getting out more often
ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride that i announce: yesterday i got out! for the first time ever, mrs nice guy and i hired a babysitter. we have had generous friends offer to watch the baby, we have had family hold down the fort, but never until last night had we paid a stranger to mind our offspring. so it's not like we haven't had a date since the child was born, but this was a big step for us nonetheless. here's how it went down:
yesterday, mrs nice guy's office threw its year-beginning party. lots of bland hotel food, huge open bar, terrible dj, embarrassing drunken office hookups. unbearably painful if you work at the firm, but if you are a spouse, why, it's comedy gold! so when mrs nice guy told me she would like me to be her date, i said "i wouldn't miss it for the world. don't you know how much i love
as luck would have it, one of the moms in mrs nice guy's no-longer-new-moms group has a younger sister in her 20s saving up money for travel. perfect! not a teenager! a sister of a friend! a sister of a friend who has a baby the same age as ours, no less! sweet.
so the babysitter came by promptly at 7, just after i had fed, bathed and bottled the baby into submission. the child was dead to the world and unlikely to stir for at least 12 hours. the babysitter arrived with a burrito and a book, both good signs: she would not eat us out of house and home, and she's literate (jonathan lethem no less!). bonus: she did not appear likely to drink all the whiskey in the house -- i even tested her: when she showed up, i was sipping liquid amber from a highball glass, which clinked seductively with a single ice cube. "hello, babysitter. nice to meet you. would you like some water? juice? or something with a little more topspin, like, say, WHISKEY?" she opted for water. smart move, babysitter, you are a worthy opponent.
the baby was asleep, i explained, and even if she cried out for a few minutes, the babysitter was not to go in there. there was no reason that the baby should need anything until morning. and then it dawned on me: i am paying a grown woman to sit on my couch and not comfort my baby if she cries. a blind autistic ferret could do this job.
she was charging $12 an hour.
to sit on my couch.
and do nothing if the baby cries.
anyway, fine. a small price to pay for an evening of open bar, free dinner, socializing, open bar, dancing to awful house music, open bar and generally getting out of the house a little more often.
the office party was fine, not the strongest one i've been to, but it was a the maritime hotel, which was posh. and the bar was decidedly open. the meal, inexplicably, was pasta and sushi -- like marco polo on a plate, i guess. east meets west or something. it turns out another couple at the firm was paying their babysitter $15 an hour to do the same thing ours was doing. that, in a nutshell, is the difference between brooklyn and manhattan: $3 an hour.
because we are losers, we were home at 11. the babysitter was sitting on the couch, reading. the baby, she said, had not made a single peep the whole time we were gone. i noticed that SOMEONE (who i shall not identify, but whose name rhymes with "zabyjitter") ate a couple of our delicious vermont chocolate nut caramel clusters. grrr. and then came this awkward dance: we called the car service. the three of us stood in the kitchen awkwardly making post-open-bar small talk. we paid her FIFTY FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS (for, in case i forgot to mention, sitting on the couch) and when the car came it dawned on my wife and i that the babysitter was expecting us to pay for her ride home as well. screw that! we studiously ignored this unspoken epiphany and ushered her along her merry babysitter way. after the door closed behind her, mrs nice guy said "i think we were supposed to buy her dinner too."
well, we didn't. which is fine. because here's the final tally:
- babysitter: $55 + 2 delicious vermont chocolates
- ride to the party: $30 (mrs nice guy's firm paid for the ride home, allah be praised)
- tips at the open bar (because if you do not tip the bartender working an open bar, you are scum): $10
- dull, throbbing pain in my needs-surgery left knee from dancing to execrable german techno: priceless