Being a novel, all characters, events, dialogue and representations are fictional ... and in no way are meant to represent any real or living persons or events... except the few annual events that are used to move me through time. The opinions expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of my author. And the story is copyrighted, by my author of course. Oh, and from time to time I may include some real time events to keep the blog more authentic. Comments and suggestions will be appreciated and seriously considered as the story moves along.

If you are just joining us, start with the Prologue and Chapter One on March 1, 2011, in the Archives.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011 Chapter 16

   “Maggie, what is wrong with that jackass?” Sharon said early last week at lunch. She was trying to once again reconstruct her sandwich that fell apart each time she tried to take a bite.
   “No clue.” I told her. We were, of course, talking about my illustrious boss, Bennett Boyle. “I’m so frustrated with the man. How does he expect me to do my job if he won’t give me the tools I need? I know the university has enough to increase my budget, but he won’t talk about it. And every time I do talk to him, I get all tied up in knots because he’s so unreasonable. No matter which way I turn, he puts roadblocks in my way. He micromanages with fear and intimidation. How in the world did he get to be chief of staff?”

   “Extremely good question, and if you find out the answer, I’ll make you the queen.”
   “And how can the Board put up with his moving Miss Katherine? I just don’t understand that level of incompetence,” I complained, taking a bite of my tuna salad on croissant.

  We’d left campus to try out a new sandwich shop downtown next to my favorite thrift store, both establishments run by the Disabled American Veterans. If we ate really fast, we’d have time to look over the new donations for sale. I’ve found a couple of pieces of furniture on previous visits to the shop that were real bargains, including a lime green 1940s vinyl chair with yellow painted wooden legs. Sharon had looked at it with a jaundiced eye, but I loved it at first sight and happily forked over the reasonable asking price. It is currently in the storage shed, awaiting successful house hunting.
   “Well,” Sharon said, struggling again to keep the onions, avocado, turkey and bean sprouts from falling out, “I don’t know what to tell you to do ... Damn sandwich. It tastes great, but won’t hold together long enough to get in my mouth, even as big as my mouth is!” 
   I laughed at her comical frustration. “Why don’t you just use a fork?”
   “Guess I’ll have to,” she said in exasperation, putting it down and picking up her utensil. “Doug always says when it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work, work it another way.”
She stabbed up a piece of the sandwich with the fork and triumphantly stuffed it in her mouth, chewing happily and raising her fork in the air in a victory salute.
   “That’s it!” I said. “If it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work, work it another way. Now, we know it doesn’t work, so ... how can I work it another way?”

Sharon swallowed and said, “Work what?”


   As I drove us back to campus, Sharon said, “Now explain this again? You’re going to change the way you work?”

“Yep. Obviously, the way I work with Bennett Boyle is not producing the results I need to get my job done successfully. So, I’ll change the way I work with him and hopefully get better results.”
   “Change how?”
   “Well, for one thing, instead of fighting it and wishing it weren’t true, I’ll accept the fact he’s a micromanaging tyrant. He seems to get worse when I lose my temper, so I won’t lose my temper. He hasn’t a clue on how to communicate effectively, so I’ll teach him, without his knowing I’m teaching him, of course. And then make him think it’s his ideas we use. And he likes to play those little power games, like having people wait for him, so I’ll just refuse to play them but within parameters he can’t object to without losing face. And then, well, then I’ll outflank him.”
She looked at me skeptically, but we’ll see.
Certainly has been an interesting week, worldwide. Thursday night I slept over at Sharon and Doug’s and Sharon and I went to bed early then got up at three a.m. to watch the royal wedding. We had both seen Diana wed Prince Charles, and wept the day she died, so it seemed appropriate for us to watch her older son say his vows. We donned our robes and our fanciest hats and jewelry. I’m sure we were quite a site in our pajamas and fuzzy socks, but thankfully no one was there to see us. Carol called. She was up too, and had on a hat and one of her mink stoles. Robert and Doug didn’t care to join us, the wimps.
It was fun drinking hot tea and eating scones and looking at all those amazing English hats. My favorite was the dark one worn by the English soccer player’s wife.. she looked so elegant with her hair pulled straight back in a ponytail and that saucy hat with long feathery things floating over her left eye. Really had the face to pull it off. 
Sharon liked Camilla’s oversized beige thing, but I kept thinking it would have been hard to have any peripheral vision. 
But the prize for the worst hat, I think, went to Princess Beatrice, Fergie’s daughter, with that stiff curved headdress that sat above her nose. Yes, it matched her coat, but rather than complement her attire, it overwhelmed it... and I kept wondering what she had been thinking. It looked more like something for Mardi Gras instead of for a royal wedding. No, no... it reminded me of an aluminum press for — what’s that delicious Mexican dessert made at Christmas? Buñuelos? The press for buñuelos? You put this curved aluminum press that sort of looks like a snowflake into thick dough, then cook it in hot oil. Then cover with sugar and cinnamon? Yep. That’s what it reminded me of.
Oh, well, just my opinion. 
Then the beatification of beloved Pope John Paul II. What an amazing man he was. I think it will be a while before all of the astonishing things he accomplished will be revealed. He was remarkable, to say the least. 
And late last night we learn that the world’s number one terrorist has been killed... finally. I had ambivalent feelings about it. One was relief that finally American forces got him... he was so evil.  But I was a little uncomfortable about the dancing in the streets by so many young Americans, hoping it won’t be fuel for more attacks from the evil one’s radicals. It reminded me of the woman in the Middle East dancing at the news of the attacks on 9/11—an image that is seared in my heart. I hope we are ever vigilant and that repercussions are not forthcoming.
I also continue to pray for the victims of the storms across the South. So many people lost so much. I called my sons to tell them I loved them and wished I could hug the grandchildren. Life is so fragile. 
Kinda makes my frustration with my boss seem small.

Enough for tonight. I’ll post again next week. 
God Bless America.

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