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 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.

Episode 18: Fishy Pedis and Crazy Cabbies

Mall at dusk.

Mall at dusk.

Sunday, November 9th at 10:14am:

Location: National Mall

Scene: Ladies are wearing sweat suits and stretching before getting ready for their run

“How was your mom’s visit?” I asked working at stretching past my sneakered legs.

“It was good. She is happy Guillermo won the election and she just wanted to make sure I was ok.  I miss my mommy already!” Jaz said as she settled into the grass lying on her back.

“We both had Dr. Fish pedicure in Alexandria . It was actually really nice.“ She continued still lying on her back stretching her legs ultra limber from years of dancing.

“Hey chica glad you had a nice visit, but come on and get up we’ve got to get this work out session on the way.” Cindi reached for Jaz’s hand to pull her up and with that we were off.

 I hated working out outside. As my lungs began to burn I could tell that this was definitely nowhere near the comfort of the heated gym with six television screens. For some reason I liked doing most outdoors activities except running. The five miles had just started but already they seemed like an eternity. Le sigh.

 Jaz continued, “we also went birthday gift shopping while she was here and she bought me a fabulous pink and white dress in African fabric from L~ Shandi at the Caramel boutique.  The only problem is that I have nowhere to wear it but I was hoping that if we were invited to an Inauguration party it would be perfect. Cindi start working that networking magic of yours!” Jaz said finishing with a smile while giving Cindi a quick pat on her shoulders.  

Cindi always had the knack of getting into fabulous events by just flashing her smile. I guess the easiest door opener is pulling up in the beamer, wearing high-end clothes and looking likeyou own  the place  gets the door open.  

“Don’t worry girl I am on this mission already. I think my boss at the firm who is sure to get a ticket might have to head out of town for a client meeting. Which sucks for him because even MLK day is not celebrated at this company. I’ve already joked with him that the tickets are mine as replacements for all of my paper cuts.” Cindi seemed determined and I had no doubt she would score the tickets.

Sunday, November 9th at 11:43am:

Location: Cindi’s Mercedes, Driving North on Connecticut Ave., NW

Scene: Cindi and Diane are heading to Cindi’s apartment where she promised to make them both some breakfast.

 “Ok. So what are we going to do for Jaz’s 30th birthday? The 24th of November is right around the corner.” Cindi asked as she tried to maneuver around some aggressive pedestrians trying to catch a cab curbside.“Get in your lane you jerk!” she yelled as a cabbie tried to cut in front of her abruptly and without signaling.  “These cab drivers get on my nerves on a daily basis!” Cindi yelled some more.

 I sat in the car speechless but laughing internally. I was becoming more and more used to the Mr. Hyde that was Cindi the driver.

 “We could throw her a party at Local 16 or some other similar place. I don’t think she would like another sit down dinner. Or we could do a day trip to West Virginia.” I was running out of great ideas.

 “A trip to West Virginia for her birthday?! Are you kidding me? Camping and white water rafting in freezing cold water does not make a fun birthday bash. For you, yes.  But for her, no.” Cindi went on and I was starting to get annoyed.

 “Ok. I get it. So what do you suggest?”  I said rolling my eyes as I climbed out of the car. We arrived at her apartment building in Logan’s Circle.

 “Hi George,” she said acknowledging the desk clerk as we walked to the elevator. She continued, “Jaz needs something more fantabulous than that.  I say we stick with the party idea and work with that. Maybe we can invite some of her acting and dance friends and probably see if we can have it upstairs at Mahogany with a DJ and an 80’s theme.” Cindi was on a role and focused. 

 I knew from experience that the planning for the party was bond to go overboard. But I instantly knew that Jaz deserves it since the last couple of months have not treated her well.

 

Sunday, November 9th at 12:15pm:

Location: Cindi’s kitchen/dining room, Logan’s Circle

Scene: Gray painted spacious room enough to fit three comfortably with chocolate lacquered hardwood floors, marble counters and stainless steel appliances cushions and callas lilies in a corner near the refrigerator.

 Cindi started making our egg white omelets.  We had vowed to spend the rest of the day on the healthy track.  There was not much for me to do besides make the toast and cut some fruit.  After that was finished, I headed to the bathroom. While tinkering around for some face wash, I spotted a tube of men’s shaving gel.

 “So how are things with Aidan?” I asked.

 “Hmmm…he is ok.” Cindi said keeping her back towards me. “Ok. He’s been staying over.” She pouted and then went back to the eggs. “I think I really like him,” she continued. And we are trying to keep things platonic at work.” She resolved.

 “I hope so.” Was what I said out loud but I wondered if she really had things under control since she’d said before that he was a bit touchy-feely at work.

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.