Archive for November, 2011

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I’m not ungrateful I swear . . .

November 25, 2011

I tried to do a “things I’m grateful for” post on Wednesday.  But then Lemon came home from a friend’s house and proceeded to have the usual “I’m leaving for the Middle of the Country tomorrow!” meltdown, and I got distracted.  Then yesterday (Thanksgiving), WD and I mostly stayed off our computers.  We took the girls to the airport for their 7;15 a.m. flight, and then went back home and into our bed.  I slept only fitfully until I knew the girls had landed safely, and then slept HARD until noon. Then we sort of hung around and read books and chatted all afternoon, until our delicious dinner out.

Today, I was up early to meet a friend for a walk, which was good.  It was a nice crisp but sunny morning.  Now I’m back with my Dragons, and with my laundry and my play producing.  I’m talking WD into putting up our holiday lights on our balcony, and we’re thinking about Christmas shopping for the girly-q’s.

Last year, we were relatively obnoxious with the Christmas gift buying. This year, we will not be obnoxious.  I found the “Want, Need, Wear, Read” outline over at Mom to the Screaming Masses, and plan to adopt it as my mantra for this year.  We will tell the girls that things will be a little more modest this year — but we won’t be quite all the way to austere.  Their “wear” will probably be Uggs, and I think Lemon’s “want” will be Harry Potter movies.  Not sure yet how many (I haven’t done the shopping) (oh, wait – I just did.  The complete set of all 8 movies on Blu-ray is $70.  So she’ll get that).  But she also wanted a keyboard, but she can’t get both.  For “need,” I can’t think of much that they need.  (Nice, huh?)  I am seriously and without a shred of joking thinking about socks & underwear.  Maybe socks, underwear & “extras” (what we call scarves, gloves, hats).

I have less ideas for Mouse.

But that’s my day.  Gift-planning, reading, walking.  Encouraging light-stringing.

Here’s the partial-post from Wednesday night, exhibiting my partially-formed list of things I’m grateful for.  If I had finished, I would have added anecdotes about my friends, my parents, my cats (I do love my cats).  At least.

 

_______________

 

 

As easy as it may be to wallow in the week following a lay-off, I find myself having a good time, and feeling very, very grateful:

  • Last night, I checked in on my 15 year old daughter just before she went to bed, as I usually do. She is 15!!  That age where people are supposed to be glum, and supposed to hate their parents.  Stuff like that.  I offered her a hug, and she took me up on it.  The hug lasted a very, very long time.  When she was 1, 2, 3, 4, even 5 — thinking about having her on my lap for minutes upon minutes was nothing.  It was accepted.  But last night’s prolonged hug wasn’t “nothing.”  I am grateful for the hugs that I still get.
  • Today, Mouse called as she was leaving school at noon (pre-holiday release time).  She was thinking of seeing a movie.  She was going to have lunch at a friend’s.  “Oh, and hey – mom?  A is making me say this:  Um, J and I are a thing.  As of today.  Okay?”  J is a boy that I’ve suspected as a possibility for some time, but Mouse has denied it. A is Mouse’s closest friend (since 1st grade!) – the one who insists that she’s my third daughter, who posts on Lemon’s Facebook wall as ‘your other sister’ every day.  I am grateful that even when my teenage daughters do NOT want to confide in their mother, I have a relationship with their friends that kicks in.  I know this is a lighthearted middle school relationship, but I do truly believe that if there were a problem – a real problem with my girls –  the same would hold true.
  • My girls are leaving tomorrow early in the morning to visit the Ex in the Middle of the Country.  I don’t like this.  I like them here.  But WD and I are doing what we can to make the holiday special, even without the most special parts of our days.  I am grateful for WD.  Because he helps to make my days special.  He knows what’s hard, and he works to make it better.  We are going out to dinner tomorrow night, at a nice restaurant.  We are /

(That’s where I stopped.)

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Day-by-Day

November 22, 2011

I feel like I am still on a rollercoaster, emotionally, but the dips and hills are not so crazy-wild as they were before I received my lay-off news.  I’ll feel fine one minute and happy to distract myself by immersing myself into the play that I’m producing, and then the next moment, I’ll feel inexplicably sad. Things that make me sad:

  • The HR person who’s supposed to be holding my hand through next steps knowing ZERO answers to very reasonable and foreseeable questions;
  • going to court with a long-time pro bono client, knowing that I won’t be around for the next review date;
  • wondering when we will next be able to travel.

But for the next several days, I’m going to be home and enjoying the holiday.  Monday will start the huge push toward the job search, but first – Thanksgiving.

The girls are going to the Middle of the Country this year.  WD and I thought about taking a trip at the same time, but our time was too short and prices were too high.  The girls leave on Thanksgiving morning, at some ungodly hour, so we won’t even drive to see my parents.  Instead, we made reservations.

Last year was the first year that we had a really nice meal out on Thanksgiving. Only, we weren’t at home.  The menu wasn’t so different from this year’s.  WD had the turkey, and I went with the lamb, thinking I was being adventurous.

Instead, I missed having turkey.

So guess what I plan to eat this year?  Yep.  Turkey.  It’s gonna be delicious!

Other than the meal out, WD and I have no plans for our long-long weekend.  I will probably spruce up the resume a bit more, and maybe do some job searching.  I may prompt him to do the same.  I’m sure we will watch movies.  I would like to watch The Shining again – haven’t in a long time.  I’ve been on a horror movie kick since we saw Rosemary’s Baby with Lemon recently.  That movie was outstanding.  Then came American Horror Story, and my old appetite for creepy is rejuvinated.  But it is creepy that I like – not slasher.  And there’s less out there that fits my requirements, as opposed to sheer “scary guy waiting behind the door with a big knife” crap.  The psychological aspects of my kind of creepy must be well-developed.  I want some intelligence in my creep.

I also plan to exercise a good bit over the long weekend.  Some running, some strength.  Would like to firm up a bit before I start the interview circuit.  Although I have a lunch with a partner at a firm on Monday, and I’m not sure there’s much I can do about the lack of firmness before Monday.

 

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Allowing for Some Reaction Time

November 17, 2011

Thanks so much for all of your words of support after yesterday’s news.  It really means a lot to me.

And it was also nice today that within 10 minutes of arriving to work, my three closest work-friends/confidants either IM’d me or stopped by to check in on me.

Today is disorienting.  I think Juliet is right about the realignment that is starting to take place.

Once, a few months ago, I mentioned to the girls that I wouldn’t be working at this BigFirm forever, and Mouse’s jaw dropped.  “What?!  You can’t get a different job!  You work at [BigFirm]!  It’s what you DO!”

So clearly, the entire family will need to do some realigning.*

It’s also interesting talking to a friend of mine who knows BigFirm’s name, and its reputation.  She’s not in the legal field and so isn’t familiar with the culture of large firms v. smaller firms v. in-house, etc.  She just knows that this firm has a national reputation, and that it pays a lot of money.  Therefore, isn’t it the pinnacle?  The be all and end all?  “Well, can’t you go to a small firm for a little while, and then go back to a big firm?”  It was interesting trying to convince her that I never really anticipated having my entire career here, and that leaving the BigFirm world is not a bad thing for my professional development.

The money is the hardest part, I think.  Working  for a top law firm comes with top dollars.  Despite all of the advice I got during law school to beware the golden handcuffs – we liked having a comfortable income.  That comfortable income is the reason why I sat here at my desk while my peers (either single or married to a second professional) went and found other jobs.  It was very hard to take steps that would result in a pay cut on purpose.

Now it’s being forced, and the transition to thinking about making 75% (or likely less) of what I’m making now is slowly taking place.

WD hasn’t been working for pay since I started here.  He went to school for his MFA, and since then has been focusing on his writing, acting as a graduate assistant at his school, and generally running the house.  In the past year, the girls have really shifted in their need for after-school supervision . . . they’re never home.  Lemon’s at crew until 6 or 6:30, Mouse is at play or at soccer practice until 5:45 or sometimes even 7 or so.

So, he will be looking for a job now, too.  Which means my lower pay will be a bit less of a sting.

I have a lunch set up with a partner at a smaller firm, one that I worked at in law school, for the week after thanksgiving.  It’s been in place for  while.  I ran into her on the train in early October, and she remembered me and we talked a bit about my career and what I will do when it’s time to move on.

She made several overt comments about me working at her firm again.

We had a nice talk, but my stop came before we were done, so she suggested I email.  I sat on that for a bit – still clinging to my larger salary.  But I did email her, and she responded very quickly suggesting we have lunch.  I again sat on it for a bit.  Not feeling ready.  But then the rumors started flying, and I confirmed the rumors with my “inside contacts,” and I emailed her to set up the lunch.  By the end of the day, the lunch was set.  And the emails haven’t stopped.

I don’t know that anything will come of this.  But the firm is not a bad fit (although my commute would be pooey again), and I think I’d have a much more active role in trials and hearings.  I’m not sure if they’d let me continue with my pro bono projects, which have been important to me, but reality is reality.

Even if it does end up this is nothing, it has been very helpful to have something in the back of my mind as an option while all of this is going on.  There are other potential opportunities here and there that my personal network make real possibilities.  This did ease the sting. It does allow for optimism instead of panic.

And so, here I am.  Sitting in my office which feels like home, knowing it won’t be the case for tons longer. And I’m okay with that.

(Today.)

* Although we did not tell the girls that I was laid off yesterday.  Our plan at this time is to tell them that I’m going to be looking for a new job, and that WD will also be going back to work.  We have until March 1st, and if it does turn out that I can make a seamless transition, there is really no need to create anxiety in their minds.

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As Expected

November 16, 2011

So, that just happened.

They were very nice, and did not pin it on the substance of my work, or me as a lawyer.   Severance is enough that I think things should be fine.

I have my other irons in the fire, and will be working to see what happens.  I am hopeful that I can take the severance period (wherein I’m still employed, officially) to organize some closets.  But not if it means letting opportunities go by.

I guess I’ll have to figure out how to best blog about things like this.

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Freak Out Snippets

November 15, 2011

I can’t stop listening to Florence + The Machine’s new album, Ceremonials.  I am listening loud.

My mother bought me a gorgeous bag* for my birthday.  It is more of a weekend bag than a work bag, but I’m forcing that square peg into a round hole this week, because it’s new and pretty.  See?

(And it’s waterproof on the inside.)  I am still working out what pockets work best for what belongings. So this morning, I had my T pass (a monthly pass that my employer re-ups every month) and my iPhone in the same back pocket.  I saw my T pass there when I slipped my phone in.  No question it was there.  But yet, when I got on the T, the pocket was empty.  No T pass.  Fortunately, the driver let me on, but she was strongly suggesting that I instead get off the train and go find my pass (since the monthly ones are relatively valuable, and not easy to replace).  I shrugged and said, “I’ll have my husband go look for it.”  I was certain that the rubber case of the iPhone grabbed onto the T pass and caused it to fall on the ground.

Of course, being my Knight in Shining Armor, WD went right out to retrace my steps.  And he found my T pass.  In the exact same place he found it the last (and only other) time this happened, at least 2 years ago.  In the driveway of a friend who lives on the corner, a very short block away from our house.  In the middle of their driveway. This is the way I see it:  That very short walk from my door to her driveway is the amount of time that I am capable of surviving without my iPhone in my hand.  That’s how much time I have in me to breathe in the outdoor air and take in my surroundings without other distractions.  But once I get to that driveway — which is probably less than 100 yards from my house – enough.  I have to check my email.  Or, like this morning, I have to let Florence belt it out in my ears.

I don’t feel like I’m doing well, emotionally.  Last night, I watched a lot of t.v. to keep my mind off of what feels like impending doom (thanks to Attorney at Large for accurately capturing the feeling).  I watched How I Met Your Mother with the family (and probably laughed too much at the pot references), then Terra Nova with the family, then American Horror with Lemon.  (Mouse can’t handle it, and it was her bed time anyway, and WD doesn’t like it).

Without giving anything away about the story line, there was a scene where a gunman worked through a room shooting people.  The people in the far part of the room knew it was happening, and knew they were next.  And I honestly thought, “that’s exactly how I feel right now.”

My chest is tight, my heart is beating too fast, I’m often having to stop and catch my breath.  I have no appetite.  On my way home last night, I felt a full-on melt down coming.  I was concerned about how I would come across to the girls, as they (of course) know nothing about my situation right now.  Fortunately, walking into the house has a calming affect of its own.  I have a good house, and a good family, and things just quickly feel safer.  (Except when watching American Horror Story.)

WD and I were talking about it, and I was saying that I just don’t know why I’m having this reaction.  Because I do truly feel things will be fine, eventually.  I think if this happens, it will be okay.  I will find something new.  But this not knowing what will happen, the idea of walking into a conference room to a conversation that leads to the loss of my job – it’s horrific.  It feels absolutely terrible, and I hate it.

I don’t know how I managed to sleep last night, but I did.  I got a good night sleep.  Today I have to find ways to focus on my work, because I do have a good bit of it.  But all I can do is sit here feeling like I’m having seizures, and it makes it hard to focus and get things done.

29.5 hours to go.

Thank you, Florence, for helping me through.

 

*  It is nice to have a new bag.  First of all, I’m addicted to bags.  Small bags, big bags, re-usable instead of grocery bags, tote bags, beach bags, purses — I love them all.  Second of all, the bag that I’ve been using for at least a year now (it is very cool) had an … accident.  Last weekend, after the play that I saw at the high school, Mouse and a friend of hers went back to our house while WD and I went out for a beer with friends.  Soon after we sat down and tucked into our beer (it was a one-beer night), the phone rang.  Lemon was calling to say Mouse’s friend wasn’t feeling well.  Well, more than not feeling well.  She was vomiting.  On my bag.  “Don’t worry mom, we cleaned it up.”  Hmpf.  Follow up clean up was definitely required, and the work papers inside my bag didn’t respond as well to a sponge and a wipe down.  The bag is clean now, but it’s a bit tainted.  At least for now.
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T Minus Two Days / Weekend Distractions

November 14, 2011

Finally, my review has been scheduled. Wednesday at 3 pm. I have never had a review in the afternoon before, and have decided that it is further evidence that this will, in fact, be D-Day. WD disagrees, and thinks if they were to lay me off, the review would be on a Friday, instead. I disagree. And will disagree until I leave that conference room without getting some kind of notice.

In the meantime, I’ve finally pulled my resume together, and continued to explore the current job market to see what’s out there. But other than those things, there’s little to do right now. Until I know what is actually going on.

So, this weekend, I once again put my head – and my feet – in the sand.

My parents are on the Cape for a couple of weeks, taking a break from their rat race to breathe and celebrate their 40th Anniversary. We visited quickly last weekend, but then this weekend we went for a couple days. We had an early Thanksgiving meal on Saturday night, since the girls will be in the Middle of the Country for the holiday, and WD and I are staying home, and we did a little off-season exploration:

[I tried to draft this post on my iPad, because my pictures were there.  This has become a frustrating experience – the pictures won’t size right, and I can’t put any commentary in between them.]

Not sure why it is being so damned annoying.  But moving on ….
For some reason, Lemon was letting WD take tons of pictures of her, but was being a pain when I tried.  I think he got some great ones, but I was stuck with only that one (up there – she’s the one in the green coat) with her making a funny face.  I think even with the funny face, she’s a beauty.  But she doesn’t like the picture, and would be horrified to know I made it public.  If she ever discovers this (which I’m sure she will), she can take it as a lesson about WHY she should let me take better photos.  I had many more to choose from of Mouse.  She was in her heyday in the wind with the ocean spray.  I think she may have enjoyed it more than even I did.
Sadly, Lemon woke up on Sunday feeling poorly. WD and I felt like she wasn’t acting the wya she usually does when she’s sick (she’s usually sweet and sad when sick; yesterday she was grouchy and angry and difficult to be with), and weren’t sure how much credit to give the “illness.”  She’d been up the night before until at least 1:30 watching SNL, and our day trip required her to wake at 10 a.m.  So we thought it possible that she was simply over tired.  And so I pushed her to pull it together, and did not cancel our plans.
I won’t go so far as to say that was a mistake, but she did not perk up, and she is home from school today.  The things we chose to do did not over-tax her, though, and she rested in the car a great deal.  We took a 2 hour break in the middle of the afternoon at a very casual pizza parlor, and she lay across a bench the entire time (while not typically appropriate behavior, the place was so empty and laid back, it was okay).
We had a nice visit with my parents.  There was no negativity, and everyone got along well (despite Lemon’s grouchiness). It was odd when it got dark at 4:20 yesterday afternoon, and since we were enjoying outdoor activities, it did signal an end to our day.  That worked out well because it meant we could drive home, unpack the car, forage for dinner provisions and STILL watch the entire Patriots game.
And now I have to be creative about ways to keep my mind off of what feels like impending doom and to keep myself focused on getting through the tons of work I have in front of me.
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Predictable Failure

November 8, 2011

When I started this “blog post a day all month” business with a back-dated post, we all knew it was destined to fail, right?

Cute little 2-day experiment, though.

So, I had a mixed weekend.  I spent considerable chunks wallowing in self pity and confusion thinking about the job situation, but spent other chunks being social and productive.  We saw a play, we went out with friends, I watched Mouse play soccer.

Mouse woke up healthy on Saturday, although we did not go to the ballet on Friday.  Which was sad.

This week at work is off to a productive start.  I’ve gotten work done and put a few feelers out on job prospects.  Who knows for sure if I’ll need to pursue them, but I’m not feeling too horrible about the potential options.  In fact, since my trial last week and some other factors coming together, I am thinking that regardless of what happens this month at the firm, I will start looking for my next step in earnest.