The Office Wife, January 5, 2017, Issue 1, Olivia Gaines

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The Vicki Chronicles, January 5, 2017, Issue 1, Olivia Gaines

Kelson H.H. Herman

The corporate offices of American Conglomerate in Burbank, California towered above the other offices in the San Fernando Valley as if it were looking down its glass nose at those less worthy.  Thirty-five floors of brutish power flexed its muscle while entering almost every home in the world with the braggadocio of 675 officebillion reasons annually of why consumers should continue to allow it to show up unimpeded. Guided by twelve individuals overseeing every aspect of fiduciary responsibility, the Board of Directors, hand selected, served two terms. The replacements were staggered bi-annually to ensure a smooth transition and the status quo of world dominance would continue unchallenged.

Today, not only did the board begin with a new Chairman, it also began with a new executive assistant.  Victoria Lawrence, often called Vicki by her closest friends, was the number one candidate for the job. The salary, commensurate with her experience, was as hefty as the responsibility she held to keep twelve people who represented twelve arms of American Conglomerate from killing each other.  It may have been easier said than could be done, especially considering the new Chairman of the Board was as green as a pregnant woman on an elevator ride going down from to the twenty-ninth floor.

“Good morning, Ms. Lawrence,” three people she didn’t know said to her as she entered the building on her first day of work.

“Good morning to you,” she responded, her eyes on the elevator and day ahead.  The past week, spent in training with PowerPoint slides and notebooks that tried feebly to prepare for the job at hand, were of little comfort as the weight of her next undertaking pressed into her chest. When she entered the thirty-fifth floor, the air too was weighted with tension thick enough to part the hair on an eighties glam rock singer.

When she’d interviewed for the position, it was on the ninth floor in Human Resources.  Per her request, Vicki was shown to the potential work space which consisted of a very large desk, hand carved from an unsuspecting oak tree that died an unpleasant death. The desk sat twenty feet back from double glass doors and was strategically placed outside of a soundproof glass door of the office of the Chairman of the Board Kelson H.H. Herman.

Unlike many boards for corporate entities, these board members came directly from inside of the company. Hot shots in their fields as many labeled them, the up and comers from twelve divisions of American Conglomerate were hand selected to spearhead the company.  Outsiders argued that this practice was nepotism at its worst and a guarantee that the company would implode upon itself.  For 125 years, the model had worked; no one saw a reason to alter the platform which crushed it’s competitors.

This year, 2017 heralded a changing of the half the guards. Six of the members of the board were scheduled to be replaced, alternating months of fresh blood coming in, while the old blood was surreptitiously transfused into the oncoming replacements.

“Our approach ensures that there are no gaps in the processes and everyone has a clear understanding of their roles on the Board of Directors,” Veruka Monmouth-Stallings, Director of Human Resources informed Vicki. She was also polite in letting Vicki know that she too had been appointed to the board and would be moving into the position in March.

“Congratulations,” Vicki said softly.

In a rare moment of unfettered honesty, Veruka Monmouth-Stallings let her hair down, telling the new hire a very important bit of information.

“I don’t really know if it is congratulations or a death sentence. I am pulled out of my job for two years and moved to the 35th Floor to oversee HR policy and practices for the entire company.  I lose all of my power players, my power, and my plays,” she confessed.

“Not really,” Vicki told her. “You now have two years to really take a look at the real issues in the company from a birds-eye view without being in the middle of the fray. Being upstairs almost makes you impervious to the daily politics, giving you a chance to get to the heart of the real HR issues at AC.”

There was no doubt that this response is what had earned her the position that she was starting right now as the doors closed behind her, dinging it’s departure all the while announcing her arrival on the 35th floor.  The current person who held the board seat, or rather was warming it for Veruka, was a short pudgy man with a rotund belly which jiggled when he walked. He mentioned his name but Vicki saw no real reason to commit it to memory since he would be the next guard changing his post.

“The Board has convened and is waiting on you,” the little potbellied man said. He was one of the members whom she had not met during the interview process.

“Wonderful,” she replied. “I am going to set my bag down and grab a notepad, and I will be right there.”

A young temp sat at her new desk, bright-eyed, too energetic and overly eager to please. “Good morning, Ms. Lawrence.  Here is a notepad, a pen, and a cup of coffee, and the board is waiting to greet you. I am at your disposal today as you get set up.  I am Konnie with a K.  I was sent up by Ms. Monmouth-Stallings to assist you,” the young woman said with a big smile.

“Hold the coffee, Konnie with a K until after,” she said, handing the girl her lunch bag and purse.  “I am off to see the Wizard.”

“What wizard?” Konnie asked. 


The one thing which impressed the board members about Vicki was that she was far wiser than her years.  The years in which she lived on the planet did not represent themselves as etched lines of experience on her face.  At thirty-five years old, she looked twenty-two.  The long blond hair also made her look far younger than she was, which worked in her favor.  Many people underestimated her and the skills which she possessed. She was qualified for the job in more ways than one.

“Good morning, everyone,” she said, walking into the board room.  Twelve pairs of eyes looked her up and down, noticing every detail of the black suit she wore. Mumbled responses were returned as she took a seat at the large mahogany table.

“I gathered everyone this morning so that you could officially see the entire board.  Most of us, though based out of this office, have a heavy travel schedule throughout the year to outlying divisions, branches, and facilities. We convene on the second Tuesday of the month here to review, plan, vote, and oversee American Conglomerate,” Kelson H.H. Herman told her.

“I am ready to get to work,” Vicki responded with a smile. The members of the board introduced themselves as she made notes on her pad.

Kelson H.H. Herman, Chairman, American Conglomerate

The fifteen minutes spared for her was just enough  to get a feel for the members of the team she was charged to support. Her first ward was Kelson. His family were founding members of American Conglomerate. However, this family member had run out of excuses to not be appointed to the board.  He didn’t want to be here, everyone knew it, and he made no qualms about giving up two years of his life to babysit overpaid grown people.

“My office, Ms. Lawrence,” he said with a sneer as he walked past her. Looks of sympathy crossed the faces of the other members as Kelson hurriedly moved to his office.  Today was his third day as board chairman.

“How may I assist you, Mr. Herman?” Vicki asked politely.

“Maybe you could start by shooting me and putting me out of my misery,” he mumbled under his breath.

“Okay, but my gun is in my other purse.  Besides, if I did that, how will others learn how great of a job you are going to do ushering in the new era of American Conglomerate with you at its helm?” she added.

Kelson watched the young lady. There was something about her that didn’t jibe. She eyed him from behind the over-sized black framed glasses, weighing and measuring him. he was one of those types.  It would take her only four more sentences to know for certain if he was a passer. Vicki called passers those men of wealth and status who passed through many doors, but never leaving a mark. 

“Honey, you can blow smoke up someone else’s ass. There is nothing I can do for you in this job,” he said with a harshness to his tome.

“Good.  Maybe there is something I can do for you,” she said to him.

“Like what?” His beady eyes stared at her face.  Bonus.  He didn’t immediately go for my boobs.

“I can help you appreciate the irony of this situation,” Vicki said with a smile.

“I didn’t think anything could be more ironic than this conversation,” he told her. It was the dismissive way he said it which made her change tactics.

Vicki didn’t have time to listen to a rich middle-aged white man have a pity party.  He probably had more money in loose change in his top desk drawer than she currently had in her bank account. She needed him to be successful so she could keep her job. Her whole life she had been waiting for the chance to prove that she wasn’t just another pretty face. She was qualified to do a lot of jobs, but one look at her and others dismissed her.  This man was not going to do the same thing.

“I am certain that many members of the Walton family don’t want to work at Wal-Mart, but it is something that has to be done.  No one is expecting you to be successful at this, so they have surrounded you with people to make you look good as if you were some incompetent book mark stuck in to press open the pages for others to peer inside the spine.  Is this what you want?”

Kelson leaned forward in his chair.  “How dare you walk in here and proceed to tell me…,” he started to say but was silenced by her hand.

“Mr. Herman, I am telling you exactly what you need to hear to get you up on your feet and working for American Conglomerate. My first job was at a fried chicken restaurant.  Day three on the job I had to clean out the deep fryer.  I found unspeakable remnants in that grease, but I couldn’t quit because tuition was due and I needed to eat.  I didn’t eat that chicken or anything else they served, but I did take some of the uncooked pieces home to cook it for myself,” Vicki told him.

“How does this relate to me, young lady?”

“Mr. Herman, sometimes we have to do what we must in order to live.  You have to do a great job here because your family is counting on you.  It is your turn to lead. I need you to lead because I still have to eat.  The check for tuition has been replaced by an automatic bank draft for my mortgage. I have every intention of doing a great job here for you and this board. At least give me the bragging rights to say that Kelson H.H. Herman is the greatest boss ever,” she said. “I have loads of things on my list to clarify with St. Peter; please don’t make me add liar to the running tally.”

Kelson began to laugh.

“If that is your pep talk on day one, I am interested to see what else you are bringing to the table,” he said to Vicki.

“I have all kinds of goodies in my other purse,” she said with a smile.

“Welcome aboard, Ms. Lawrence. I look forward to working with you,” Kelson said with a half-smile.

“Likewise,” Vicki said as she stood, leaving his office with a nod of her head and going back to her desk to deal with Connie with a K.  Lord, what have I gotten myself into now?

The next year would be life-changing for Vicki as she soon learned that twelve people would connect with her on a level she never imagined.  She would become integral to their professional success and necessary for support in their personal struggles. The one thing she never wanted to be she would inadvertently evolved into as the office wife for twelve very unusual people.

“I’m going to make it work,” she said softly as she stood by her desk, anxiously greeted by Konnie.  The woman reminded her of a little Pomeranian happy it’s master had returned home.

“Where do you want to start, Ms. Lawrence?” Konnie wanted to know.

“We are already at the the top, let’s start here  Konnie,” Vicki told her.  It was all she could do to begin to learn her new job as the executive assistant to board of directors at American Conglomerate.


Next Month we continue Victoria’s chronicles at American Conglomerate as she finds a rhythm with her new team and creates bonding relationships.

Let us know what you thought. We welcome positive feedback.

Well, That’s Just Illogical

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thursdays.1In my latest bestselling novel, Thursdays in Savannah, I wrote a character that was somewhat unlikeable.  She is so realistic, that it started a multipage discussion on Amazon reviews.  Seriously, she is so disliked, I received some 3 stars because many reader felt it was unfair that she got everything she wanted in the end.

Why: Because she had two men.  Somehow, she managed to be engaged to both.

Each knew about the other.

She got engaged on Valentine’s Day and met the hunky handy man on Valentine’s night.

Her logic: I am marrying for security, but before I do, I am going to sow some wild oats.

The readers hated her.

I pulled two of the reviews to share.


3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmm…., May 25, 2014

“There is something about this novel that just didn’t sit well with me. I wouldn’t say it’s the cheating directly because I’ve read other books with adultery as it’s plot point. But this story just…annoyed me. I think it has to do with the fact that Savannah just didn’t care about what she was doing. There was no remorse or guilt or feelings on her part where her fiancée was concerned. She had an entitled attitude about her that irritated me.

3.0 out of 5 stars Savannah, Savannah, Savannah!, May 22, 2014

“Oh Savannah girl, what are you doing? I loved the way the book began with Savannah speaking to us the “voyeurs” about her….ah, indiscretions. I am a one man at a time kind of girls so I was surprised that I liked this book.”
What is illogical to me is this.  Jesse, the handyman, knew she belonged to someone else, yet, went balls to the walls to make sure she ended up as his.  He was even relegated to one night a week and he pulled out all the stops.
Yet, readers felt she did not deserve him.
Every Thursday he came over, dinner was ready and so was her loving.  She cooked him breakfast and packed him a lunch.  He even tricked her into meeting his family, and she put her skills to work in his favor at a conference to make him shine.
In the end, he came out on top. He wanted her at his side.
I am just confused.  Why is it okay for the man to go after what he wants, but the not the lady?  When the lady goes for broke, she has to be a gold digger.
]Well, to me, it’s just illogical, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

When did men stop being men?

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Last month, as part of our saving more campaign, hubby and I decided to cancel some unnecessary subscriptions and memberships. Reluctantly, this cancellation included my new love, Sirius Satellite radio. I miss having the freedom to avoid advertising and Shock Jocks, but alas, without my trust iPod at my side, I was forced to listen to the radio. I tuned in to Michael Baisden. He had an interesting topic and wanted to know, when did men stop being men?

    I don’t think that men have stopped being men; I think women have stopped being ladies. In an ever changing world, roles became muddled in the 80’s, transfused in the 90’s and in the new millennia, these roles have been transposed. We don’t know what we want anymore, who we want or how to live with the opposite sex. We can’t communicate because unless it is a BBM or a text message, face time is only applicable if it involves the Facetime app. How can we expect our men to know what to say let alone how to act?

    The problem is really two fold. I think as mothers, we have become so protective of bad women who were not properly raised, that we shelter our sons. Our sheltered sons are often torn between holding in their mouths the breasts of their women and the breasts of their mothers. It is hard to realize such extremes, but to be honest, it is where we are. Our men cannot be men, because they are still being their mom’s little boys. Mother’s must learn to let them go so they can leave your homes and began their own.

    When Mom learns to let go, men can then become independent to find their way. Don’t worry Mom, if you raised him right, he will know how to treat a lady and will only attract the good ones. But, in order to attract a good man, you must first be a good woman. Being a good woman means you must learn to honest and stop introducing the men in your lives to you designated representatives (DR). Your DR is that person you are pretending to be to get this man to like or love you. You wonder why the relationship goes south; because once you tire of the charade, the real you comes out. Nine times out of ten, he will not like the real you. As a matter of fact, you argue all the time because the real you and your DR are at odds. However, you will not be kind and end it until you have reduced him to a pulverized mass weeping on the kitchen floor. I feel sorry for the woman that gets him next.

    Men have not stopped being men, we have stopped being ladies. Our DR’s show up and promise the poor fella that he has discovered a rare gem, when really it is just a lump a coal covered in green spray paint and shined up with Armor All. How do you know how to pick a good partner or mate when you can no longer trust your judgment? You don’t judge, you just learn to feel. If what you are doing feels good, then good is okay. It no longer becomes relevant to find something permanent, because every one lies. Everyone has a DR, and tonight, it is your turn to entertain the reps.

    If the latest rep or DR can pole dance, then the night is going to be hot! Who needs love when I can borrow it for a few minutes? I can be a good man tomorrow, however tonight, I am going to be a bad boy. Life is short, why waste it thinking? I am still thinking about the original question and I have no answer for you Mr. Baisden.

Thinking Things Through

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I spent the day with a dear friend and over lunch, not only did she give me a headache, I think she gave my ass one as well. I never realized how absolutely negative she was in her mode of thinking, in her mode of living and essentially in her entire way of being. Midway through our conversation, it donned slowly upon my aching brain, that my head was hurting because I was attempting being rational with an irrational being.

The conversation started slowly with my latest novel that I cannot seem to finish because the character is not wholly developed. Her argument began with what a person will do for love at the demise of a relationship. I was told that I was a hopeless romantic and that most people did not think as I did and she, in fact, could not relate. That’s when I ceased trying to rationalize my thinking, because she just told me, she could not relate.

I grew up with relatives and had relations with people who loved me. I have friendships with several of my long term former loves where the relationships ended on an amicable note. I have had few, if any relationships that ended with an up yours and I am going to burn your sneakers in the bathtub. I am not a vindictive person and therefore cannot relate to people with vindictive spirits. I will admit to being a smart aleck and on several occasions have been called a smart ass, but never a negative one of either. Of course, based on these simple facts, there is no way, she could relate, nor understand.

It thereby became a harsh realization to me, that I was a hopeless believer in the good of all people, to include my pain in the ass friend. I also realized that out of all the people she was around, that I was the most faithful whom actually showed up on a regular basis to spend time with her ornery butt. Then something magical happened, I stopped talking and got quiet; she changed the subject. The moment I stopped trying to make sense of her nonsense and got quiet, she stopped with the negativity and simply said, “You are spoiled, I never got that type of love growing up, in my marriage or in any relationship.” I simply responded with, “I see your point.” I am hoping that you can see my point as you read these words. If it feels clear as mud, please allow me to explain.

The negativity she exuded was feeding off my disgustingly cheerful optimism. She could not understand my reasoning because she had no basis for what I understood. It would be the same as three blind men walking up to an elephant. If the first feels the trunk, the second feels the middle and the last feels the tail, then the three of them separately will never know it’s an elephant. In my mind, the smell will tell you it’s an elephant, but if you have never been around, seen, felt and smelled an elephant, you will have no frame of reference. My friend had no frame of reference for my views on love. Her negativity stemmed from a lack of love and it pissed her off that I had so much and she, so little and that on another lunch, I attempted to force my rose colored views across her aching eyes.

The conversation now turns against me and I become the designated ass, because she was in fact attempting a rational conversation with an irrational being. So often we attempt to force our views upon others who have no frame of reference for which we speak, and we become frustrated that they do not see our points of view. I am going to spend my 2012 eliminating the negatives from my words, because if I may quote Paula White, “you can’t celebrate my glory, if you don’t know my story.” I did not take into account my friend’s story and I bombarded her with my overly simplistic optimism, while expecting her to celebrate my thought process.

If you find yourself complaining about the same problem, moaning about the same situation, and groaning over the never changing scenarios that haunts your existence, then please takes this with you. The problem just may be you. We must give others a chance to celebrate your story, if you just hush up over the glory.

7 Types of Men Every Woman Should Date

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Okay, admittedly so, I have on several occasions acknowledged that I need to stay off Facebook. However, I could not pass up this little ditty. According to Quentin McCall, Life Coach, there are seven types of women, every man should date. These beauties include a simple, low maintenance woman, a woman who has submitted herself to God, an emotionally stable, selfless woman who can be your best friend. The last two traits that every man should look for is a woman of character, who is also loyal and patient. If you happen to find this woman, I think I would like to date her too, because I am not sure if this person exists. On a good day, I can cover maybe three, but all seven, I fear, my friends, that I am not that enlightened. Even June Cleaver sometimes got a little terse with the Beaver.

As a woman, I am always looking for ways in which I can be better, or ways in which I can evolve. Yet, we all know that in order to evolve, we must learn ways to grow from our mistakes. The things which have slowed us down or rather taught us major lessons in life, are the things which have caused us pain. Therefore, it is only fitting that I pick up where Mr. McCall has left off, and make a list of seven men that every woman should date.

  1. Someone who is broke, so you can remember, it ain’t cute constantly eat off the dollar menu.
  2. A man without a car, you will easily learn that he spends his money on Jordan’s instead of saving for something worthwhile like a vehicle.
  3. A bad boy, these are great to show you that drama is not a formula for relationship success. Getting drunk and fighting is only fun and exciting the first time, until you either get arrested or the cops threaten to haul you off with that idiot.
  4. A sexaholic. When you are young, you can go all night. When you are 35, the only thing you want to do all night is sleep. These guys are great for a once a month outing, but really, in two years when you would rather sleep, he and his friend are constantly poking you in the back trying to get you to play. Both of them need to go to sleep. You want to converse with me, talk to me with your mouth.
  5. A man who is in touch with his emotions. He can tell you all about his feelings, which is great, but a year into the relationship, he is just going to seem like he is just whining.
  6. A cheap skate. The good thing about this man is that you will never be broke. You will also never have anything new, never get a new car, a bigger house or shop at Macy’s.
  7. A man of refinement, this person is usually smarter than you are, are well traveled and understand food and wine pairings. He is also a test model because these types of men always make you feel as if you are not quite at their level. I love these types of men, because they inspire you to learn more and be better. Please keep in mind, you are not being better to be with them, just tuning up for when you meet your future husband. PS, hubby is going to be proud that you know food and wine pairings. This insipid fellow also taught you about stocks and bonds, so you can a little bit of moolah.

Even though I said seven, there is still one type of man with a must have trait in the man you marry; that is the ability to fix things. I love a handy man. I hate when something breaks and your man is in the Yellow Pages looking for a repair person. Heck, I can do that myself.

    I know I may have missed a man or two that a woman should date, but these are not to be confused with the type of men a woman can’t resist. That in itself is a different story with a whole new set of rules and lessons learned. We will visit that on a later edition.