Tuesday, April 8, 2008

PART II No I'm Not A Wino

In thinking about my appreciation for gin and tonics I recalled that I had written about where I first developed a taste for them. You may get a chuckle from this excerpt (from a 2006 post) regarding my experience as a nanny who's most important responsibility was to make ice for the gin and tonics.

The only time I ever got a job from the newspaper was when I was 20 years old. I left my accounts receivable job and decided I wanted to work in the county for the summer before getting married in the fall. It was working as a nanny through some county agency.

I went for the interview and hit it off right away with the guy and his daughters. He was a 35 yr old state trooper and widower. His wife had recently died from kidney disease, leaving behind 2 beautiful young girls who were 12 and 8 yrs old. I was honest and told him that I didn't know how to cook or do laundry but that I could clean. Well, he appreciated anything I did, but I am sure it was more about the girls having someone around all day to care for them and I really did care about them. We also had fun. I used to take then swimming at the lake and do all kinds of things with them. They were a nice family!

Bob, (my new boss) was really funny and we got along well. (I remember he liked Frank Sinatra and Chicago) The first time I did laundry, he said he had to call a repair man because I had broken the machine. Evidently, I didn't realize all the clothes had to be pushed down into the machine (I am guessing that I overloaded it too) because a sock got wedged between the drum and outer wall of the washer.

One morning when I went in, he was there, sitting in his bath robe at the dining room table. He said that the pork chops I made the night before weren't cooked all the way and that he had gotten food poisoning and spent the nite up at the ER in a local hospital. I felt bad but he was really nice about it. (In retrospect - shouldn't HE have been able to tell if the meat was white and the pork cooked? I hadn't evolved that far in my cooking skills yet!)

Every nite he would come home at 5pm and he would make a gin and tonic with a lime twist for both of us. (I rarely drink, but if I do that is still my favorite drink) I would stay and chat a bit and then be on my way. Well one nite, while I was setting the dining room table, he turns to me and says "Pat, did you make ice?"

me - "Ice?"

Bob - "Yes Pat - ice."

me - " No, no I didn't make ice Bob." (I could see that he was really disappointed)

Bob - " Pat - the most important thing you have to do here is MAKE ICE!"

me - "o k Bob, from now on I will make ice."

From then on, every night when Bob came home, as he was walking up the stairs he would say "Pat - did you make ice?" and I would say "Yes Bob, I made ice." and we continued to have our evening gin and tonics with ice, until I left to get married.

In reflecting on this, I am totally amused that- a broken machine? Food poisoning? No big deal. No ice - BIG DEAL! I also don't remember cooking anything else but those pork chops, but I must have! He also never told me in the interview that making ice was a prerequisite to the job! :)

Gee...I digressed somewhat from my original intent of this post and so will finish it in Part III. :)


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Mel Avila Alarilla said...

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Chrysalis Angel said...

That poor guy. He must have really liked you to have to pay for the machine repair and the food poisoning. Seriously, you must have felt awful. Here you were trying and don't really know, and those things happen.

Your posts on the alcohol so hit home. I'm so worried about my family member...we haven't heard from him since last year. When we don't hear anything from him, it's never good. 3 x stint in rehab to no avail. The one counselor he had - I could have rung her neck (figuratively). I had been talking to him about the dangers to his body in repeatedly abusing alcohol. I finally had scared him a bit to get help. The stupid counselor sits there and says after all the medical tests. That "He's in perfect physical health, he could go on like this another 20 years." I kid you NOT!!!! My mouth dropped open. I wanted to say - He'll be dead before another 20 years if he doesn't stop! Wouldn't you know that's the one stupid thing he took out of rehab..."She said I hadn't hurt my body at all."

SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel-You said some important things hear that I will come back to as soon as I can.

Mel-TEN? 10 reasons...hmmml et me count the reasons...ok but be forewarned that I am a year late with doing a meme for 5 reasons why I like blogging. ;) Thanks for asking. :)

jill_parlor said...

Where did this exciting summer take place (forgive me, I wasn't reading your blog back in '06!). It strikes me as a very east coast story and reminds me a bit of the summers I would spend with my family in NY, in the midst of Long Island wilderness. When company came over it was ALWAYS martinis (gin or vodka), but when it was just us it was always gin and tonics (yeah, they were letting me drink at 16...good times).

What kind of gin do you typically use? I used to be a Hendricks or Beefeater only type of gal but recently have switched over to Bulldog...has a more refreshing quality and is only available on the east coast, which brings back more memories.

Btw, we would usually stock up on those huge bags of cocktail ice... :)

SeaSpray said...
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SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel-he DID like me, was easy going and I know looked forward to having the drinks with me at night. maybe he was lonely because he never seemed to want me to go. he always had some funny police story to tell me and the world being as small as it is...also happened to be partners with one of my husband's older cousins. There is a rt 80 story that still makes me smile when I think of it. :)

One night I came back with the girls late from the beach and he was already home. My cover up was open and as I was updating him on the days events before leaving he interrupted me with a comment about my appearance at that moment that indicated I was torturing him with being dressed that way. It was toward the end of the summer and it was the first time I realized that there may have been an attraction there. He looked great walking up the stairs every night in his uniform and he was a great guy with a terrific sense of humor but I just viewed him as a friend. I was getting married in the fall.

So he probably did cut me some slack but he also knew I was real good with his girls and I cleaned well. I just hadn't finessed the clothes washing and cooking yet. :) I actually didn't feel real bad because he didn't make a big deal about it. I was sorry but moved on from there. He really WAS upset about NO ICE though! ;)

It is just hitting me now...but I named our German Shepherd Bob and my reason for doing it is because I know people are sometimes intimidated by police dogs. I tell everyone that every Bob I know has always been a nice guy (true) and I wanted people to be comfortable with him. People always smile when I introduce "Bob". They think it's funny. Good ol Bob.

But now...hmmm...I am wondering if I subconsciously chose that name because he is a police dog and I somehow connected him to Bob my boss...who was real nice? Sometimes I do wish I picked a name like Magnum, Major or some cool sounding name to go with his looks.

But I do have guilt about my relationship there.

After we got married...my husband didn't want me going back there. So I called them to let them know I wasn't returning.

I KNOW I disappointed ALL of them!

I did NOT handle it well because I had no clue how dependent the girls probably had gotten on me after the loss of their mother. I just didn't think that way back then and didn't know anything about psychology at that time. I probably compounded their loss and his too. I should have at least maintained a friendship. I am so ashamed of that and if I knew where they were today...I would give them the most heartfelt apology.

SeaSpray said...
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SeaSpray said...

Hi Jill- it sounds like YOU had the exciting summers! I never thought of Long Island as having wilderness but I've never been there and so imagined it being very built up because close to the city. You must've had a lot of beaches near you. A friend stayed at her brother's in LI last year and he has a house on the water and she said it was so beautiful and they were in a rural area. That surprised me. Now I wonder what it is like down there?

I live up in the most northern part of NJ-near upstate NY and PA borders. I love it up here but do wish the Ocean was here to.

When I lived home at the lake house, my uncle usually made whiskey sours for their friends. But I only had an occasional beer or eggnog when living there and not when I was a minor. He was strict. And then ...there was my life with my friends. ;)

Now my other uncle...while at one of his infamous barbecues...would come by and refill my beer...until his brother saw him and gave him heck for it. Haha! Too late- I was sloshed!

That was one of the best barbecues ever and not because I was drinking. My uncle Jim always made his infamous Manhattan clam chowder in a huge pot. People of all ages were there and at this particular barbecue there were exchange students from other countries although I don't know why. I know they had a girl -Ilyana, from South America living with them and then she stayed with my cousins even after her time was up.

I vaguely remember being in a built in pool with some Swedish guy at the deep end. Drinking and swimming...now there's a safe combination!

Sorry to go on about this but you sharing about your family summers stirred up some forgotten but nice memories. I wish I could go back and appreciate them from an adult perspective. Both uncles always had great barbecues but my uncle Jim's were a bit wilder. :)

Thanks for also sharing the info about the gin. I am totally clueless about most alcohol in that I have never once in my life made a mixed drink. My husband only drank beer and doesn't now and his family doesn't drink at all and so we don't even serve alcohol. I have served it at new years parties but still never had mixed drinks. I am not against it but don't bother having it in the house for just me.

Haha! Probably just as well if gin and tonics because I do LOVE them and I think they would be a little too easy to drink. And...I have been craving one ever since I posted about them and so next week, after I get through some stuff I am definitely going out and will have a couple. :)

Over the years my husband had gotten a ton of bottles of hard liquor on his job as gifts from people and we just put it in the closet. So one year we gave my uncle a ton of it and some of it was older. He looked like a kid that saw the shiny new bike under the Christmas tree.! :)

Interestingly, I did buy a bottle of wine last night and poured some in a large goblet. It tasted good but half way through it...I didn't want anymore. I think if there is even a hint of sweetness in a beverage...I just can't drink much of it. Probably why I prefer Gin and tonics with lime twist or beer.

Good idea about the ice and I will keep your gin suggestions in mind if I ever do buy gin. Thanks! :)