Sunday, August 17, 2014

In which Doris tells Primo that I don't need to "prove" myself by riding my bike to work

Primo had his weekly call with Sly and Doris today. He has to call before 4:00 because they start drinking at 4:00 and

1. do not answer the phone
2. are too drunk to remember they have spoken to Primo so he doesn't get any credit for the call

But he called at 2:00 and they told him they were busy watching tennis and would have to call him later.

I guess it doesn't matter that Primo might not be able to talk later.

They called him back, eventually, as Primo was ironing his shirts.

No, he is not asking me to iron any more.

Which is a smart move, because I am not inclined to be too supportive with the ironing these days.

Have I mentioned how much I hate politics? And how I never ever ever wanted to be a political spouse?

I really do think there should be an escape clause in wedding vows that you get a do-over if your spouse suddenly decides to make a huge midlife change to get into politics.

Primo told them he was busy - about to go to a campaign event - which you would think they would support as their entire life is politics and talking about how Old White Men are Ruining Things. I guess they have not noticed that Sly is an Old White Man.

But he spoke to them for a few minutes. Told them about my new job and that I am riding my bike to work.

I am riding my bike to work because

1. The bus does not go to the new office
2. I hate driving
3. I want to forestall any discussion of buying another car
4. It's good exercise and by God, I want to be in shape just once before I die.

Doris told Primo that it is not "necessary" for me to "prove myself" by riding a bike to work.

I asked Primo what she thinks I am trying to prove and to whom but he had no idea.

Should I mention this to her in my next letter to her?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

In which we have a teambuilding exercise only nobody trusts the feedback not to get back to the CEO so we all lie by omission

Dear Managers of [my company]

I look forward to facilitating your team development session. 

We are beginning the meetings with a focus on team and relationship, because everything
depends on the capacity of leaders to be aware of their strengths and blind spots and to recognize, engage and support the strengths of colleagues as well as direct reports.

While some of you have been with the team for quite some time, others are new to the scene!

Regardless of your experience with this team, I would appreciate your response to the following questions:

1)  What is working well?   
                Respect?  Communication? Trust?  Energy?  Innovation?
2) What opportunities do we have to strengthen our working relationships with one another to advance the mission of the business?   What are the barriers?
3)  What are you willing to contribute to the success of our time together?
4) What is one thing that you think I should know about you, your team, [the CEO], etc?
5) What excites you about your work?
Anything else?

Please feel free to respond to this e-mail and include your responses  in the body of the message.
Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration.  Be assured that your responses will be kept in confidence. Should there be themes that emerge (ex:  communication is challenging …)  I will offer the themes for our consideration during our time together.

I will see you soon!

Best Regards,

Judi Dench

That's the email that came to me and my co-workers the week before the management meeting.

My boss came into my office and confirmed what I had thought: that over my dead body would I give honest feedback to the facilitator.

"It would probably not behoove you," he said, "to be honest."

I spoke to my colleagues Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Regina King. "Are you going to give honest feedback to Judi?" I asked.

They laughed. Hahahahahahahahahaha!


No, they had no intention of telling the truth, ie, that the CEO is a little bit jerky and we are all scared of him and he says he wants honest feedback but then when you give it to him, he gets angry.

"If we could give honest feedback," Brad said, "we would not need this teambuilding meeting."

He speaks the truth.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

In which Sergio the CEO of my company announces a new open-plan office where nobody but him gets an office

You guys, I hope by the time you read this, I will be in a new job. I have been looking. Lord have mercy, I have been looking. But looking for a job is very time consuming and exhausting and then the interviewing is a pain in the neck and you have to either take time off or make up appointments, which I don't really mind doing because there are many times when I am on the phone late in the day with Asia and you know, the hours should balance out.

There are three things I like about my job right now:

1. I can take the bus to work, which means that Primo and I can get by on one car.
2. I can go to the gym at lunch.
3. I have a window office with a really nice view.

Today, the CEO, Sergio, who is here from BA for the week while we prepare for a board meeting, announced that the office is going to be renovated.

We are going to an open plan, he said.

I know open plan makes people nervous, but it will be OK.

All the offices will be converted to meeting rooms.

Those of us in offices will move to modules within the open plan. My boss, who is a director, will lose his office.

His office will not be converted to a meeting room. His office will become Sergio's office for Sergio to use the four times a year he is in the U.S.

The rest of us -- all of us -- will be in an open area. This area will Facilitate Communication and Improve Processes and Make Us Better People.

I suggested that it might be noisy.

Oh, no. There will be white noise.

There will be TVs in the conference and break rooms. You know - because being able to watch TV while I am at work is so important.

There will be expensive renovations.

There might not be raises.

The money has to come from somewhere.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

In which I find out my readers are scary smart

You guys, I have the nicest, smartest readers in the world. A few of you have already warned me when you have come across identifying details about Primo and where we live. One of you today - hello Erik from Ask a Manager! - figured out exactly who Primo is.

I am not as sneaky as I thought I was and you guys are smart.

Although I don't think what I write about Primo's campaign could be damaging - those who are in the know know that he is not going to win, even if the incumbent were to be caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl, I wouldn't want to embarrass him or anyone on his campaign team.

Still, I am torn. Can you imagine what it would do for my readership for this blog to be exposed? What if I could get a book deal out of it? Primo says I should re-name the blog "The Candidate's Wife." If someone wanted to pay me big bucks to write about a campaign from the spouse's POV - the spouse who does not want to be in the political world and the spouse who does not agree with the candidate on all the issues, then I would happily take the money and run.

I would also happily take the money to write a book about Sly and Doris. Indeed, I already have, although I had to have a fictional somewhat happy ending because who wants to read a book about the reality of mean inlaws? We want redemption or the possibility of redemption in what we read. I do, anyhow.

But there is no scandal in Primo's campaign, alas. No sex. No bribery. No prostitutes. No texted photos of naughty bits. No lavish parties. No gifts from donors. (There have to be donors.) I would like some lavish gifts. I want a new purse. This one. (It's even made in the US!)

Where is that guy who was so good to the governor of Virginia? Tell him to call me. We could use a new car, too. We have two cars, but one of them is a '65 Corvair that I have no interest in driving and that can't leave the garage when it is raining.

No pregnant volunteers and no lying about who the daddy is. I don't have cancer. Neither of us get $400 haircuts. We both go to Carol and she charges $21. We tip $5 and give a bigger Christmas tip. Plus she is our friend.

Dang. I realize that we are doing this all wrong. If I want a book deal, I have to write about something more interesting than the fact that Primo copy-edits what his social media coordinator posts on facebook.

I decided it is not prudent to post about the campaign before the election. After the election, nobody will care. I will post then. I might have some innocuous posts before November. If I mess up and leave in the name of the district or a coffeeshop that is found only in this city, please let me know! I appreciate you all looking out for me.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

In which Ted, Primo's half brother, demands that Primo drop everything to do Ted a favor

Last night, Primo came home from a four day business trip. He leaves again today for a week. Today is Saturday. Yes, I posted this on a Thursday, but I write these things as they happen.

So he came home after being gone for four days. I don't know what business travel is like for you guys, but I think for most of us now it means spending all day at the customer site or the conference and then spending several hours in the evening answering email because hey the world doesn't stop just because you are doing something else during the work day and if we don't take care of the customer, someone else will.

So Primo spends all day with the customer and then spends hours answering email from co-workers and other customers and trying to keep everyone happy and every now and then sending me a facebook message that he wants to quit his job and become a revolutionary, to which I say, Don't we all?

So he was gone for four days. Gets home at 8 p.m. Friday. His flight today leaves at noon. No, he is still not ready even though he needs to leave for the airport ten minutes ago.

I did not realize that part of marriage would be Sucking Up Your Partner's Stress. But it is. I guess.

Is there any stress worse (outside of watching someone you love suffer from an illness) than stress you watch that the other person imposes on himself? As in, Primo has to catch a plane. He has to pack and take a shower and doesn't have a lot of time.

So he does the dishes. And scoops the kitty litter.

Neither of those tasks are on the critical path. Both are tasks that can easily be delegated. Both are tasks I can and I will do.

But rather than focus on packing and showering, he does the dishes.

Because I did not do them, he tells me.

I said that I would have done them eventually and it is not necessary for the dishes to be done by 10:00 a.m. and could he just chill and do what he needs to do?

I cannot shower for him. I cannot pack for him. (I don't fold things right. Oh, how sad I am that he would rather I not fold his shirts.)

I can, however, do dishes and scoop the cat box.

Primo is easily distracted. Squirrel!

So. Back to Ted the Jerk.

He came downstairs last night after checking his email and said that his half brother Ted, the one who told me I was f-ing stupid for not thinking that Ted Kennedy was the most amazing wonderful person evah after I pointed out that Kennedy left a woman to drown in his car after he drove the car off a bridge and used his political influence to escape the consequences that would have befallen a normal person.

Ted and I do not get along.

He is his father's son.

How did Primo turn out so well, one asks?

I don't know but I'm glad he did. Still, I wish that he were an orphan. Our lives would be a lot easier.

Ted had emailed Primo, Sly, and Doris, asking them to review the 90-minute rough cut of his latest documentary.

Sly and Doris wrote back to Ted and told him they had watched it and would send him some notes this weekend.

Ted wrote back and said that this weekend would be too late.

Primo wrote and said that he would not have a chance to watch the movie and give feedback for a few weeks, as he was very busy.

Ted replied that if Primo wants to be in [Primo's business], he can do what you want. If he wants to be in politics, he has to adjust his schedule.

I should not be surprised that Ted is being a jerk. It's who he is.

Primo has more information. Turns out that the person who is funding the production of Ted's film is considering pulling the money. Ted wanted to give her some positive feedback about the film. So his solution was to have his father, stepmother, and half brother review it.

I won't even bother to comment on this.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

In which Sly tells Doris, who tells Primo, that he is "hurt" by the distance between us

My mom said that my dad is very hurt by your distance from them. I told her (while he was out) that you can't stand his criticism of her and his periodic meanness. No big blow-ups happened this week, but he came close once.

your dad is hurt?
I don't believe it
She says so.
yeah right
he can't stand me
he just doesn't like that I have rejected him
he wants to be the one to reject me

Friday, June 27, 2014

In which Sly reiterates his dislike of me

Primo: My dad told me I have very bad taste in women.

Me: What? When? Last week?

Primo: Yes.

Me: What prompted that?

Primo: I commented that I thought a particular tennis player is really good looking and he said that I have particularly bad taste in women.

Me: But he is saddened by the rift between us.

Primo: No! Not just saddened. He's "deeply hurt."