Archive for September, 2010



September 28, 2010

All that’s left is the verdict, and I realized on my way home today – I am much less invested in that than I thought I would be.  And I’m also surprised at the relative sense of loss that I felt when we finished things up.  I spent a LOT of my time on this project, and it’s weird to think it’s just done.

The last week is a blur.  Work consumed all, and I’m almost disoriented in that I am at home since pre-6p.m.

I managed to reserve most of Saturday for Lemon on her birthday.  I made her pancakes and bacon in the morning while WD and Mouse went to a soccer game [then I worked] and I took her and a friend to a movie, and then we had an evening together as a family.

Mouse made the volleyball team, and is excited.  Lemon is having a harder time with high school academics than I realized, and so I’m feeling guilty, in light of my recent and consistent absence.  But it’s early – we can work it out.

Well.  I need to go to bed now.  Coherence tomorrow.


20 Years With a Face

September 23, 2010

Okay.  Seriously.

What to do?

My 20th high school reunion is coming up.

I can’t decide.

I will be up front and honest.

I feel too fat to attend.

[There’s this one person who’s going – she used to be on the swim team – she was a diver.  I SWEAR to you, she looks like Jillian Michaels.  I kid you not. No, wait.  I’m wrong.  Jillian Michaels is fat & flabby compared to his woman.]

I also don’t love my high school memories.

But it’s only 2 hours away.

And this Facebook thing makes it so I see little glimpses of people’s lives.  And honestly – they seem like pretty cool people.  They have interesting jobs, and they live in interesting cities, and most of them have super-cute kids.

But it doesn’t mean we’ve been friends for the past 20 years.

Honestly – it doesn’t mean we were friends back then.

Despite that – could we have a fun evening?  In the hometown?

[Even though they chose to hold the reunion at the restaurant where my crappy ex-boyfriend used to put snot in people’s pizzas]

So far, only 19 people have signed up.


Please, internet, help me decide whether or not I should go.


Special Brownies

September 22, 2010

Lemon’s birthday is still on Saturday.  I’m still in trial.  A major but very interesting trial-related task has been scheduled for Saturday.

This sucks.

I was going to take the entire day off, and now I don’t feel like I can.

But I asked her last night what her “ideal” birthday would look like.  The response?

  • I sleep really late.
  • We all [the family] go see a movie;
  • [Writer Dude] makes me shepard’s pie for dinner;
  • We have brownies for dessert;
  • We watch a movie after dinner;
  • We watch the Saturday Night Live season premiere at 11:35.

Maybe I can get away with working until 3?

But I said, “brownies?  Don’t you want a cake?”  She said, “fine.”  I said, “what?”  She said, “I just don’t like cakes as much as I like brownies.”

My thinking – in depriving my child of her ideal dessert on her birthday – was that we have brownies with some regularity.  WD likes to keep a box, and whip it up when someone declares a chocolate craving (no more than once a month).

So, I said,

“Fine, if that’s your favorite dessert, you can have it.  But do you want th same old kind we always have?  Or do you want me to make you special brownies?”

So she said:

“Ya know, mom, most mothers don’t offer their daughters special brownies on their 14th birthday.  You’re pretty cool.”

Then I had a slight panic attack because while I was referring to caramel, my 14 yo was referencing drugs!  What the heck??  [Every time I freak out about this, she tells me that she learned it all in Health Class.]


Volleyball! And Kissing! {Well, not really}

September 21, 2010

Today, Mouse tries out for the school volleyball team.

She’s pretty nervous.


Scratch that. [ I never got to finish that wee bit I started yesterday. ]

Yesterday, Mouse tried out for the Volleyball team.  She was pretty nervous.  She is still worried that she won’t make the team, which is silly, because she’s Mouse.  The girl who does well at everything she tries, no matter how diverse the activity.  Kayaking?  Yep.  Baseball?  Yep.  Singing?  Yep.  Dancing?  Yep.  Acting?  Uh huh.  Soccer?  Yes.  Long distance running?  uh huh.  Mini golf?  well, yes … for the most part.  I still kick her butt there.  I need at least one thing.

So I wasn’t really listening when she said she was afraid she wouldn’t make the team.

But WD spoke to her some, and saw that she was *really* nervous.  Because she’d been saying for years that she was going to play, and now the try outs are here, and what if she doesn’t make it?

I’m nervous a little, too.  Not that she won’t make the team, but that she is (we are) filling her plate too full this year.

Volleyball, soccer & the play.

The big school musical.  This year – Kiss Me Kate is on tap.  (It’s the 7th/8th grade show.)

My kids have been involved in these shows since we moved here from the west coast, and they have loved them.  They’ve both had great parts and great fun.  And I felt like I was taking a lot of from the school, or at least receiving a lot, and so … back when they were both in the same play when they were in 4th and 6th grades, I got “involved.”

And the next year, I produced.

And this is my third year producing.

The production process starts months and months in advance of the actual auditions and show, and so the commitment had to be made last year in the spring.  I made the commitment.

Then Mouse’s activities started to take shape, and we realized – wow.  She has a lot to do.

I kept saying that I was willing to produce the play even if she chose not to do it, and I ahve told her time and time again that she does not have to do the play.

I’m not sure she really feels that way, though.

I can’t tell.

I hope she doesn’t feel like she has to, just because I’m doing it … it’s a big commitment.  It could be up to 4 days a week, for months.  On top of twice a week soccer practice (evening hours, at least) and now twice a week volleyball.  Plus a huge increase in homework, now that she’s a 7th grader.

So I guess we’ll see how it goes ….


14 Years Old – To Party or Not to Party?

September 18, 2010

[I am writing this post with absolute resolve not to whine about work even one time.  Let’s see if I can do it.]

Lemon is turning 14 one week from today.

This past Thursday was a pretty busy day for me.  For reasons that I shall not mention.  But still, at 3 p.m.-ish, I texted Lemon to say “Today was yr due date!” [Note how while I did type “yr” instead of “your,” I am still not a child because I did not type “wuz” instead of “was.”]

Every year, since 1996, September 16th stands out in my mind.  I looked forward to that day for 9 months!  And then I spent 9 days afterward, wondering where my baby was.

Lemon told me later that she was hanging out with a handful of friends when the text came, and she was slightly freaked out – momentarily – thinking she missed some kind of deadline.  “My due date for what?  What was I supposed to finish?” Then it dawned on her, and she laughed, and her friends asked what was up, and they all proclaimed me weird.  (Not for the first time.)

Last night, WD was showing me some birthday gifts he procured for the Lemon-head.  Notwithstanding the above paragraph, I said to him, “how can you wait that long to give it to her?  Aren’t you so excited that you want to give it to her NOW?” He said, “no, Suzie, I can wait.”

It wasn’t until this mroning that I realized that when I asked the question, I was thinking the birthday was weeks in the future.

Not one week.

Of course he can wait one week.

And I can see what I can do about some kind of birthday gift during that one week that I have left …

And then there’s the “party” situation.

For reasons that we shall not discuss during this post [see first statement, above], we will not be having her party on her birthday weekend.  Nor will we be having it on the weekend of October 1st and 2nd.  Perhaps we will have her party during Columbus Day weekend.  Maybe.

But what will her party be?  I thought “oh, I can send you and your friends out to a fun/nice dinner and a movie.”  She thought, “oh, we can rent/borrow a cabin and spend the weekend.”

Where would she get such an outlandish idea?

Oh, because that’s waht we did last year.  Oops.  Silly me and the setting of a bad precedent.

This year, she wants even more peoplei nvolved.  I made her do the research on the cost of renting a car to fit that many people ($300), and she gave it up.

So what’s her next alternative?

“A zipline!”

[$90/person, and still need a large car.]

“oh, that’s too expensive.  How about a high ropes course?”]

[$100/person, and still need a large car.]


Dinner?  What about dinner?  And some streamers?  And a cake?

Or – what about “you’re old enough now to give up the birthday party.”

How normal is it for birthday parties to continue into the teens?  I mean – other than those who still throw “sweet sixteen” parties?

I thought I was done with this.

I want to be done.



September 17, 2010

I am callin’ it.  Uncleuncleuncle.

I knew when I went to law school that there would be Times.  Times that I had to work, times that life would be tough.

I knew I’d be a litigator, so – really – I’d have to be doing something *wrong* for it not to happen, at some point.

And it took a solid 3 years.

But now I’m in trial.

And dear Jesus God of all that sucks.  This sucks. [for context – I’m 2 weeks in, and if a miracle happens, this is the mid-way point.]

Days upon days of 14 hours of billable hours.  Of getting home well after dinner (thank you, Firm, for providing free dinner after 7:30.  Not-Thank-You for making me BE THERE in order to eat it).  Days upon days of less than 12 hours (“a mathematical certainty,” I suppose) turn around in the house.

It’s the SAME two weeks that is the girls’ start of the school year.  Still wonder why I’m crying uncle?

The other day, I walked to work talking to myself the entire time.  I pretended I won the lottery.*  And then, I pretended I quit my job.  Then, I pretended that the World’s Best Across the Street Neighbor (who in not-pretend world really lives across the street from me) said, “Suzie!  What are you doing home??!” and then I pretended that I said, “oh, I quit my job!” and then I pretended that she said, “oh! [and I also pretended that she was a little confused, not understanding how I could afford to quit my job], so what are you doing now?”  Guess what I pretended I said?

No – really.

In my pretend world, I had 30 million dollars.  And I quit my 14 hour day job that ends up being 16 hours when you think about riding Boston’s accursed T system.

So guess what I pretended that I said?

“I’m cleaning my house.”

And honestly … that was my fantasy.

No laundry turning into a living, breathing creature in the master bath.  No dust bunnies in ever  corner.  No cat hair on the stairs.  No dust bunnies in the hall.

A dream.  One that requires lots and lots and lots of money.

Actually … I can’t write anymore.

I need to go cry, now.

*”You can’t win if you don’t play”:  Look.  With all but one of my closest friends (who I married, and have sex with), I don’t admit this.  But I play the lottery.  I buy tickets.  Sometimes compulsively – depending on the misery that surrounds me.  I buy tickets for one of the multi-state games, every single draw.  But never a scratch ticket.  Because that would be tacky.  and maybe even “trashy.”  But I buy the other kind.  I’m super-shady about it.  I look over my shoulders … worried someone I know will see me.  I plot where I will buy, depending on whether someone I know may or may not be there.  I won’t buy them if I’m commuting during rush hour, becuase what if someone I know comes in during the transaction?  I’d be devastated.  Once, WD and I were in Stop & Shop – where they sell tickets – and I would not buy them, because someone I knew came in.  He was not-really-laughing at me, as I insisted that I could NOT buy them there.  I NEEDED him to drive me to the 7-11 down the road after we bought the groceries.

Wanna know what else?  I won once.  Not millions, but $10,000.  It was so awesome.  And maybe I should have concluded that I used up all of my luck – all of the chances that the odds would be in my favor.  But instead, I concluded that there is Still Hope.  Hope that I can own a home in this Fucking Expensive Town.  Hope that we can have a house on that island over there off  the coast of this state.  Hope that we can show these girls Paris before they are married with kids of their own. And – oh yeah – Hope that we can pay for their college.

I already did the other aspects of the American Dream.  I grew up, I was the first in my family to go to college.  Then I took a leap of faith, and after 10 years post-college, I went to law school.

And it’s not even that my story ended with, “But then I couldn’t get a job, and now I’m struggling.”


I got a job!

I work in a Top 10 Law Firm.

And still … I need the Hope of 1 in 100,000,000 odds to make me think I can pay for my kids’ college.



“Mom Has Fun with Teen Daughter”

September 16, 2010

Something in the Onion, perhaps?


Lemon and I went school shopping last Saturday.  We spent hours upon hours together, trying on jeans, dresses and skirts, throwing in a couple outlandish (and odd) accessories and winter coats for good measure. We left the house at noon, and got home well after 6.

We didn’t argue once.

There was hardly a rude word spoken in either direction.

Once, while she was coming to terms with needing a larger jean size (what a surprise!  The girl who has grown 4 inches in 6 months can no longer wear a double zero.  Oh, how appalling!), there was some derision focused toward me.  Because I would not buy jeans the cut off the circulation to everything above her hips. But she got over it quickly.

Hell, by the end of the day, she was inviting me into the changing room with her!  (I still had to close my eyes.)

It left me in a fantastic mood for at least 24 hours … until I had to work all day on Sunday and everyone was grouchy with me for it …


Notes from a Nagger

September 10, 2010

This week has been tough.

Started with a long weekend of trial prep.  Then was the first day of trial, which happened to coincide with the first day of high school and the first day of 7th grade.  I had to be up and out of the house before the school-children’s alarms even went off.

That’s fun.

Last year, they started 6th and 8th grades, and they had prohibited me from walking with them to school.  They both already had their plans with various friends, and really wanted nothing to do with me.  But I was around when they were getting up & dressed, and I was there when their “first day” photos were taken.  And then I snuck off to the school where I volunteered to help kindergartners and new families find their way around the building.

And I remember that work kicked up a fuss at me that afternoon.  I got out of work later than usual – despite hopes that I’d get out early to get the de-brief — and then the train was having issues.  I think I literally cried on that train platform as it came apparent that I wouldn’t be home before 8.  On the first day of school!

So at least that broke me in for this year.

This year, they’re older.  They want me there less.

But for Lemon, it’s a big year.  She started high school.  She had her first field hockey game.

The game was away, but if I had either (a) a more flexible schedule, or (b) no job – I would have gone.  I would have driven the 30 minutes to see her play her first game in a sport that’s brand new to her.  That’s making her excited about a sport in a way she has never been before.

And I don’t have (a) or (b).  I have (c) a very intense job, that is (d) going through the most intense period, due to my first ever federal court trial.  (“my” trial is a loose use of the possessive.  because i am a junior member of the team, and will not be speaking in court at all.)

I did my best to check in by phone and/or text.  I got relative updates from both kids.  Mouse had a great day and is excited about her 7th grade year.  Lemon was a little more tight-lipped, as she tends to be when she is overwhelmed.  She never admits frustration or unhappiness.  Everything is always “fine” and if I push, she gets exasperated with me.

Fortunately, I was able to make it home for dinner, albeit a late dinner, on the first day of school.

The second day of school was no better.  Although we did – again – manage a late dinner.

The third day of school was no-school – a huge thank you to my Jewish friends for living in my town in great enough numbers that we are granted a “day of low attendance” on Rosh Hashanah.  And thank you also to the court, for giving the day off as well.  Because yesterday, we all were able to breathe.  I was able to get home at a very reasonable hour ….

… just to have a meeting of producers and directors for the play that is starting in 10 days.  That I am producing.


And so are the kids getting ignored?  No.  Are they starving to death because Mom is working too much?  No.

Why?  Because WD is taking care of making sure they’re snacked up, driven where they need to go, and that things are generally running.

Which would be great, if it didn’t come with loads of resentment and frustration.  It would be great, if that resentment and frustration didn’t result in accusations of me “always nagging” when I ask if he will be going to watch Lemon’s field hockey game today.  Not to mention the constant snappishness in response to questions such as, “oh, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well.  Do you think it’s a reaction to food, or do you think you have a bug?”  {definitely nagging behavior … right?}

So it’s not really great.

And I’m tired, and I’m not really loving the trial-business now that I’m a week in.


If I hadn’t canceled my vacation ….

September 2, 2010

Remember when I was bitching and moaning about canceling my vacation?

If that hadn’t happened, one of these cars would be mine (with me & mine in it):

“Cars sat in traffic on the Croatan Highway as people evacuated North Carolina’s Outer Banks area.”

Cars sat in traffic on the Croatan Highway as people evacuated North Carolina's Outer Banks area.


Whirlwind! And More Wind!

September 2, 2010

Wow, is my head spinning.

I have every intention to blog more regularly, and for a while, it was going well.

Then work happened.

Geez Louise.

We have a trial coming up.  It has been “coming up” since I was assigned to the case in November.  Or maybe October.  I knew that once we finally got a real trial date – not a fake trial date that was only assigned to try and force us to settle, apparently – life would be crazy.

But only NOW do understand what “life will be crazy” means.

It’s crazy.

Hence the radio silence.

But I’m checking in.

I think my kids are mad at me.

Especially Mouse.

Probably because she was off gallivanting all summer, so now that she’s home, she misses mom, and mom is busy.

Or maybe not.

Maybe she doesn’t miss mom.  She’s just tired from a summer of go-go-go, and bummed because although the go-go-go has been fun, it’s made her summer fly by in a way no summer in the past has flown.

Or maybe she just doesn’t want to go back to school.  Maybe the end of 6th grade showed her that the social world in these upper-middle-school years sucks.  Maybe she’s afraid of how defensive she has to be from friends more than non-friends.  Maybe she isn’t up for the teasing from “friends” about boys, and maybe she isn’t up to returning to whispers of crushes and alliances and betrayals.


But it makes me unhappy that something seems to be lurking.  And it makes me nervous how much she denies that anything is off, and how impossible it is to get her to talk about how she’s feeling.

So I do what I do best — feel guilty & blame myself.  Make it “all about me.”


A hurricane is coming.  The red zone that is under a “hurricane watch” is creeping closer and closer to my town.  My office isn’t inside the red yet, but I think it will be soon.  The storm is due to come in tomorrow, and I have no choice but to be here … on the 43rd floor … prepping for trial.

I love storms.  I don’t want anyone to DIE, and I don’t want to see homes destroyed, but I do love a good windstorm, and I don’t mind a little power outage.  If I had my way, I’d be driving to the ocean to watch the wild waves.

But that’s the problem.  I don’t have my way.  Instead of driving to the ocean to check out the storm up-close-and-personal, I will be swaying around, probably nauseous, on the 43rd floor.