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.

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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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 7: Miami Vacation

pool
(First Timer?
Read from the start)

Friday, August 29th at 11:30am

“Jaz darling, we just landed. Where are you?” Cindi and I had just arrived in Miami for our Labor Day weekend getaway with Jaz who had decided to postpone her trip home until this weekend.

“Jasmina, nena put gas in the car before you pick up your friends.” I could hear her mother in the background. “Papi put gas in the car this morning.” She responded and then returned to our conversation saying, “Diane I should be there in a few minutes. See you soon.”

Friday, August 29th at 11:50am

“Hey Chicas!  We have to hang out at my house for a bit since my mom spent all morning preparing breakfast and some Cuban treats, but afterwards we can hit the beach or sit by the pool. Beware though, mammi is mad at me and stressed out because Guillermo’s campaign is revving up and they are all excited about the potential Republican VP pick. Diane, I don’t know what to tell you but if you are looking to argue about politics you will once again be out-numbered since Guillermo’s friends and campaign staff should be in and out all weekend.” Jaz explained in one breath as we loaded our bags into her car.

“By the way, why is she mad at you?” I was curious since they were like best friends.

“Well, I told her that George was being uncooperative and evasive about committing to plans we make together and she was spitting mad.” Jaz continued. “She went on…After 8 years, all your good years spent with this idiota and I cannot believe he is this way with you! Why are you still with him nena? Do you want to be old and never married? You are almost 30 years-old!” Aaaah! Glad you guys are here!” We gave her a hug.

“Every time you mention talking to your mom about your relationship, I am always surprised you are able to return to him.” I said while inspecting my sunglasses.

“That would not work with my mom! That type of disclosure would mean the end is here. The thought of the nagging alone would be enough to drive me crazy.” Cindi chimed in with a head shake and a look of disgust.

“I know! But, we are very close and she should hopefully stop being mad at me by tomorrow morning.” Jaz tried to reassure us unconvincingly.

Friday, August 29th at 12:51pm

“Hi Ms. Rodriguez! How are you?” We said as we ran in and gave her a hug.

“Breakfast looks good. Do you need help with anything? Cindi noted with her eyes on the delectable display of eggs, bacon and Cuban potatoes and other delights spread out before us.

“No. Mi amor, I have it all under control. Jasmina make sure your friends have clean towels! Guillermo come grab the trash! We have to head out to your campaign rally and get back to watch the news. I don’t want to miss the announcement.” Ms. Rodriguez ordered the entire house around while looking impeccably well-groomed in her Tory Burch Tunic Caftan dress and 4” leather sandals. I would not be surprised if she woke up looking polished and smelling like she had been dipped overnight in a Givenchy Amerige perfume bottle.

Oh My! This was definitely not like my parent’s quiet Boston home, I thought to myself taking it all in. Guillermo who was next to me whispered under his breath you would think I had not been an attorney for the past 10 years and a grown man for the last 17 as he walked his 6’1 foot tall muscular frame with chiseled photo-ready tanned cheeks across the tiled floor to the kitchen. I stood looking/drooling as Jaz grabbed my hands and pulled me upstairs.   

“See what I was saying! Lets grab breakfast and head to the beach. Maybe afterwards we can get our nails done.” Jaz’s suggestions were right up our alley.

“I can’t wait to jump in the water.” Cindi exclaimed. We looked up and she had already changed into her bikini and cover up. “I thought for sure this would be the first Summer I did not go swimming in the ocean.” I threw a pillow at her while she was profiling her perfectly toned body in the full length mirror. She shook her hips and taunted me to try again without missing.

Friday, August 29th at 1:38pm

“I can’t believe your mom asked me about Joe Lieberman. We are definitely spending the majority of this trip here at the beach.” I noted as we set out our beach gear.

“Yeah, she was happy you said he was a great guy!” Jaz giggled out loud, while I passed her the sun block.

“Most of my Jewish friends think he sucks big time!” I said as I glided unto my beach chair.

“Diane, are you going to invite Chris to hang out with us tonight?” Cindi asked letting the cat out of the bag.

“Chris is here? Ooh la la.” Jaz proclaimed.

“Darling, he is in South Beach with some of his guy friends. Maybe I will send him a text,  but I don’t want to smother him since we just started dating.  I am also debating employing the two guy rule so I can have a distraction to keep me from chumping on my nails when I don’t hear from him.”

“Not the two guy rule again?” Cindi looked up from reading the latest Lauren Weisberger book “Chasing Harry Winston.  “It might’ve worked for your friend Samantha but it back-fired on me the last time I tried it. Ummm…you could get in majorly over your head.”

“Ok silly. It did not work for you because you told both guys you were openly dating other people! That defeats the purpose.” I rolled my eyes and settled in for a nap.

“Or you should do what the main character in this book does and just make ‘em wait for it like you are doing now. Keep them on their toes guessing.” Cindi finished locking her knees together in a mock chastity hold.

 “Just be patient and see where things lead before you jump the gun and mess it up.” Jaz added and I agreed while Cindi jumped up and walked towards the ocean.