Friday, 24 December 2010

Just wanted to take a few stolen moments on my  mother's giant laptop (since mine now also doesn't play videos or open most files in addition to having "no airport." Lovely.) and wish you all a very sincere Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever you're calling this weekend. 
Yes, I may be sitting in a Fancy vacation rental, somewhere on the Continent, enjoying Fancy food and Fancy wine with my Fancy husband and children. But I've also got my student-sister here who I see very little of. And my poor old Dad, who hates nothing more than a Trans-Atlantic flight but sucked it up and came all the way over to see my babies. And of course, my gorgeous niece, who I definitely don't see enough of but is still my little buddy. 
I use this blog as a means of keeping myself grounded, reminding myself what is important, by poking fun at the ridiculous life I have. But who needs a blog to do that when surrounded by this group of family and friends? Rather than sit at this computer, I think I'd rather go watch The Princess and Tough Cookie chew on their cousin's crayons while nibbling cookies and chocolate Santas. 
So, I wish you a very Merry Holiday. May you find a bit of that peace and joy that seems to elude us all year long but makes a very real appearance for a couple days in Winter. See you next week! 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Vacation, Fancy Style

Hello and sorry for the silence!! Yes, I've made it to the continent! Thanks to a very, very Unfancy airline. You know which one I'm talking about, don't you? I'm always so very perplexed when I fly with them (which is only when absolutely necessary). Who wouldn't pay for priority boarding? It's less than the cost of the train ticket to the airport. Seriously. 
So after all our Heathrow drama, our belongings remain on the tarmac, "trace ongoing," according to BA's website. Beautiful. No travel cribs. Half our clothes. Of course, that just meant we made the luggage weight cut off at the airport (19.3 kg, 19.6 kg, 19.8 kg thank you very much!). 
And now I greet you from my very Fancy holiday rental. A 13th Century completely renovated home with 9 bedrooms, all ensuite. H and I are treating the entire family, who only had to find their way to this tiny mountain town. Today will be a historical walking tour, followed by dinner in a local restaurant. Tomorrow is cooking class, complete with our own translator. And of course, there is a lot of booze flowing around. Sigh. This is the way my vacation was supposed to go. That whole BA/BAA marriage made in hell seems like a bad dream. I'm blocking it out. 
Of course, it's not all perfect here. Tough Cookie stole her cousin's travel cot (which we bought for her anyway so really it's pretty fair) and the Princess is sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Frau Fancy is in one room and H in the other, babies divided between us. (Ha, don't think we started that way. Night one meant Fancy Me slept about 15 minutes while H had his own room. That wasn't going to work for a week.) 
And to top off our adventures, H dropped my Fancy computer last night while I was cooking a Fancy seafood feast for the whole gang. Which means my wireless is no longer working. And I'm rapidly typing on my mother's decidedly Unfancy PC, just to let you know that I'm still very alive, very Fancy and wishing all of you a very Happy Holiday. Just in case I can't find another 5 minutes to myself this week. And now, off to continue my vacation, Fancy style. x

Sunday, 19 December 2010

When Fancy Gets Mad

Greetings from London! No, I’m not on holiday on the continent. Fancy People get just as screwed by airlines and crap weather as Poor Folk. We just don’t deal with it as well. So, a couple weeks back my fine friend Notes invited me to a rant. At the time I only had one thing making me crazy: Hey Nannies! Stop getting sick so I can spend an hour at the computer! But after 2 full days at Heathrow, I’ve got a whole can of Fancy Anger to unleash. If you will so indulge me…

Hey BAA! You do know that it snows sometimes in England, right? So why do you only have one deicer and why doesn’t anyone know how to use it? You ever flown out of Helsinki? They don’t seem to have a problem with 2 feet of snow, but 14 flakes had you completely paralyzed. It’s not the first time, it’s not the last so get a frickin’ plan please!

Hey Check In Desk! Kindly stop telling me to go to the self-check in kiosk. Can you not see the two infants I’m pushing with one hand while the other holds three bags of food, toys and diapers? People with babies can’t use the kiosk. Why do I have to explain this to you? Put down your coffee and get out your little typing finger and check me the hell in!

Hey BA! If you cancel my flight, maybe you could automatically rebook me? It might not be the perfect time or day but at least I’ll have a plan. If you can’t do that, can you pick up your phone? Maybe hire someone to work the lines after 8pm? Not just hang up on me every time I call (no less than 50 times thank you) after a very insincere apology that you are “very busy.” ANSWER THE GD PHONE!

Hey BAA and BA! When you unload the luggage from cancelled flights, could you have a plan? Say maybe all luggage from one flight, then all the luggage from another? That might be better than the scene Saturday night, when you started dumping random, unannounced bags on the floor, realized what a disaster you’d created and then closed the hall and kicked everyone out. I’ll say it again: get a plan. Any 5 year-old could have handled that situation with more intelligence.

Hey Managers! When the airport is a disaster, come to work. I know it’s Saturday and it’s cold out. But do you really want your underlings telling me that they are on their own, with no one making decisions because you’re sitting on your couch with a cup of mulled wine? Get off your ass and fix this!

Hey Fellow Travellers! Guess what, I also want my bags and I also didn’t sleep last night. So stop shoving and get in the fucking queue. We aren’t getting our bags any faster if you insist on crowding the airline representative at the door or ignoring the police who are trying to exert a little crowd control. Sit down and read a book like I’m doing. I’ve been in the queue for 3 hours. Get the fuck behind me!

Hey Overhead announcement lady! Stop telling me to leave the airport and rebook online. Your website won’t allow me to. You haven’t updated it. And no, I can’t report lost luggage there either. Your site specifically asks for the 10-digit number that you are supposed to hand me in person. And by the way, why, oh why do you give the microphone to the person with the thickest accent you can find? It’s like a scene from Charlie Brown when the teacher is talking. Can’t understand you!

And finally, British Airways, I’m talking to you. Don’t put my luggage from my cancelled flight in a big container on the tarmac that you can’t access after 1/16th an inch of snow. I gave you my travel cots and snowsuits in good faith. That bag had their new Christmas PJs and beautiful Ralph Lauren mittens. I didn’t go anywhere but you still have my children’s things. And you are telling me that maybe I’ll see them in a few days. That would be helpful if I didn’t need them for the trip I’m planning on taking tomorrow with a different airline. You have my Christmas in those bags and you are holding it hostage. After 8 hours with you yesterday, I bet you know that I’m the kind of lady who would happily slide across the ice and snow, risking life and limb to get her Fancy travel beds. Because now my children have nowhere to sleep and their shoes won't match their dresses at Christmas dinner. I hate you.

Thank you for listening. The adventure continues. Will update accordingly.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Fancy People Travels

Hello from Heathrow. If you happen to be here, I’m the haggard looking lady sitting in the V Bar, having a glass of wine. Oh, you see me? Hi! Yes, that is Nanny  #1 taking TC to the baby changing station. And yep, that would be The Princess sleeping in her Fancy pram. What’s that? Oh, no, silly, that’s not Santa. That’s H. I know there is a resemblance, but no, really.  Come again? What’s with my skin? Pale, splotchy? Oh that’s just holiday stress. See, Fancy people have crap travel disasters too. We’re not immune. 
As I sip my wine, I dream. Maybe someday we’ll be Super Fancy and look back laughing at this trip. “Oh H, ha ha, do you remember when we were poor and had to fly commercial!?” We’ll have a hearty chuckle and disembark from our private jet, painted purple and parked on our little airport on our little private island.
That sounds so much nicer than a box of cold Wagamama for dinner, only 4 more diapers left in my bag until we get to the Continent and two children who are decidedly bored before we’ve even taken off. The only thing that makes this bearable is Nanny #1. I just went and bought her an iPod charger to thank her for marching my children around the terminal while I try to find my buzz and a book with a good plot. Ah, holiday travel. Fancy style.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Therapy, Fancy Style

I’m not ashamed to say I have a therapist. I lived in New York. They assign you one when you get your drivers license. Seriously. Okay, but they should. New Yorkers have issues. I have issues. And I have a therapist. I found him shortly after I met H. I had broken up with my prior shrink just before I met my future Fancy Husband, mostly because he kept pestering me about fixing him up with one of my friends. Anyway, I’m a big believer in therapy and I’m quite attached to this extremely Fancy, extremely Expensive therapist. When we moved to London, he referred me to an English colleague. The guy was nice enough, but I needed that New York sharpness. I want a shrink who says, “What the Fuck is wrong with you? Are you listening to yourself?!” Not the guy who says, “Oh, and how did that make you feel.” I need direction and applicable advice, not Freudian reflection. Anyway, I digress.
Back to my New York therapist. The deal we finally settled on was video chat. It usually works great, even with BT at the controls, and allows me to see him when he stands up and starts shouting at me.  We usually meet monthly but have doubled our sessions the last couple of months because “he’s concerned” for me. (Or he needs a new sailboat and I’m paying for it. One of the two) I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch since the girls were born. It turns out that when you marry a Fancy Husband, you make “a deal” that his Fancy Job comes first and your new job is to manage his Fancy Home, Fancy Children and your Fancy Self.
Now, if I’d grown up Amish, this wouldn’t be difficult to swallow. However, it seems like I went to sleep in the 21st century, with letters and degrees behind my name, and woke up in an actual episode of Mad Men. All I need is a martini at breakfast and some very pointy bras. My therapist has been working hard to help me merge my feminist self with my new 1950’s housewife role. And I have to say, it’s good that we’ve upped our sessions. Take, for example, what happened last weekend, when all FIVE of my nannies and babysitters were sick/out of town/busy.
The conversation went like this:
“Do you think maybe Sunday I could sleep in?” I asked, half joking.
“I have calls! I have work! What do you think pays for this house?”
“Um, could I go to the gym for 45 minutes maybe?”
“And when, I ask you,” H replied in annoyed tone, “am I supposed to read the 150 pages I need to get through before my calls? I have work to do.”
And here is where I bit my tongue. And I held my teeth firmly there the next day when my darling Fancy Man slept until half past twelve. I didn’t shower. I didn’t get to the gym. But I also didn’t scream, shout or stab anyone with a fork.
And this is why I have a Fancy Therapist. We reflect on where I went wrong in my approach and how to better get what I want and need (a shower! An hour alone!) the next time this happens. He helps me see the world from H’s perspective. I do love my husband and he does work awfully hard. But it’s also hard work learning to be an effective Fancy Wife. And $800 for 45 minutes seems like nothing compared to the alternative, don’t you think?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Why I Need a Robot

Who said Nannies are allowed to get sick? Isn’t there a law against this?
Last Thursday evening Nanny #1 texted me with a warning that she might not be feeling well enough in the morning to come to work. I am not stupid. I knew that meant she wasn’t coming. Which normally would be fine, if I weren’t waiting for a piano delivery and for the storage company to bring out my Christmas decorations and take some more baby clothes away. I told H who said, “you better call someone else right now,” and looked at me like I was stupid. Actually, he didn’t just look, he said, “are you stupid?” But I just told you I’m not. So I called Babysitter #1, who said that Babysitter #2 could come at noon and stay until late. (Babysitter #2 works for #1. My house is sort of like a giant pyramid scheme.) Great. Friday solved.
However, just as I got the piano unpacked and the Christmas decorations up, my phone beeped again. Nanny #3 (The Weekends) was in bed. With some Eastern European throat malady. Babysitters #1 and #2 were working a major London social event the entire weekend. We were on our own. Wait, let me rephrase: I was on my own. I’m a Fancy Wife. A Fancy Husband hires people to help his wife, he doesn’t actually do it himself, but that’s another post for another day.
The rest of the weekend went by in a bit of a blur. I did brush my teeth. Once. I did 14 loads of laundry, some of which got put away. I learned how to clean the kitchen while holding 20 pounds of feverish, screaming infant. I went to the grocery store in sweats. In other words, I guess I was a normal person. By Sunday evening, I was in a state of tired that I’ve not experienced in a very long time. The house was clean, the laundry done, the children clean and fed. I even made a cioppino for dinner and dismantled both high chairs and scrubbed them til them gleamed. I can actually be industrious.
But just because I can, doesn’t mean I want to. I want a robot Nanny. One who doesn’t get sick. Ever.
And then my phone beeped again. Nanny #1 wants a day off to visit the family she was too sick to see over the weekend. Of course I said yes. It’s Christmas. But I said yes to tomorrow. Today I am having a shower. Robot Nannies don’t have family either, do they?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

It's My Own Fancy Fault

As I’ve said, sometimes I feel like I have control over my own home. I don’t love having a million people in here at all hours, but the alternative would be: doing everything myself, doing it half-ass, bitching about it, and probably getting divorced. The secret to a Happy Fancy Marriage? Household staff. At least that is what my therapist says.
Anyhoo, in another shining example of where my staff has done something with the best of intentions, let me tell you the story of TC’s dummy. The one I saw in her mouth yesterday morning.
The girls prefer American dummies. Why wouldn’t they? We call them pacifiers and don’t insult their natural need to suck on something buy implying a negative level of general comprehension. This does create a little issue, however, in that it can be difficult to get more dummies at the drop of a hat. We have them shipped over by family or I pick up about 20 when I’m home. (The people at Babies R Us think I’m odd, stocking up on Carters blanket sleepers in 3 sizes and every single Soothie in stock). Anyway, suffice it to say that I’m a bit of a nut about not losing the dummies.
So a few weeks back I was walking down the street in our neighbourhood when I saw, to my horror, one very yellow and orange American style dummy lying in the street. With tire tracks. I couldn’t say for absolutely certainty that it was TC’s but come on. How many American dummies in orange and yellow can there be in central London? I hesitated for only a second before reaching down and, while looking to make sure no one was watching, popping that sucker right into my purse. I didn’t actually intend to return it to my precious little baby. But I thought, just in case of a Dummy Emergency, I’d have a back-up plan. Not ideal but better than an angry, inconsolable infant, no?
Well, you know what happened next, don’t you? I cleaned out my purse and put said dummy in a corner next to some random junk. I can’t say for sure but I imagine that it was then discovered by one of the housekeepers who “helpfully” returned it to the dummy basket in the kitchen. From there it probably worked its way down the stairs and into their room, landing in TC’s cot. And then her mouth.
Maybe if I were the kind of Mum who changed the cot sheets, I’d have intercepted it. But I’m not. So I can’t really complain when I see a dirty, scuffed slightly mangled dummy hanging from my kid’s mouth, can I? I just smile and swallow. Hard. 

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Fancy Reading Lists

There seems to be a list going around of the BBC's top 100 books that are in the running for Great Britain's best loved novel. 100 books. A few of you delightful bloggers out there are posting the list and highlighting what you've read and italicizing what you'd like to read and probably feeling pretty good about yourselves, aren't you? It's nice to look at such an impressive list and cross off all those little boxes, isn't it?

Well, I'm not participating. Because I'm too embarrassed. I looked at your list, oh British Broadcasters, and I can remember reading 25 of them. Yes, one quarter of the most loved novels of Britain have found there way through the wall of absolute trash that is my favorite kind of read. And may I remind you that I have over a decade of higher education? I just wasn't an English major! (Because I wanted a job, not a lesbian girlfriend with hairy legs. Ha just joking. Just wanted to ruffle a few feathers!) There might be a few more that I suffered through (or Cliff Noted) in high school, but I can't say with certainty. And I will say that one of them I listened to on tape, but I counted that, because otherwise I've checked the following:

  • 4 Harry Potter novels (yes I've read them all. More than once. But only 4 are on the list.
  • Yes, all four of the Roald Dahls. Bought them again recently in a box set. 
  • The other four children's books on the list.
  • One Dickens, one Steinbeck, and two Brontes (how do you put the dots on the e?)
  • And a smattering of others
Now, do we really consider Bridget Jones to be a novel? That would be great, because then I could call all those books on my nightstand "Novels" when H makes a snarky comment. Is Gone With The Wind also one? Fabulous! And John Irving, well I thought incest and midgets weren't really the stuff of revered literature, but hey. And finally, oh Thank God. The Clan of the Cave Bear. Well we all know why that book is on the list don't we? Where else did my 12 year-old self learn about sex? So I can add soft porn to my list! 

Now that I look at it, I'm now feeling less embarrassed and a little more impressed with myself. Between beach reads and my women's erotica collection, I'm looking pretty good. Fancy and erudite. What a combination.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Fancy Children, Fancy Germs

The thing about being Fancy is that it protects you from a lot of unpleasant things in life, like scrubbing your own toilets or giving birth to your own children. Unfortunately, Fancy is not a complete suit of armour. It can buy you a lot of help and save you a lot of trouble. The Princess, however, has been sick. And let me tell you, this child knows the difference between her Fancy Mama and any Nanny. Here’s how my weekend went.
A few days ago the girls got jabs. Of course we go to one of those Fancy private hospitals where the lobby looks like a scene from Lawrence of Arabia. The paediatric section is overrun with American accents because those of us who grew up in the Colonies have a thing about paediatricians seeing our children for well-checks and all that other medically wasteful stuff. Anyhoo, the both of them have had runny noses for, oh about 3 months, and cough like old men with 3 pack-a-day smoking habits. But when won’t they have colds in the winter? So we got our jabs and all went fine. Until the next day, when The Princess developed a fever. At first I thought it was shot-related but that should only last a day, right? Not 5 days of crying, vomiting, refusing to eat and clinging to me day and night. No this was probably some Fancy virus she picked up at her Fancy Gymboree class.
Now you have to understand something about The Princess. There is a reason she is called this. From the moment she was born, she has been royally demanding. But at the same time she’s so unbelievably cute (yes people do stop me on the street and tell me this) that you tend to give in. According to The Princess, there is but one baby who matters in this house. There is also only one Mummy. The Mummy belongs to The Princess. The other baby is allowed to stay in her room and share her toys. But when The Princess is sick, the other baby is relegated to the arms of her father or a Nanny and can’t come near The Mummy.
So I spent the weekend on the sofa, holding The Princess. Tough Cookie went out to the park and played with Nanny #3. H took a couple naps, surfed the Internet and occasionally came to check on us. I wasn’t allowed to watch TV or read a book. No, I had to gaze lovingly at my daughter. Anything else wasn’t permitted. I didn’t eat. I didn’t go to the toilet. I sat on the couch, cuddling a sick baby. (Eventually a wine glass found it’s way to me, but that was pretty much the highlight.)
In the end, no matter how Fancy you are, unless you actually want to relegate every part of parenting to your employees including loving and nurturing your children, there will be times when you are not free to do as you’d please. You answer to a smaller, more powerful person. Because you love her with all your heart. Even when she throws up on you. Or more precisely, on your new Diane Von Furstenburg. Lasagna and ibuprofen. I would say that this weekend, I was definitely NOT particularly Fancy.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Fancy Contest

Last night I attended an art show that was invitation only. I don’t get art, I don’t pretend to understand it. However, when H is invited to these kinds of events I say yes for two reasons: 1) it is important for him to attend “business-social” events and as Wife, it is my job to stand there looking pretty and 2) maybe, just maybe, some of this culture will rub off on me. I can’t read books that require focus, I can’t stand movies with subtitles and I really get annoyed about 15 minutes after walking into the Tate Modern (what is “art” about a stuffed bird pinned to a wall?!). So I attend these events in the optimistic belief that one day I’ll suddenly understand what the fuss is about. Oh, and there’s free champagne. That definitely helps.

So last night’s event was a showing of Indian miniatures. Now, you must remember that I’m highly educated and most believe me to be of above-normal intelligence. But apparently I had an attack of The Stupids because I assumed that “Indian minatures” were little tiny statues of Buddha or something. Um, not so. Apparently they are small paintings or drawings. Already I’d learned something! Before I got there though, I was greeted at the door by a nice man taking coats. He checked the guest list and there I was, “and wife,” right next to H’s name. Nothing makes you feel like a valued member of society than seeing a long list of names and realizing you are the only one called, “and wife.” No matter, I tossed him my coat and went upstairs, the clinking of champagne glasses drawing me like a moth to a flame.

Realizing quickly that I was, in fact, going to be looking at tiny little paintings, I grabbed some champers and found H, who was deep into a business conversation. Not wanting to distract them by awkwardly clinging to his arm, I wandered the room for a bit, scenes of Hookahs reminding me of my university days. Finally the “business” part of the evening seemed to wind down and I found my way back to H, who was deep in conversation with a very nice man who has two sons, one of whom went to Cambridge, the other to Oxford. The fact that I learned this in the first 3 minutes of our conversation is telling, isn’t it?

The other men in the group were work colleagues of H’s, some of them Fancy and some of them Very Fancy. They were discussing whether any of them would be interested in purchasing the collection. It’s only £3.5 million and must be sold whole or not at all. What does one do with £3.5 million worth of tiny drawings? Where do you put it all? Can you eat it? Wear it? Burn it for warmth? I ended this ridiculous conversation by stating that it was too late. I’d already put it on my Amex. Airline miles, you know. And that we’d be clearing out the Gift Wrap room in our house because I can probably move the wraps and ribbons down the hall to the Arts & Crafts room and then I’d have a place for all my little pieces of art. They looked at me like they weren’t quite sure if I was serious. That’s the real reason I go to these things, isn’t it? I constantly have this uncontrollable urge to make fun of these over-stuffed peacocks and it’s soooo easy to do and oh so very fun. Oh, and did I mention that the boys who went to Fancy schools have become Very Fancy? One just won a Tony and the other is a “tycoon.” How very nice for them. Snort. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Others

I am constantly looking around and comparing myself to others. Yes, sometimes because I’m insecure and jealous. But other times I use this exercise to keep myself grounded. I’ll look at a family standing in the grocery, trying to decide whether they can afford a box of crackers on special and I’ll think, “Lordy, is my life easy.” Of course, I’m not a saint. I’ll also look at another family and think, “Oh good heavens. Thank God my house doesn’t reek of curry.” I’m not really all that nice.
Anyway, if I’m ever feeling bad or out of touch, one thing I can do is visit H’s office. I’ll take the assistants out for drinks and let them regale me with tales of the Other Fancy Corporate Wives. Because, believe me, if I ever think I’m not grounded, these women are hot air balloons.
If I feel guilty about asking H’s assistant to rebook a car that is meant to take the four of us somewhere, I just think about the wife who called asking for someone to find the shoe store where she shopped last summer in Paris and get her the phone number. (It’s on the credit card receipt, darling!)
When I feel a little embarrassed about asking for a personal engagement to be put on his work calendar (just in case a business dinner can be scheduled with flexibility), I remind myself of the wife who called her husband’s secretary with a list of demands to pass along to the party planner. For the two-year old’s birthday. Because apparently her time is too valuable to speak to a party clown.
When I feel bad about asking the girls to put some healthy snacks in the kitchen (next to the entire produce drawer of candy bars! Seriously?) for H, so that maybe we can eke a few more days out of his surely shortened existence, I love to think of one of the assistant’s face when she told the tale of the wife who asked her to bake a birthday cake for their kid’s party. Shaped like a frog.
And when I look around guiltily as I steal a Dr. Pepper Zero for myself (where do they get this? Ocado doesn’t have it!) and a banana for the girls from the office kitchen, I remember that some of the wives ask for the weekly lunch schedule and then “drop by” around noon on Mediterranean day. Like you can’t afford to buy yourself a sandwich? And don’t tell me it’s so you can spend time with your husband. These guys don’t have time to sit and eat. You cheap mooch.
So, no matter where you are in life, it helps to look around and see where you sit in relation to your peers. I’m just so glad that I know so many women who make me look so stinking good. It’s not hard to be everyone’s favorite Fancy Wife in a big office: just be the lady with less attitude and more free martinis!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Sleep Training: Fancy Style

We’re weaning off the Night Nanny. It’s been over a year that I’ve had someone here with the girls almost every night. Initially the plan was just until we could get some kind of schedule. But The Princess needed feeding every 2 hours due to low birth weight and took over an hour to drink an ounce.  H was back to work and my family was gone after the first two weeks. I was alone, except for the baby nurse, and without her I wouldn’t have survived. I like my bed. Love my daughters. But need my bed. Like an idiot, I thought we would only need the baby nurse weekdays, since H would be with us weekends and we’re both competent adults. Oh how stupid was I? H loves his wife and his daughters but really, really loves his bed. The first weekend I let the nanny off, H insisted that we go out to dinner, infant in tow. (I’ve got pictures of a 6-pound infant sitting at a sushi bar. Very cute.) And when we got home, he said, “Good Night,” and trotted off to our (his) room. When he arose the next morning at 5 am for a conference call, he walked into the living room and said, “What are you doing?” I looked up with a tear-stained face and wrapped the decorative throw tightly around my quivering shoulders. “She fell asleep at 3.” “That sucks,” H chuckled and walked back to his office. Needless to say, the new rule was: Grandma or a Night Nanny.
Then came Tough Cookie. She arrived just as Princess was settling into a decent sleep pattern. And she destroyed us. Screamed every evening for 5 hours. I persisted in my idiotic attempt to “be the Mom,” and tried dealing with them myself for the two evening hours between nannies. H came home one night early and watched me run between rooms, turning on a swing or adjusting a swaddle and then using those brief seconds between screams to tend to a 4-month old who was trying to learn to self-soothe. 45 minutes that man sat on the sofa and watched me, until the night shift arrived. He grabbed the wine bottle and our dinner (yes I had managed to cook during all of this) and ran to our bedroom, threw himself on the floor in hysterics and said, “What the hell was that?” Needless to say, the new rule was: no break between nannies until TC gets over her colic. We ate out every night that month but three.
Then came our summer holiday. Yes, we had grandparents during the day and evening, but nighttime was a proper family affair. With two cots in our hotel room, the plan was to assign each of us to one child. That plan quickly ended when H loudly whispered, “Help me! I can’t find her face!” while trying to put her dummy back in the dark. When the sun finally rose, H looked at me and said, “Don’t get rid of the Night Nanny. Just don’t.” Occasionally he looked at the bank statements and sighed but that weekend left a serious impression.
And that is how I found myself this weekend with my first Saturday night without a sitter since The Princess was born. Seriously. She walks and talks. And sleeps all night. As does Tough Cookie. But we love Nanny #2 and she wanted the money and I loved the convenience so we’ve just kept it going on the weekends. (I took over weeknights about 2 months ago.) But this Saturday she had plans. So I decided to not call the backup sitters and invite the neighbours over for dinner Chez Fancy. It all went fine right until they left around midnight. The closing of the front door woke one of the girls. There was no consoling her. I didn’t want her waking her sister and I’d had just enough wine to make me feel all lovey and kind. So upstairs she came, violating every single rule about sleep training, to watch telly with her Mum. Of course I didn’t stop there, in my reckless road toward undoing a years’ worth of Night Nannying. Oh no! I took her to bed with me! She had no interest in going back to her cot. So we lay down on the guest bed together. Around 2 am I put her back in her own space. Two hours later her sister awoke and she came to bed with me. The night went on like this until morning, when Nanny #3 arrived and I handed both children off and stumbled upstairs to my own room.
They say it takes about three days to make or break a habit when it comes to babies. Saturday night was the first. Last night Princess fell asleep on the couch and about 3 in the morning both girls were awake and crying, out of their cots and in my arms. So if I continue in this self-destructive manner, after tonight I will have successfully destroyed their sleep habits and we’ll be hiring Sleep Trainers to come in and fix it all again. H has been really happy with the slowing of the Night Nanny cash haemmorhage. But I’m sure he’ll be okay with hiring someone to repair the damage. See I bought a baby monitor and put the receiver in our room even though I’m downstairs with the girls. So that he can hear every single snort and cry and sob. From all three of us. I’m not dumb.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Recap: A Fancy Thanksgiving

It’s the morning after and the kitchen is almost back to normal (thank you Friday housekeeper), the children are out at the park (thank you Nanny #1), H is sitting on the sofa in his Y-pants (I’ve no one to thank for that, nor do I want to) and I’m having sweet potatoes for breakfast. At 10 am. I shipped the kids off after breakfast and crawled back into my bed. It was very, very necessary that I return to a horizontal position for at least an hour this morning.
What? No, I’m not hungover. I wish! Hanging over would mean that I sat around last night, boozing it up, chatting with friends and being silly. Instead, I’m more in a state of mental and physical exhaustion. Last night was not only about giving thanks, but about my personal ongoing learning. Last night’s lesson? Dinner parties with children.
Originally when I hatched this idea of inviting everyone over, midgets included, I planned to have Nanny #1 downstairs, movies playing, babies supervised and entertained, older kids with games and puzzles. Yeah. That didn’t happen. Instead, I had several older children dismantling my sofa and jumping on the furniture while Pixar films blared in the background. Two infants clung to my legs screaming as I tried to finish my 3-course meal I’d spent all day preparing. Somewhere in the chaos I realized that dinner wouldn’t be ready early enough to suit the younger generation and found myself whipping up a last-minute pasta dish with what I could find in the cupboard. (Note to self: other people’s children don’t like whole-wheat pasta. Or biscotti. Buy white, processed food next year. At least no one complained about the “black dots” in the organic whole vanilla ice cream or they would have been wearing it.)
There were no baths for the girls. I do believe they got clean diapers at some point. I made several half-hearted attempts to put them down. Eventually they just disappeared, carted off to their cots by their father as he discovered them in various states of droopiness amid the masses. At about this point, I managed to drink as much champagne as I could find, which included any glasses that didn’t belong to me but were within reach. Sorry, girls, but you know where the full bottles are and how to open them.
Finally dinner was served. The appropriate amount of praise and adulation came my way. I actually got a few bites into my mouth when not running for salt/butter/serving spoon/corkscrew. As the clock approached midnight, the masses began to disperse, leftovers in hand, thanks and well wishes passed around. H and I plopped ourselves onto the sofa, watched an episode of Modern Family and then I crawled off to bed. (Thank you babies, for sleeping until 7:30. Mommy loves you.)
All in all it was a wonderful holiday. We’ve so much to be thankful for this year. But what did I learn? First off, when I host a dinner party, there will be someone to help with the girls, unless there are no other children present. I’m sorry, Nanny #1. The next time you promise to stay late, then you stay. You don’t announce the day before that you’ve decided to go to a concert with friends. Lesson #2: 3 square meters per child. The next time we have 7 children in our living room, we’ll be living in a bigger house with a playroom. Lesson #3: White pasta. Children don’t care about their glycemic index.
Christmas? Bring it on. 

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Fancy Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day to my fellow Americans! However, it is quite likely that the only people reading this (optimistically speaking, someone will be reading this) aren't American at all. The Americans are in the kitchen, slaving away over a turkey that will likely be dry (not mine though!), cranberry sauce that no one will eat (again, except for mine) and a pumpkin pie that will top the day's calories right over the 4000 mark. But just in case you are feeling pilgrimish today, I wanted to put down in writing my thanks this year.

Today I was straightening the downstairs (because there hasn't been a housekeeper here since Tuesday and she doesn't come back until tomorrow! The shame!) and lined up two little pairs of size 2 shoes, gold in color with little tiny bows. They are standing under two pink winter coats with little ears, size 12-18 months.

I went upstairs and straightened up my room since there is likely to be at least one person at our dinner party tonight who wants a tour of the house. (If I don't offer, they'll probably sneak around my Fancy house anyway between courses.) I stacked up all the incredibly dorky chess strategy books that my husband keeps in the bathroom and next to his bed. And noticed that he hung up his towel and picked up his clothes today. I asked him to do his part today before going to the office and he clearly took notice. That may not seem like much to you, but to me nothing says I love you like picking up after yourself.

And now I am sitting in my living room, looking out at my beautiful terrace and all the dishes I've placed on the garden table to keep cold until I can get them into the oven or on the table. And I'm reading emails from my family, who are all together back home and whom I miss very much.

And now I've got to put this computer down and get myself looking at least a little bit Fancy because a group of dear friends, both old and new will be joining us this evening. H bought some fine red wine in magnums, so it will either be a drunken brawl in my living room or just a lot of fun and laughter.

And for all this, I am so very, very thankful.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A Fancy Education

The Fancies have to enroll their Fancy children in school. This is a process that I find ridiculous. They are infants. How do I know if they will do well in single-sex school or not? They’ll be in the same year but should they be in the same class or separated? And do I really want them going to school with other Fancy people? Or, even worse, Very Fancy People? But H has convinced me that we must play the game to give our kids “options and opportunities.” So I’ve been running around town with my open chequebook, putting them on waiting lists and admissions queues and hoping that somehow dumb luck will get us into some decent school that we all love.
Many of these institutions won’t allow a parent to visit until a child has been accepted, unless it is Open Day. I suppose this is to keep hundreds of eager Mums from crowding the school hallways, staring into classrooms and dreaming about their own child one day joining the elite. Then again, there are schools that welcome visits from prospective families in groups. It’s probably an opportunity to watch the mothers interact and attempt to out perform each other. Because, after all, isn’t that much of what this school acceptance game is about? Making sure the parents are successful people who will bring the right amount of sophistication (and cash) to Parent’s Night?
I had my first school visit today and I was nervous. Princess and TC didn’t really understand that their entire future hinged on what kind of performance their mother would bring. I took extra time dressing, trying to find the right balance of classy and casual. I read and reread the prospectus while in the taxi, making sure I had a list of intelligent and insightful questions ready. I got there early, but waited until just 2 minutes before my appointment to ring the bell, lest I appear over eager. Then it was showtime.
And? Did I bring the right combination of funny and smart, warm yet reserved, eager but not too? Was it clear to them that I’m both Fancy enough to afford the tuition and invested enough in my children’s future to know that the right nursery school will make all the difference in 20 years’ time?
Um. I don’t know. I got nervous. And then I got chatty. And before I knew it, the ladies in the office were taking notes on how to cook a perfect Thanksgiving turkey. (Because I have had a lot of practice, taken a lot of risks, and now believe that I am in possession of the secret to good, no, great turkey.)
So there you go. My girls’ futures are riding on roasted fowl. If a group of English families have an unexpectedly fantastic meal this holiday season, then I suppose we’ll be shopping for uniforms in two years. But if something goes terribly wrong, if the breast is dry or the skin doesn’t crisp, then we’d probably just get you some Tesco uniforms now, girls, because that is clearly where you’ll be headed without the benefit of ballet lessons and French class when you’re 3. Mom promises to work on her act.  

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Coming Home

I used to think that going home (as in America, the land of giant portions, radical religious movements and Cool Whip) took a minimum of 11 hours, by the time you add the trip to Heathrow, security, flight time, passport control and luggage collection. Okay, maybe 9 if you go through First Class check in and Fast Track security. But 20 minutes? I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t done it yesterday. How did I manage such a feat? No, not private jet. Taxi. To Westfield Mall.
H decided yesterday that he wanted to do a “family outing.” Right there I was suspicious. He loves his family, but loves lying down even more. If he’s not at the office, he’s usually somewhere in the house, taking up space, creating litter and not moving much. But surfing the internet led to an interesting discovery: somewhere in town there is a Lego store and an Apple store, within 100 yards of each other! This, he had to see. So seconds later, I had the kids in the pram and a taxi at the door.
20 minutes later, we were in an elevator. And seconds later the lift doors opened. If you had asked me right then and there where I was, I would have said, “Minneapolis.” My jaw had dropped. Miles of indoor shopping, everything I could want. Food Courts. Tiffany’s. Hugo Boss. Boots! No rain soaked days fighting my way down Oxford Street. No pushing past tourists ogling the lights on Regent Street and blocking the sidewalk. This was a mall. American style. Proper, clean, bright, warm, noisy, and wonderful, complete with large toilet stalls. I couldn’t have been any more at home.
Even the people could have been from the Midwest: make-up a little too thick, hair a little severe, uneducated accents dancing in my ears. Okay, maybe the overhead announcements had a touch of private school to them. And perhaps we had lunch at Eat and not Annie’s Pretzels, but this is as close as I’m going to get living on this side of the pond. The Westfield touch is amazing, right down to the idiot maintenance crew they hired. “Excuse me, but where is Waitrose?” H asked. “Whatcha mean?” replied the average-looking but clearly uncomprehending kid with the cleaning trolley. Ah, home sweet home. 

Friday, 19 November 2010

I'm Clearly Not in Charge

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost control of my own home. Between the chaos of two little girls, a husband who thinks dining room furniture’s sole purpose is for hanging garments, two different housekeepers and a parade of nannies and babysitters, I sometimes think I’ve lost my mind. Like when I opened the cupboard where my vacuums live and found a bag of oranges. They didn’t belong to me. I couldn’t imagine why they’d be there. But sometimes the best thing is simply to close the door and walk away. (They were the property of my regular nanny, who was trying to keep them with her purse, which she put with the vacuums to keep safe. Okay, sure. Perfectly clear.)

Anyway, there is sort of this perpetual scavenger hunt going on in our home. Attempting to guess where a “helpful” soul put something I need can be frustrating at best. I really try and remember that they mean well but seriously. Leave things where they are. If you find porn and a rubber dress in my underwear drawer, just leave it. Don’t fold the rubber in plastic and set the shine spray on top. That embarrasses both of us. Just leave it where you find it.

Today I needed duct tape. The single most useful invention ever, right up there with tampons and lemon zesters. I keep my duct tape in my underwear drawer. (Yes, right on top of the rubber dress. Hush it.) Because that is where it belongs. Sometimes my breasts need a flexible adhesive to lift them into an appropriate position for a dress that doesn’t allow for a proper bra. Duct tape does the trick. So that is where the roll lives.  But today I needed to insulate my watering system (another story for another day involving a dead £750 plant) and I needed my tape. And it wasn’t in my drawer.

What ensued was a tortured hunt through my home, complete with four-letter words held just under y breath. Why can't people just leave well enough alone? I finally found it, 20 minutes later. In the basket with the screwdrivers and hammers. And packing tape. Honestly. Who would think to stick it there?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Yes, I’m real and I’m Fancy

I’m a member of the British Mummy Bloggers! I feel completely validated. I’m a joiner. Always wanted to be in the cool group in high school but always sat just on the edge. I was on the Science Olympiad team, not the Homecoming Court. Sigh. Now that I’m a Fancy adult with degrees and titles and accomplishments to my name, I’m less bothered by what others think of me but it’s still nice to be invited into “The Club.”
Joining this group wasn’t so easy, however. I registered for membership and then waited. And waited. And then I got a phone call. I have only one friend who knows that I’m behind this blog and if she blows my cover, I blow hers, so I’m not worried about that. But she is a Super Blogger in the world of blogging and “in the know” with the blogging community. She called this week in hysterics. BMB wanted to know if she knew me and if I was a real person. Apparently there are a lot of people who think blogging is akin to creative writing and just make stuff up. But I can assure you that I am 1) very real, 2) very Fancy, and 3) could NEVER make this stuff up.
Went to a wine tasting recently in a rather upscale restaurant in central London. Between tasting and eating we were ushered out into the reception area for champagne and nibblies.
As I’m standing there, one hand clutching a lobster canapĂ©, the other a glass of bubbles, I look around the room and realize I’m standing next to a giant (we’re talking 5 foot tall) gold gorilla skull. And if that weren’t frightening enough, he had a full mouth of rhinestone encrusted teeth. Who would create something like that? The bigger question may be who would buy it? And the even bigger question is, “Why was I the only person staring at this monstrosity with horror?” Well I know the answer to that: all the other Fancy people at the event were too busy being Fancy to notice a 5-foot gold gorilla with a grill. (Gold Gorilla with a Grill. I like that. I'm gonna start a band.)
So yes there really is a restaurant with a giant shiny simian noggin in its bar. And yes, I really do have to search my home for my own things because other people pick up after me. Yes, I take photos of my children in the First Class lounges at airports. And yes, my nannies hang out together and probably talk about me.
And no, you CANNOT make this stuff up. Because no one would believe it. 

Monday, 15 November 2010

Keeping Fancy Real

The release of Rachel and Paul Chandler (from their horrible, dumb, idiotic Somali pirate captors. Seriously. What do you people think you are going to accomplish? World domination? Give me a break.) is a miracle, to say the least. And as I watched the news playing out at the gym today I thought about what their lives will be like from here on out. I highly doubt that they will ever take anything for granted ever again.
It's a lesson we all need reminding of: that "things" are fleeting and what is really important in life is family, love, friends, relationships, kindness towards others and all that other Sunday School stuff. H and I didn't grown up with oodles of money and we talk constantly about how to teach our girls to have good values when they are surrounded by such privilege. I'm deathly afraid I'll have a child who refuses to go on a date because the restaurant isn't Fancy or he drives a used car. (Although if that keeps them virgins, I'll take it.)
That said, it's probably just as important that we focus on our own perspectives and the girls' will follow. I actively work to keep my feet firmly planted in reality. It's not easy. Here's an actual conversation at our dinner table a few weeks back:

Guest: My wife and I are on the waiting list for a stuffed peacock. It costs about $50,000. We've always wanted a stuffed peacock.

Me: Oh that's really lovely. We'd love to come see your peacock one day. How very interesting.

Fast forward 12 hours.

Me: H! Holy Christ. Tell me we're never going to own a stuffed peacock, talk about owning a stuffed peacock or hang out with people who collect stuffed peacocks. What the F*&#? How much money do they have?

Do you see what I mean?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Love letters to my nannies

I have been reading Mummy's Little Monkey blog and find her random Dear So and So letters pretty funny. Funny enough that they've been playing in my head and I started writing my own little letters. Fancy Style. I bring you: Love letters to my nannies.

Dear Nanny #1 (The Weekdays)
            Thank you so much for your dedication and enthusiasm. I know we don’t live in a terribly swanky neighbourhood and it’s hard to find other nannies to hang out with. I’m sure that one day that will change. But for now, thank you for taking to heart my suggestion that you find activities with other children in our neighbourhood so that my children can socialize. But honestly, breastfeeding class is probably not the best choice. You can skip that one next week. But good try!

Dear Nanny #2 (The Nights)
            Thank you for being so normal and intelligent. That is a rare thing when it comes to hired help, especially when it comes to baby nurses and night nannies. Not having any kind of personal life can make a person behave oddly, so thanks. And thank you for standing quietly in the doorframe that night, saying nothing while I attempted to sleep train my screaming children. And thank you even more for still saying nothing when I said I couldn’t take this shit any more, needed some booze and left them in your care. Thank you.

Dear Nanny #3 (The Weekends)
            Thank you for folding my shirts into tiny little squares and color organizing my closet. And I’m so glad that there is someone in the world who honestly believes it is beautiful to watch my children throw cotton balls at each other for an hour and then want to spend another hour telling me about this beautiful event. I’m not that person, but I’m glad my girls have someone in their lives who is. You are wonderfully caring and kind. And pretty soon I’ll have you knowing the difference between my clothes and my husbands. I'm not remotely offended. I know you'll get it. Hang in there.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

How Fancies Go To Work

I am off on a business trip today! Yes, still clinging to those last little bits of life I see in my career, despite its agonal respirations and gray pallor. Normal people would leave their children in the care of their spouse, or possibly their mother when they travel for work (or pleasure, for that matter). Not Fancy People. No, Fancy People don’t have husbands who say, “Sure, Hon! I’d love to watch the kids while you pursue outside interests!” Ha. That would be funny. H announced that he was off to some banking town on The Continent just as I was packing. That’s not very helpful, is it? Fortunately, Fancy Wives have back-up plans. Or, actually, if I think about it, the girls’ father is the back-up plan. Plan A doesn’t take him into account at all.
So here’s how I plan for a 3-day trip out of town: Nanny A is here from 8 to 6 during the day. Nanny B arrives at 6pm to do baths and bedtime and sleeps downstairs until Nanny A returns in the morning. Babysitter 1 is covering the next night because Nanny B has school in the morning. (At least I have educated nannies!) Nanny A returns Friday, Nanny B that night and Nanny C comes in on Saturday to take over. Babysitter 2 is on call in case of disaster. Fancy Me comes home Saturday night. A list of phone numbers is on the fridge (paediatrician, neighbour, plumber—important people).
No, I know it’s not perfect. There is no one who loves and cares for your children like your spouse or your family. But my family is in the US. H’s live across the Channel. If I want to continue to cling to the bits and pieces of my career that I still have, this is how I do it. At least I know H will be home the rest of the week and weekend. His best friend is showing up Thursday and the two of them will probably sit upstairs gorging on steaks, drinking fine wines and gossiping like a couple of old women. Men are all the same, Fancy or not.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Meet the Fancies

I suppose I should introduce my family, shouldn’t I? After all, they are the reason I get up in the morning and face my fabulous, fancy life. And it starts with “H,” which stands for “Husband.” Or “Heart Attack,” because that’s where he’s headed unless he starts sleeping more, eating better, and working less. Oh and stop being a “gym sponsor” and actually use your membership, Big Boy. H is a wonderful man and the most loving father you’ll ever meet, but he’s also a driven workaholic if there ever was one. It’s all well and good to say, “Oh, well he should just work less and not be so fixated on money and then he’d be happier/healthier/home more.” But the reality is that H loves his work. And his work is an “all or nothing” kind of deal. It is what it is. And it’s 26 hours a day, 8 days a week, 382 days a year. It’s not about money or power. Although that does help to soften the blow when you miss your daughter’s first birthday or have to call your wife and tell her to put dinner in the fridge. Again.
Then there is The Princess. Oh, my. Don’t put a pea under this girl’s mattress. The Princess is our eldest daughter and is the most social, charming and adorable child there is. At Gymboree she’s not sitting in any circle, no thank you. She’s in the middle of that parachute, waving to the other mothers and their kids, as if to say, “Hello! Welcome to my Gymboree, have a good time!” And she cries when Gymbo sings “Bye bye,” because she’s a sensitive soul.
And then there’s Tough Cookie. TC is a few months younger than the Princess and is determined not to be left behind. So she crawled at 6 months and was cruising at 7. But TC doesn’t yet appreciate that her body hasn’t caught up with her mind and as a result is constantly falling into things. A couple weeks back she pulled my French Laundry cookbook off the shelf and landed on her face, giving her a fantastic purple cheek. Followed  the next day by a slamming into the baby gate, resulting in a lovely blue line down her face. But TC can take it. And she loves her sister, even when the Princess is slapping her in the head with a toy. TC thinks that is very funny.
So that’s my family. The Fancies.  

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

How Fancy People Acquire Children

When you are wealthy, people assume you have no problems. Or that if you have problems, they are the kind of problems that others envy. Like "it's costing me so much to fuel my private jet that I can't afford my own pilot" problems. Well, actually, if that is your problem, then I also think you have no problems. (Seriously. Get some perspective.) 
However, let me assure you that Fancy People have problems too. And not just the kind of problems that aren't really problems, such as how do I get my nannies to vacuum the pram every evening? (Although, yes that is one of my current issues.) But real, painful, heart-breaking problems. Like an inhospitable uterus.
My husband and I began immediately trying to get pregnant after our wedding. Well, not immediately. We honeymooned in the South Pacific and ate so much ceviche the first day that we both had explosive diarrhea for a month. So right after that. But anyway, I digress. 
Fast forward to the infertility game. No explanation. My embryos are Grade A. My uterine lining in gorgeous, or so I’m told. But babies don’t like it in there. I tried not to take it personally. And I took my pain and anger and threw money at it.
And what was the end result? Two gorgeous girls, born within a few months of each other. That's how Fancy People do it. They purchase kids. I wouldn’t change our experience for anything (because then my girls wouldn’t be my girls) but believe me, it didn’t tickle. Money just meant that my only obstacle to parenthood was determination. Eye on the prize, baby. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Tales from a Rich Asshole

How many nannies make you a rich asshole? At my peak, I believe I had four of them, plus a housekeeper. I think that qualifies me, don't you? Who am I? I guess I'm still trying to figure that out. I know I'm definitely not an asshole, although you might think I am once you count my nannies. I'm still struggling to "manage my help appropriately," according to my therapist. I've got the rich part down. It's "asshole" that I'm finding difficult. Although I'm pretty sure I never want to be an asshole, all I know is what I am today. As of right now I AM:

  • an educated professional with more years of higher education than my husband
  • an overachiever (never met anyone who did more rounds of IVF unsuccessfully than I, no sirree!)
  • a woman who made the difficult choice to put her own career partly on the back burner to become an oh-so-glamorous "Corporate Wife." 
  • Mother to two beautiful little girls, born within 4 months of each other. Because I'm an aspiring Rich Asshole and could afford to slap infertility in the face with my chequebook
  • married to another aspiring Rich Asshole. Actually, he's the reason we're both becoming Rich Assholes.
  • living in London, although I call New York home. But that could make me anyone.
  • Not the biggest Rich Asshole I know. At least I have that. 

I'm also not "anonymous" in my real life, with a public persona that would be in jeopardy if I went public with the tales I plan to share here. This blog is meant to be a window on my life, where I can (hopefully!) maintain some perspective on what it's like to suddenly find yourself living in a foreign country, with a household of "staff," a husband who works 26 hours a day, 372 days a year, two children who are the most glorious creatures on the planet but still sometimes seriously irritate me, and the knowledge that even your best friends and closest family can't really relate to my "problems." Which are usually the problems of people who don't have problems. Then again, if you cut me, I don't bleed cash. I'm still the same red-blooded upper middle-class girl I always was. Or at least I'm trying to stay that way.