12 (Fri) May 2012
Grilled Pork Chops in Mario’s Kick-Ass Barbecue Sauce
at Byeolbam Camp
-Hwacheon, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-
with DJ, MtG + NSJ, KIT + AHY, CJH + KKH, HSE + HCY, LHS + YYH
My Best Friend’s Wedding
MtG got married today. The ceremony was a so-called “house wedding,” a relatively new type of service consisting of close friends and family in a small venue, as opposed to the typical mass gatherings in hotels or wedding halls, the idea being to make the event more intimate. Here, the chi-chi restaurant/café Anna Bini in the posh hilltop neighborhood of Seongbuk-Dong, surrounded by verdant trees and kissed by perfect weather, made for a lovely setting. The food, an Italian-themed barbecue & buffet, was good. Not a bad way to get hitched.
I could hardly enjoy any of it, however, nervous as I was in anticipation of the congratulatory address that I’d be giving as the groom’s best friend. While my day job requires me to speak in front of large groups, lectures addressed to academic audiences with a vested interest in the subject matter, entailing hours/days/years of research and preparation are easy. Delivering emotional content to an assemblage of random people is another thing altogether. Even weirder because Korean wedding’s don’t traditionally have a best man or a best man’s speech. In gist, I told everyone that I was overjoyed because, as of this day, MtG would no longer be my responsibility and, among the many many many women that MtG has scandalized over the years, Soo Jung is the best one for the job.
Nanny 6 Bullshit Saga: Part 4 (see previously 3.126 Tori Oyako Bento)
Minutes after finishing the address, before I could even sit down, I got a frantic phone call from W at home. As described in the previous couple posts, she quit a few days ago with an offer to work an additional week, but we decided to let her go as of today. A strong factor in the decision for early dismissal was the reluctance to pay the woman any more money on top of what we’d already blown on her bullshit. As I’d left in the morning for the wedding, the plan was for W to pay her for the final fews days and give her the boot early in the afternoon. But now, Nanny 6 was disputing the amount.
Here’s the breakdown, as I saw it. The base pay was 1,500,000 won per month for taking care of 2 kids, along with general cleaning and cooking. Whereas the standard rate ranges from 1.6 to 1.7 million (by comparison, we paid previous nannies 1.4 million when it was just DJ), she’d agreed to the lower wage on a provisional basis due to being a first-timer. The hours were 24-hours a day with a day off each weekend and on national holidays. That’s standard. Since the end of her last pay cycle, she worked 11 days/nights. Prorated at 50,000 per day, 550,000 seemed more than fair, given that only the past 6 days actually involved the baby, which was her primary obligation.
According to her calculations, she claimed 650,000 won, an additional 50,000 for a few hours that she’d come in during her sick leave to do some cleaning and 50,000 for today, both of which she counted as full days.
Although I’d been willing to allow for a clean break, this was outrageous. It also gave me an opportunity to confront the woman. I left DJ in the care of others and raced home. During the drive, I recalculated the amount in my head to derive an even fairer figure.
Here’s the revised amount, as I explained to her. I deducted a free day that we’d given her long ago when her husband had suddenly fallen ill. 10 days/nights x 50,000 = 500,000. I refused to credit today, which was simply the end of a full day/night cycle already accounted for. For the unassociated few hours of cleaning that one day, I granted an overly generous half-day credit. + 25,000 = 525,000. She protested, but I insisted that this wasn’t a negotiation but a unilateral explanation. She then asked for the original offer of 550,000. I suggested that she take the new offer and feel fortunate that I wasn’t charging her the difference from the higher rate that we had to pay Nanny 2 during her week of sick-leave.
When she accused me of exploitation, I dropped all pretense of decorum. I said that she was incompetent and ignorant, ungrateful and unreliable, weak and worthless. I laughed at the notion that she may walk away from this believing that money can be had so easily in this country with her pathetic skill set. I advised her to wake up, both literally and figuratively. I pitied the next family that had to put up with her. With that, I told her to get out. Good fucking riddance.
The Fun Really Begins
By the time the nanny situation was resolved (for now, let’s hope), the wedding ceremony had also concluded and moved on to the reception stage. The secondary venue was a campsite. We had the entire place to ourselves.
While many of the Mini people claimed to be campers, we’d been concerned that our expertise would require us to burden the lion’s share of the work. MtG, eager to have all of his friends present and always optimistic that events will work out according to his benefit, had assured us that the Mini Run organizers would take care of everything, including the food and booze. In fact, he would cover our per person contributions to the party fund. All we needed to bring, he promised, were tents and chairs.
By the time everyone had arrived, it was already 6PM. It was readily apparent that the main dinner preparations were a long ways off. Fortunately, our skepticism of MtG’s promises had prompted us all to bring our own provisions. After quickly setting up, we were eating and drinking while the others were still unloading their gear. The Mini people, hungry and predictably incapable, trickled over to mooch. Meanwhile, the organizers got the barbecue going and ended up sounding the chow bell around 9PM.
Regardless, everyone eventually had a good time.
Congratulations, MtG and NSJ!
(See also FOODS)
(See also PLACES)