Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Brazilian Pyramid Scheme.

OK, this will be a boring post, but the good news is that I had 2 big ass glasses of whisky on an empty stomach before starting it, as tonight... didn't turn out as expected.  

During drills 15 years, a thousand miles and a a job ago, there was a mantra uttered during the weekly fire and boat drill, when the ship would go to all hands for the weekly safety drills and everyone had to get up and participate. 

     During the day, at sea, unlicensed goons like me were generally not in the wheelhouse.  But having been aboard the same ship for about a decade, and being on a friendly first-name basis with the licensed officers (except the captains, who were 'captain' whether on watch or off), at times, whether it was for weather or not, I'd be in the wheelhouse for the drills, which usually happened at 1500, during break time for the dayworkers.  The captain would enter the wheelhouse, say "Mr. mate (or use the mate's name, depending) please ring the general alarm and report to your station for the muster." 

 It's funny I was reminded of this tonight, where we're working hard at home getting ready for my kid's graduation party. Lord help me, he's finishing high school and I am old. 

 To explain, I have to explain about the Brazilian Pyramid scheme- housecleaning. 

 When I met Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife, she was an illegal alien. No BS, she earned her green card the hard way, by marrying my retarded ass long ago. 

Like so many, she was working about 75-80 hours a week in two different jobs. She was a housecleaner in the mornings and early afternoon, and then worked as a seamstress and dry cleaner afternoons and evenings. 

 Also, holy shit, dry cleaners should be fitted for a fucking full-face respirator. It's goddamn criminal not to at this point. The chemical trade is pretty intense. My ssense of smell has been desensitized by sulfur compounds in bunker fuels. My wife's, by aromatic hydrocarbons. Serious, she's been exposed to more benzene than I have and I've worked on a fucking benzene barge. 

So like any Brazilian who has entered the middle class, we have a housecleaner. My  wife no longer works as a housecleaner herself, but after 8 years in the trade, she's pretty damn good at it. 

    The way it works, Brazilian illegals work their asses off, save $3000-4000 (in 2003 dollars) and 'buy' a bunch of housecleaning customers from another Brazilian. They then hire 1-2 more girls and get to cleaning houses, and also buying and selling housing customers like horse trading.  There's an unspoken agreement that if you get a green card, you'll pay it forward and have a housecleaner yourself. 

So now we have a housecleaner.

 On the upside, our housecleaner is adorable. Nara is a  young single mom, a petite fireball who calls me "Meester Pol" and when I see her I always cook something good and thus she equates me with being a master chef rather than just a fat guy.  She worked her first job all day, and as we had a cleaning emergency, after working 8 hours, she showed up at my house at like 4pm, looking gray and hollow. 

   Oh, also, if you do have a house cleaner, feed her.  Last month she married a feet-dry Cuban (a refugee who made it onto a beach and thus will get US Citizenship) whose English was finally good enough to pass the FL medical board few weeks ago, so she's about to go from struggling to make ends meet to being a doctor's wife with a green card. 

 And with my kid's graduation party just 2 days away, the house has been turned inside out, and tonight, after I spent the day on my hands and knees fucking with the irrigation system in my yard and getting pipe dope in my eyebrows, I sat down in my office, away from the ladies, for a quiet little while to write and also pay bills and read the news online... wind down, in other words That is, until my wife ran in and more or less yanked on the general alarm- 

 "Hohnee I need chu to you sew dis." A little pillow, one of a dozen that lives on my bed when we're not in it (seriously, I can't sit on the nice couches, or lay in my bed without dealing with so, so many pillows. So many. This year, we have outdoor furniture pillows too. The goddam wicker bullshit outdoor furniture has a dozen fucking pillows too now). 

 The pillow gets dumped on my keyboard. It's 1/4 size, one of the last ones that goes on the bed, the crown of Mt. Pillow, and it's got a tear about 3 inches on a seam, buit crosses a cross-stiched section that doesn't have a weave I can tie into, being tatted rather than woven.. OK, no big deal, someone with real eyes or good glasses can thread the eyes in the cloth. 

 Funny thing. I can sew. I learned reading the WWII merchant seaman's manual. Seriously, get one. They're amazing. Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife can tat lace, crochet or use a sewing machine, but she can't hand straight line sew for shit. I can. That's all I can do. I can sew a seam.   

   Now, no one is going in my goddamn room during this party, so why the F am I getting my wa disturbed after 8 hours and a couple of blown capillaries in my cheeks from hanging upside down under my lawn all day? 

 Seriously, I have a thing about no one going in my bedroom. Shit's sacred. My kid knew not to go in unless he had had a nightmare and needed us, or something was on fire.  And yet here I am with a pillow at 8pm on a Thursday. 

   Well, nothing for it but to sew it up. I'm out of practice anyhow... and then I realize I can't see to thread the needle. 

     Holy shit. I wear reading glasses for a reason. I have for the past 6 months. Not only can I not see shit, my hands are all over the place, like a spastic kid trying to light a candle. 

 It took me 15 minutes to thread the needle and my sewing job was... substandard. It was disappointing. 

 I used to be able to darn socks, and could thread a needle in my sleep. Shit, my mom didn't thread a single needle her last 20 years of life. It was rare for me to need 2 tries to thread a needle and then roll through a double surgeon's knot to lock it. With 20/10 vision, I could see what direction the stitches of a baseball are turning, and in the past 6 months, my eyes are suddenly worth their weight in human shit. 

Well, the pillow's fixed, anyhow. It looks... adequate. I've done better. I need glasses so I can do better. I'm disappointed in myself. My wife thinks the shitty seam she saw is my best, and thus is being nice, but I'm a little embarrassed at my work. I've done better. I can do better. But fuck me, I can't see

1 comment:

doubletrouble said...

Good one!
Anyway, here’s my solution to seeing:
At ~$3 a pair, I have them everywhere I might need them. Also, full sized lenses so they double as sorta ‘safely’ glasses in the garage & cellar workshop. Slip a piece of 1/4” hose over the earpieces & they’ll hang around your neck when not in use.