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.

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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 8: Sun, Politics and Crushes

georgetown-1

(First Timer? Read from the start)

Friday, August 29th at 5:03 pm

“Yeah!” The whooping and clapping could be heard from the garage and grew even louder as we stepped into the house. Unfortunately, no one noticed our sashay into the room. Surprisingly, about 20 or so people were in the house glued to the television, on their faces a mixture of laser focus and extreme merriment as they watched Senator McCain holding the hands of a brunette.

Guillermo proclaimed to the group from his imaginary podium, “We’re going to the White House, baby! That’ll teach those Democrats to underestimate the superior party. McCain-Palin, what a game changer! Oh man!” He ended this tirade, high-fiving the men in the room before heading towards the kitchen.

It was at this moment my crush ended and his chiseled jaw reminded me of stoic narrow-minded policies and looking at his tall handsome body I noticed only an ingrate with spilled pizza sauce on his shirt.  I saw more of the same and wished without regret he would not be elected Mayor of Coconut Grove.  Happy Republicans were not a sight I particularly enjoyed. I rolled my eyes.

“Who is she?” I asked softly looking only to Jaz and Cindi for an answer. They both shrugged. So, sensing from the picture that McCain had just chosen a VP nominee that had energized the room I shouted “Whatever you Republicans throw at us we can take it and give it back!” They all turned to look at me.  Just as the daggers were about to fly, Cindi and Jaz grabbed both my hands and dragged me upstairs saving me from becoming political road kill.

Friday, August 29th at 10:01 pm

A few hours later after being repeatedly briefed on the latest political happenings via the annoying CNN reruns, I was more than ready to leave the house. I started to make a move towards getting ready, noting that Chris had just returned my 5:39pm text. He was out with his friend Alisha from college and the guys of course. I had no time to analyze the potential doom and gloom scenarios having to do with this message.

“Diane, we are heading out in 30 minutes. We also told Guillermo to stay away from you.” Jaz called out from the hallway giggling while she said the last statement.

“Did you call Chris and invite him to come out?” Cindi asked popping her head into the bathroom. She was wearing a cute body hugging black dress.

“Umm…don’t want to talk about it, but look at you! Darling, too bad you are Caribbean otherwise you would be mistaken for one of Robert Palmer’s back up dancers.” I noted and commented on how great her makeup looked.

“Are you trying to say I am ‘simply irresistible’?” she went on mimicking the lipstick wearing dancers.

Jaz turned on the music in her room and we were ready to go.

In the car, I told them about the text message and we vowed that tonight would be about fun and there would be no talk about the two stressful situations in my life – politics and love.

Saturday, August 30th at 1:33 am

“Why did you tell Chris to come? That guy you were salsa dancing with seemed so nice and so cute – getting you a tissue, buying us all drinks and he is so well traveled. How are you going to handle being around both of them?” Jaz proclaimed just getting off the dance floor herself.   

“I don’t know. I did not give it much thought. He asked me where we were. I told him Mansion and he said he was on his way. It all happened so fast.” I tried to explain through my mojito induced haze. I was suddenly depressed about the whole situation. How would I handle it?

“Hey Diane, I have an early flight to catch so I am going to head out but here is my card. Give me your number and maybe we can meet for dinner next week when I am in DC.” I turned to David elated and relieved.

We hugged and he left while almost simultaneously Chris showed up.