“Good morning, Dorothy sweetheart!” I chime all happily down the phone.
“Hi Fiona.” Dorothy sounds cheerful today. “How are you?”
“I’m good,” I smile. “And you?”
“Yes fine,” Dorothy reciprocates the exchange of good manners. “Did you have a nice weekend?”
“I did,” I beam back at her. “Had some nasty virus so I rested a lot. Resting is super. Did you do anything fun? Seen your kids?”
“No. I haven’t seen my kids.” Dorothy answers reluctantly. “It wasn’t my weekend.”
“That’s awful.” I sympathises with her. “I always feel a little sad when it’s not my weekend.”
“Yes me too,” Dorothy concedes.
“Shall I be honest?” I sound as stern as the look on my face. “You’re in a difficult situation.”
“If you want to.” Dorothy answers cautiously. “Will it hurt?”
“Working a lot and business travel abroad doesn’t do wonders for your relationships.” I know I’m treading on delicate turf here, but I’ve got to say it. “Your kids feel abandoned. And rejected.”
“Is that your assumption or have they told you that?” Dorothy critically turns over my biased personal opinion.
“It is of course my assumption,” I soon realize the idiocy of what I’ve just asserted with too much confidence. “Based on what you told me.”
“Ok. Fair enough.” Dorothy replies coolly.
“That’s how I would read it,” I answer, a little relieved that she didn’t bark at me again like the other day in the supermarket.
“What would you suggest?” Dorothy asks, and it annoys me to detect a hint of something like she’s just trying to humour me.
“What you taught me. Get your priorities right.” I tell her.
“I think they are right.” Dorothy states and I can just imagine her look, all big-eyed without blinking.
“Put your kids first, and find a job and a boyfriend here in Belgium and settle down.” I risk again. “My priorities are right most of the time.”
I take the time to gauge the situation. Dorothy seems to be reacting calm to my suggestions. So far so good. Maybe a good moment to steer the conversation in a different direction.
“You know I suffer from paranoia,” I start out boldly. “I tend to think I am the only one capable of taking care of my kids. I trust nobody.”
“I understand,” Dorothy comforts me.
“Are we still on for our business meeting Wednesday morning?” I suddenly ask her checking my agenda for the rest of the week.
“Yes,” Dorothy replies crisply. “I will be waiting for you.”
“I will pick you up after I drop my kids off in the morning.” I say as I continue checking my schedule for the coming week.
“Isn’t this weird though?” I pause to ask her.
“Why?” Dorothy enquires.
“I have no clue what the meeting is about.” I confess. “We also have no deal yet with the Canadians. They requested an open-book accounting contract, which of course I refused.”
“Its about nothing.” Dorothy re-assures me. “I just want to know what he does.”
“Oh you know Tatiana’s lawyer is claiming another 10.000 euro.” I spit out. “I don’t have that money.”
“Why are they claiming more money?” Dorothy looks at me with big eyes.
“I think the calculations approved by the court are wrong,” I tell her. “Acerta, the payroll agency, told me that too. We’ll have to go back.”
“Ok. Have fun,” Dorothy replies in guise of disapproval.
“Will talk to my lawyer about it.” I am thinking out loud. “It’s not fun. She’s not entitled to another 10k. And I don’t have it either. Acerta told me they can’t calculate what isn’t correct.”
“I would assume a judgement is conclusive,” Dorothy states wisely.
“Exactly the problem,” I grumble darkly.
“I am sure you will solve it,” Dorothy’s show of confidence is meant to boost my ego a little.
“Yes eventually,” I sigh. “Come on, do the math. An assistant working part time with one year seniority will not get 10k in holiday pay & 13th month. Her lawyer is a crook.”
“Ok. I agree.” Dorothy is humouring me and I let her.
What is it about girl talk over the telephone? I find bouncing off ideas with my friends to be an exclusive privilege. Each of my girlfriends is an expert in her own field, and each one is an entrepreneur at heart, just like myself. I just love exchanging ideas and best practices. We discuss the problems we encounter and the obstacles we face. And most of all, girl talk is just so relaxing. It’s a great way to unwind and to have a couple of minutes having a nice time.
What do you think? Who do you share your creative ideas with? Let me know in the comments below.