Archive for March, 2012


Kids + Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 28, 2012

Mouse’s braces came off today.  One of my favorite things about that was that Lemon was so excited for her.

At dinner, we were talking about Mouse’s arrival at the high school in the fall.  In the context of the girls’ similar appearances, I laughed and said, “Mouse, you should go into the high school as [Mouse] [Suz’s last name], and Lemon, you should stay [Lemon] [Ex’s last name].”  They got a kick of out that.  “Dude!  You look like Lemon!”  “Oh, yeah, we’re good friends, and she even slept over my house FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS!!”  HA HA HA!!  Say the girls.

But then Lemon said, “you know, now that your braces are off, you kinda do look more like me.”  Mouse agreed.

Other funny braces conversations:

Lemon:  “Was it wrong of me to think I looked WORSE when my braces came off?”

Mouse:  “I know!  I thought that, too!”

Me:  “Why?  Like you’re missing jewelry or something?”

[not saying “you know, you do look weird.” because she does.]

Lemon:  “No, it was like my teeth were too big.”

Mouse:  “YES!!! And [a boy] told me to ‘take off those creepy fake teeth’ – and I told him, ‘I got my braces off!'”

Then they were a bit wild, and during the wildness, decided it was the perfect night for a HOMEWORK PARTY!!!!  WOO HOO!!!

These things.  They melt my heart. I want these girls to be friends. And here we are.  It was not always the case.  The middle grade years were hard.  Hatred may not have been an exaggerated term.

But now?  Lemon is having friends over this weekend.  They’re having a Lord of the Rings Marathon.  Lemon and her friends thought, “Hey! It would be fun if Mouse watches with us!”  And they invited her. And she said yes. And they are all excited.

Big sigh.


So — Work.

I’ve already made clear that this move from BigFirm to New Firm, which is a “Medium Sized Firm,” has been a great one.  But I just want to talk about it for a minute.  Another minute.  Because I have already talked about it.

In the Big Firms, filing deadlines are stressful events.  You have a senior associate, and a mid level associate, and maybe 3 junior associates.  They are working off a rough outline provided by a partner, or a Partner.  They got maybe 10 minutes of said partner’s time, and hoped against hope they were going in the right direction.  If not — they wouldn’t know until the eve of filing.  Deadlines loom, and still no feedback – but then 12 hours before— feedback!  Rewrite! Not good enough!!  Revise!!

My friends and I would say, over and over “It doesn’t have to be this way . . . ”  we know about deadlines 20-30 days in advance. Why does all the stress happen in the 12-24 hours before said deadline?

But now!  I am at a medium sized firm.  And I have better partner access.  I have more control.

Tomorrow is my second filing.  Last time and this time, I’m home by 6:30 the night before. The brief is DONE.  For real.  I will do a final proof in the morning, before a post-lunch filing goal.

We are golden.  It is remarkably stress-free.




Dizzy Spells

March 27, 2012

Last week, Mouse told us at dinner that she’d felt really dizzy during the school day.  “I had to curl up in the fetal position in health class, because I felt like I was going to fall out of my chair.”  Her teacher told her she was likely dehydrated (oddly, even though it was March 20th or something, it was 85 degrees outside). But that evening, the dizziness continued.  In the morning, it was still there, and she was feeling nauseous.

Lemon had some dizziness last summer, and I took her to the doctor.  They took blood, checked her iron, and did an exam.  The result? “Some teenage girls get dizzy.  Eat more salt.”

So I told Mouse to eat some salt, but I was still not comfortable.  Who gets dizzy???

Certainly, she did.  She stayed home from school (very unhappily – she had to miss her first indoor soccer game, and really didn’t want to miss the day).  She slept most of the day, and had a few rounds of dry heaving.  By late afternoon, she started to perk up.  She was fine come the next day.

I told a friend of mine what happened, and she said, “oh, that happened to my daughter last week!  It was 3 days on and off.”

The next day, a friend texted me, asking for details about Mouse’s bug.  I told her about the dizziness and nausea.  My friend said, “I almost just fell over in Whole Foods – I feel horrible, and thought I was having some kind of neurological disorder! So glad to know it’s going around.”

Dizziness is going around?

Yep.  Yesterday, it was Lemon’s turn.  She called David from school (it was after 2, so very near the end of the day), and said she was dizzy and couldn’t focus her eyes and felt nauseous.  He had her go to the nurse, who then called a minute later.  Even though the high school is 3 blocks from our house, he went to pick her up.  She was very upset about missing crew, and he had to help her calm down and take care of telling the appropriate people.  She slept all afternoon.

But was fine by the later evening.  She did her homework, was back asleep by 11 p.m., and is on track to be at school today.


Anyone else hear of this?  I think it’s really weird.


My New Colleague

March 27, 2012

Before I started at my new firm, I spent a lot of time on their website, checking out everyone’s bio.  Of course, my first look was before I even applied.

When I was applying to firms, one of the first things I would do is check the bios to be sure that the firm hired from my law school.  Living in the Boston area, and having gone to decidedly not-Harvard, I do worry sometimes that my school will be shunned.  Objectively, this is a stupid concern.  If any firm was going to shun my not-Harvard school, it would have been my ex BigFirm. And not only did they hire me, but they kept me around for almost 5 years – there were many Harvard and Yale grads who did not make it that long.

But I digress.

Point: I looked at my new firm’s website, and the only other attorney who’d graduated from my law school did so in 1974.

So I was concerned, and thought it was possible that submitting my resume was going to be a waste of time.

Interview / offer / acceptance / hire.  During all of that time, I continued to spend time on the website, to try and get a sense of who I would be working with.  I noticed changes (someone quit, someone else was hired).

Then my first day rolled around.  On my first day, there was a party.  It would have been nice if it were for me, but it was not.  It was because a trial had been won the previous Friday.  The party included the entire firm (attorneys, paralegals, assistants, office services, etc.) as well as a champagne toast.  As the firm came flooding in, I noticed a familiar face.  But I couldn’t place where she was from. She walked over to me, and as she did, another attorney joined us, and the familiar face said, “Hi, Suz!” and I said, “Hi! How are YOU?” And she said, “I didn’t know you were coming here!” and the other attorney said, “Do you two know each other?” and familiar face said, “Yes! we went to law school together! We graduated together!”


She had just started, was in her second week, and hadn’t made it to the website.  Hence my not spotting her and being prepared for this.

No doubt, when I was in law school, I was not the most social person.  I kept my head down. I did my work.  I went home.  I didn’t have much patience for the high school-esque antics that went on around me.  I was that old lady who was shocked to see these little whipper snappers spending their class time IMing across the room.  They annoyed me.

New Colleague is not and was not of that ilk.  Actually, as it turns out, she’s my age.  She had a full-on impressive career before law school.  I think she also was a head-down type of person.

And it’s not like we were closer than I remembered – that I forgot someone with whom I had a close friendship.  The first time she stopped by my office at work, she noticed a photo on my desk.  “Who are they?”  “They are my daughters.”  “You have KIDS???!!!!”  And that was far from a secret at school. Anyone who I did talk to knew I had kids.

But then last week we were again at a gathering with other associates, and one of these (also a relatively new hire) graduated from our law school a few years ahead of me.  She said to us, “so you graduated the same year?” and my New Colleague said, “Yes, we did.  Actually, we had a fair amount of classes together.”

Oof!  Again!!  I didn’t know that!  I didn’t remember that.

I really need to start doing some sudoku.


Laid Back Weekend

March 25, 2012

This has been a great weekend.  I had an amazing week at work, and went into the weekend with no dangling loose ends.  I meant some friends from BigFirm for drinks and dinner after work on Friday, and then came home to a house full of teenagers.  David and I hung out with books in our bedroom, and actually read until we were the last people awake in the house – unheard of!

On Saturday, I had to cancel my run with my friend because Lemon forgot she needed a ride to her crew practice.  I was bummed about that, because if she remembered and we had planned it in, I would have run earlier. But instead I found out 15 minutes before my run, and there was no way to reschedule it.  Feh. 

But the day made up for it because then we went to see the Hunger Games!  We brought Mouse and her friends.  I enjoyed the movie.  It had been a long time since I read the books, so I wasn’t agonizing over every little change.  David had read the book on THURSDAY, so he had a different perspective.  He also thought the movie could have done a better job, in general, with its character development, etc.  He said he wished the took the plunge and did the full 3 hour treatment along the lines of Lord of the Rings – that the story and characters could carry such a thing.  I don’t disagree.

It was also a moment of recognizing how my job change and the resulting pay cut affects our day-to-day.  The girls all wanted to come see the movie, and so we ended up spending $55 on tickets instead of $27.  That made me wince.  And in the old days, I would have let them choose what they want from the concession stand.  This time, I did a tub of popcorn for them to share, and water bottles from home.  I told them in advance, and they all said “okay!” with perky and happy voices. I don’t think they minded. 

After the movie, I found myself curled in a chair with the Hunger Games book, wanting to remember more of the details that the others remembered. 

Today, I slept in much later than I meant to – thanks to dreary weather.  And I took Mouse on the T to her voice lesson, as she’s prepping for auditions for the high school singing groups.  I took her on the T because I’d like for her to eventually be going on her own, although she is not happy about the idea of taking the train alone.  Lemon does it without batting an eye, but Mouse isn’t there yet.  

While she was in her lesson, I went to the Barnes & Noble and picked up PSAT prep books.  I want us to be sure that Lemon is ready in the fall, and Mouse is asking to see the books, too.  So after her voice lesson, Mouse and I walked around Back Bay Boston reading the questions out loud.  

We did that on our way to the Apple Store.  And we are now a 4-iphone family.  [let’s just ignore the fact that I am talking about the 4th iPhone in the house in the same post that I whimpered about movie snacks.] I gave her my upgrade, and she got the iPhone 4.  (None of us have the 4S.)  Her line is due for an upgrade in September, so if that elusive iPhone 5 comes out in October, like the rumors suggest, I can then use hers to upgrade to the 5.  

And now I am going to do laundry and read The Magicians until it’s time for Mad Men tonight.  David just went out to get the ingredients for this year’s Mad Men cocktail.  I forget what he chose . . . but we are excited to finally spend time with Don & Peggy & Joan & all the rest after such a long break!


Aww, I missed you, too!

March 22, 2012

My new job has a social media policy.  Written out.  It says that if we blog about legal things, we need to remember that we represent the firm.  Same for Linked In.  Facebook, I’m told, “we don’t care, that’s yours.”  The policy – the written one – includes the following:  “You agree not to use the firm [equipment? connections? computers?  I don’t know, I didn’t memorize it] to post to your personal blogs.”

I liked that. They sort of gave me permission, right there, to have a personal blog!  So, hooray!  I respect that. And I respect their request to stay off it during work. 


So, I love my new job.  I’m in a completely different world.  A world of lawyering. I used to be in a world of “junior associate”-ing.  But now, I’m lawyering. 

Since I started 3 weeks ago.  In that time, I’ve drafted a 30 page trademark/copyright complaint and the accompanying brief in support of a preliminary injunction, I’ve drafted a brief in support of motion to dismiss, and I’ve drafted a motion that’s been before the court (it won, but honestly – the motion was a formality, so it’s not really a brag).  

The most interesting thing, to me, is that I’ve not only drafted these things.  I’ve crafted them.  I’ve decided what the arguments would be, after getting my bearings in these completely new areas of law.  

It’s just so different.  I used to be handed outlines or drafts and told to fill in the blanks.  Or given a section to write.  Then everything would be completely rewritten, and I wouldn’t find a word of what I had initially put on the page remaining in what was filed.  

I used to be one of 5 or 6 or 8 on a team, and my name never came close to being on the signature line.  Now, it’s me.    I’m the signatory.  I’m the one collaborating with co-defendants, keeping clients apprised.

I used to think that the only way I’d get to argue a motion that I’d collaborated on was if at least 3 people senior to me got struck with the measles. Now I’m first in line.  First in line!  For an argument in Federal Court!

This would be happiness.  I am appreciative.  I am loving that my 9-12 hour days are feeling quick & easy.  Loving a feeling of ownership over my work.  Loving this change.


In other news:

  • I’m still running, and building my stamina.  Not really losing weight, but I think I know what I need to do (add strength training).  
  • David hasn’t found a job yet. Having been out of the workforce for a few years hasn’t helped. We’re hoping something will come through soon.  We have savings, but want to keep it that way.
  • I rented the house in the Outer Banks again.  I’m fucking going. Late June this year.  I’ve done some research; I’ve analyzed hurricane patterns.  There has never been a hurricane in the Outer Banks in June.
  • Then again, it’s never been ninety fucking degrees in Boston in March before, either.
  • Mouse gets her braces off next week.  The end of an era.  I can’t wait. (Also, if anyone remembers, everything worked out with Big Firm’s health savings/flex/whatever account. The braces are PAID FOR.)
  • Lemon is at the Hunger Games midnight showing tonight.
  • Both of them are doing great. I love them. Happy to say that it’s clear that they love me, too. 

It was fun catching up.  Hope we can get together again soon!