Episode 31: The Joys of Spring

spa
Sunday, March 29th at 11:04am:

Location: Logan’s Circle, NW
Scene: Diane in her car looking for a parking spot.

I was beginning to realize that I needed the patience of a bride searching Filene’s Basement for the perfect wedding dress, if I was going to find a parking spot at noon (aka peak brunch hour) on a weekend day in Logan Circle.  I only decided to put myself through this headache because Cindi thought it would be a good day to walk to the nail salon on U St. ‘We have to enjoy this unexpected spring weather’, she rationalized. I agreed since the forecast for the following week called for wind and rain, but after 30 minutes of searching to no avail, I was frustrated, thirsty and annoyed.  About to give up on my parking quest, I looked up at an empty spot only to see the ever present homeless guy signaling me to park there. Where was he a second ago and why did he think that this was his lucky day and without him I could not have found the spot myself?  (Which I did) When he saw me angling my car towards the middle of the space, he moved out of the way. When I stepped out of the car, he held his hands out for change.  When I did not give him any money, he said something about messing with my tires. When I heard that, I got in the car again and told Cindi to bring me a bottle of water for my thirst and that we would be driving to U St.  Go figure.

On U we were able to surprisingly find parking right away since those attending church services were all in the process of moving their cars. Finally Murphy was on my side.

As I stepped into the Shangri-la Day Spa, I was led to an empty pedicure station. The warm water on my feet was just the de-stressor that I needed. I sat back as the nail technician started the seat massager and proceeded with the task of making my feet beautiful.  I was in heaven. I tried not to think about Jaz’s book club meeting this afternoon, but that was an unattainable goal.  Neither Cindi nor I had read the assigned book, “Act like a Lady, Think like A Man” by Steve Harvey. Jaz was sure to be upset with us, but although she was gung-ho about this latest project, I gave her a month to tire of it or until the start of summer when the need to parade on the Washington Harbour in Georgetown on a Sunday in a floral halter dress topped her priority list.

Sunday, March 29th at 11:51am:
Location: Shangri-la Day Spa, U St., NW
Scene: Diane and Cindi getting their nails done.

The call from Chris this early on a Sunday was unexpected. I let it go to voicemail. I called him two weeks ago and he was only now returning my call. I knew since last week that I no longer wanted a relationship with him but the question still remained as to how I would break it off. He started, “hey honey, are you home right now? I thought I would stop by for a second or two.” I rolled my eyes and pressed the “delete” button. The more I speak to him the more I realize he enjoys being single and has no intention of settling down anytime soon.  I guess I should have known this was the case when we started dating, but I chose to ignore the signs of always wanting to be by himself, no interest in doing what I wanted to do and disappearing for days even weeks on end. Time to move on!

I turned to Cindi to see if she was ready to go but she was refilling her acrylics so I knew we had at least 30 minutes to go before we could leave. I opened the latest Cosmopolitan magazine and started to read the mindless relationship tips. I guess I will need them for my next try.

Episode 30: Rain in my Brunch

The historic U.

The historic U.

Sunday, March 15th at 7:48am:


Location: Diane’s apartment on Capitol Hill
Scene: Diane under the covers

“Tick! Tick! Tick! Tick!” my eye lids were barely peeling apart as I was forced awake from a wonderful slumber.  Was I really just at Tiffany’s with my tiara and black sheath staring longingly at George Peppard as he threw gems my way? Not quite the same scene as the movie but lovely all the same and a warm contrast to this cold, dreary, rainy morning. I yawned and hugged the covers even closer.

“Ring! Ring! Ring!” the cacophony that was my land line sounding off propelled me awake in an instant. No more Tiffany’s. No more George.

“Darling good morning and why so early”, I uttered with a deliberate slur speaking with a fully awake Jaz on the other end of the line.

“Let’s do brunch at BB&P in about an hour. Today is my last day on the show so I can finally relax. We have at least until noon to talk and catch up!” she continued.

“I will be there!” This was the best news I’d heard in weeks and a perfect time to bring out my new cowl neck cardigan from Forever 21 believe it or not.

Sunday, March 15th at 8:52am:
Location: Busboys and Poets on  14th and V St., NW
Scene: Girls sitting on one of the couches

“I have a taste for some eggs and sausage this morning.”  Jaz stated while perusing the menu. Her usual was the granola, coffee and the french toast.

“Darling, aren’t you a strict vegetarian?” I asked while Cindi looked on curiously scrutinizing Jaz with her piercing eyes through her cat framed glasses.

“Oh please, as of last week, I am a flexitarian.” She said calmly afterwards pointing out that Cindi’s new bangs looked amazing. I looked at her baffled. That had to be a made up word.

Deciding to move beyond the topic of her food choices, I asked “now that the play is over, what do you plan to do? I hope you are no longer thinking about moving out-of-town like you were a few months ago.”

 “I’m not sure as of yet. With all the Shakespearean theaters in the area I could try to hone my skills as a classical actress and see where it leads from there. My only issues are whether I will be able to make enough money and two are there enough opportunities in this area and beyond. We shall see. Hopefully I won’t have to wait until I’m old and grey to get my Tony.”

“Or you Oscar! Don’t be silly. You will be fine.” Cindi finally piped in. Her ponytail seemed to bounce with more spirit than she herself has been able to muster all morning.

“What’s going on Cindi?” I asked out of concern. I hope it had nothing to do with Aidan.

“Aidan was laid off yesterday with about 20 other associates. Everybody at the firm is upset about this. I am worried too about my job but my new case is doing well and the client is bringing the firm lots of business.”

“I am sure you will be okay.” I tried to reassure her but I also knew that many other attorneys in the city had been laid off by their firms. Trying to make light of the situation, I said, “If anything, you can always crash on my couch and or try consulting. We can be work buddies.”

She rolled her eyes, “sure, thanks. Hopefully, we will both be safe from either of those options.”

Episode 29: Me Time

servicesfaceSaturday, February 29th at 2:18pm:
Location: Hello Cupcake
Scene:  Diane at sitting at a table relaxing.

I woke up today in a rather pensive mood mixed with a bit of annoyance. After recalling that I was in a similar funk this time last year, I knew this was not just a simple “End of Winter Blues” but rather “Diane needs to Schedule a Spa Day” alert.  I immediately scheduled some “me time” with reservations for a full body massage and mani-pedi at the Andre Chreky Spa.  For extra measure and to boost my mood, I wore my red cotton wrap jersey dress with my brown (Georgetown sample sale bargain find for $40) boots. Bright colors were an instant anti-depressant and the boots brought out my inner fierce. I told no one where I was going and it turned out to be the best three hours I had in months. Afterwards, I was shining, sipping on tea and delving into first Twilight book while lounging at Hello Cupcake eating a scrumptious Prima Donna cupcake. It was there that Cindi finally tracked me down. I should have never taken my phone off silence.

Cindi said mockingly in faux shock, “Ooooh … Ms.  I’m Trying to Ignore calls today thanks for blessing me with the permission to speak to you. Where have you been?” I could tell she was probably standing with her hands on her hips looking at the mirror while she spoke with me on speaker phone from her bathroom.

“I needed an emergency spa day. I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin this morning. What are you up to?” I asked eyeing my book and my tea which was soon to be too cold to enjoy.  

“I can’t believe you took a spa day and did not tell me? First Jaz is still busy with her play and now you don’t include me anymore. Well anyway, I am calling to invite you to dinner with me and Aidan. Are you able to meet us at Next Door tonight?”

Hmmm, dinner with Aidan, I thought to myself was akin to knowing a manicurist was rough on the cuticles but still going back to her for abuse and nicks and leaving a generous tip using banged up fingers to hand her the money.

“Darling I think I will pass and continue on my ‘me time’ journey.” I responded hoping she would understand but knowing that would not be the case. It just seemed like every time she and Aidan planned a date night, she wanted me to come along. I was never sure if she was just being a caring friend or a friend who cared about not being alone with a guy she had borderline feelings for.  I always suspected it was the later.  But it was no fun feeling like the third lens in the glasses, seventh soda in the pack, ninth slice in the pizza you get the drift.  You get the drift.

“Are you sure Cindi? He is treating.” She whined on the other end of the line.

“I am sure. Darling you should use this opportunity to get some ‘you and Aidan’ time and to be honest I don’t know if he and I click. He always butts in and shows off, but you two seem to really be getting along.” I explained not intending initially to get into the Aidan is weird topic, but oh well.   

“Diane you are so fickle!” she said with a sigh, “I am going to leave this one alone. Bye.” And with that I was back to enjoying my me time. I can’t wait for Jaz’s play to be over so we can all hang out again as a trio. In our case Jaz, Diane and Cindi together made sense. There was a balance and Jaz was the yoke.

Episode 27: Running With the Ball

flagMonday, January 26th at 9:46am:
Location: Johnson Consulting, K Street, NW
Scene:  Diane in the pantry.

“Hey Diane, how was your weekend? I can’t believe there were so many people in the city.”  Andy another associate asked me while we were in the office pantry waiting for the coffeemaker to finish brewing. Maggie walked in just when I was about to answer and she noted, “Diane, you don’t seem like the type to do much on the weekends.”

I saw this as my opportunity, “Well actually Maggie I do a lot in the city. And this weekend I went to most of the festivities including the Mid-Atlantic Ball.”

“You went to the Mid-Atlantic Ball?! I was trying so hard to find tickets. How did you get yours?”  She asked but I could already tell she was trying to size me up in some way.

“Oh, a friend of a friend.” I spat out, shrugged, made my coffee and walked towards my office. As I stepped inside, I turned to see Maggie, quick on my heels entering the room before I even reached my desk.

“Look Diane, I can tell by your response that you already have a poor view of me. I really did not mean anything negative by implying that you were a little bit a homebody.” She explained leaning on the door frame in my office all of a sudden happy like Gidget catching some rays on the beach.

“So that was what you meant.” I countered browsing through the morning’s mail.

“Honey, don’t take things so seriously.  Why do you want come with me to a party at a friend’s house in Potomac this coming weekend? It’s a Super Bowl party and there should be lot’s of eligible powerbroker types there.” 

The offer was tempting.

“Bob will more than likely be there as well and I really want us to try to be friends.  We women have to stick together.”  Frankly, for me the conversation ended at ‘Bob will more than likely be there’. I was sold like cheap art at a charity auction. I would just have to tell Cindi, Jaz and Chris I have other work related plans.

Tuesday, January 27th at 12:31pm:
Location: Johnson Consulting, K Street, NW
Scene:  Diane talking to Cindi on the phone.

“You are not coming to Pete’s annual Super Bowl party? So why do I feel you are dumping Jaz and me for “the diva”?”  Cindi was not happy about my breaking our annual plans. This was so funny because she did not even like football.

“Darling, I am not dumping you guys for Maggie…I just think this is a great opportunity to mingle with the boss outside of work.” My explanations were like the women in the club restrooms, not really helpful and just annoying her more so I decided to promise to call her later.  

“Well be careful! I have not met Maggie but I can tell already that the only person she cares about helping is herself.” With a voice that sounded like she was in cahoots with my sixth sense Cindi hung up. I was left to haggle with my conscience while it gnawed at my common sense. However, my ambition won out and I decided to still go to the party.

I had to start thinking about what to wear.

Sunday, February 1st at 6:00pm:
Location: House in Potomac, MD
Scene:  Diane heading to the party.


“Hey Maggie, see you at the party! I am heading out there now and should arrive at five. Talk soon! Diane.”  This was my second call and second voice mail message to Maggie today.  I decided to go by myself.  I arrived at the party wearing team colors pairing jeans with my heels. Of course, I was the single girl in the room.  I had to stick by the rules we single gals play when encountering a herd of couples congregating at a familiar watering hole.  I walked lightly around them sipping ever so carefully all the while focusing on making eye contact with the wives and not the husbands. These survival tips have gotten me through many an uncomfortable scenario. Not surprisingly, neither Bob nor Maggie was in attendance.  I decided to stick around for a respectable 45 minutes and then slipped out to go to my car. I have to admit I did make a couple new acquaintances who had clued me in to a few new restaurants like Next Door on U Street. I called Cindi and told her I was heading over. Both she and Jaz were elated that we could all hang out together.

Monday, February 2nd at 8:32am:
Location: Johnson Consulting, K Street, NW
Scene:  Diane on the phone with Jaz.

“I can’t believe she stood you up and did not call at all.” Jaz started, while on her way to the metro.  At least she was a bit more tamed today with her criticism of Maggie.

“Hey Diane, how was the party? Hope you had fun!  I had a belly ache and was not able to make it. Listen lets catch up over lunch. I would talk now but I am headed for a meeting.”  Maggie made this statement out of nowhere and with that she was gone. I still did not know what to make of it all.

Episode 26: The Inauguration

Peace

Peace

Thursday, January 15th at 12:31pm:

 

 

 

Location: Café Asia, 1720 I Street, NW

Scene:  Diane and Cindi eating sushi at restaurant and talking.

“Ok, so I think I found us tickets to the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball!” Cindi blurted as soon as she sat down barely removing her grey wool coat.

“How did you do that? I thought it was one of the invitation only events. This better be good because some people are willing to stand outside in the cold for days to get these tickets and kiss any willing behind.  So, whose butt are you kissing?” I said staring at her with a smirk.

I knew she would start off by telling me something to the effect that she was only looking out for us, that we couldn’t miss any opportunity to meet the beautiful and professional (hopefully) men who would be descending on the city all dressed up in their tux and dapper fineries. Hmm mmm…we should probably add a hopefully to the beautiful part of this scenario as well, come to think of it. Overall, new faces to flirt with are always a single girl’s dream.

Cindi started, “getting the tickets was a little tricky but it will be worth it in the end.  You, me and Jaz are going to have so much fun!” she exclaimed.

 “Suuuure, so who did you get them from?” I stopped chewing on my Tuna Maki to give her the sideways stare. Truth be told, I did not care who the tickets were from, I was just happy we were all able to attend. And I was not surprised that Cindi was able to pull off the tickets, since she was pretty resourceful when she really wanted something.

She responded at probably two or three hertz’s below an auctioneer, “well I was going to ask my boss if he knew of a way to get the tickets.  Aidan walked into my office to drop off some papers and while he was there we started talking about the Inauguration. He mentioned that he was going to two of the Balls. I asked him, how was that possible because he mentioned the ones with the hardest tickets to come by. Then he mentioned that his dad was a lobbyist who had donated lots of money to the campaign as an individual.  And so, because of the amount he had donated he was given five tickets to two events and would only attend one. So he gave Aidan all the tickets to the Mid-Atlantic and Aidan offered three to me.  So, that’s how we get to go.  Fun, huh?” She finished and I realized that all I heard was Aidan and fun and huh.

“Oh boy, I guess the excitement that day will not only surround Obama! This will be interesting. I’ve got my dress so I am game!” I uttered a spasmodic laugh and I toasted to the ball with her smiling and shaking my head, while catching a swift glimpse of apprehension on her countenance.  In a nanosecond it had disappeared. I wonder if her knowing what Aidan’s dad did for a living made his overtures less repulsive.

Tuesday, January 20th at 4:02pm:

Location: Cindi’s Apartment, Logan Circle

Scene:  Diane, Cindi and Jaz preparing for the ball.

“Darling, did you see the ambulance outside your building?” I asked Cindi as I entered her apartment simultaneously laying down my bags and Inauguration Day collectibles.

“I think my neighbor fell down the stairs. It was weird since I did not realize he was sick. Hopefully those crazy kids in the neighborhood were not bothering him.” She noted and the asked, “Jaz, where is your Ball gown?” as we both looked at Jaz who was holding up a black hippie style skirt and wrap style silk shirt.

My only response was to laugh out loud at the scene because I knew Cindi was just upset–because Jaz was recycling a few items from her closet and did not buy anything new to wear.

“Whatever! Don’t knock my outfit.  It’s fab and you’re jealous.” Jaz stuck her tongue out kindergarten style and walked towards the bathroom.

“Okay, let’s hide the skirt and find her something from my closet! We are not going to have these pictures taken for posterity with her next to us looking like a hippie. Did standing in the cold all day get to her brain?” Cindi sounded frustrated.  She was probably just trying hard to now make a good impression on Aidan and his friends. “Do you think she will fit into this fabulous black Byron Lars dress I purchased from Everard’s Clothing in Georgetown but never wore?” She continued, pulling the satin dress out of her closet.

“It’s up to you,” I shrugged. “I think there is nothing wrong with the outfit she chose. After a spiritually uplifting day as today I will not be judging anyone. Didn’t Obama say something about ‘unity of purpose over conflict’?”

At that moment, Jaz walked out of the restroom wrapped in her robe.

“Jaz babes, here are some goodies I laid out for you while you were taking your shower. What do you think?” Cindi was so determined that she just might get her feelings hurt.

“What! Hey, if you are offering, then I am taking. Hand the dress over and by the way, are you expecting it back?”  Jaz was excited while Cindi rolled her eyes and headed to the restroom to start her preparation ritual.

Jaz turned to me, “if I knew that wearing one of my gypsy skirts was all it took for Cindi to hand over one of her nicer dresses, I would’ve worn it a long time ago.”

We both started laughing. I could tell already that the evening would be equally amusing as the preparation process was becoming.

Tuesday, January 20th at 7:10pm:

Location: Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball, Washington Convention Center – Hall A

Scene:  Diane, Cindi and Jaz at the ball.

When we left Cindi’s apartment out of the corner of my eyes I noticed the boys she was referring to earlier. Thankfully we were able to grab a cab on 14th. They gave me the chills but that was neither here nor there. I put all thoughts of them aside when we entered the ball room.

“Hey Aidan, these are my friends Jaz and Diane.” Cindi introduced us to the tall, lanky Krispy Kreme donut tanned guy who was cute in a “golly Beave” kind of way.

We both said, hi but I guess she was taken aback when he introduced us all to his friend Nicholas who was preppy-cute with rimless glasses and a complexion of hot chocolate with an equal amount of milk and chocolate. Jaz walked away because she was still not in the dating or flirting mood, Cindi on the other hand was stuck with Aidan who proceeded to grab her hand and guide her to the dance floor while low and behold I was left with Nicholas who gladly agreed to walk with me to grab some food. I waved good bye to Cindi all the while smirking to myself because I knew she was just now beginning to feel stuck as she bopped away with Aidan who could not get his hands and legs to coordinate and move to the beat of the same song.

Episode 25: No More Drama…For Now

christian-louboutin-black-leather-pumps2

Wednesday, January 7th at 4:41pm:

Location: James Consulting, 20th and K Street

Scene:  Diane sitting at her desk.

I decided after work on Tuesday that I was going to de-drama-fy my work life.  You can say I should have decided this before the first day.  But when thoughts of grabbing Margaret’s aka “Maggie’s” golden ponytail and dragging her out the building with the sole purpose of wrinkling and ruining her always in place skirt and shirt ensemble (but not her Louboutin Platform pumps, of course), I knew the time for reform was now. 

So, I became determined to ignore the way she cuts off everyone at the Tuesday meeting.  I turned a blind eye to her always thinking she knows everyone else’s job better than them.  And I did not pay attention to her uninvited opinions and suggestions at the staff meetings.  Most importantly, I pretended not to see or hear the snide remarks she makes that leave her victims confused, when they see her for what she is whether to be hurt or pleased for the acknowledgement.  

But for others, she could do no wrong. For example, to Triste in PR (one of the “I am just here to work” types), this morning Maggie told her, “cute skirt”.  I knew she was disingenuous because everyone could tell that somewhere between walking out of her house and getting to work she had spilled some ketchup down the side seam of her skirt.  She also managed to have twisted the skirt so that the front was now the back and vice-versa.  Why not just tell Triste to check herself in the restroom. It was obvious her comment was probably a dig.  But,Triste did not think so because she was smiling like Brad Pitt had asked her out on a date. 

I was not surprised at Triste’s reaction, because on Monday she had confided to me in the restroom that she had lost 60 pounds recently via gastric bypass. Because of this, I knew she would be excited to receive any compliment or fashion acknowledgement especially from the most well dressed girl in the office.  I looked on and rolled my eyes yet after observing the “compliment” scene I knew Maggie was a true expert at the game.  I realized commenting to the naïve would not be beneficial.

Wednesday, January 7th at 6:20pm:

Location: Zola, F Street NW Capitol Hill

Scene: Diane sitting in lounge area near the bar waiting for Jaz and Cindi.

I planned on meeting Jaz and Cindi for happy hour. We chose Wednesday because it was a slow night and we needed to talk.

“Yes, I am waiting on friends, but I would like to order a French martini and hamburger and fries.”  I was starving and both Cindi and Jaz were running late.  I figured that they would have to find parking when they got here so it would probably be another forty minutes or so before I saw them.  And I just could not resist the Zola french-fries. They are the best.

Surprisingly, Jaz showed up twenty minutes after I placed my order.

“Hey lady, look at all this food! If I did not know how much you love these fries I would think you are doing the food consoling thing.”

Not sure that I wanted to complain on an empty stomach, I noted, “you got here pretty quickly, Did you take a cab?”

She shifted and started searching for some random, phantom object in her bag so I knew this would be good. After a while she responded, “George gave me a ride.”

George! Are you kidding me?!” I sat looking at her, my mouth opened, as I held a half eaten piece of French fry next to my cheeks. 

“We are just friends and maybe not.  He wanted to talk and I needed a ride so he obliged.  Don’t worry I will not be dating anyone anytime soon”, she said while poking her fingers into my fries, pulling out a few. The waitress appeared and she ordered her own batch as well as a French martini.  “So how is work?” she continued.

“It’s ok.  I am just trying to figure out how to get without getting involved in any drama.  Trying to make 2009 drama-free.”

Then my phone buzzed. It was a text from Cindi saying she was running late.

“That’s good. Because you have had enough work drama to last awhile.” She continued, “here are two complimentary tickets to the opening of my show in March, something to look forward to. Hugs hon.”

Episode 24: Rules and Mirrors

A study of stuff.

A study of stuff.

Monday, January 5th at 7:23am:

Location: Diane’s jr. one bedroom apartment, Capitol Hill

Scene:  Diane getting ready in her bedroom.

Today was my first day at the new job. From what I noticed during my interview for the most part everyone at the James Consulting wore DC conservative chic. You know the A-line skirt with the V-neck cashmere sweater, hair in a ponytail with Steve Madden leopard print pumps or Tory Burch flats. Some may take it up a notch with a few David Yurman pieces but that puts them more towards the conservative, in my view. Those leaning more towards chic usually opt for statement accessories from one of the local boutiques like Hu Shoes in Georgetown. Of course, there were also the “I don’t care” or the “I am just here to work and be out” folks but it would be too stressful to focus on them right now.  I had been thinking of my first day wear for the last two weeks while also keeping the three first day rules in mind. And right now first and foremost on my mind was rule number one – figure out the office uniform and take it up a notch.

I have never been a mold girl and to be honest, with my short pixie haircut, I would not be rocking a ponytail anyway and I am firmly on the anti-weave brigade. Cindi and I agreed that my choice should be a scoop necked, gray sheath from Zara which hugged the hips but not enough for others to question if my aim was to turn tricks on K Street rather than cut deals.  I was also planning to wear my black patent leather Michael Kors classic open toe pumps and my trusty Swarovski cocktail ring. Yes, it was cold outside but what are cabs for if not to save you when you make a winter shoe faux pas.

I was ready.

Monday, January 5th at 8:55am:

Location: James Consulting, 20th and K Street

Scene:  Reception area on the fourth floor.

“Hey lady, good luck!” Jaz texted me as I exited the cab.

“Thanks Darling!” I typed right before walking into the building. Thankfully, I looked up before smashing into the glass doors. It would not be cool to embarrass myself on the first day. I walked into the office and greeted Anna, the receptionist.  

Which leads me to rule number two – always be nice to the receptionist even if you are no longer interviewing. You don’t want to hang out at her desk gossiping but you most certainly don’t want her slinging dirt about you to others.

“Hi Anna, how are you doing?” pause so she can respond.

“Can you please tell Margaret Vandercraft that I am here?”  According to my schedule Margaret was supposed to give me a tour of the office and then I had nothing to do until my 11am session with the folks at HR.  I sat in one of the brown toile decorated guest armchairs grabbing the daily Washington Post – the Obamas were of course one of the topics covered on the front page.  I can’t believe they are really here in the city. “By the way Anna” I continued, “that shirt is such a great color on you.” I said looking up at her with a lovely smile after she noted that Margaret would be soon on her way.

“Thank you! I’ve been eyeing your shoes since you walked in. They are simply divine.” At that moment Margaret entered the room wearing her navy blue take on the DC conservative chic on her 6’1” frame. Only she wore a clean blonde ponytail with diamond stud earrings and grey 4 inch pumps. She looked beyond chic and did not even have on any statement accessories. Out goes my theory.

“Hi Diane, you look lovely today. How was your commute?” Margaret said formally with a well polished air that surprisingly I could not read.  As we walked down the hall, she turned and gave me a toothless smile, “here is the pantry and across the hall is the main conference room. We have 9am meetings every Tuesday in this room.  Bob likes everyone to be on time.”   

We walked by Bob’s office on our way to mine and he was in so we decided to say hi.  Margaret started, “hi Bob. I’m taking Diane around and I should be able to stop by to talk about the Sturn report in about 30 minutes. By the way, it was great seeing you at the Hudson’s New Year’s Eve party.”

“Yes the party was great. I can’t wait for the next one. I had quite a good talk with your guy Dan.  By the way, Diane welcome aboard. Maggie we’ll talk later.” And with a smile he waived us off.

Well at least his demeanor was a step up from Jerry my last boss.

“Oh by the way I forgot to mention that everyone I work with calls me Maggie. You should too.” Maggie mentioned when we turned the corner.

I knew from her tone that it was not a suggestion but a request. Walking, listening and sizing up Maggie had now pre-occupied my thoughts. After Maggie led me to my office, I asked “are you available for lunch today? It would be nice to meet and talk especially since we will probably be working on some projects together.”

“Hmmm…not sure. If my meeting with Bob does not last too long I’ll see if I can schedule some time with you. Are you sure you want to head outside for lunch? Your toes might get cold.”

And with that she was on her way.

Hmmmm…rule number three was now in effect – get to know the competition and find out how she works the game. I did not think I would have to use this rule after my experience at my previous job but I believe I just found the competition.