Jinnie decided that she would tell Paolo, she knew that he had always wanted children. He immediately developed a huge grin and said he would accompany her to the doctor, which was really just what she wanted. However, the receptionist insisted he stay in the waiting room while Jinnie saw the Doctor. She said she assumed Jinnie had taken a home urine test and it had been positive but she would do another just to be sure as the test was 99% accurate.
Of course it was positive once again and the Doctor congratulated her and launched into what Jinnie guessed was a regular checklist of questions and actions. She took her blood pressure, checked her temperature and pulse, asked her all sorts of questions about stress and sleeping, was she working full time, was the morning sickness bad, asked if she smoked, told her not to drink or take recreational drugs, prescribed folic acid and advised her on her diet. Finally she said, “As you are on the pill, I guess this pregnancy was planned.” Jinnie said, “Not really, I was so busy at work about 6 weeks ago I forgot to pick up my prescription. I had some French pills that were supposed to be the equivalent of my prescription left over from a trip several months ago and I took those for a few days. I guess they weren’t effective.” The Doctor look at her strangely and finally said, “I guess I shouldn’t ask you what you were doing in France when it was occupied by the Germans.” Jinnie smiled and didn’t say a word.
Jinnie left with an appointment to visit the maternity department at Barnet General Hospital for an ‘eight-week’ appointment with a midwife. The Doctor warned Jinnie that this was a big appointment where she would have her first ultrasound scan to try to establish a birthdate. But the midwife would ask all sorts of questions about her and her family’s medical history, take blood to check for things like diabetes, check her BMI, check her blood pressure was still OK, check her urine for protein (she was given a small container for that), asked about her mental health, in fact the list went on and on and Jinnie thought she wouldn’t be able to remember everything to tell Paolo.
Paolo was perhaps more excited than she was and immediately started asking questions some of which she remembered the answer to but others they agreed to check on Dr Google that evening. However, after a short discussion they decided not to tell anyone, even Jinnie’s mum until after the midwife’s confirmation.
Jinnie got to work feeling very happy and decided to apologise for being a bit late by telling them she had been to a dentist appointment she had forgotten to mention and that she had another appointment the next week that she put in the diary. Greta had picked up a big package for her from reception. Jinnie ripped the package open and was surprised how much Belinda’s team had done in such a short period. There was a drawing of the area showing the new office, an image showing her office with new furniture and a feature wall of the Nice beach, images of the proposed general office furniture, suggested colours and even a carpet sample. Greta and Carol joined Jinnie and loved what was being proposed so Jinnie summoned Alan to get his opinion. He too was amazed at how much work had been done in so short a time.
It was with a little trepidation that Jinnie read the quotation. Her office, £6,500 including furniture and carpet, the new office, £12,000 including the partitions and an ash door set. The extras for Alan’s office and the general office were another £16,000 but most of that was for furniture. Jinnie was surprised, she had expected a quote nearer £50,000 in total. Alan was amazed, he said he was sure the internal cost would be much more. Jinnie thought for a moment and asked Alan if he had got his reorganisation plan sorted yet. He said yes it was locked in his desk drawer so she sent him to get it. Next she rang Emma and asked to see David and was told he was in a meeting at the moment but would be free at 11:30. Jinnie said, “Put me in his diary please, I will be bringing Alan and the IT Director.
Jinnie spent the time before the meeting having a pre-meeting with Alan and the IT Director to sort out their strategy. They decided to be completely upfront about things. They arrived at 11:28 knowing ‘C’ was a stickler for timekeeping. David called them in at exactly 11:30 and asked Emma to sit in and take notes. Jinnie spoke first, presenting the drawings, images, samples and finally the costs. She explained that no changes to electrics or data cabling were included in the cost, but that Belinda had assured her that the layout used the existing lighting and power which was via floor boxes that could easily be repositioned by anyone and only needed checking by an electrician. The IT Director pointed out that the IT network points were in the same floor boxes and if a few needed livening up that could be done at the switch box and was half a day’s work for one man at the most. David looked at the bottom line of the quote that included everything and asked Jinnie what was included for that. Jinnie said, “Everything.” David looked at the total again and asked, “Are you sure?” Jinnie replied, “I have dealt with this company three times now for restaurant refurbishments and the only time the costing was out was when we asked for an extra that we wanted adding. Not only that but they have met or beaten every programme.”
David asked Emma what she thought. She said the technical drawings didn’t mean a lot to her but the rendered images looked fantastic and far better than the HR offices were turning out. She said she loved the use of various bright colours on the internal columns and the modern matching furniture which was all in ash just like the SMG office door-set. She then said what a pity the two doors for the Director and Deputy Director’s offices were still in their original dark wood finish. David then said, “I think this scheme is really going to upset the apple cart. It will be the best department in the building and from what I have seen at about a quarter of the cost of the HR refurbishment.”
He chewed his pen and eventually said, “I am happy to sign this off on two conditions. Firstly I want the two office doors replaced so the whole office matches. I don’t want to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar. Secondly I want you to get them to come in to quote for the refurbishment of my and Emma’s offices, there is money for it in this year’s budget and if we can save that much I want to spend it on a new interactive whiteboard linked to my computer.” Jinnie saw the IT Director nodding his approval.
Alan coughed politely and asked if he could talk about the proposed departmental reorganisation he and Jinnie had been discussing. Jinnie let Alan lead, explaining how the office didn’t function to its best because it was not making use of people’s abilities. He explained his idea of a central pool being used to create teams appropriate for each mission, even bringing in people from other departments if they had the needed specific skills. Jinnie broached the idea of a skills database to back it all up and the IT Director explained how this could be based on the existing HR database and could be used organisation wide.
David asked if HR had been consulted. Jinnie said, “Not yet, we wanted to run it past you first.” The IT Director said, “In my experience HR always say no to any new suggestions. I don’t really know the Director Herlihy yet, she could be different, but I would rather approach her with your provisional OK.” ‘C’ said, “I’d like to think that Anne is more open to ideas than her predecessor and not as territorial as he was.” My initial thought is that it sounds like a good idea. I can see it bringing organisation-wide benefit, but it would need careful handling security-wise. It’s nearly lunchtime and I will mention it to Anne as we dine and let you know later. But I am basically in favour.”
As usual, Jinnie ate lunch with Emma in the canteen, but unusually she had the urge for a cheeseburger. Emma looked at Jinnie’s lunch and asked her if she was OK as she nearly always had a sandwich or a salad. Jinnie nearly said she was eating for two and stopped herself just in time saying, “I missed breakfast this morning going to the dentist,” which Emma seem to accept. Emma changed the subject saying David had asked her to talk to the Procurement Director to prepare an order for Belinda, but the value couldn’t be included yet as the quote needed amending to include the two additional door-sets. Jinnie promised to speak to Belinda directly after lunch and she was sure Belinda would email a revised quote that afternoon.
Jinnie phoned Belinda who was having an initial look at a very big job, in central London. A pharmaceutical company were taking new offices and representatives from six contractors had been asked to have a walk around the empty building and come up with initial ideas before three would be asked to bid. Jinnie told her the Job was hers and an official order would be raised and emailed that afternoon provided she could get an amended quote over to include the two doors. Belinda promised an email within the hour, Melissa was in the office and as a director she could change the quote. Then Jinnie asked Belinda if she could pop in and quote for a little more work, explaining that this was in no rush but it was the big boss’s office suite. Belinda said as she was in the City would it be possible to have a look late that afternoon, it would save an extra trip to London. Jinnie said she would contact ‘C’s’ Secretary and get back to her as soon as possible.
Belinda was as good as her word and the revised quote arrive in about 30 minutes, so Jinnie walked it up to Emma and asked if Belinda could come in and see the offices late that afternoon. Emma checked David’s digital diary and put her down for 16:00 saying she was quite excited to see what her team would come up with for her office. Jinnie handed over the revised quote which Emma took the details from and completed the order and signed it, before photocopying both documents three times, one for Jinnie, one for herself, one for procurement and the original order for Belinda. Jinnie scanned and emailed the order to Belinda’s office, with a note asking Belinda to ask for her when she arrived and she would hand over the original order and show her up to ‘C’s’ suite of offices.
Belinda arrived a little early and Jinnie handed over the original of the order. Belinda thanked her and said were they ready for her team to start on Thursday morning. Jinnie said that there was a small problem in that there wasn’t much room in the building to relocate people to while the refurbishment was going on but they had cleared about two-thirds of the people out. Belinda said that was OK they always intended to do half the main office in turn.
Jinnie took Belinda up in the lift and introduced her to Emma who said, “I saw you at Jinnie’s housewarming party but we didn’t get to speak. However, I recently ate in the Trattoria Trevi and thought it was beautiful.” Belinda replied that she had also seen her at the party and would do her best to make the office both beautiful and practical. Before Emma took Belinda in to meet ‘C’, Jinnie asked Emma to bring Belinda to her office before she left the building.
Belinda was enjoying a cup of coffee when Jinnie explained that she just wanted to thank her for sidelining the embassy job to accommodate her. Belinda smiled and said, “Unfortunately I have a bit of bad news for you, ‘C’ has chosen several things that are on quite long delivery. When I told him he said not to worry as he could use your office and Emma could use the new Sensitive Missions Group office until things are delivered.” Jinnie thought for a moment and then asked, “What on Earth does he want that is on long delivery?” Belinda explained, “He wants custom-built furniture, no off-the-shelf stuff for him. Then he wants a storage wall and that is made to fit the final space. Finally, we had a long discussion about glass walls for his office. He wanted a double-glazed office with blinds in the gap between panes. I said OK but the blinds have to be fixed, tilt only, to comply with health and safety. Either that or manifestation on the glass. He didn’t want that, he wanted clear glass. Anyway, I suggested he could have electrochromic privacy glass, but it was expensive.”
Jinnie asked, “What is electrochromic privacy glass?” “It’s glass that switches between clear and opaque when a small electric charge is applied,” answered Belinda. “One of the double glazed panes is replaced with the special glass. It is a glass sandwich with a special film between two sheets of glass. When the power is on it is clear but when it is turned off it becomes black and opaque. The problem is it is expensive and the panes have to be made to the exact size of the opening in the partition. When I told him about that he said that was what he wanted and the cost was irrelevant.”
Belinda looked around her at the office Jinnie was using and said, “Is this typical of the offices in this building?” Jinnie said, “Pretty much. One or two offices have been repainted but this is pretty normal.” “I better make a good job of the offices I’m refurbishing as there is a hell of a lot of prospective work here,” said Belinda.
A few days later Jinnie and Paolo turned up at the maternity department of Barnet General Hospital for Jinnie’s first scan. The midwife introduced herself as Linda and explained that she was to be her designated midwife and would see her right through to the birth. Linda set to work recording all Jinnie’s statistics, height, weight, measurement around the waist. Finally she said, “Let’s do the ultrasound scan and we can work out a birth date from the size of the foetus.” Jinnie heard the sound of a baby’s heartbeat for the first time as the probe slid over her stomach. Linda was watching the monitor saying, “Good, good, excellent.” Until she finally said, “Oh!” Jinnie asked, “What’s wrong?” Linda replied, “Absolutely nothing, but do you have a history of twins in the family?”
Jinnie and Paolo decided that they would only tell those very close to them that they were expecting a family. Until they passed three months they would only tell both sets of parents and Jinnie’s sister Penny. The calculated birth date was June 20th, almost exactly Jinnie’s own birthday and that made three months at Christmas.
The following Sunday it was Jinnie and Paolo’s turn to make Sunday lunch and as luck would have it Penny didn’t have a cadet exercise that weekend and was home for Sunday lunch. Much to Larry’s delight, Jinnie had decided that she would roast a large chicken for lunch and the smell was driving him mad! He wouldn’t leave her alone, continually rubbing himself around her legs. When Paolo carved the chicken, much to everyone’s amusement Larry was meowing loudly. Eventually, he was given a bit of breast, a bit of dark meat and some of the skin, all cut into cat bite-size pieces with an added bit of chicken gravy.
Following the meal everyone, including Larry, decamped to the living room. Larry snuggled up to Jinnie while all the humans finished their meals off with tea or coffee. Jinnie took a deep breath and said, “I’ve got something to tell you all.” Larry pricked up his ears wondering what was coming, but Mrs Walsh looked at her daughter and said, “Please tell us you’re pregnant, I want to be a granny while I’m still young enough to enjoy a grandchild.” Jinnie looked at Paolo who nodded at her to carry on and Jinnie said, “Well, yes, I am pregnant, but there is a bit more to it than that. I’m expecting twins.” Penny screamed with delight, while her mum crossed the room to hug Jinnie. Ever the practical one, Mr Walsh wanted to know when they were due and Larry thought, ‘Well that me down to No. 3.’
In Chapter 9 – Christmas is coming.
© WorthingGooner 2022