being someone's housekeeper seemed a little strange, there would be cooking involved. and let's face it, i'm the kind of person who wakes up and then immediately makes my bed. maybe this was the universe's way of telling me i needed to share my lysol love with the rest of the world.

the interview went extremely well. i was surprised to learn that the girl who had emailed me was actually the assistant of the man whose amazing house i was standing in. for the remainder of this story, she will now be referred to as "assistant." because he wasn't the one interviewing me AND i never even met or gotten a glimpse at him, he immediately became known as "mystery man" in my head. but for the sake of this blog, we'll just call him charlie. of course i didn't have the opportunity to snap a picture, but the view from the inside of the house looked a little something like this.


it was your typical, ridiculous, obnoxiously large glass windowed, mansion-style-house in the hollywood hills. however, this house had a deck with a windy staircase leading to a guest house, as well as an "infinity" swimming pool--which means that the water appears to be continously flowing like a waterfall (because that's really a great reason to spend an extra three thousand dollars).
i couldn't believe that this is where i could potentially be coming to work every day. to my surprise, the girl i interviewed with basically hired me on the spot and told me to come back tomorrow for a "trial run" of my first day on the job. once again, i called my mom and rambled on about how i would be making fifteen dollars an hour to spend time in a beautiful house on the hills. i woke up the next morning, filled my body full of caffeine and granola bars, strapped on my tennis shoes, and made my way back to west hollywood.

i came prepared to cook, but assistant told me that my first task for the day was to tidy up the bedroom. no big deal--i thought to myself--who doesn't love a good bed-making and opening the blinds? as i first stepped into charlie's sleeping quarters (who i had still yet to meet), i discovered that this bedroom was the size of my entire apartment. i looked around at the messy piles of acid wash jeans and boxer briefs that looked like they had been flung into the room with a slingshot. although i cringed at picking up some strange older man's dirty underwear, i reminded myself that i was getting paid, and i continued to hang his button downs and armani jackets. while digging through his pants pockets to make sure that a set of keys didn't accidentally go through the washing machine--because obviously he's too busy to remember to get things out of his own pockets before throwing his khakis on the floor--assistant came into the room.

"next thing you do is strip the bed. you can leave the comforter on there, but take everything else off."
"oh okay. is it time to wash his sheets?"
"charlie likes his sheets washed once a day."

mental statement: "are you fucking kidding me?"
actual statement: "um. okay."

over the next hour, it was finally time to begin preparing charlie's first meal. the cooking side of the job perplexed me a bit at first. i was only hired to be there for three hours, yet i would be cooking three meals while i was there. either this man was REALLY hungry, or he just doesn't have a very good sense of time. while trying to throw together lemon roasted chicken breast, wilted garlic spinach, and lentil soup in a kitchen where half of the drawers were empty and dishes were piled up in the sink--i was then given my next few chores.

laundry. sweeping. mopping.

i knew that this would be part of the job, i just wasn't sure how they expected me to be in the kitchen chopping garlic, while at the same time upstairs squirting mop-n-glow onto the floor. i hesitantly set down my spatula and began trying to conquer the first bit of laundry. assistant then told me to do it in two loads.
now, i'm no laundry genius or anything, but i believe that when you have an entire set of king size sheets, as well as three week's worth of clothes and towels, you might need to plan on doing more than two loads.

once the first heap of things had been piled to the very brim of the washing machine, i thought about my next task.
sweeping.
i'm usually a big fan of sweeping. ask sara. she lived with me for two and a half years, and in those 912 days, i swept our kitchen floor at least 912 times. i looked around at the enormous dark hardwood floor that stretched across the entire downstairs.

i decided to start with the bedroom.

thinking that i would be given some sort of fancy contraption like a swiffer, i was very surprised at the tool that was suddenly placed into my hand. i expected--at the very least--a typical libman broom that works excellent for sweeping with it's unique slanted head.



but no, i was not given your average kitchen broom. i was not even given a swiffer. or a dustbuster.
instead, i was handed the very broom...
that belonged to the wicked witch of the west.


as assistant placed the large, wooden, crumpled and disfigured broom in my palm. i looked at her as if to say "you're shitting me, right?" instead, what came out was "i mean, i'm going to need a dustpan."

a roll of paper towels, two bottles of surface cleaner, a sponge, the dustpan, and crumply dumply and i went upstairs to charlie's bedroom. i began by sweeping the corners of the room and then working my way in. at first i thought that the rays of sunshine beaming into the room were making the place sparkle. and then i realized that the particles floating through the air were, in fact, dust that i was sweeping up from all directions. it's not as if the broom was collecting paperclips and other random objects that could be easily scooted into a dustpan. no, my wispy friend was sending fuzzballs and dustpiles all over this man's black hardwood floors. i thought to myself, "what the hell. assistant was just in this room and she could clearly see that this dust problem could not be solved with a half-broken broom from 1939 and a tiny dustpan. everyone knows that you can't sweep up dust."
i went back downstairs to finish prepping my omelet, while simoultaneously doing two loads of laundry and cleaning every floor in the house. just five minutes before, i had been extremely close to kicking my pile of dust up into the air, walking downstairs, and telling assistant that i gave up. instead, i took a deep breath, began humming the theme from will and grace, and went back to work in the kitchen. the strange thing about charlie's house was all of the boys that kept coming in and out. apparently, one of them was a brother, one was a cousin, and another was probably a friend taking advantage of the infinity pool. all of the guys were in their late teenager years to early twenties, and i couldn't for the life of me figure out what the hell they were doing there. i assumed they lived in the guest house and just spent their days flirting with assistant and playing basketball in the driveway. the next thing i knew, a ridiculously good looking australian walked into the kitchen. granted, he was probably twenty one years old--but when you have an australian accent, things like age don't count. it was at this exact moment that i was once again overwhelmed with a "this isn't right." feeling:

assistant, charlie's mom, random boy #1, random girl from norway, and hot australian were sitting around the kitchen table. the mom was offering drinks and snacks and everyone else was chatting away and shooting the shit.

FLASH TO FANNY: i'm standing in the kitchen holding a bottle of antibacterial spray and meticulously picking sesame seeds off of the granite countertop. i looked at the group sitting at the table--laughing, mingling--and then i realized,
holy shit. no one is talking to me because they think i'm the help. i should be over there in front of the crowd, making them reel with laughter as i regale hilarious stories about my fantastic cat olive--while at the same time smoothly hitting on hot australian. but no, cinderella is too fucking busy in the kitchen figuring out the proportions of bleach-to-water for her mop and bucket.

and then just when i think things can't get any worse, assistant gets up and walks over to me.
"by the way, make sure you put a glass of water next to the food at the table. and then make sure there's one upstairs by his bed. and one on the desk in the office. also, make sure there is a bottle of water in each of his cars."

mental statement: did you really just tell me that this asshole needs to have a glass of water in each one of his rooms?
actual statement: silence.

 he's obviously one hell of a businessman to own a house in the hills like this at the young age of thirty four, but this man is no celebrity. at this point, i STILL haven't met him and i'm beginning to think that he's just a head. regardless of celebrity status, i'd like to assume that even the rich and famous are able to get themselves a bottle of water to quench their thirst.
case and point:




now, i could be wrong to say that these drinks found themselves into the hands of these celebrities with no middle man involved, but i'd like to think that even people who are rich and famous...
pour their own water.
and if you're that fucking thirsty every time you walk into a new room, you should probably see a doctor.
while trying to pick my jaw off of the floor after being told about charlie's outrageous beverage requirements, i decided to change the subject back to the floors. i explained to assistant that my oversized broom had simply made matters worse upstairs, and that i would be needing something slightly more powerful to attack the downstairs floor. i expected her to open a closet containing all sorts of mops, buckets, and swiffer wet jets. instead, she handed me a long pole with what appeared to be a sesame street character attached to the end.

mental statement: what the fuck is that.
actual statement: what is that.

assistant then told me that this gigantic fuzzy masterpiece would be the best solution for clearing the dust off of these floors.
i thought to myself: if this piece of shit had wings, the only thing it would be the best solution for...is getting me the fuck out of here.
as i slid this awkward mess back and forth across the floor in straight lines--just as i had once seen a zamboni do at the ice house in cary--i realized that i was, yet again, causing nothing more than a blizzard of dust. luckily, under the steinway piano in the corner was the perfect place to store whatever remnants of fuzz that hadn't clung to my black leggings. i suddenly remembered that i was supposed to be doing laundry. i yanked part of the bedsheets out of the dryer to find that not only was it covered in wrinkles, it was still about sixty percent damp. knowing that i had to get the second load into the dryer, i did my best to fold the oversized tan sheet.

while standing in the dark--because i couldn't find the lightswitch in the laundry room--i haphazardly made my sixth attempt to maneuver this ridiculously large piece of bedding into a square. my first mistake was that it was still damp, and my second was that i can't fold for shit. it's not that i'm laundry-challenged, but when given a large piece of wet and crinkled material that would normally take an entire soccer team to fold, it's very likely that i'm going to either A. give up or B. find the easy way out. i went with option number two, balled the sheet up, and then formed the top layer into a rectangle so that it would appear to be neatly creased and folded.

at that point i realized to myself: well you've already fucked this up pretty bad, so you might as well leave now with at least some of your dignity.

but i did not leave.
i went back out there with my splintery broom, my scraggled mop, and my pile of vegetables i had been cutting on and off for the past two hours--and i worked until exactly five o'clock. i smiled at assistant, told her i had a great day, and gladly accepted the diet handbook to look through for tomorrow' meals.
i went home, wrote assistant an email telling her i was just offered another job, and then celebrated by buying myself yogurtland.


did i learn anything from this experience? sure. i learned that some people are so lazy and rich that they can pay others to have a drink ready for them in each room. i learned that the kind of person who likes their sheets changed once a day is most likely a douchebag. i learned that there are thirty four year old men out there who still act like frat boys because they have people who are hired to pick up after them. i learned that cooking three meals and cleaning an entire mansion in a period of three hours is a task that can only be completed by a super-maid, or possibly a wizard. i learned that dust fits very nicely under a grand piano. i learned that a hot australian boy who--under any other circumstances-- would be asking for my number, isn't going to make small talk with someone that he thinks just cleaned a toilet. i learned that being an assistant means that your job is to tell the housekeeper what to do. i learned that if you're not supposed to leave clothes in the washing machine when you leave, but you're planning on quitting, then it's probably okay.

oh...you meant, what did i learn about myself?

i learned that it's okay to humiliate yourself for $45 as long as it's going to make a KICKASS blog post.


2 comments:

Steve said...

Well that was one HELL of a post and a very great treatise on why you should never ever become a personal assistant (unless you really need the $45).

That being said...

Hi there Fanny!

My name is Steve Walters and I recently started blogging at http://www.eatingbangkok.com, which is currently being updated with recipes, but in the next few months will be my vehicle for covering the food and restaurant scene in Bangkok Thailand.

I am now in the process of meeting as many food bloggers as I can and I found your site http://raleighwoodtohollywood.blogspot.com/ recently and was pretty impressed. I've added your site to my Foodie Blogs list here: http://www.eatingbangkok.com/foodie-blogs/ and would also like to add you to my blogroll.

If you could add my site to your blogroll and write back to let me know it has been added (foodie [at] eatingbangkok.com) I will add you to mine as well and the exchange would be greatly appreciated!

As you might imagine I am very excited to get moved to Bangkok and get started on covering the food scene there as I feel it is an area that isn't well covered by English speaking bloggers. I plan on adding loads of great reviews, pictures and even video and will be holding contests as well. It should be fun, entertaining and informative for everyone that visits.

Thank you so much in advance for adding me to your blogroll and I look forward to reading your posts (I've subscribed!) and maybe even featuring some of your own posts as I do plan on a weekly roundup of Thai themed recipes and posts from other food bloggers.

Warm regards,
Steve

P.S. If you are on Twitter I would love to have you as a follower and I follow back:
http://www.twitter.com/eatingbangkok

simple girl said...

http://inthemindoflovestricken.blogspot.com/2011/02/blog-award.html