Monday I SPEND NEARLY two hours this morning in a much-overdue physical examination; my doctor counsels me to get more exercise and lose more weight. On the way back to the office, I stop first at the florist to order a centerpiece for a dinner party planned for Saturday night and then drop in at the dry cleaner.
Back at my office in Chevy Chase, I pick up a salad, which I virtuously eat at my desk while reviewing the week's projects. I'm in the midst of revisions for our employment application form when a fellow board member from a runaway youth program I work with calls to ask whether my husband is at work, and whether he would review a grant proposal for the group.
Gary and I have worked together throughout our entire married life, but just because we work together does not mean I either know where he is or can speak for him. Nevertheless, I ask that the material be sent to me to give to Gary to review. I've worked for this company 14 years to Gary's 11; in the six years he's been president, however, I've taken on a second job as a company wife.
After completing a policy statement on the hiring of the handicapped, I leave the office at 6. At home, a friend picks me up and we drive to our women's group session in suburban Virginia. We have been meeting for eight years, a group of seven professional women -- policymakers and homemakers.
Tonight, we spend some time discussing the current administration's impact on gains made by women; despite our gloomy predictions, Judie is optimistic as she tells us of her plan to go into business for herself. It's late when I arrive home, and Gary reminds me that I haven't yet used our new exercise bicycle. I collapse into bed, exhausted, the bicycle still unused. Tuesday
At 9:30, I have a publicity meeting to discuss the company's plans for a forthcoming national conference on crime and justice. The meeting runs nearly two hours as we review mailouts, advertising, attendance projections and logistics. From that meeting, I move to another, with Gary and his special assistant, to discuss a report my staff and I have prepared on secretarial recruitment problems. It appears that economic realities will force postponement of any implementation of our suggestions; Gary tells me that he will make a final decision before the end of the week.
I eat a ham sandwich at my desk, barely finishing in time to interview a Radcliffe student who wants some job-hunting advice. I spend the rest of the afternoon with my secretary, compiling data on our 1980 job applicants, for use in preparing this year's affirmative action plan.
At 5:30, I rush home to change my clothes. Gary picks me up and we drive to the Shoreham Hotel for the annual dinner of the National Association of Women Business Owners, where Maureen Reagan is the guest speaker. Sitting at a table of my colleagues and their "significant others," I realize that I am there as Gary's wife, not as a URC professional. My ability to split roles is highly developed, and highly taxed. Wednesday
I pick up a fellow division director at the Maryland inspection station where she's left her car, and we drive to URC's Rockville office to discuss a difficult problem with the project director there. Beverley and I take time to make the rounds visiting with our offsite staff, and arrive back in Chevy Chase in time for me to do a bit of paper-pushing before lunch.
I ask two of our support staff to join me at the Hot Shoppes to discuss an article about secretaries I plan to write for the company newspaper. The afternoon is spent drafting a policy on recruiting bonuses, reviewing personnel recommendations and on other personnel matters.
I am interrupted by a colleague who wants to know with whom Gary lunched today. I reply somewhat testily that I do not have the slightest idea; in a company of 175 people, I can hardly be expected to know everyone's luncheon plans, and Gary is just another colleague.
From work, I go to make dinner for a friend who has just been released from the hospital. Gary was to have joined us, but because he neglected to note a tennis club board meeting on our joint kitchen calendar, he accidentally double-booked himself. I cook and serve dinner to Lynn and her husband and return home in time to read the evening paper before Gary arrives. I still have not used the bicycle. Thursday
The day begins with a meeting of all division directors, a monthly get-together to share staffing issues and discuss policy matters. In today's meeting, I hear with everyone else Gary's final decision on my recommendations to resolve our secretarial recruitment problems -- no action will be taken now.
After the meeting, I meet privately with two group directors to discuss personnel issues in their divisions. I lunch with out controller, and we spend the hour discussing the current economic climate and URC's ability to make the adjustments that will be necessary to do well.
Back at my desk, I meet with out personnel specialist about corporate pension matters, and spend the rest of the afternoon on the telephone, negotiating coverage for staff who have unbilled time and who may be able to help out in other areas.
Gary has taken his car in for repairs, so we leave the office together, something we rarely do. At home, I discover in the mail an invitation from the Young President's Organization, to which Gary belongs, for me to attend a seminar on new perspectives for executives spouses -- "an exploration of the multiple roles that women today are called upon to assume."
After a jointly prepared dinner, Gary goes off to the attic to install a home-repair project, and I play Hangman on our home computer. Unable to procrastinate futher, I finally sit down in my study to complete letters to members of a runaway house board, asking if they wish renomination to a subsequent term. I find the role of board secretary to be increasingly time-consuming, but I put a high priority on my community responsibilities. We get to bed late, again. Friday
I meet with our librarian, one of the staff members in my department, to review work in progress and any problems she and her staff may be having. I like to meet every week or so with everyone in the division to see what's going on. What's going on today is that our division secretary and personnel specialist are both out, and I wind up checking mail, writing recruitment ads and doing a bit of everyone's work but my own.
At lunchtime, I drive to our Rosslyn office to meet with the management team there about turnover and recruiting. I arrive back in Chevy Chase in time for a meeting to plan workshop topics for an all-day staff event late in the fall. Back in my office again, I attempt to restore order to my desk and pile some reading matter into my briefcase before heading out.
Gary and I, back to normal in separate cars, have agreed to meet in Bethesda for dinner and a movie, one of our favorite -- and most relaxing -- activities. At home, I rush around tidying up the house for tomorrow night's dinner party. When I go to bed, the bicycle is still unused. Saturday
Weekends always bring with them the opportunity for us to forget about the office, and Gary and I go off to our separate Saturday morning tennis games. oI lose in straight sets to Karen, and she and I relax over lunch before I set out for my usual Saturday afternnon errands -- grocery store, dry cleaners, Bloomingdale's to pick up some pantyhose on sale.
As I open the door between the garage and the house, a flying object strikes me in the face causing me to dop one of my bundles and making my heart race. I peer inside to find a bunch of helium balloons tied to the doorknob; two of my friends have had them delivered to help decorate the house for tonight's party, to celebrate my 35th birthday.
By the time I've calmed down from the jolt, Gary has returned from his post-tennis golf game, the florist has delivered the centerpiece and we finish readying the house for the 12 friends who will be joining us for an evening of theater and dinner.
At 6, we all rendezvous at Ford's Theatre for an early performance of "I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road."
My women friends all love it, but the men's reactions vary from utter distaste to sheer enjoyment. It provides animated conversation throughout the buffet dinner back at our house. For me, at midpoint in my weekend, my split personality and exercise bicycle are forgotten, and I can luxuriate in a special evening with my husband and friends.