Florida Adventure Part 2

I was desperate. Running out of money, borrowing from a resentful mother to survive, and facing the real possibility of losing everything, I answered an ad I normally would have ignored. Someone wanted a live-in nanny for two kids, and nudism was mentioned.

Hell, I was good with being naked! Plenty of times in Wisconsin, I’d drive to a place I knew, take off the clothes, and go for a long walk through woods and fields at the base of a high hill, wearing only my shoes. All I ever saw back there was wildlife. Once, I happened on a pair of baby skunks, tussling on the track ahead of me. The road was only ever used by snowmobiles in winter; everyone ignored it the rest of the year.

I showed up for the interview and met a couple older than me. I’ll call them B and S. They were taking care of their grandchildren because the man’s son was a drug user and wastrel, and his wife was bonkers. Zoe was three-and-a-half and Zach was almost eleven. I didn’t meet them that first time, but both kids were smart and attractive.

S told lame jokes, which I dutifully laughed at, and B, his wife, was sweet. I liked her right off, but I knew S would be a problem. I was about to turn fifty, but I still looked good, and I had the feeling he had a roving eye. 

After they’d told me about the household, and explained they belonged to the local nudist resort (“We can get you in anytime on a guest pass.”), they asked me how I felt about kids.

“I don’t like them much,” I said honestly, and they laughed like I’d made a joke.

They hired me, and I moved into the spare room next to Zoe’s. She and I shared a bathroom. Zach was upstairs; he had en entire suite up there.

I kept my bungalow for a while, because I had two days off a week, and I was waiting to see how things worked out. I was paid cash every week, and I figured out, if I stayed for ten years and never spent a dime, I could save $100K. Of course that didn’t happen. I was still a dreamer back then. 😉

S’s son, C, and his crazy wife J, lived next door in a house bought for them by S. That’s how enabling the idiot was. My first day there, S and B took me out to lunch in a yellow Rolls Royce convertible that had been used in some film or other, and the entire time I was with them, C called them every five fucking minutes, begging for money. He didn’t work. His wife didn’t work. All they did was “play” at being in a band and do drugs. The things I heard about them and saw firsthand would fill a book.

This is the Corniche II. Notice the plate? That’s what he was. I drove the vehicle a couple times, and it handled rough. Absolutely not worth what he paid for it, but it was a status symbol to him.

corniche2

S asked me what I’d do about C. I didn’t hesitate. “Stop taking his calls, stop giving him money.” B agreed with me, but S ran that household, and that was it. C could have anything he wanted as long as he begged for it, loudly and continuously. Faux News was on 24/7 in their bedroom at the other end of the house.  We never talked politics, and that was a good thing.

Where did S get his money? Real estate, some of it belonging to his wife. Most of it was located in Las Vegas. He had an office behind the garage, and he spent a couple hours there every morning, pushing papers around. Then he and B would go out for lunch with friends, spend money, then return in time to take me and the kids to dinner.

The lake out back. The ‘gator in residence had learned to steal fish off the kids’ fishing poles, so the sign went up. No one ever swam there, of course. alligatorsign-121501

I never ate better than when I worked for them! Every night, a different restaurant. Housekeepers came in weekly to clean. All I was expected to do was take care of the kids (and that meant taking them to the mall and beaches and cool places like Weeki Wachee, to see the mermaids and boat on the jungle river) and grocery shop for the family. They left money for me in the cupboard for that. Seriously, I wouldn’t have had to spend a dime!

Here’s a pic from Moccasin Lake, where I took the kids one day. This was the first alligator I saw in the state.

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Lazy brute. Hardly moved when he saw us across from his pond.

I gave up my bungalow shortly after moving into their fabulous house (and it was fabulous, with a bird cage, pool, and Jacuzzi, which got a lot of use) to save the rent money, then a couple weeks later decided I couldn’t stand being there on my days off and rented a trailer not far away. It cost $400 a month, and I loved it there. The landlords lived next door and were wonderful people. The only thing was, no tub and you couldn’t drink the water. I moved my stuff out of storage and into the bedroom, and spent two days a week here, reading and playing VHS tapes and wandering around the neighborhood. Unbelievably, there were dirt roads, and it was rural as hell, yet almost across the street from the area was a Home Depot. Such is Florida.

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Fenced yard, washer and dryer out back, pigeon coop, picnic table, and that porch!

One of my favorite dirt roads nearby. I always walked barefoot because I loved how the warm sand felt on my feet.

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Love the canopy of branches over the road. There were chickens behind that fence. 🙂

The kids and I got along great. They loved me, and I grew to love them. But S was a continuing problem, and his son C and the wife were getting worse. Though I was told I didn’t have to let him in when S and B weren’t home, C would bang on the door and threaten me if I didn’t open up. One evening, Zoe let him in when I wasn’t looking, and C told me he was going to kill me.

That did it. Though I was living a life some people only dreamed of, it was someone else’s life, and once I felt I was in danger from drug-addled C, I decided it was time to return home.

Much as I’d enjoyed Florida–and I did and saw a lot of things during the eighteen months I was there–I missed my friends, and the job situation was still dire.

I called my mother, explained what was going on, and asked if I could stay at their MN house while they were in CA (yes, they had two residences, and snowbirded back and forth for years). She gave me some half-assed excuse about how the water was turned off blah blah, and I was so furious, I didn’t talk to her again for months. I mean, the place was empty! By the time they returned from CA, I would have found a job and a place to live. But that’s my mother for you. Only ever thinks of herself (and everyone else is supposed to think of her, too).

So I called my friend, D. “If I was to tell you I wanted to come home, how would you feel about me staying at your place until I found new digs and a job?”

He didn’t even hesitate. “Guest room is available. We can’t wait to see you.”

And that’s why I loved him and his wife so damn much, it hurt. They never once let me down, no matter what stupid things I did. He died a couple years ago, and there’s still a big hole in my heart where he used to be.

I gave a proper two-month notice to S and B, and S responded by kicking me out that same day. Told you he was a jerk. But I had managed to save some money, and I had the trailer, so I packed up, pissed as hell, and left.

I rented space in a moving truck, said goodbye to Florida, and drove home. I had a ficus tree in the back seat and a bag of Florida oranges for my friends up north.

Everything went swimmingly… until I hit the blizzard from hell in Iowa.

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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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11 Responses to Florida Adventure Part 2

  1. Allison says:

    What a mess that family was. I hope the kids got out okay, I’m glad you left when you did.

    I hope you have a good weekend, hon. *hugs*

    • Fenraven says:

      Zach started medical school, then switched to law. That disappointed me deeply. There are enough lawyers, ya know? Zoe… She was diagnosed as bi-polar, like her mother, and put on drugs at around age eight. They made her gain a lot of weight, which gave her still another problem to deal with. She was shuttled back and forth between various family members for several years, and last I heard, she was back with Grandma B, who had her own troubles. B was diagnosed with breast cancer; she survived, but afterward, S took up with a woman some thirty years younger than himself, who was also, I hear tell, a drunk, and was forced to sell the house she got out of the divorce. She planned to move into the casita at the nudist club. I always wanted it. 🙂 It’s a nice little one-bedroom on the grounds and overlooks a small lake. Now in her seventies, she continues to work as she can, as S doesn’t pay her what he’s supposed to and social security, of course, isn’t enough.

      A few years after I left their employ, C & J moved to Vegas, where J’s mother lived. One night, high on something, J broke into her mother’s place through a bedroom window and smothered her with a pillow. J was locked up in a mental health facility, where she still is, as far as I know. I have no idea where C is, but I suspect he continues to pester the hell out of S for money.

  2. Jaycee Edward says:

    This is fascinating!!!!!! 😀 Did you tell S that C threatened to kill you?

  3. Helena Stone says:

    Your life sure isn’t/hasn’t been boring. WOW. Having said that, it breaks my heart that people/families can be so dysfunctional (and yeah, I do realise it does get worse). Your stories are fascinating though and I love the way they’re allowing me to get to know you a little bit better again. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Yvonne says:

    Wow, that’s some story..you’ve definitely not led a dull life.

  5. A.M.B. says:

    Wow, what a challenging situation. I feel terrible for those kids living in that family (and for you!).

    • Fenraven says:

      Zach was okay, but I always thought Zoe would have done better with me. I set boundaries; the grandparents never did, so she took advantage of them and threw tantrums constantly. Alone with me, she was fine. She knew I wouldn’t put up with that behavior. She’s had a hard time of it, and I doubt things will get easier for her. 😦

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