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 25: No More Drama…For Now

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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 23: Strange Bed Options

A Study of a Caribbean Beach in December

A Study of a Caribbean Beach in December

Friday, January 2nd at 7:23am:

 

 

 

Location: Diane’s Father’s home in Boston

Scene:  Standing in the living room with her bags.

 

“Dad, are you ready to head out?”

I had been calling him for the last 15 minutes. My flight leaves in 3 hours but I was just afraid of the walking into another web of chaos at the airport.  I remained impatient although Carmela had accepted the mission to pull him away from his study and the telephone. He was unofficially working from home today.  I would have asked my step brothers to take me to the airport but they had already taken off with the speed of running bulls when their college buddies suggested spending New Year’s Eve in New York. It had been kind of nice just the three of us in the house over the last few days.  A rarity though they’ve been married for six years now. Carmela gave great advice on my Chris situation and I was going to open myself more to a romantic relationship with him. 

“One moment,” he called from the top of the stairs, “I just need to put on my shoes and we should be on our way.” 

Thank goodness!

Sunday, January 4th at 10:44am:

Location: Busboys and Poets, 5th and K St., NW Washington, DC

Scene:  Ladies on top floor couch sipping on hot chocolate and reading the paper.

 

“Did you all hear about the dress registry website?” Jaz lazily flopped one of her booted feet on the couch. I could tell by looking at her knees that she had a great tan from her vacation home in Miami.

“No. I’ve been a hermit the last few days. What about it?” Cindi responded.

“It’s the best idea ever! Events are listed on a website and women who plan to attend can add the dress they plan to wear with dress details and a picture to the site.  For one of the Inaugural Balls someone listed that they are wearing an H&M dress.  Now, I am all for making sure some other diva does not show up with the same dress at the same event, but what diva would want someone else to know how much they actually paid for a super fabulous outfit.”  She explained with eye rolls using her hands to express how appalled she felt. 

“Hilarious indeed!  I will have to check it out. So, Cindi how was your vacation? Your tan looks great by the way darling.” She was seating in front of me more relaxed than I’ve seen her in a long time, red turtle neck, gold hoop earrings, hair in a ponytail and a slight brush on her lips of her favorite MAC lip gloss.  I wonder who the guy is.

“My vacation was great.  The family was together with my grandparents for the first time in four years. Grandma looked healthy after a scary stay in the hospital at the beginning of the month. Yvonne got to show off her engagement ring to the cousins. We partied till the sun came up just about every night for a week. Good times.” She nonchalantly stirred her hot chocolate.

I gave her a sideways glance, scrunching up my nose Samantha the witch style. I did not believe her. “Really and what else has been going on since you’ve returned?” I continued. Jaz’s head finally popped up in my direction periscope style.

“Nothing.” She squinted at me, “just vacation afterglow. I did see Jamie Foxx on the flight back. He is so cute.”

“Are you kidding me? Please don’t let me regurgitate my breakfast. Every time I see him on the blogs pouring drinks down a girl’s throat I think classy <air quotes>. He seems like the kind of guy who would purposely ride on the packed train car just to cop a secret feel.” Jaz spat her criticism and finished with another elaborate eye roll.

“Well, I still think he’s cute and would not hesitate to get secretly copped if the opportunity knocked.” She continued with a sly smile. Jaz turned the page of the Post style section obviously trying to ignore her response.

“How is Aidan?” I was still suspicious that something was brewing with that relationship and did want to get thrown off the scent.

“My goodness, you are like my second mother! Ok, so I have been sleeping with Aidan. I’ve just been too embarrassed to tell you ladies. I should have never taken things to home base with him.  But anyways I ended it this morning and so I am wearing a happy color.” She ended puffing out her chest and smoothing out her cashmere turtle neck. “Peruvian Connection by the way.” And so was the end to the revelation.

“Hmmm…the big reveal finally. We knew there were holes in the story you told us a few weeks ago.” Jaz nodded in my direction.

I shook my head, “maybe for 2009 we will have to work on getting you a serious man.”

“I know. You are probably right but we shall see.” I knew deep down she was in it for the chase and there was no chance of her staying in a relationship for more than the three month mark.

 

Episode 21: Show Me Who You Are…

A Study of 24th and M Street
A Study of 24th and M Street

 

 

Sunday, December 7th at 12:23pm:

Location: Blue Duck Tavern, 24th and M Street, NW

Scene: Diane and Chris have arrived at the restaurant early for their brunch date with Jaz and Cindi. They are sipping on Mimosas.

 

“Darling, I pass this hotel on the way to my physician all the time and I’ve never noticed this restaurant before.” I noted looking around at the modern yet traditionally decorated restaurant spotting the artisan bread laid out in the kitchen below the lounge where we sat.

 “I think you will like the brunch offerings here. It might not be your usual fare but it will nonetheless be a delightful treat for your taste buds.  Next summer, we should come here together. One night a week they roast an entire pig, believe it or not and it’s absolutely delicious.” Chris noted while drinking the last of his mimosa. I took a moment to admire the delicate connection of a small fuzz of hair from his wrist peaking through his blue stripped shirt sleeve while touching his hands adding to the nerve ridged and sinew bulged masculinity, a contrast to his delicate grasp of the glass while he drank. My eyes wondered to his well groomed finger nails.  He was always well polished.  I’d never dated a guy so well groomed.  It made me nervous that he would be appalled if he noticed any of my out of place eyebrow hairs or week overdue bikini wax. He says he does not care but that is left to be believed as we have not moved beyond being just occasional daters.

 I thought to myself, did he just say next summer, as in he is planning ahead. Breathe in…wait a minute this is Chris, I almost forgot he talks a lot and gets excited about things like restaurants and food and he may say things that end with no follow through. Umm, think I will go into my Missouri state, and wait till he shows me he is really planning ahead with me and as a result wants to have a serious relationship.

“Hey you two how are you doing?” Jaz proclaimed as she walked into the restaurant with Cindi. They were being led to where we were lounging by the hostess.

Chris stood up almost instantly and I began to make the introductions. Since we started dating he had never met Jaz.  Cindi and I met him together but that was late one night at his restaurant so it was like she was seeing him for the first time. After the introductions, we were then led to our table.

“So, mister food know-it-all what is good on the menu?” I asked noticing unlikely brunch items like whiskey cured Coho Gravlax.  The choice of where to eat was Chris’s as usual, he would have it no other way.

“You’d be surprised to hear me say this but the grits here are really nice and creamy with a thick consistency due to the cheddar cheese folded into the sauce. They are actually better than the ones at the Georgia Browns brunch buffet.” He also noted for good measure highlighting his broad knowledge of Washington restaurants. He continued “actually everything here tastes good and is fresh so feel free to try something new. I am going to get the Irish breakfast and the grits.” He said continuing to examine the menu.

Sunday, December 7th at 2:48pm:

Location: M Street Georgetown

Scene: Diane, Jaz and Cindi walking from store to store.

We expected to be assaulted by absentminded cab drivers while driving down M Street but instead we had to contend with throngs of tourists either just visiting or commencing their early holiday shopping. We finally found parking outside of the MAC store on M Street. 

“Ladies thanks for coming with me to take care of these quick wedding related errands. Glad you are both here because I wanted to talk about Aidan and work without Chris overhearing.” Cindi noted. As her sister’s maid of honor, she was slowly descending into full wedding planner mode.

“I understand. It was good hanging out with Chris but sometimes I think all he wants is someone to show off his restaurant knowledge to.  To be honest, he is great but I am going to start looking for another guy.” I thought out loud. 

“Whatever Diane, I see the way you look at him and how he looks intently at you when you are just saying ‘pass the butter please’. There is more between the two of you so just give it time. I think sometimes we just need to be patient at the start of a relationship.” Cindi noted sounding like she has been seeking advice from her soon to be married sister. Without fail expertise comes with the engagement ring. “At least you don’t have to worry about fooling around with your co-worker only to realize that he does not respect you and that he went ahead and told someone your same year at the firm that you are sleeping with him.” She revealed.

“You’re sleeping with him? Are you out of your mind!” Jaz stated while pausing and changing her mind about entering the MAC store for a quick look around. “A few weeks ago you were annoyed that he was too forward but you are still moving on with a relationship with him. I am so confused Cindi.  This could ruin your professional reputation.”

“We’re not sleeping together he is lying and/or delusional! All we’ve done is kiss at the office and I’ve been avoiding him for the past week or so. My friend at work told me what he said and I pretended to not know what she was talking about.” Cindi exclaimed as Jaz became quiet and we started walking to the Restoration Hardware store. I did not think we would get much bridal registry work done at all.

“You have to sit him down and make it clear that there is nothing between the two of you and avoid him like the plague. Pretend you did not even kiss him when you are both in public and find some other guy to go to the firm Christmas party with to send the message to everyone especially him.” I responded after quickly reflecting on what was going on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 2: Dirty Job

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(First Timer? Read from the start)

Monday, July 28th –  5:45pm

In continuation…

After, slightly getting over my shock at Jerry’s directive, I took a minute to look outside my office window. Being on the 10th floor had its perks and getting a window office was one of them. It was turning out to be a nice summer day. I kept wishing that I could be outside playing somewhere. I had to just sigh and sit down trying to crane my head in the direction of Maryanne’s desk noting that she was still not in yet. Seriously, it was 9:30! Maybe she would quit and I would be freed from having to do Jerry’s dirty work.  It did not help that she was regularly late and that she hugged the watercooler for hours discussing everything but work.

She finally came in at 9:40, but since I had to prep for the morning meeting, I figured our “talk” would have to wait. HR already knew about her termination. I just had to be the one to tell her to her face. We had the meeting in which Jerry upset me again. It was beginning to look like his day for crapping all over me. I had to step away and use my lunch as manicure time. I just needed to get away and a quick trip to Tysons and the Modern Day Spa was definitely the lunch I needed. 

I snuck out of work resolving to talk to Maryanne when I was more relaxed. As I walked into the spa, I was happy to see that my favorite manicurist Ti was available. Our routine – I talked, she listened and complimented like an unorthodoxed therapist. I always wondered if she fully understood what I was saying. She always just nodded and smiled. Oh well. She finished my strawberry sweetheart color and massaged my hands just the way I liked. I gave her a nice tip and the session was over. I felt better and my nails looked fabulous. 

An hour later, I was back at the office and it was time to speak with Maryanne.

“Hey Maryanne. Do you have a second to come into my office? I need to speak to you.”

“Sure.” Maryanne answered.

As she entered the room I readied myrself for a potential smack down or the instant need to dock and dodge flying objects. Instinctively, I wanted to be ready for the unexpected.

“Hi Maryanne, Jerry and I were talking this morning and at his bequest we have decided to let you go. We’ve appreciated your work throughout the years but the mistakes in the last few weeks have been too much to overlook.  This latest mishap was irresponsible and has probably made us loose the deal. We have to let you go. Sorry this had to happen. I know you have been here for a few years and I wish you all the best. Please report to Agnes in HR and she will help you with the exit proceedings.” I said it just the way I had rehearsed in the car. I finished and only after the fact I realized that I was instinctively pressing my nails into my hands waiting for the worst to happen.

Surprisingly, just when I finished Maryanne stood up, hands on one hip as she bent over forcefully placing her other hand on my desk causing me to press a little more against the back of my chair. Crap she was going to hit or spit on me. I thought to myself. “Who do you think you are firing? I know you stole Sam’s job. I am so through with this place anyway. You can keep this ridiculous job!”

“Stole Sam’s job?” That one through me off a bit.

And with that, she walked as briskly to the door as her mermaid cut knee length skirt would take her, pausing briefly as she pulled the door and firmly slammed it behind her.

And like that the drama was over. It was now all up to HR to play clean up crew.  I called Cindi. Voicemail. I sent her a text message.

6:20pm:

I had 20 minutes left to my work out. I was sweating now and in my groove. Out of my mental lull, I was now paying attention to the news. The same old stuff was on … the police check point in Trinidad NE is still working, the rest of the week would be hot, Obama and McCain were focusing on the economy. I decided to listen to the radio.

6:55pm

I just finished my shower and my phone was already ringing.

“Hey chica! I just got a new phone. Are you ready to roll?” It was Jaz. “I’m at the Verizon Store on 13th and F. Heard from Cindi and she is on her way too.”

“Girl, fifteen minutes for makeup and dressing and I am so there!”

 To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 1: She Works Hard For Her Money

Monday, July 28th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

“Jerry is such a jerk!” I screamed to myself when I was in my car and out of hearing range. “People in my office were clearly out of their minds today and now I knew for sure I will not be at BA Consulting for another year,” I had to say this out loud with my eyes closed and lips tensed.

“Crap! 5:05! Cindi was on her happy hour date!” I grew more frustrated at this realization and left a quick message. I needed to talk to her to sort this out, after all why else would she be No. 1 on my speed dial.  I also had a thirty-five minute drive to the Washington Sports Club on Wisconsin Ave. from Tyson’s Corner and I needed to regurgitate all the details of my drama filled day – to someone!  I vowed if Cindi did not call before I arrived at the gym, there would definitely have to be the self-imposed  cardio therapy. I could not even call Jaz, since she lost her cell phone the day before.

Thirty minutes later my phone rings I look at the caller i.d. and I am immediately elated. 

“Hey Girl, thank goodness you called! You would never believe the day I had. I am most definitely going to start searching for another job!” I yelled into the phone while switching her to speaker phone.

“Why? What happened? Is everything ok?” Cindi was concerned.  She has known for the last few months that I’ve had a lot of trouble at work.

Jerry once again not only took credit for the report I wrote but he also proceeded to call me out in front of everyone at the morning meeting for something simple as a misspelled word in an email I sent out to him! I know that everyone attending the meeting know that I did most of the work on the report. It is so frustrating to work with someone who keeps taking all the credit for your work. But the really kicker today was that he wanted me to fire Maryanne.”

Fire her?! Why would he want you to do that? Oh my, looks like it’s definitely time to start updating your resume. Where are you now?  Did you really fire Maryanne?” Cindi rushed through the questions like a prosecutor with limited time for direct. 

“Yes girl. I did and it just stressed me out for the entire day.”

“Crap Eric is on the other line? Are you heading to the gym? I’ve got to finish this motion before I leave. Let’s meet at Lima afterwards. First round of mango mojitos on me!” I already knew from experience that I would get frustrated if I was telling this story and in the background I heard her typing away. 

“Aaah! Ok. Let Jaz know. She should be home in 15 minutes.” I said as she hung up.

I stepped into the gym and almost immediately spotted X, the cute and superfine trainer who had been asking me out for the past month. I kept turning him down because I knew it would go nowhere – trainers are notorious for being manwhores and his strength training class was one of my favorites. It was the perfect ying to my Zumba class and drama was not something I needed at the gym. 

On the way to the locker room, I waved at him while he was helping a client with some light weights.  My wave caught him just as his muscles were flexing while he grabbed another weight off the rack. He flashed me a seventy-five watt grin and already some of my stress was beginning to melt away. <le sigh>

I changed into my usual gym uniform of black, calf length yoga pants and Under Armour sleeveless tank. I stopped in front of the full length mirror to tie my ponytail but also to admire the new bump of a butt I was developing from my weekly squats.  I got on the treadmill, set it to one hour of manual at 6.0 speed and was off. Even with my focus and attention on the television I could not help but think about my crazy day. My thoughts drifted back to my morning.

At 8:01am my morning started with a thud when Sylvia, Jerry’s secretary, informed me before I was able to read my first email that I was being summoned. I walked into Jerry’s office and observed at his well groomed profile, adorned by gold cuff-linked, Thomas Pink shirt and Hermes tie while I waited to be acknowledged. He was intimidating in more ways than just being 6’2”, a full 1’2” taller than me.

He turned to look up after having me wait for 5 minutes with not even a hello. Obviously I was not as important as his conversation with the contractors at his house.

He started abruptly, “you have until the end of today to fire Maryanne. She forgot to send out the Genderand contracts again and on time and this time the deal fell through.” I was taken off-guard.

“How the heck am I going to fire someone?” I muffled under my breathe after walking out of his office and behind the safety of mine.  I had only been at the office for 2 months and I never got along with Maryanne, who was the assistant inherited from my predecessor Sam.  Curiously after Sam left many of the other employees started intimating at the probability that she was fired because of a failed tryst with Jerry. No one new for sure but all agreed if anyone was aware of what was going on it would be Maryanne who was close to Sam always seemed to have a blatant dislike for Jerry.  This of course did not help me since I relied on her for support in accomplishing many on the projects we had to juggle in a week. Maryanne was also officially the executive assistant to everyone in our group so technically Jerry could have given her the ax himself. Now I was left with the unpleasant responsibility of having to fire someone for the first time in my career.  This was definitely the downside of climbing the corporate ladder.

 >The story continues…stay tuned<