July 12, 2007

We hate to see them go, but we love to watch them leave

I bumped into Natalie in the hall yesterday, and she passed off a distracted greeting.

"What are you grinning about?" I asked her, suspiciously.

"Oh," she answered, blushing slightly, "I just saw Dan Rydell in the hall."

"Got it," I said. "He is nice to look at, isn't he?" She nodded in agreement.

So this morning, when I saw that the Marketing department was pretty full staffed, I gave her an update.

"If you need to get any photocopying done today," I told her, "the scenery is good at the copier over by the corner offices."

"Mr. Rydell?" she asked, eyes twinkling.

"And Mr. McCall. Probably Isaac, too, but I haven't seen him yet."

"Hmmm, yes, I do have some things I need to get copied today," Natalie trailed off.

July 9, 2007

Rememberence of things current

I regret that I've been a bit inattentive lately, but I've been a bit overwhelmed by...

I'm sorry, what was I saying?

Oh, right. Forgetful, distracted and wicked busy. That's what I was talking about. OK, then.

I had a two-day meeting about two weeks ago, which went well but resulted in many, many follow up items. In addition, I am frantically in the midst of planning a three-day meeting with the same group in August, which is not part of the normally scheduled cadre of meetings with this group. Normally, we meet quarterly in person, and a bunch of conference calls as needed in between. Two of the face-to-face meetings are at my office, and two are in conjunction with other conferences (the Fall one during which I get myself overly involved with co-workers, and the Spring one, at which I seem to be able to behave myself). But this August retreat is necessary, and planning for it has been somewhat fluid because of upper management and committee member waffling about the scope and timing of the discussions. Oh, and did I mention that two of my bosses (the one who writes my review and the one who writes hers, one of whom is sane and one of whom is...not so much) have been only sporadically in the office? Yeah, that factors in as well, since much of what I am trying to get accomplished requires their input. Fun stuff.

Mad planning skillz have been necessary in my home life, too. The Daughter has a birthday a few days after my meeting. Do you think The Husband, who is off for the summer as opposed to working fulltime and then some, gave any thought to planning for it? If you said "not a bit, except for getting pissy about the fact that no plans were in place," you get 10 points! Oh, and July 4th- we had plans then, too.
And The Husband's birthday was last week. And although he is well into adulthood, he still expects the world to grind to a halt for him. So calling me at work multiple times during the day to ask where we were going for dinner, even though I asked him for input where he wants to go and he did not give me any. We figured it out, but it took another evening out of my own time.

I have forgotten to take my anti-depressents a number of times recently. When my depression and anxiety kick in, I get forgetful, among other things. Which sort of makes me forget to take medication. oops.

I was very cranky today. And shaky. And suffering from a headache. Which made me realize that it was almost 10:00 a.m. and I had not yet had my breakfast. oops.

There was something else I was going to post about. But I've forgotten what it is.

June 26, 2007

Clarity is not my strong suit

After my last few posts, my email yielded a number of cautionary messages about how my flirting with Casey seemed to be getting out of hand, and that I had really crossed a line that I wouldn't be able to back away from, and that sort of thing.

"Wow," I thought to myself. "This is a bit more vehement that what I would have expected. Funny that I would get so many more warnings now than what I was getting when things were even more heated last year..."

Than it dawned on me. The "Smoky" post. The quotes. Not everyone has the psychotic recall of Aaron Sorkin sitcoms that I have.

I'm not that Dana Whitaker, not for real. I liked the character, that mix of take-charge attitude with just enough neurotic self-doubt to keep her from being too good to be true. And my Casey doesn't even know that he's "Casey," just like "Dan" and "Isaac" and "Natalie" don't match up with the characters who are their namesakes. I just liked using more names from the show.

Truth be told, the bulk of my interaction with my Casey in the past few weeks has consisted of passing each other in the hallway as one or both of us ran to a meeting. There's barely been eye contact, much less behavior that is damaging to my marriage. I think he patted me on the arm as he passed behind me when I was at the copy machine outside of his office, but I can't swear that for sure.

And, as I start gearing up for the fall conference, it seems quite apparent that neither of us intends to actually follow through with where we left off a year ago. That ship has long since passed.

June 18, 2007

There but for the grace of God go I...

I guess I need to stop kidding myself and admit that I am playing with fire. What seems thrilling right now, is very quickly going to be very bad idea, I think.

I need to give thanks to a total stranger for giving me my overdue wake-up call.

June 17, 2007


Casey, I'm saying flirt with me, I'm not playing somebody else.[snip] Flirt with me. Tell me why you like me better than Sally.
I do like you better than Sally.
Tell me why.
I don't understand...
I don't think you're ever going to have sex again. I've got to go.

You're smoky.
I'm sorry?
The difference between you and Sally- you're smoky.
You're smoky. You're a lot of other things, too, but you're smoky.
I don't know what that means, but I like the sound of it. Tell me what it means.
ah, It's hard to translate...
You'll make a joke.
We're flirting, it's OK.
Are we really flirting or is this you pretending to be you, flirting with me actually being me?
You think I'm smoky?
Classy...impressive...sexy...was sexy going too far?
I-i-it was fine.
(smiling) You're...smoky.

Sports Night, season 1, episode 12- Smoky

I have a favor to ask of you, my readers (all two of you.) I am trying to figure out what is sexy. There's a fine line between sexy and slutty. There are elements of "innocence" that are anything but innocent. There are the Sally Sassers of the world, the nineteen foot tall women whose bodies were put together by technicians very close to God, women whose legs go aaaaall the way to the floor. I can't compete with that.

Yet I hold out hope. I strive for whether I can be smoky. Help me out, guys. What is "smoky"? Is the implication as alluring as putting it all out on the line? What is the appeal in seeing us wear your white dress shirt? What is hotter- a plunging neckline, or the knowledge that there is a lacy bra underneath a business-like suit? Is crossing into traditionally male territory- the cigar smoking, the scotch sipping, the knowledge of power tools, a rabid interest in contact sports- a turn-on or an indication that we are not womanly enough to be attracted to?

Let me into your brains, my friends, and help this girl to understand!!

June 14, 2007

The Husband should be quite grateful

I got dressed this morning with the idea tickling the back of my mind that most of the boys were not on travel, and that I didn't have any meetings tying me to being at a certain place at a certain time, which leads to a maximum amount of interaction at the office and chances to chat.

My mock-wrap jersey dress was clean, and the unpredictable nature of the weather this week made it a good choice. Because the recent rain has resulted in a cooler day today, I opted not to go bare-legged and I chose closed-toe shoes. Since I was running a bit late, I hadn't had a chance to wash and blowdry my hair, so I spruced it up with a curling iron.

As I stopped into Nancy's desk to see if she wanted anything from the cafe when I went to get my morning chai, one of our VP's was leaving the boss' office.

"Very nice," he said, appraising my headband, the cut of the dress, and my high heels all in one sweeping glance. I may have batted my eyes slightly when I thanked him for the compliment.

Later, I stopped in to say hello to Isaac.

"Your hair looks different," he said, pondering.

"I curled it," I explained, "nothing elaborate." So we chatted for a few minutes, then I went on my merry way. And I made sure Isaac had a chance to see that I had hosiery, just in case he felt the need to speculate about thigh-highs.
After lunch, I poked my head into Dan's office.

"Just saying 'hi.' I'm just being neighborly, and I saw Isaac earlier. I didn't want to be accused of playing favorites by checking in on him, but not on you."

"No offense taken," Dan assured me. "Seriously, it's not big deal if Isaac is your favorite."

"Honestly, I've been accused of favoritism before!" I told him. "Although who my favorite member of the-sales...marketing...customer mangement...whatever-team you all call yourselves these days seems to change. I think it's your turn, actually."

"Alright!" Dan smiled, "Let the rumors fly."
A few minutes ago, I saw one of the technical guys, and he waved me into his office to indicate that he was almost done with his phone call.

"Hello, dahling," he vamped. "You look fabulous today, by the way." Totally unsolicited compliments! My favorite kind! We talked of the emergency evacuation earlier in the week (false alarm) and how our jobs drive us crazy with the "hurry up and wait" aspects.

"Hey, how are things looking for the fall conference?" he asked.

"They are looking just fine," I replied.

"So, you are indeed going?" he asked. "I want to have fun in Florida, so I need to know that you are going to Florida."

"Of course I am going to Florida. I have to go to the fall conference every year; the committee meetings cannot take without me because I plan and run the committee meetings. The committee meetings are always held during the fall conference."

"The conference is only two days this year, though?" he asked, as we walked to the elevator so he could attend a meeting.

"I'm going for longer than two days. Maybe you only get two days..." I parried.

"Well, I guess you're just special."

"You bet your ass I'm special," I reminded him. "I suppose I need to check the overall schedule, make sure I have an evening free when the whole technical gang is in town."

"Yes, you do need to," he fired back. "Your dance card can be full, but it can't result in conflicts."

"Just so you know," I warned him, "the marketing guys are already bidding for my time." One marketing guy in particular noted that we may finally have a chance for some uninteruppted time once we are at the hotel, but that doesn't need to be publicized.

"Face it, Dana, the technical guys are just more fun that the marketing boys," he prodded, as the doors opened.

"Yeah, we'll see about that," I said, as I stepped away from the closing doors.

Truth be told, all this attention has made me feel a bit sassier than normal. I think that the Husband and I may need to put the kids to be earlier tonight.

June 8, 2007

If I get a raise, perhaps I can buy him a clue

The Husband was very supportive of me when I was changing professions ten or so years ago, and trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. He gave me input on revising my resume, an kept an ear to the ground about potential job openings. Whenever I was changing positions or applying for a promotion, he encouraged me and tried to help me identify my strongest assets to play up during interviews and performance reviews. My career has advanced from receptionist to departmental secretary to executive assistant to board governance support.

Yet, The Husband continues to be stymied by the idea of my need to actually work. When he is home and I am at the office, he calls for the dumbest reasons, and seems put off when I tell him I need to ring off, or if he leaves me a message that goes a few hours without being returned. Last night, he asked for my help for a task involving stuff we are cleaning out of teh basement.

"I can't do it now," I told him. "I have some work I brought home that I need to attend to first."

"Why are your bringing work home?" he questioned.

"Because I have to give this report to the CEO by 11:30 tomorrow, but the people who have the answers I need to fill in the last pieces of information didn't email me until after I had left the office."

"Well, that's not your fault!"

"No, it's not my fault," I explained. "It's not anyone's fault, really. I asked for for what I needed, she gave me the answer when she had the chance to, and now I am using it to finish my task. Regardless, the report needs to be finished by a certain time in order to be reviewed in time to make my print deadline."

And I did my report, and then we did the thing in the basement and all was well.

So, I am gearing up for an offsite meeting on Monday, and I have to be at the hotel at 6:30 a.m.

"So, I guess you'll be home early," The Husband speculates.

"No, regular time."

"But I thought the meeting was over at 3:00."

"It is," I explained, "but after we break down from the meeting, I have to go to the office to finish whatever edits the CEO has to the briefing materials, so I can pass the project off for review by the legal department before it goes to print."

One meeting I had in Denver last September lasted until 5:45 Colorado time, and the cars were leaving at 6:05 for dinner. I barely had time to disconnect my computer, retrieve the handouts, pee and change out of my suit, much less make a phone call. When we got back to the hotel, it was after 10:00, and I didn't want to wake The Husband up with a "good night" call from two time zones away when he had to get up early the following morning. When I called him on his cell first thing the next day, he was on his way to work and angry that I had not called the night before. Since, you know, all I was doing was hanging out with coworkers and meeting attendees.

Funny how someone who wants me to be praised for my good work ethic and ability to perform is upset when I do what it takes to meet the deadlines and make the department run smoothly.

June 7, 2007

Massaging egos won't violate our harrassment policy, will it?

I stopped into Isaac's office yesterday.

"I just wanted to say 'hi' since I didn't get a chance to earlier," I began.

"He looked at me suspiciously. "You're only seeking me out because Casey isn't here," he countered.

"That is not true!" I protested. "I very often stop in to say hello to you."

"When Casey isn't here," he persisted. "When he's in the office, you seek him out. Or Dan."

"I seek you out way more than I seek them out," I noted (correctly, I might add. For every time I go to Casey and Dan's office, there are at least two or three visits to Isaac's.)

"I'm in the office more than they are," he countered with mock indignation. "That's the only reason."

"Listen, I can't help that you are feeling some sort of...intimidated by Casey or Dan. You've got your little complex or something. Seriously, can't you just enjoy that you are the person who is here today; you are the person who bears the benefit of seeing me with my swishy dress and painted toenails and my strappy shoes..."

Isaac swiveled his chair to check out my claim.

"No stockings," he mumbled, slightly disappointed.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing, nothing!" he claimed, feigning innocence.

"By the way," I purred, "neither Dan nor Casey is privy to the fact that my stocking are usually thigh highs. You're the only one who was there when I revealed that tidbit. When cooler weather comes back around, and bare legs aren't as much of an option, you'll know something that they don't."

A thoughtful smile crossed his face. And I knew that my attention to Casey and Dan was forgiven, at least for the time being.

May 24, 2007

Neurosis or personality quirk? You make the call

Tuesday was a culimination of a lot of stressful things, and I was not at the top of my game. It's been a very rough few weeks, and I'd be lying if I said I was dealing with it all well.

Casey passed by, and I gave a distracted response to his greeting. I considered avoiding him, since my mood and looks were not exactly impressive, but in all honesty, I hoped that chatting with him could cheer me up. So, when my 1:00 meeting was abruptly called off (due to the overwhelming and sudden influx of additional tasks for my boss to face), I took advantage of the breather to stop by and apologize for my less-than-optimal interaction earlier.

He asked what was wrong, and I gave a very condensed, vague overview of my getting chewed out by the boss because of a series of misunderstandings and dropped balls, my frustration at The Husband acting like a somewhat self-absorbed and oblivious ass, the recent devilish behavior of my children, and a general lack of motivation.

"And," I concluded in frustration, "I look like crap today, partly because I am putting on weight everytime I manage to lose some!"

"It's all that pot you're smoking," Casey said facetiously. "Seriously, black tar heroin or cocaine would be much more slimming. Pot just gives you the munchies."

"Nicotine is an effective appetite surpressant," I countered, "and cigarettes are a lot cheaper."

"Yeah, but then it gets all in your hair, and your clothes..." he scowled.

"Eh, good point," I conceded. "I could just to back to my eating disorder."

"You had an eating disorder?" he asked, surprised. "Bulimia?"

"Yeah, not severe," I explained, "when I was in high school, some, and mostly college. My parents probably didn't even realize it, because I was living on my own."

"That's pretty cool!" Casey exclaimed.

Most folks hear about my mental issues and consider me flawed. Casey takes my screwed up past as an interesting layer to my personality.

May 18, 2007

What'cha waiting on, McCall?

An email exchange from earlier this week:

To: A bunch of people
From: Dana
re: May 18

Natalie and I are going out to El Perro Fumando this Friday around 5, should anyone care to join us. (Some of you already indicated that you care to join us, but insisted on a reminder, since apparently I'm everyone's secretary these days...) Anyway, join us if you can, and if you can't, we reserve the right to talk about you behind your back ;-)

To: Dana
From: Casey
re: Re: May 18

Talking about me behind my back sounds ok but I think it's better if you talk about me while I'm standing right in front of you! ;)

To: Casey
From: Dana
re: Re:Re: May 18

Come stand right in from of me and I'll talk about you as much as you'd like me to.

(He still hasn't taken me up on that, but the day is only halfway over. I don't really expect him to show, although it would brighten my day.)

May 14, 2007

Happy MILF's Day

Oh, was yesterday Mother's Day? This past weekend was supposed to include some sort of recognition for me? Here were my gifts for Mom's Day:
  • The chance to spend quality time with all three children while The Husband played some golf on Sunday morning
  • A bonding moment with my mother-in-law, as I finished cleaning the house before she babysat the progeny so that I could get to church on time, since The Husband wasn't home from his chili-tasting contest
  • Time to connect with my mother, as she and I helped my sister set the table and clean up after dinner (Sis cooked, since she was the only non-mom female in attendence)
  • The Husband refrained from making a smart ass remark about my "Hot Wife" shirt (well, didn't fully refrain, in that he said "Since it's Mother's Day weekend, I won't make a joke about the shirt being false advertising.")

All joking aside, it was a fine Mother's Day. The Daughter made me a card and a cardboard/popsicle stick flower in art class, The Elder Son had a gift bag created by the kindergarten with a spot of tea and a decorated spoon (very cute), and I got lots of hugs and cuddles from The Younger Son, who is still a bit young to be expected to participate. But I do miss the days when people were surprised to find out that I was a mother, based on how I still looked like I was too young/thin/cute to have gone through pregnancy and childbirth.

May 7, 2007

Off the wagon

I did something this morning that I am not particularly proud of. On the way to the office, I stopped at a convenience store and bought a pack of cigarettes. I pretty much quit smoking in college, not long before I met The Husband (which is a good thing, as he would have never given me a moment of his time had he known that I smoked), but every year or so I get weak. It's been over three years since my last pack, and that's the longest I've gone without giving in.

I can't say for sure why this week sent me back over the edge. In the past three years, I've had other times when my stress level was higher and my selections of coping mechanisms was tighter. But something about taking my certification exam this past weekend (which I think I failed anyway), and the preparation for both a Board meeting and a conference for my add-on boss in taking place within weeks of each other in June, and trying to determine what we're going to do in relation to The Younger Son beginning school...well, I broke.

As soon as I stepped up to the counter, it all came back as though I'd never stopped. Rattling off the specifics of what I needed (Virginia Slims Ultra-light Menthol), the unconscious habit of tapping the box against my palm before I opened it to compress the tobacco, the automatic movements that allow me to steer with one hand while I flick the butt with my thumb to tap away the ashes out the window...It only took a few drags for the headrush to hit.

This pack will last for three or four days, and then I will be a non-smoker again. But I can't help but be disappointed in myself for falling back into the need to chew gum and leave the window open to attempt to hide or mask the smell of a nasty habit that I haven't been able to totally leave behind.

May 3, 2007

Color me surprised

I stopped into Dan's office to say hello, and as we were talking, Isaac stopped in as well.

"I'm seeing red all day today!" he said, "I just got done talking to Ruth, and now Dana's here." Ruth, like myself, is a redhead. Just a few days ago, when I framed the timing of an event as "back when I was still a blonde," Casey noted that Ruth and I are the only redheads in the office. I mentioned this to the guys. They thought for a moment, trying to establish if anyone else sported a fiery head like mine.

"Sue has some red, doesn't she?" Isaac asked, referring to my and Ruth's boss.

"Weeeell, sort of," Dan hedged, "but hers is red from being colored not red because it's red."

"How do you know for sure that Ruth and I are natural redheads? We might color our hair too." I countered.

"No, there's a difference. My mom used to color her hair, and my dad would be askin' 'What did you color your hair red for?!' and she'd be all 'Well, I didn't mean for it to be red!' Your red looks like you are supposed to have it that way."

Which is good to know, considering the amount I pay in upkeep to have folks asking why I stopped lightening my hair to blond and reverted back to my "natural" color.

Love means never having to say "I don't care"

I got a message from our head meeting planner, letting me know that the electronic registration for the September conference will be active soon, and requesting that I begin soliciting responses from my group as soon as possible.

While we fixed dinner together last night (I started the grilling, since The Husband was busy keeping the yard from becoming a jungle, but he took over because the grill is his domain), I approached the subject of his attendance.

"So, what have you decided about coming to Florida for my conference in September?" I asked. "I know you would have to miss the football game on that Sunday, so what's the final verdict?"

"I think I'll have to miss the football game regardless," he answered. "My parents would have been watching the kids if I go out of town, but they will be going to the game."

We reviewed the logistical points about the trip itself, the timing and the impact on his work and whether he would have anyone to golf with while I was in meetings. It's doable, but not ideal, and finally he put the ball in my court.

"It comes down to your decision," he conceded. "If you want me to go, I'll go. If you really don't care, I may as well stay home."

The truth is, I don't care. I'd rather save our travelling for a time when neither of us is working in excess of 12 hours a day. But, based on fifteen years with a man, you figure out what is and is not appropriate to say.

"It's not that have any objection to you going," I replied. "It's just that I would hardly have a chance to spend any time with you while you are there. When we go on a trip together, it's nice to actually be together, not just staying in the same hotel."

And apparently, that was just the right thing to say.

May 2, 2007

Flirtus interruptus

Casey was in on Monday, but as soon as we started to chat, one of our co-workers from the third floor stopped by and monopolized the conversation (for a long enough time that Casey insisted that I sit down, because the idea of my standing in high heels was starting to hurt his own back!) and before I knew it, quitting time had rolled around and I had to pick up The Daughter and the Elder Son from school.

Casey was in again today, and I stopped by just before noon, on the off chance that he had not gone out with the other guys (Shel mentioned that she saw "her boys" heading to the elevator while I was in her office moment earlier). And, surprise surprise, he was there working on the computer with his back to the doorway. I sauntered in and rubbed his shoulders to get his attention. We made some small talk about the recent benefits meeting, and how people get worked up about nothing whenever there is talk of changing how the bonus pool is distributed.

"You know me, Dana," Casey sighed, "I don't count on that money no matter what. If you give me a dollar more than what I've got now, I'm happy."

"I understand," I replied. "I mean, I'm happy that I get a bonus, even if it's going to be smaller than what we used to get. The fact that our raises are bigger means more to me anyway." And I saw an opening to change the direction of the conversation.

"Which is more fun anyway?" I asked, "My budgeting the bonus money, or shopping for a new outfit with strappy shoes?"

"Definately the strappy shoes," he smiled, admiring my high heeled sandals and newly painted toenails. "I like the way those pants fit, by the way."

"You missed it yesterday," I pouted. "I had the good underwear and thigh high stockings. But you weren't here to notice. Not that you would have known just by looking..."

"See, you really should go with no underwear at all!"

"Ah, but you can't tell just by seeing me whether I've got a thong on or nothing at all. Besides, I need to wear something when I have a skirt on, since I do have children who might need to climb on me before or after work."

"Alright," he conceded, "I can see your point. But turn around, let me see if I can tell the difference today....hmmmm....nope, I can't actually tell. So, I'll assume you don't have anything on at all."

Just then Shel appeared at the door.
"I'm sorry to interrupt social hour," she broke in, "but do you know where I can find a cart? The meetings room is locked up, so I can't even borrow the ice bucket, and I need to get set up for this meeting..."

"Check with Natalie," I offered, "I think she has a key. Otherwise, I don't know where else to look."

And, despite her contention that she was wicked busy setting up the meeting, Shel proceeded to start a discussion.

"Hey, Casey, I didn't know you had those tattoos! They're awesome."

"Thanks," he replied, pulling up his sleeve a bit more to show the design. "They go all the way across my back. I can't believe you didn't realize that I had them, though."

"Dana told me you had tatoos, but I didn't believe her. After all, there's no reason she would have to see you with your shirt off."

"I've worked down the hall from Casey for almost two years," I smiled. "This isn't the first time he's worn a short sleeved shirt, you know."

"So," Shel turned her attention back to Casey, "didn't it hurt to get that much done? I mean, mine didn't hurt much, but I think that's because I was drunk."

"What do you have?" Casey asked. And suddenly, Shel was anxious to leave.

"I've, uh, gotta set up for this meeting!"

"Seriously," Casey prodded, "what's your tat?"

"It's nothing, no big deal, I'll tell you...at a later date," she stammered. And rushed out of the room.

Shaking our heads, we tried to regroup to our earlier conversation, but the mood had been broken. I left to eat lunch, Casey tied up the last of his work, and perhaps we will try again next time...

April 29, 2007

Crashing back down to earth

Two weeks ago, I was at a beautiful Southwest resort, mingling among leaders in my industry, enjoying cocktails and fine meals. A member of the staff was on hand to refresh the beverages and cheese tray in the conference room. Each evening at 5:00, microbrews and wine were available in the lobby for sampling. I slept on soft down pillows, awkakened by a call from the front desk reading me my horoscope.

Today, I am arbitrating yet another fight about whether to watch Happy Feet or Spongebob. My instant coffee has gotten cold as I try to juggle the coincidental activities of signing for the grocery delivery, putting the dog into the backyard, ushering The Younger Son onto the potty, and changing the laundry.

April 23, 2007

Hi pot, I'm kettle

The day before I left for my meeting, I stopped into Natalie's office to touch base. Shel was there, as was a co-worker from another department. I wanted to see both Natalie and Shel so I could verify whether either of them needed anything from me before I left for five days, so I took advantage of both of them being present. But, as is altogether too common of an experience, I came into a conversation mid-cycle and got blindsided.

As she saw me approach, Shel raised her voice so I could hear her say, "Dana will freak when she hears that!" It was a joke, of course, said because I was approaching, not because the conversation merited.

Somehow, the subject had turned to the boys. Shel likes the boys, Dan in particular. Maybe not the way I like Casey, but to the casual observer, her behavior toward the gang and mine are pretty much the same.

"You know, we were talking at lunch about how Dana has a special thing for somebody," Shel teased.

"What's that supposed to mean?" our co-worker inquried.

"Everyone in the marketing department has noticed that Dana pays more attention to Casey than anyone else, that she treats him differently!" Shel explained, turning to me. "Isaac even said that you don't flirt with anybody else."

"No," I countered, "Isaac said I didn't flirt with anyone at all. Which made both Casey and Dan wonder who he's has been observing all this time."

"Well, we've all seen it. Nobody's upset by it," Shel continued, seeing my confused look, "but we all know that you act totally different with him, right Natalie?"

"Hmmm, no."

Shel backpedaled. Madly. But the damage was done. And the conversation turned...slightly tense.

"How come it's OK for you to flirt with Dan, but I can't flirt with Casey?" I asked, not in an accusing manner, just an inquiring one.

"I don't flirt with Dan!" she protested. "We talk about his girlfriend, and the baby and and the restaurant near his house and stuff! We don't flirt!"

"I talk to Casey about my husband, and his wife, and work stuff, and sports. What's the difference?" I asked innocently.

Shel didn't have an answer. Natalie had one later, though. The difference is clear. Shel and I both flirt with the boys, and she even does so more than I do (dropping mentions of when she's going to lunch with "the boys" and such). The difference is, only one of us rock the Hot Wife t-shirt and it's not the one who raised the accusation in the first place.

April 11, 2007


Casey was in today. When I stopped into the office, he and Dan were just regrouping from their earlier meetings with one of our biggest clients(and Casey was, as always, eating).

Casey looked good. Today called for a crisp, white dress shirt and tie. Between the accentuated broad shoulders, and the twinkle in his eyes when I teased him about how he could be bribed with homemade cookies, it was hard to concentrate.

Sweet mother of Jesus, that man is hard to resist sometimes.

April 4, 2007

Whatever gets you through the day

I just walked into a friend's office, and frantically requested a favor.

"Even if it's totally insincere, I need you to say something to me that will make me smile and feel better about myself," I pleaded.

He stopped what he was doing, turned to face me and said, "You are the most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on."

And he paused.

"And do you know what the best thing is?" he inquired. "I didn't even have to lie."

And he let me vent about my idiot bosses and my crazy kids and the crappy weather.

"Some days," I concluded, "are rotten enough that even lacy embroidered underwear and thigh-high stockings don't lift you up enough." And I turned to leave.

"Wait a minute!" he called after me. "You're just going to walk away and leave me with that mental image?!"

"Damned right I am," I smirked, "because that makes me smile."

April 2, 2007


Well, my marriage is back to the land of the living, but I am still treading very lightly on monetary issues. Thankfully, the taxes have been filed for this year with no surprises in store, and I have managed to remain quite the penny-pincher when it comes to household expenses.

March 29, 2007

Spring thaw

Progress is being made. The Husband actually called me yesterday, to remind me of his schedule and discuss dinner plans. He spoke to me in a normal fashion when I called to say I was on my way home. When he left for his evening event, he asked me if I was going to tape "Lost". He acknowledged that I had made a lunch for The Elder Son, and that The Daughter only needed a drink because she would have hot lunch at school.

And we did not speak of money or the IRS or the balance of our home equity loan.

Baby steps, perhaps, but progress nonetheless.

March 28, 2007

Well, that may solve the "togetherness" problem

The Husband and I are barely speaking right now. On Monday, we got a letter from the IRS about a screw up on last year's taxes. A screw up that I take full responsibility for, but one that opens up some old wounds. You see, I got myself into some serious debt because of running up bills and trying to take care of them without the Husband knowing about it. And I got further into debt as the money snowballed because of interest and the like. And when he finally found out about it last summer, the revelation was at a tense and awkward time (i.e., during a refinance on the house, right before we were facing a major health situation). And I completely forgot that I had screwed up some of the tax reporting in an effort to slip the information in under his radar last year, so in addition to the repayment of last years overpayment (i.e., we got a refund that was too high, so that amount will be deducted from this year's refund) we also have a year's worth of interest to pay on the extra money.

I suppose that all of the words he shouted at me on Monday night probably drained him of the ability to say anything more than absolutely necessary since then. Since "Good night" and "drive carefully" are not absolutely necessary, I don't hear those. Since "I fed the dog when I woke up, so you don't have to" can be said more succinctly and snippily as "I already did it", that's all I get. As restless as both of us are as we slumber, I didn't think we could manage to go so long with no physical contact at all, but he's managed to avoid touching me at all, no matter how briefly, all week.

I deserve some of the anger. But I don't deserve the accusation that I've reverted right back to the problems and behaviors I had before we sat down in September to work this all out and fix it. I have worked hard to earn back The Husband's trust with how I handle money. I closed all of my credit cards a year ago, and he has access to my credit report so he knows if an account is opened in my name. My paycheck is now deposited directly into an account where he keeps the checkbook, so he sees exactly how much money I am bringing in and how much I spend on my share of the expenses. The only discretionary money I have is when I get paid for my freelance writing or craft work, and he told me six month ago that he doesn't want to take away that freedom. But while my friends are talking about how they need to turn on the A/C because of our recent Spring temperatures, I only need to step into a room with the man who promised to love me for better or worse in order to feel a sufficient chill in the air.

I know I said I needed time for myself, but I didn't anticipate that all those unthinking pecks on the cheek or pats on the shoulder would be so conspicuous when they were absent. I wasn't ready to live in this bubble.

March 24, 2007

Come on, get happy!

Yesterday: quitting time. Time for giant blue drinks at two dollars off!

OK, not really. But by Tuesday, Natalie and I had determined that we were going to need to unwind from the hellish week, so we told a few people that we were planning to go to the local billiard cafe. A few people ditched us, a few were tentative, but we planned on going regardless. When I dropped a reminder to the boys, Casey promised that they would "make a cameo" after they had the final offsite meeting with our new employee from the international office.

Natalie and I hit the cafe a bit earlier than planned, and SURPRISE, the boys were already there. As the beers went down, so did the inhibitions. No holds barred- we talked about which VP's were asses and which ones have hot asses, whether the female companion of one senior executive was his beard or an actual romantic interest, and some guilt trips for the fact that Isaac was the only of the boys who noticed my new haircut (overall vote: Casey wants it grown out, Isaac was it to stay short, and Tyler was the only one smart enough to say that both styles look good).

Final verdict? The venue got a thumbs-up, but we need to do this way more often.

March 22, 2007

Crap, he wants to spend time with me?!

The Husband is pressuring me to take a babysitter on vacation so that we have more time to "relax" (relax=lay on the beach, etc. without having to actually have an parental responsibilities). When I revisited the reasons why this is probably not a good idea (having to get a different apartment, since our current one is only two bedrooms; additional expense; the fact that he chose to have children, so he needs to suck it up and actually take them in the water or build sandcastles with them or keep an eye on them so they don't run away...) he began to pressure me about having more "alone time" vacations, like the one we took for our anniversary a few years ago. Not necessarily big trips, maybe a weekend away to see a show, or a touristy trip to one of the local historical areas. Then he remembers that I have two out of town meetings every year. And he realizes that, while the Spring meeting is never at a time when it is feasible to take time off, the Fall one may be. And it's going to be in Florida this year! He'd like to go to Florida with me!

I'll be very busy, I warn him. I will be working 14 hour days, most likely. Some of the evenings will be dinners out that he can attend with me, but I will be on-call and not just be unwinding with him. No problem, The Husband, assures me. He is happy to go golfing while I am in meetings or working the registration desk. If I have to work an evening event and he is not included, he will fend for himself.

My mother agrees that accompanying me on my business trip will not be a "grown up vacation" for The Husband and me. That it seems that what he really wants is just a break from having to be a dad and be responsible for someone other than himself. That he may have an unrealistic expectation of how much time we'll get to spend together.

But she does not understand the real reason I do not like this proposal. Only one person is likely to understand, and she is the only one I can speak to about it.

"Natalie! The Husband wants to come to the meeting in September!"
"NO," she exclaims. "He can't!"
"I know," I reply dejectedly. "He thinks it will be a nice 'vacation' for us. That it will be fun to get to go to the dinners and stuff. That he'll just take his clubs and go golfing while I'm in meetings."
"But...but..." Natalie sputtered, "he...No! Tell him...no, you can't tell him that...Tell him...Oh, shit, I don't know."
"I know. I'm totally fine with taking a trip with him. But does he have to come to this one?!"
"We have got to talk him out of this," she said.
"Yeah, we seriously do," I agreed.

Because the conference is my time. It happy hour on a much larger scale. It's the hotel bar and the staff office and the foxhole mentality of setting up and running meetings and a booth and networking events. Work Dana is mingling and schmoozing, she's witty and flirty and poised. Wife Dana has school pictures in her wallet and rarely curses and stays away from hard liquor. She's got stretch marks under that business suit and she buys "Mom went to Florida and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" shirts.

Wife Dana doesn't hang out with the Marketing boys.

March 16, 2007

Hair today, gone tomorrow

I cut my hair short last weekend. It made sense to do so, but it's taking some getting used to.

It's not super, boy-short, but it's a big change from the shoulder length "Baberaham Lincoln" layers I used to have. I can't hide behind it anymore, and tuck it behind my ears the way some people seem to find appealing.

Most of the compliments have come from older co-workers, contributing to my fear that it's a middle-aged lady haircut. The Husband liked it initially, but retained the right to amend his opinion once I wore my glasses with it (he was still OK with it once I donned specs, as long as they aren't the dark framed ones).

So now I'm worried. Is short hair sexy?

March 12, 2007

Maybe she doesn't know me as well as she thinks she does...

I was on the phone with Natalie, and she told me that she'd already gotten word that she will be attending this year's annual conference (anyone remember last year's conference? Yeah, that one.)

"And this year," she said, "I'm going to go out and do stuff and relax a little more. I'll take advantage of the hotel bar."

"I think I'll probably end up making out in an elevator with Casey," I said jokingly, "or God knows what."

"No you won't," she said. "You'll think about it, but you won't go through with it."

"Making out, or going beyond that?" I asked.

"Any of it," she said. "I know you too well- you'll think about it, you'll be tempted by it, but you won't take it further than anything that's happened in the office."

Now, if she had said I wouldn't take it any further than what I've already done away from the office, she might be right. Or, she might not. Stay tuned...

March 9, 2007

Smooth move, ex-lax!

What is sexy: a fitted shirt, distressed denim boot cut jeans and a lacy thong with matching bra.

What is not sexy: realizing that you put your leg through the waistband (and have a leg opening around your waist) so that you are essentially wearing your underwear sideways.

March 5, 2007

Further proof that men are sometimes idiots

While running some quick errands on Saturday, I stopped at the one store near my home where I can find jeans that fit me properly (Levi's Signature Low-rise or Mid-rise Bootcut, if you happen to want to buy me some new jeans.) When I returned home, I told The Husband that I had used the joint account to purchase said jeans, since I figured he would ask about it when he balanced the checkbook.

"I bought a pair of jeans, since most of mine don't fit anymore," I said.

"I thought you were working out," he replied. "Why are your jeans too small?"

I rolled my eyes at him. "They aren't too small," I countered, "they're too big. I've been focusing on my lower body, so the stuff I've already got doesn't sit right anymore. You have noticed that I've been working on my butt, hip and thighs, right?"

"Yeah, you're getting there," he said.

"Well, I've got good legs," I said. "I mean, I think I have good legs- those years as a dancer gave them a good shape, especially when I wear heels."

"They aren't bad," he said, in all seriousness.

By this time I was starting to seethe a bit. I've complimented him on how his legs are nicely toned when he rides his bike, and how some of the work he does has reshaped his shoulders. He knows that I'm working to firm up and get healthy. Could he not throw me a bone?

"Are you seeing anything that you actually do like?" I asked in exasperation.

"Well, your butt is getting better here," he said as he patted my lower glutes, "so you just need to work on this," as he indicated the upper/outer thigh. "And as soon as you do some more upper body work, you'll firm up your arms so you won't be so self-conscious about wearing short sleeves..."

"In other words, you saying 'Dana, you're not as bad looking as you used to be!'"

I do have to admit, he isn't a total moron. He was smart enough to wait until after we had sex to say these things. I think he knew, deep down, that he wouldn't be getting any action after he made those remarks!

February 19, 2007

Work it

In the interest of accountability, let me just say that I don't expect to turn into a smokin' hot mama without some effort. I don't expect my ass to suddenly perk up, my abs to miraculously tighten or my triceps to become firm and jiggle free.

I'm almost four years postpartum. It's time to move past the ravages of childbearing and reclaim my body. So, I am committing to the following:

- at least 4 workouts per week (they may be small workouts, since my time is crunched during the workweek, but I have a batch of 10 minutes spot workouts that fit the bill)
- a real breakfast every morning. Not a toaster pastry, not a handful of oatmeal raisin cookies midmorning when I'm starving from having skipped eating earlier, an honest-to-God breakfast. Cereal, maybe. Or toast with peanut butter. Or a scrambled egg.
- limit of one soda per day, maximum.
- only one stop per week at the coffee bar. Those lattes and mochas add up.

MILF-watch 2007 has officially begun.

February 9, 2007


Earlier this week, I couldn't take it anymore. I walked into Natalie's office, shut the door and looked at her with crazy eyes.

"I, uh...kinda kissed somebody."
"Mm,hmm," she laughed. "God, that's cute!"
"Well...not 'kinda'" I continued.
"Not cute?" she asked.
"Maybe cute. Not 'kinda' kissed. Kissed."
She grinned. "Aaand, does his name begin with a 'C'?"
"I can't tell you," I said. "I shouldn't be kissing people at the office!"
"Well, it just sort of happened, right? It was...serendipity. It's not like you were all up with the hands and the hair and tongue and stuff...you weren't, were you?"
"NO!" I replied, "No hands, no hair, no...no!"
"Then it's fine," she said, "it's fun and it's fine and it has nothing to do with The Husband or with Casey's marriage. You guys are OK. It was just...serendipitous."

I saw Casey yesterday afternoon, after my vow to retreat from him. He called out a greeting, so I stopped in his doorway for a moment and made small talk.
"By the way, I like your...dealio," he said, gesturing vaguely to his own neckline.
"Oh, um. Thanks," I blushed, unconsciously patting the area between my pendant and the camisole peeking from under my sweater. I realized that it was the first time he'd specifically come out and commented about anything I wore.

And later, when Natalie commented on how nice the new camisole/sweater combination looked, I told her that Casey had noticed it too. Or maybe he meant the pendant...

"Oh, I don't think so!" Natalie said firmly. "You've worn that necklace a lot before. Your jewelry is not what he was looking at."

February 8, 2007


It's been a week since I walked into Casey's office. And, because I am me, I have to second guess myself about what I did.

After all, I kissed him. But he didn't kiss me back. Maybe I should back off a bit and let him make the next move, I think. Because continuing to throw myself at him is a bit...pathetic and sad.

And I refuse to be that girl.

February 5, 2007

Workin' for a living

I'm good at my job. Because I am good at my job, sometimes I am called upon to do some functions for other departments. Sometimes help is needed because of the scope of the event or meeting (such as the annual conference in September, in which I provided meeting support services- registration desk, banquet oversight- as well as supporting my typical group). Sometimes help is needed because a department is short staffed (such as my upcoming tasks at our smaller Spring conference, since there is a vacancy in the meetings group).

There is a group of upper level consultants for whom there is not dedicated administrative support. All of these consultants will be overseen by a new corporate officer beginning late this year, but at this time they are overseen by our CEO. The CEO has requested that I, as well as three of my administrative peers, provide this support. Natalie has already stepped up to the plate, and she and I have already formulated how we can manage the level of support needed while still maintaining the level of work we already accomplish in our current positions. One of these ladies is willing to provide some support, but anticipates that she may not have the technical background necessary to do a great deal. And one of these ladies is a psychotic mess. Not "psychotic all dressed up as cute" the way I am, I mean full blown crazy.

She is livid that we are being asked to provide support for anyone other than our very busy bosses. She is convinced that all of the upper management staff have no respect for all of us as intelligent, professional women and that we are being treated as interchangeable cogs with no actual value. She continually berates me for "demeaning" myself by fixing coffee before meetings, or keeping a candy dish at my desk, or coordinating the sending of flower arrangements from the execs for hospital stays or condolences. She expends a great deal of energy worrying about how some of us are not demanding the "respect" of having a full height cubicle instead of a desk with a receptionist shelf.

And what is my take on this whole situation? Well, there is a reason that I (and in many cases, Natalie) get called upon to support other departments. We are called upon because we do a good job and are realistic about the fact that the organization as a whole needs us. We take on projects as we can, and request back-up for projects that we cannot handle alone. And we do with without bitching. And how many people in upper management think Shrilly McBitchalot is a pain in the ass to work with? Almost all of them. How many think Nat and I are? Almost none. So who has more comments and praise being bandied about at review time? I think we all know the answer to that.

News flash- just because I wear high heels and pretty make-up doesn't mean that I don't know how to be a smart woman in the workplace.

February 2, 2007

It's been a good week

I had my review today. Unlike last year, when I had the young manager who was trying to prove her importance and relevancy to everyone, I now report to an experienced executive with too much work on her plate. So, unlike last year, I got a review in which moving things forward without much input from the higher-ups was seen as a good thing, and expanding my knowledge was seen as growth instead of as an attempt to overstep my bounds.

A positive professional interaction with senior management. A positive personal interaction that left a certain someone a bit...how shall I say this...agitated. A pair of dark-wash, low-rise bootcut jeans, a fitted button down shirt, and the boots and accessories that coordinate so well with both. That's a combination I can heartily endorse.

February 1, 2007

Oh. My. Damn.

Right before quitting time today,
I kissed Casey.

Holy, shit.
I kissed him. Which should not have me this freaked out, since we did a lot more in that hotel room at the conference, but somehow it is a huge deal that
I went into his office and I shut the door and walked over to where he was sitting in front of his computer and

I can't really say it was impulsive, since I had thought about doing it earlier in the day and had even made sure the blinds were closed when he left for his meeting in case I decided to actually go through with it, and I even stopped in the ladies room after lunch to use some mouthwash, but I still can't believe that I. Kissed. Casey.

I had toyed it over in my mind, just goofing around, how funny it would be if we were alone in a room or the elevator or whatever, and I just planted a fabulous kiss on him right before confidently walking out the door leaving him gaping speechlessly, like what you see in the movies and such.

Which is not exactly how it happened.

Casey showed up at the office mid-morning, which I knew he would today because I knew he had a late morning meeting with his supervisor. And I saw him come in and I checked out the view when he leaned over to plug in his laptop.

When I stopped in to say "hi," as I always do with all the boys- not just Casey, since I'm friendly that way- we made flirty small talk. He asked if I'd had any more dreams lately. I hated to burst his bubble, but...no. I asked if he'd been dreaming of me. My bubble was not burst, even though he said "no."

"I don't have dreams," he said.

"Sure you do," I told him, "you just don't remember them. Which supports that you haven't been dreaming about me. If you'd been dreaming of me, you'd remember." (Talk about false bravado!)

As we were talking, Shel came by my cube to find me. She saw me in Casey's office as she went to leave, and she gave me the paperwork she'd been coming to deliver and she teased me about how I spent my time chatting instead of working. Casey acted offended that he wasn't the only one I spent my time with. Shel, too, made small talk with Casey, letting him know about the ultrasound she'd had since his last time in the office, when she found out for sure that she's carrying a girl. After she left, joking about how crazy I was to have had three kids, since she was freaking out about having two, Casey asked about the kids, verifying how many I have and how old they were and such. I admitted that the last one was...not planned, and that I made sure that I was really done this time.

"No more pregnancies for me," I said firmly. "Now I get to work on being a MILF."

"Sounds like you're well on your way," he said.

And I went back to work. And thought again about whether to stop back into his office at lunch, since none of his officemates were around. But he had an impromptu lunch meeting instead. During the course of the afternoon, we passed each other in the hallways a few times, catching each others' eyes. He dropped into my cubicle to borrow a Post-It note, the stapler, an interoffice envelope a few times.

It was close to the end of the day, and I knew I needed to leave on time. He was not in his office when I was logging off and gathering my stuff to take home. Then I heard him return to his desk.

I walked into the office, and leaned back against the door, shutting it quietly behind me. He looked up, slightly curiously.

"Hi," I said, my voice slightly husky with nervousness. "I...just wanted to...say good-bye before I left." I walked closer and leaned back against the desk next to his chair. "I didn't want you to let Shel give you the impression that I treat everyone the way I treat you, that you weren't...special..." and I leaned closer and
full on the mouth
and took a step back and took a breath. And then I turned to leave.

"Well. I...have to say that are well on your way. You are definately a fucking MILF."

I blushed slightly.

"And by the way," Casey said, "you can stop in and do that anytime you'd like. But right now, I can't stand up quite yet."

Sweet mother of God,
I kissed Casey.
And it certainly got his attention.

January 30, 2007

For he is Dan, doer of good things were women are concerned

Casey wasn't at the office today, but Dan was there when I stopped in to say hi to the Marketing boys.

Dan's a good looking man. His girlfriend used to work here, and she's a good looking woman, and the two of them are so cute together that it's like bunnies ought to be flying out of their asses. Seriously.

Dan's a guy's guy sometimes, chatting about the ballgame or cars or his new stereo. But Dan is a girl's guy, too. He knows the difference between tan and ecru. He understands the appropriateness of buying Mrs. Fields cookies for the women close to him to cheer them up. And today he noticed that I had cut my hair, and told me it looked good. (The Husband wasn't sure that I had cut it, and he sees me every day.) It's nice to have Dan around.

January 25, 2007

Dream a little dream

The dream started tame enough, although still a bit peculiar. It took place at my office, but the layout was much larger, so my cubicle area had a lot of empty floor space nearby. Which is kind of strange, since space is at such a premium right now. I was sitting on the floor with some of the meeting planning staff (one of whom, in reality, has left the company) putting together some sort of...holiday gift boxes or something. Whatever.

And in the dream, Casey passed by. You remember Casey, don't you? Casey from the hotel bar at the conference last fall? Casey who commented on the pencil in my hair? Casey who held our good-bye hug after the Christmas party happy hour a bit longer than typical co-workers do? Yeah, that Casey. Anyway, the dream turned a bit more...interesting after that.

Casey walked by, and he breezily said hello to the people I was working with. And he tightly said hello to me, as though it was an effort to do so. And I awkwardly said hi to him, as if I wished he hadn't spoken in the first place. That, too, was a bit odd. I don't recall us having every really been tense with each other like that. Our last conversation ended a bit abruptly, but our brief hallway meetings since then haven't been awkward at all. So, back to the dream.

I had to go to my cubicle to get something from my purse. And who did I find there? Why, it's Casey. Leaving me a note. A note to say...something. I don't know what, I didn't get a chance to read it. Because he stopped writing it and said "I was just leaving you a note." To which I replied, "But now you don't have to because...I'm here."

And then we were kissing and leaning against my cube wall. Right in the middle of the marketing department. And people passed by on their way to the printer, and no one seemed at all taken aback by the make-out session happening in front of their eyes.

Then my alarm went off.

Oh, and guess who was unexpectedly in the office today, for the first time in two weeks? Hello, Casey.

January 21, 2007

Newlyweds, a decade later

It was at the bottom of the drawer, since it's been awhile since my nightime attire was something other than t-shirts, yoga pants, or flannel. But the nightgown, the same one I wore on my wedding night, fit.

Things were nice last night, they were good and fun and just the way they always were. And we fell asleep with smiles on our faces.

When I woke up this morning, Husband asked me how I was doing. And he smiled again, telling me that he wanted to pick up where we left off. We locked the bedroom door, and resumed, and things were almost at the same conclusion as the night before. But some things are not the same as they always were.

"MOMMY!" came the shout from beyond the door, "MOMMY, DADDY, we need you!" said the Elder Son. "We want to show you how we made the solar system!"

"Da door is stuck," cried the Younger Son. "Open up, pwease. I need a choc-a-chip cookie."

And we put on our robes, and left the bedroom with smiles on our faces.

December 18, 2006

There's a warm wind blowin' the stars around

Today was an unseasonably warm day to have a Christmas party. There is something to be said, though, for not needing a coat and not having to cope with snow and ice and sleet.

After the CEO concluded the festivities, and everyone departed to enjoy an afternoon of leave, some of us headed to a local watering hole. Funny how I ended up surrounded by "my boys" from Marketing...

A few rum & cokes, some sips of Paul's sour apple martini (ordered with my consumption in mind, I think, since he kept setting it in front of me anyway) made me happy. But I stayed alert, in control- I had time constraints because it was my day to pick up the kids from school.

My favorite crush walked me to my car. He flirted, I flirted, but so did the other boys. No one will be the wiser. But it would have been nice to exchange something more than a good-bye hug in the parking lot.

November 7, 2006

Professional interaction

My hair is twisted into a sloppy up-do. Because of my haste to leave the house this morning, I have no make-up on. My skirt is stylish and has a nice matching jacket, but it is long and does not show off my legs to their best advantage. Yet today is one of the few days Casey showed up in the office.

"Why do you show up when I look like crap?" I asked him when I saw him in the hall.

"What do you mean?" he asked, seemingly sincerely.

"I've got my glasses on, no make-up. This skirt is comfortable, but you can't see a damned thing. I had some pretty hot days last week, but you weren't here to see them. Hell, on the day we had our health clinic, I had to take my blouse off in the conference room; I even had a matching lace bra on. You missed out on that. But THIS," as I gestured from head to boot, "is what you get to see?!"

"No, I like the pencil in the hair. That's a good look for you," he smirked. "Tell you what- I'll send you an email warning you next time."

"As well you should. I'd hate for you to miss out on the wonder that is me."

October 25, 2006

Mama said there'd be days like this...

It's hard to feel poised when you are juggling the grocery bags and a purse and the handouts from the grade database training while trying to hold the baby's hand to keep him from running into the street.

It's hard to feel desirable when there is glue on your hand from helping with the nature collage and your lipstick has faded and there is a run in your stockings.

It is hard to feel pretty when you've had to skip your hairwash because you overslept and your allergies are making your eyes too dry to accomodate your contact lenses.

It's hard to feel confident when your head hurts and you are retaining water and you find it hard to concentrate and you aren't sure whether you can get dinner cooked in time once you get home from work.

Sometimes, it's just hard.

October 8, 2006

If only he knew...

Husband looked at me today admiringly.

"Did those jeans used to be really tight?" he asked.

"Not particularly," I said. "Are they really tight now?"

"I was just thinking that they look good," he replied. "Very good."

"Thank you," I resonded, a bit surprised. "I've been using the treadmill a few times a week, I'm trying to tone up some."

"I noticed," Husband said. "We should...take care of that later. Whatever it is you're doing, keep on doing it."

Somehow I don't think it would be advisable to tell him exactly what I've been doing that has me feeling so much more approachable lately.

October 4, 2006


This blog is not Diary of an Affair. My initial post and the follow-ups to what happened in it were, indeed, focused on what could have been the start of something very damaging to my marriage.

But that's not what's happening here. My husband is a wonderful man. He cares for me and he desires me, still. But last week showed me that I did not lose an appeal even though my shape is...doughier than it was before children. And my complexion is not as evenly clear as it was a decade ago. Hectic schedules and the worries associated with a family may have taken their toll on my sleep schedule and my system.

While I was away, though, I was reassured that all those "deficiencies" don't matter. That there is something about me that is attractive- I've already attracted my husband's attention, so this was a reassurance that was impossible for him to provide. And that reassurance also sparked a motivation in me.

I may have crossed into middle age. I may drive a minivan, and go to the grocery in sweats and a ponytail. But underneath it all, I've got something. And if I want to keep that "something" I will need to focus on fostering it. I've gotten back on the treadmill, because I owe it to myself to firm up and be in better shape. I walked into the office with a bit more confidence, no longer feeling like the polished and put together image was an act. Was it flattering to know that there were people paying attention to how my legs looked? hell, yes. But any of the thrill I got from the extra attention was held in reserve until I got home last night.

Who would have suspected that a hotel flirtation would be so good for my married love life?

September 29, 2006


My plane was delayed. By the time we boarded, the events of the week and the work of the conference had taken their toll. I was tired and restless.

I closed my eyes and began to replay the night before, and some of the conversations that led up to it. How we flirted in the staff office as I prepped the meeting materials, although we both admitted that we flirt with everyone. The agreement to meet for a drink after the booth closed, with the implication that this was more than just happy hour, and not planned as a group get together.

I skipped over the memory of waiting for you as our planned time came and went. When you finally arrived, two hours after expected, it was almost too late. The people who had stayed with me were taking their leave, and I would have been gone as well, and our chance would have been missed.

I remembered the moments in front of the bar, and moving to a table as the bartender gave us our last drinks before he closed. The closeness of our barstools, the "accidental" brushes when our legs shifted. And the knowledge, for us both, that this was not about my marriage or yours. It was only about a man who likes to have fun, and a woman in need of reaffirming something she may have lost or may not have had to begin with.

As I rewound and replayed stepping into the elevator, I smiled at the memory of you pressing first the top floor, then the lobby, to make our time on board last longer. We exited on your floor, and snuck through the hallway like kids sneaking into a closed dormitory after curfew. Your keycard stuck a few time before working, heightening the tension. Once inside, we barely got the door closed before you had me pinned to the wall, your hands beneath my sweater, my arms flung over your shoulders. As we hastily stumbled toward the bed, quickly moving aside your laptop and other items tossed there before you left earlier (perhaps I was wrong in assuming you knew we'd be coming back there) I lost track of time.

I drifted to sleep on the plane, remembering bits and moments that gave me a flutter in my stomach and a familiar ache. There is a line I can't cross, but we didn't reach it yet. Even if we don't take another step in that direction, even if we go back to just the co-workers we were a week ago, revisiting those few hours can take me back.

What happens at the conference...

Single malt, on the rocks, for you. A lemon drop martini for me. And a conversation I was very surprised to have.

You said the small things were what did it for you. The way I leaned back against the desk while you were checking emails. How I tuck my hair behind my ear while I talk. The look I give you when I'm challenging what you've said, the way I say "Really?" and raise my eyebrow. The joking conversation we had before harassment training, and how you sat on the other side of the room not because you didn't enjoy being near me, but rather that you may enjoy it too much. The feisty attitude when I pretend to scold you for something.

You say that Dan and Isaac notice some of the same things. That when the door to your shared office is closed, the conversation inside is less about marketing than it is about the cut of my suit and height of my heels.

I haven't seen you since I left for my hotel room that night, and I don't know whether what you said in the small hours of morning will hold up under the fluorescent lights of the office, whether coffee would encourage you the same way Glenlivit did. But our glances and smirks have just taken on a whole new meaning.

September 28, 2006

Standing on the edge

I was never that girl- the one who caught everyone's attention. I don't get drinks sent to me by strangers in a bar. I don't inspire double takes when I pass by. I was always the safe, unthreatening girl. Everyone's buddy, and therefore no one's date. I had close relationships with boys when I was younger, close enough for them to feel very comfortable telling me all about the unattainable objects of their unrequited love or lust.

I'm not a bad looking woman, but not necessarily a good looking one either. My husband saw something in me he liked, and still likes, and I in him. And we are good, we are fine, we still love each other after over ten years of marriage in every sense of the word "love." But there comes a time when you start to wonder whether you are loved and desired because of familiarity and comfort, or whether anyone other than your other half sees anything there.

I was never that girl- the one men saw as sexy without trying to be. I was never watched appreciately as I walked across the room. I never had a man buy me a drink at the hotel bar and invite me to his room.

Until now.