Rolling with the Chaffees

I had a “real job” for most of October, working as the Locations Manager here in Boston for a “movie.” And by “movie,” I actually mean a DVD supplement for an English as a Second Language (ESL) learning kit . But it had a $400 K budget — and four weeks of shooting (!) — making the file photos in my Rosetta Stone: German program look like a Dickensian street urchin.

Anyhoo, one of the “locations” I “managed” for this “movie” was Mass Bay Community College, where several hilarious scenes involving relatively nuanced simple English — and requiring an academic setting — were filmed over the span of a couple of days. As luck would have it, MBCC is a four-minute drive from the Chaffees’ new house in Wellesley. So their casa was my casa for a few nights.

On my first night there, I relieved the nanny and had a one-on-one dinner with Clara. Dana was nice enough to leave the ingredients for dinner on the island: pre-cooked pasta, meatballs, and sauce. The only head-scratcher was whether or not to include the pasta sauce on Clara’s dinner. I could see it going both ways, and ended up deciding to sauce her. I think I made the right decision, a judgment this picture will support:

That pink vest wasn’t the only one getting hooked up by Clara, though:

On my last night there, at a dinner for five (including Stu, Dana, and her sister Cori), Clara started fake-crying for some reason during dinner, then actually said the word “crying,” which struck me as very meta and very dark. And hilarious.

Also at this meal, Stu and Cori treated the rest of us to a dramatic reading of the day’s “sides” — the small printout of every day’s working script. Keeping in mind that the dialogue was written for people learning English, I thought the two of them more than acted their collective way out of a paper bag.

After dinner, I “read” to Clara — more of a “reference book read” where I (baldly) ask “Where’s the fish?” or “Where’s the bus?” and she does this until she spots it:This is also the gesture she makes whenever she sees me come into her house, accompanied with the word “Snoots.” As in, “where’s your dog?”  Sadly, this is actually a very typical womanly reaction to me entering a room: “HiTylerhowareyouand… where’s Snooty?”

Crying.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Rolling with the Chaffees

  1. Carmen Grayson

    Welcome to November. Charming post, Tyler. Hope to see you soon.

  2. Brooke

    I love this post!!

    I love Clara’s Patagonia’s Retro X Vest and definitely asked Dana if the spaghetti sauce came out of it!!!

  3. Yes, Tyler, Welcome to November. I loved this post. Cryin! For all who are interested, the vest came clean in the wash.

  4. Wendy

    What a way to start off my morning. She’s such a faker – even when she’s “crying,” she can’t resist talking. She even talks in her sleep – a true sign of a Roberts girl!
    xoxo

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