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 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 3: Lima or Bust!

(First Timer? Read from the start)

Monday, July 28th – 7:45 pm

By the time I got to Lima I was so ready to hang out with the girls! As I arrived, the maître d handed me a complimentary drink with white foam on top. I had no idea what the drink was… it seemed like they were celebrating a Peruvian holiday and it was part of the festivities. The crowd was more than usual, so I had to pause for a bit in order to locate Cindi and Jaz in the crowd.  They were not on the lime green couches outside so I had to walk inside to find them. There they were sitting on the stools with a pitcher of my fav mango mojito. The pitcher and Jaz’s orange ruffled shirt would’ve been hard to miss in the crowd inside.

“Hey Loves!” I said walking quickly over to them since a Diva would never run in crowd.

Kiss Kisses to both of them. I missed my girls. I sat down tossing aside the complimentary whatever it was they handed me outside. Not that I was a lush by I knew already what would hit the spot.

“Jaz, I love that color orange on you. Those sandals are simply divine.“ Her shoes were a simple below the ankle gladiator with gold leather straps with orange, red and purple crystals. “Where did you get those?”

“Girl these are just another purchase from my trip to Italy last Fall.  I’ve been getting compliments on them all day.  So what is up with all the work drama?” Jaz inquired.

“Ahh. Yeah. Sorry I could not talk earlier – now spill it. What is up with you and crazy Maryanne?” Cindi chimed while removing her cardigan.

After my first sip, I told them about the entire day. I was so relieved when the story was over. I have to admit, I paused about whether or not to tell them what Maryanne said about me stealing Sam’s job. This was the first time I was beginning to realize that she might have stayed on at the office in-house happy hour a month ago to celebrate the closing of a deal. I thought Jerry and I were the only ones left in the building that night. I am not sure I wanted to tell the girls what happened that night and what I thought Maryanne might know. Or by now everyone else at the office, since I was still sort of embarrassed. I decided for now not to tell them.

“Girl, I am so glad you made it through all that drama. That girl was trouble from your first day. Let’s toast to a great night of fun and moving on.” Jaz yelled out excitedly. We all raised our glasses and then high-fived.  I just wanted not to think about it anymore.

Cindi gave me a hug and then she called out, “ladies, y’all hear the music downstairs? Thank goodness for mojitos. I think I wanna go find me a cutey.”  She got up to head out.

“Girl, you look great. Are you losing weight?” I noticed a difference in her.

“Yeah girl. My spinning class is working its magic.”

“I can tell. Your muscles are beginning to look cut. If you wanna go dance, I am right behind you.” I got up and we headed out. When we got downstairs Cindi disappeared into the restroom and came back with her long hair flowing. I called it her man-catcher look. Since, for some reason men, no matter what their nationality like long hair.

“Cindi why did I know you were going to do that.” I looked are her smiling while shaking my head. My own hair was a short pixie cut. I liked my hair short and easy to manage. Her response to me was some crazy salsa move. Before she got on the dance floor, this Hispanic looking guy grabbed her hands and started twirling her around. Surprisingly, she moved well in her striped Ann Taylor slacks with Brooks Brothers fitted short sleeved dress shirt. Even in her professional wear she still looked like a sultry diva.

Jaz and I moved on the sidelines. “Girl check out my new phone.” She showed me the new Verizon Blackberry. 

“Wow, that’s like a minimum of $130 a month!” I blurted out. I tended to be a conservative spender.

“I know but with all my freelancing gigs I need a way to answer emails.”

“Hey Diego, these are my friends Diane and Jaz.” Cindi came over smiling and perspiring. Diego was cuter up close than I would’ve thought. It so happened that he had four equally cute friends who were also friendly.

Jaz and I perked up immediately as we all returned to the dance floor.

To be continued …