March 29, 2007

Something Gets Lost in the Translation

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:37 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

Late last week Junior –appropriately named for reasons I can’t get into without divulging her true identity but just know that I am exactly 11 months and 22 days her senior–and I were out at happy hour.  Oddly enough it was neither happy nor just one hour, as we both just completed bad days and needed to unload.

I went first.

Recently I have taken on the responsibility of an additional partner.  New Partner is really nice and funny, but he treats me like I’m only working with six or seven IQ points. 

“I don’t understand why I am treated like I am stupid simply because I didn’t go to law school.  To tell you the truth, I think that decision makes me the smarter of the two of us.  Oh, no offense,” I turned to Junior. 

Junior gave me her obligatory pout slash head tilt and responded, “I understand.” 

“Okay your turn.” I took my glass and gulped heavily. 

Junior and her Beau were struggling with communicating.  She tells him one thing, he does the exact opposite and then they get into a fight because he argues he was just doing what she wanted and nothing is ever good enough for her. Meanwhile, it is not what she wanted. 

As I sat there, my brain just waking up from the long nap it took while I worked all day, something about Junior’s situation sounded eerily familiar. 

“So we were supposed to go away this weekend, but it snowed.  So I called him to tell him to forget it and what does he do?  He drives 45 minutes to pick me up and he is angry because he was made to drive in that crazy weather.”

Eureka. What, readers you don’t see what is going on here?  Well, to me and my well rested mind it was as clear as the balls on a tall dog.  And so I explained it to Junior. 

Beau had been dating for say 15 years.  And for those 15 years he had probably faced his fair share of silly girls; girls that say one thing but mean something totally different.  Early on he learned that when a girl said, “I’m fine.” she really wasn’t and he had better hustle to figure out just what he did to tick her off. 

Fast forward to today.  He is a healthy, 30 year old male, proud because he has cracked the code.  Except now, most of those Silly Girls are married off and or evolved into a new breed of women.  Women, like Junior, who know what they want and are tired of playing games to get it.  But Beau doesn’t know this yet.  So, when Junior said, “sure, I was looking forward to this weekend, but it is not worth risking our lives on the Blue Route to get there,” he heard, “If you love me you will pick me up right now.”  

Junior’s eyes grew large, which happens a lot to people when I start imparting my wisdom.  “Oh my god, you’re right.  And when I told him I didn’t want roses on Valentines Day.” 

“He heard, ‘I would like 2 dozen’.”

She sat there silent for a moment, “And you know this is the same thing that is happening to you?” 

I sat back and shook my head.  Silly Junior, I am not in a relationship and when I am, I never struggle with communication problems; I was a communications major for goodness sake.

“With New Partner,” she continued.  “His old assistant is Pretty.  He still thinks he needs to write things down, read them to you and then follow up with an email detailing what it is you have to do.” 

Huh.  Okay, so maybe sometimes I’m just pretty. 

We both slunk back in our seats.  “We’re screwed.” was all Junior could muster before finishing her wine.  What were we to do?  Junior really likes this guy and I am not qualified to work anywhere else.   

Then, from deep inside, a spring of optimism or masochism or both, welled up and straightened my spine.   “We’re not screwed.”  I shook my head and turned in my barstool.  “We know what the problem is, and as my good friend GI Joe used to say, knowing is half the battle.” 

Now for the second half, well that if for another time.  I mean, we have to come up with it first


March 20, 2007

Seven Dollars Going Once. . .

Posted in Office Hijinks at 2:30 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

As a young girl, my mother and father adamantly refused to bring my school and social activity fundraisers with them to work.  My father reasoned it was because he was the boss and didn’t want his employees feeling obligated to buy stuff from his kids.  My mother argued that if her co-workers bought stuff from me she would have to buy their kids’ crap.  Not wishing to send their absolutely adorable daughter out on the mean streets of Allentown by herself, they often purchased whatever was necessary to meet my fundraising requirement. 

I think my mother openly wept with joy the day my high school offered the option of just paying out of pocket in lieu of fundraising.  She got down on her knees and thanked the Lord that her days of ridiculous, reusable holiday tins that once contained peanut brittle were over.  As were our subscriptions to seventeen various magazines purchased over the years.

At the time, I was very disappointed in my parents.  All my friends’ parents took their fundraising brochures into work with them.  All my friends got to pick really cool prizes out of the catalogue in the higher lettered levels.  I think highest prize level I ever got to was D.  I remember I picked a portable a.m. radio that was either lost or broken within a month.  

Now that I am an adult, I see my mom’s point.  There are always pamphlets being passed around, filled with the same confectionary delights I was forced to sell.  Most of the time I just hand the brochure to the next gal, guilt free. After all, I don’t have any kids whose wares I have to hock.  There is no quid pro quo.     

Still, having not completely forgotten what it was like to want so badly to be the one that the principal calls up at the assembly as the top fundraiser, I have purchased a magazine subscription here, a calendar raffle there.  I am not completely heartless.  I also always buy Girl Scout Cookies as I became addicted to those back when I was still a Brownie.

In addition to the occasional school fundraiser, some of the women at the office will sell things for their churches.  I am not a churchgoer, but have a great deal of respect for those that do.  In the past I have purchased these items probably out of guilt for my own lack of faith.  However, I was so grateful the day I returned from lunch to learn that I had missed the latest round of homemade goods for the better good.     

They were fake, plastic, Hummel-looking children hot-glued to the top of a candy jar. They were kind of creepy looking, but I love the assistant that was selling them so I know I would have bought one.  I smiled at my good fortune and maybe poked a little fun at Patient for having been suckered into buying two. 

A couple days later I was not so lucky.  Apparently a partner had called the assistant to tell her he missed out on the sale and was hoping she would return so he could make things right.  When she stopped by, he was out to lunch again.  Unfortunately, I had opted to take my lunch at my desk the day she came in with a box full of her arts and crafts projects. 

Oh, boo-hoo for me, right? I had to buy an ugly candy jar. Oh, if only Karma were so kind to me that afternoon. No, I didn’t have to buy one, I wasn’t even asked. Instead the box of jars was left with me, and the assistant asked that I finish selling them to my co-workers. It all happened so fast, she was around the corner and out the door before could say, “Sorry, I’m allergic.”

I put the jars under my desk and waited for the partner to get back. When he returned, I realized I had no idea how much she was asking for these. I emailed her, she called me, the partner never came back with the money. Others have passed. Some raise an eyebrow, some furrow their foreheads. Others blatantly point and laugh. Persevering has suggested I cut the price in half or have a blow out, buy-one-get-one free sale. I just smile politely.

It has been several months and they still sit under my desk, taunting me; reminding me that if I were good at sales I would have a job at Smith Kline and Beecham. The assistant has been by several times and noted her disappointment in my inability to unload these things. What she doesn’t know it that I have already decided to just buy the lot myself and give them as Christmas gifts to those co-workers who made fun of me for getting stuck with them in the first place.

It is a Karma-proof plan; retaliation with the proceeds going to a good cause.

March 8, 2007

Shedding Your Winter Weight

Posted in Public Service Announcement at 3:18 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

Spring is my second favorite season of the year and by the end of this month, it will officially be here.  Starting March 1st, I look for the signs that sunny skies are just ahead.  I’ll admit it, I still scout for my first robin red breast and even though it means one less hour of sleep that night, I wait with baited breath for the day we spring our clocks forward.  

Yesterday, I saw my first sure sign of spring.  As I was getting in the elevator after lunch a gentleman stepped in with me.  He was dressed in running sneakers, sweatpants and a long sleeve t-shirt.  His forehead was shiny with sweat.  I looked down at myself and sighed; because along with longer daylight hours and budding trees comes skirts and fitted tops.  No longer can we hide under wool pants and bulky sweaters.  It is officially time to start shedding the pounds we packed on to keep ourselves warm all winter long. 

Having gone through the process of getting into bikini shape for the last 15 years I thought I would offer some of my sage wisdom to my readers out there.  And while living with lightweights in college and dating wrestlers in high school I picked up a lot of tips for dropping ten pounds in two days.  Although those “run around in a garbage bag suit for two hours” or “stand on your head for thirty minutes” exercise plans do provide results, there is no guarantee that you will keep it off for more than the time it takes to step on a scale. 

Personally, I think the hardest part of starting any new workout plan is sticking to it.  One method that has always gotten me out of bed in the morning for those before dawn runs is to hang an article of clothing you wish to get into in plain sight.  Every year I buy a new bikini and hang it on my bedroom door.  This way when the alarm opens my eyes in the morning, it is the first thing I see.  Any desire I have to stay in bed is quickly usurped by my desire to look hot on the beach.  I have friends who vary this a bit by putting pictures of bodies they wish they had on their refrigerators. 

Another way I have found to motivate myself is to train for something.  I believe the Philadelphia Bar Association 5k is May 20, 2007.  Maybe you want to set a goal to complete it in less than 25 minutes.  Maybe you just want to finish it.  Either way, setting this goal will help you stay on track. 

A friend once told me she carries her gym bag with her to work.  Not only does she not have to go home, change and then rally to go back out to the gym but the bag also acts as a deterrent from going to happy hour after work.  After all you don’t want to carry that bulky bag with you.  So, not only will you burn calories at the gym, you will prevent the consumption of empty ones at the bar.

And of course before starting any diet or exercise program you will want to consult with a physician first.  Just don’t call the doctor you send your clients to; as you know he will tell you exactly what you pay him to say.