Thursday, July 21, 2005

Men Who Paint Their Toenails Purple...And Annual Exams

Oh, I know what you're thinking.  WHAAAAA?  Don't worry, your vision is just fine.  The title just summarizes my day.  And no doubt by now some of you are thinking to yourself, I gotta start hanging out with Dona.  She's never bored.

You're right.  Most of the time.  Either that or I just have a very unique way of looking at things.   Ummm, little of both.

This being the third Thursday of the month, and last month being the end of the quarter, today was our quarterly board meeting.  The July meeting is really more of a picnic as it is held outside at one of our many state parks.  My day started off just like any other, but by 9 a.m. I was shifting from low to high gear to get things done.  Weren't going to have a Budget meeting today, but the State Transportation Department is being difficult about a construction project and critical issues soon arise about our cash flow.  Emergency meeting is called to precede the regularly scheduled board meeting so any recommendations made by the budget committee can be voted on by the board...if we have a quorum.

This won't be boring, I promise you.

I arrive at the park a little early, and no one is around.  It's 1:15 and 103 degrees outside, the meeting won't start until 1:30 but I've got air and great tunes, so no prob.  Am soon joined by committee members and my boss, so we stroll over to one of the many park tables to wait for the remaining members.

Now, on my committee is an individual named Jeff.  Jeff is a mover and a shaker, if you know what I mean.  He's not a rubber stamp kind of board member; no, he takes his role seriously and asks questions.  Lots of questions.  Nine years ago when I first took over the financial management responsibilities, I knew I would have to prove myself to the board members.  It goes with the territory whenever you are dealing with other peoples money and I expect it.  For the first two or three years I went to each meeting prepared to answer lots of questions.  Jeff insisted I 'drill-down' any expense line item over $100 on the financial statement, in detail, by invoice.  Information is power.  And if trust was to be earned, I had to earn it the hard way.  No problem, I expected it.  And after a time, I proved myself trustworthy and many board members comfort level with me increased and they stopped asking me questions.  Except Jeff.  Jeff always had a question for me.  Always.  I said he takes it seriously, didn't I?

It got to the point, with Jeff always having a question for me, that once I completed my financial presentation, when I asked "Are there any questions?" not only did I look right to Jeff, but there was a sea of 30 - 40 heads simultaneously turning in Jeff's direction. Our version of the Stadium Wave, Board Room style.  This was always followed by either myself or another board member saying Jeff's name, just in case he needed a nudge.  And Jeff never disappointed.  I often wondered if he stayed up late at night thinking of probing questions for me.  I can just see him rubbing his hands together in anticipation of a new way to put me on the spot, as it were.  Because that is what he really wanted to do, in the beginning.

This became such a regular occurrence that some board members began to affectionately refer to the interaction between Jeff and myself as 'The Jeff and Dona Show.'  Frankly I think that particular person was exceedingly drunk that night, but nonetheless, the name stuck.  I hear it mentioned at every board meeting.  Now, the premise of 'The Jeff and Dona Show' is simple, really.  Jeff's primary objective is to stump me and get me to utter those three little words..."I don't know."  So, you know what my role is.  I must avoid uttering those three little words.  This always results in some very, very interesting dialogue between Jeff and myself, and the other board members.  And I have learned, quite quickly, how to think on my feet.

I always look forward to 'The Jeff and Dona Show' do all the board members.  Financial reports are the most boring presentation to give or receive.  Before, during my presentation as I scanned the room, I used to see a lot of slumped bodies with glassey-eyed faces looking back at me.  'Oh no, I'm losing them!'  Not any more.  Now everyone is sitting straight up, leaning in, waiting in anticipation for my closure, and the lead-in for the show to begin.  I've even witnessed some robust elbowing between smiling members during my wrap-up.

So, now you're wondering what happened at the Board meeting today?  Nothing.  Because I had a doctor appointment scheduled this afternoon at 2:30, the same time the board meeting started.  And no, I didn't schedule the appointment on purpose to avoid my responsibility.  Board meetings, for the past nine years, have always been evening meetings, conducted at 6 or 7 p.m.  So, when the doctor's office scheduled my appointment for 2:30 p.m., I didn't see any conflict.  No one told me the meeting time got bumped up until two days ago, and I'm sorry, but I'm not changing my appointment. for the title.  I'm getting to that!

While we are waiting for one other budget member to arrive, Jeff and I start chatting.  He's dressed in summer style, short sleeved shirt, shorts, and sandals.  When I get to his feet, I have to stop.  Oh.  Now isn't this interesting.  He's still chatting, and I'm sitting there with a smirk on my face because three of his toes on both feet are painted...a real deep purple.  The big toe, the next toe, skip one, and the next.  Purple.  Do I dare?  I can't.  Oh yes I can!  He's got it coming!

Jeff casually finishes his tale and casts a glance at me.  I'm sitting there with a smirk on my face.  Then I tilt my head to the side and ask, "Jeff, do you always paint your toe nails or is this just a summer kind of thing?"

He gives me a sheepish grin as everyone else has to take a look.  Says he, "I painted them for my 50th birthday."

Then my boss chimes in.  "Oh, when did you turn 50?"

"Four years ago," replies Jeff with a laugh.

"Sorry, but that polish is not four years old!" I protest.  "Besides, purple is a fall color.  For summer, the appropriate color is pink."  This is further supported by the display of four femininely sandaled feet aptly polished in summery pink.  "If you are going to paint your toe nails during the summer, then do it right, and paint all of them, not just three on each foot."

"I'll do it any way I want to," he replies.

"This from the man who always questions my financial statements!" I observed.

He grins, and this is followed by a robust belly laugh.  Think Santa Claus, without the beard, more brown hair, less weight, but with those rosy cheeks.  "Well, I guess my credibility just went down the drain."

"Yep," I nod.  "Nine years worth.  Right down the drain."

I love moments like this.

We had the meeting, Jeff was unusually quiet, then I had to leave.  It was time for the doctor annual physical.  It was one of those compl-e-e-e-t physicals.

Sure, you guys can paint your toe nails purple or any color of the rainbow...all you want.  But when was the last time I saw a man anywhere near a mammogram machine?  



pixiedustnme said...

Sounds like you two just need a few beers and we could convince you to have a naked Jeff and Dona show - rofl!

stupidsheetguy said...

This was some entry...good detail.

I think the little victories are the ones most highly savored. If my friends ever "busted" me doing something like the purple toenails, I'd be in the same boat as Jeff. Good job...never mess with Dona!


robinngabster said...

I kept waiting for you to say it wasn't polish b ut that he had jammed his toes and they turned purple from the bruising.

delela1 said...

Kelly - beer, yes.  Naked, no.  Geez, what had you been doing before you wrote that comment?

Jimmy - thank you.  I was a bit long winded, but the background info was necessary to support my observation.  I'll take those little victories anytime.

Robin...I did say three of his toes on both feet are painted.  This is no accident, the purple polish is deliberate.