Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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Intensity

April 21, 2013

Right now, the sky is very blue, and the trees are blooming with pink, yellow, purple flowers.  It’s still only 44 degrees outside, but it’s beautiful.  I was happy to have a respite from what we’ve been dealing with during the past week here in the Boston area, to take an hour (or so) for a walk through the hills in town.  Despite living here for almost 10 years, I got lost.  I saw parks I’d never seen, and streets I’d never heard of.  Then I saw them again, because those streets were all called “Circle” or “Crescent” or something else that meant “you are walking in circles.”

A week ago today, I had scrambled to meet the latest in a string of intense and nearly humanly impossible deadlines for work, and got in the car at 11 a.m. to pick Emma up from a race.  She didn’t row in that race, so she was able to leave early.  She got in the car and promptly fell asleep while I drove us to Western Mass., to the first in a string of college tours.

I felt bad leaving Jules behind.  We invited her, of course, but she really didn’t want to come.  She’d done one college tour with us, and said it was just so boring, it made her feel snarky about the school, and she LIKES the school (Wesleyan), so she doesn’t want to feel snarky about it, and she thinks doing college tours when she’s a Freshman will be detrimental to her own process, when she’s ready.  Seemed reasonable, and David was staying home, so she did, too.

However, for the 10 days prior to this trip, Jules had been at home alone a LOT.  Because 10 days before, she got beaned in the head by a softball.  That was awesome.  She called me after softball practice and complained that she had to just SIT there the whole time, because her coaches “freaked out,” and asked her all kinds of questions (what’s your name? what’s your address? what year is it?  who’s the president?), and made her go to the trainer to get some ice.  She said she felt fine.  She seemed fine, although she had a bump on her head.

But then, mid-day on Thursday, she called me to say she felt dizzy and nauseous and couldn’t focus in class.

Then I had a freak-out.  A working-parent freak out.  It was 11:30, my kid obviously had a concussion, and I had a major filing deadline and a court hearing.  I called David, but I couldn’t reach him.  I called the doctor, and they said, “she shouldn’t be home alone, if her symptoms continue to escalate, she could slip into a coma.”  So I promptly closed my office door, sat at my desk, and started to cry.*  David called me back, he left work, he took Jules to the doctor, and hung out with her for the rest of the day, and the next day as well.  And I met my deadlines.  Over the following week, she was able to escalate her activity, and by the time I left on Sunday with Emma, Jules was back to 100%.

So – Emma and I got on the road.  We did one college tour (Amherst College) that afternoon, and drove through 2 other campuses – UMass Amherst and Smith College.  Then we went to my parents’ house, and had steak and baked potatoes and broccoli, and Emma made cookies, and I drank my father’s wine.

Monday a.m., my mom made Emma and I breakfast, and we got back on the road.  First, a morning tour and info session at NYU.  Then, in the afternoon, a tour and info session at Barnard College.

And that’s where we were — on the lawn at Barnard College, standing right outside the library, listening to our tour guide talk about her creative writing class, when my phone vibrated.  I took a peek, and it was an NBC news alert.  “Reports of Explosions at the Boston Marathon Finish Line.”

There was quite a moment of disconnect.  I get news alerts all the time.  Shooting in Colorado, shooting in Newtown (the town next to where I grew up in CT, by the way), earthquakes, actor deaths.  Always somewhere else.  This time it was “somewhere else,” but “somewhere else” was home.  [not to say that Newtown didn’t have that kind of feeling, too.  It did, but still different.]  My brain made some very obvious “clicks.”  Like I could feel them.  Boston.  Home.  Juliette.  David.  I texted J immediately “you okay?”  She texted back “yes, I’m at home” and then instantly called me.  I pulled myself away from the tour to talk to her, and she was a little shaken up because (a) 2 bombs went off 3 miles away from our house, and (b) if her day had gone as she initially planned it, she would have been a block away from the explosions  – shopping on Newbury Street.  If she had been on Newbury Street, she wouldn’t have been injured, but she would have been in the midst of the chaos, and I think it would have been horrible for her.

I had determined not to tell Emma until after the Barnard tour/info session, so she could focus.  But then I blurted it out anyway.  It was a struggle for both of us to listen to the virtues of Columbia’s sister school, and we bickered during the info session when I made her put her phone away.  10 minutes later, though, a woman yelped and said, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but there was a bombing Boston, and I need to leave!” She ran out to call her family.

Emma and I had intended to stay in New York for a couple of hours after the tour, but we were in no frame of mind to wander the city.  We got back in the car and drove to my parents’ house, listening to the news the whole way, where we could watch the news, and try to piece together what was going on.  It was so surreal, and so horrible.

Nevertheless, we were able to focus on Tuesday’s 2 tours/college visits, and were very happy when we got home to be with David and Juliette, and to be back home.  Funny how despite the horror and pain that was taking place at home, we both wished we were there. You’d think we’d be relieved to be out of town, but we were not.

When i got back to work on Wednesday, it was to continued pressure of deadlines, deadlines, deadlines.  Things are so busy in our firm right now, and the vast majority of the 30+ lawyers are working at break-neck speed.  I’m personally not happy with this pace.  I like to be busy.  I like deadlines.  But this has been all-out for over a month.  It’s not ok.

I thought I’d have everything under  control in time for the weekend, though.  My Friday would be busy, and possibly long, but I’d be able to go to Emma’s regatta on Saturday, and I was thinking maybe – just maybe – I could take Sunday off, too.

On Thursday night, David had to work late.  He is managing a campus book store at a nearby college, and they were having a 7 p.m. event.  He left work at 9:15.  but then something happened, and he thought he was going to have to go back.  In the end, he did not. I was exhausted, and knew I had a long day in front of me on Friday, so at 10:30, I went to bed.

At 4 a.m., I woke up to pee.  I looked at my phone and saw 2 seemingly disconnected items (gotta love these NBC alerts):  (1) a campus police officer was shot, a mere HOUR after David left the exact address where it happened, and (2) there were gun shots in another town – the one where we go to Target.  “Weird” I thought, and went back to sleep.

At 5:30, my alarm went off, and then another NBC alert came through:  The T was shut down.  Then the pieces all came together – everything was related, and the world was GOING INSANE!!!  I woke David up, and we were trying to figure it all out – first the big picture, and then how it would impact our days – with sirens going off in the background, with new reports of police activity taking place at one of the neighborhoods that borders our town and Boston, and where I almost NEED to drive, bike, walk, commute through to get to work.  It was feeling very close to home.

How could this be real life?

And I had panic over the fact that one of the deadlines I was dealing with that day was some initial appeal filings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  While federal and state courts in Boston were closing as quickly as the T and the cabs and the businesses, the court I was dealing with is in Philadelphia, and is known to be rather unforgiving when it comes to deadlines.  I was thinking that I would have to drive to work, since I couldn’t take the T.  At that point, my town was not on the list of areas being told to stay inside.  My firm had sent out a robo-call saying that while the office was open, everyone in the areas being told to stay inside should NOT come in, and anyone who takes the T to work was excused for the day.

Then my town was added to the list.

Our managing partner sent an email saying he really wanted everyone home.  Please let him know if you have critical deadlines.  I had to write back with a pretty lengthy email with my 3 critical deadlines.  While I was drafting it, my assistant called my cell, equally stressed about the Third Circuit filings.  Two of the partners (the managing partner and the partner who’s on the appeal with me) wrote me to say “call the third circuit, they’ll give you an extension.”  Then a client called me to say “I know things are crazy there, and you might not be able to get to work today, but what about meeeeeeeeeee?”  I gave him the finger while talking to him as if I gave a shit.

The Third Circuit gave me the extension without batting an eye.  Then they told me that if I’d missed the deadline without calling, the result would have been a letter, along with an extra 2 weeks to get my act together.  Huh.

I worked some for selfish-client yesterday, and again today – but it seems like Friday’s shut-down otherwise took place without the world ending.  I was a little frustrated that we were included in the lock-down zone, because we weren’t THAT close, but then I just reminded myself that they found a BOMB near a T Station that I go through twice a day.  And that’s why we were in the zone.  I thought it was possible that they were keeping us in our houses while they were sweeping the larger area for more bombs.  So I got over my frustration, and took a nap.

At 5:30, though, after a full day of constantly fluctuating news reports and stir-crazy teens, I said, “I’m going for a walk.”  David came, and we slowly strolled around the block.  We live about 2 blocks from the T tracks, and as we were walking toward it, David said, “it’s so weird not to have the train going by” – and then the train went by.  We were surprised, and I guessed they were staging to resume service.

We ran into a couple of dog-walking neighbors (one of which is married to a Cambridge Police Officer, and he was – at that moment – at the apartment where one of the bombers allegedly lived, and where they kept saying they’d be doing a “controlled explosion” – but never did), and another friend saw us out the window and came out to say hi.  While we were chatting with them, we could sense activity picking up; a bus went by, a pair of teens walked by, more people were on the sidewalks.  Then David got a text from work saying they’d be open on Saturday, and we knew the lock-down had been lifted.

It was kind of disappointing that we’d spent the day inside and the 2nd suspect still wasn’t caught.  But it was also nice to be able to leave the house.  A friend texted and invited us over for dinner, and we instantly accepted – happy to be with others, and happy to be out of the house – during this trying time.

And then – more news.  They found that boat, and there were gunshots, and I texted my friend to say “but I can’t leave the TV!”  She responded with “oh, please, it takes 5 minutes to get here!  Come watch with us!”

So we did.  We cooked together, and chatted, and nibbled first while the suspect was captured, and then while we watched Across the Universe (awesome movie) with the kids.

My hope is that this week, things start being calmer.  On all fronts.

*  Crying at work.  A working woman’s scarlet letter.  My tears are often family-related, not work-related.  I think the last time was when David was the one to take Jules to get her braces off.  I wanted to do it.

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Chastised, yet again.

March 1, 2013

After yesterday’s post about what a conscientious parent I tried to be to my young children, I thought it appropriate to show how far I’ve fallen.

  • Yesterday, at the pediatrician’s office for the girls annual check ups, Jules was asked about her diet.  Fruits and veggies? check. Plenty of water?  check.  Milk and Dairy?  “Well, I have cream in my coffee every morning.”  The doctor(nurse practitioner, really) whipped her head around to shoot daggers out of her eyeballs and into my brain.  I – very maturely – returned her look with a smug look, with a bit of a giggle suppressed.  “It’s too early.  You need to stop that!”  I continued with my look, and did not agree to “stop her” from drinking coffee.  As if I didn’t choose to let her drink coffee when she asked after careful thought?  
  • On the way home from the pediatrician’s office, I got pulled over.  Awesome example for my nearly-driving-aged teens, no?  Fortunately, it was not for a moving violation – it was because my inspection sticker had expired.  On January 31st.  Oops.  We knew it was expired.  David and Juliette figured it out while Em and I were traveling last week, but David thought it was the registration.  When I got home I pointed out that, no, it’s just the inspection.  We had been joking for the past 4 days that we shouldn’t drive the car because we might get pulled over.  Then I drove the car, and I got pulled over.  The very nice police man let me off with just a warning, and I went straight to the inspection center and forked over the $29 to get a new sticker.

I’d also like to point out that their doctor appointment was at 2:15.  This required me to leave work at 1 p.m., and I opted not to go back afterward.  This 1/2 day of work gave me not only the time to take the girls to the doctor, but also to get the car inspected AND to write my first blog post in months.

Half days may be the key to the universe.  Too bad they’re also a once-every-six-months treat.  (If you can call being snarked at by a poopy-face nurse practitioner a “treat”).

 

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Hippie mom of preschoolers = chastised mom of teenagers

February 28, 2013

In the last week, I’ve been reprimanded twice for my decisions when the kids were young:

First, on Sunday, Em complained that I didn’t let them watch t.v. when they were young.  “there are so many shows that everybody watched, but we didn’t, or at least we didn’t unless it was on in the summer when we were at dad’s.  Why didn’t you let us watch t.v.”

Oh, I don’t know.  Because I thought you and your brain development would be better served by playing outdoors, reading books and drawing pictures?

“But t.v. is the one thing that connects us to other people.  Even people who don’t have anything in common at all can talk about popular television shows.  And you DEPRIVED us of this connection to our world!”

Never mind that they really did watch plenty of t.v. in the preschool years, although it was limited to PBS and Playhouse Disney — I did get stricter as they got older and the shows got crappier. They were complaining about not watching some show like the Suite Life of those boys – whatever that was.  I don’t know – I never saw it.

Then, today.  “E-Z Bake ovens are so cool, but we could never have one!”  I had to foolishly ask “why not?”  “Oh, because you hated plastic toys.  And because you didn’t want us to have gender-specific toys.  So we couldn’t have doll houses or EZ Bake ovens!”  Em went on to say “I liked my wood blocks and legos, but I wish I could have had an EZ Bake oven!”

Even though we did bake all the time …. and I am pretty proud of my teenage feminists.

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday to Me!!

December 4, 2012

Today is my 40th Birthday.

It is also the day that I came home from the Virgin Islands for the last time.  Trial is over.  I’m done.  (Well, I may need to call into a mediation on Friday, and I may need to write One More Brief, but I don’t have to go back.)

Despite the fact that I had a trial yesterday, David and I proceeded with our plans to throw a Birthday Bash this past weekend.  Saturday night.

It was amazing.

I invited 60 people, and 40 came.  No kids.  There was dancing, there was food.  Friends and family came from as far away as California, and as close as D.C. (8 hour drive!!) and Connecticut (mom and dad!!).  We worked hard to make it a good night for everyone, and I really think we succeeded.  We rented a space because our home isn’t big enough/laid out right for such a crowd, and I think we managed to make it a great place.

___________________

I woke up today on my 40th birthday, alone, in a hotel in the Virgin Islands.  It wasn’t depressing.  It felt good because the massive stress I’ve been dealing with lately is behind me, and I was able to just – reflect.

And upon reflection, I decided:  I am 40 years old, and I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.  I have an amazing family; the family I came from, and the family I created, both.  I have friends all over the country, and even the world, that I can count on.  I have a job and a career that I like.  My colleagues  –  both those I work with, and those I work AGAINST – respect me and enjoy spending time with me. I like myself.

Seriously.  I’m 40, and I like myself, and I like my life.

What else could I possibly ask for?

 

[well, money.  i could ask for money.  but today, I’m 40, and I’m grateful.]

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Those Dreaded Teen Years

October 23, 2012

When my girls found out that they made the musical, they both called me.

Em is 16.  Jules is 14.

And I was their first phone call.

This makes me so happy.

When I tell people that I have a 14 and 16 year old, they wince.  They recoil.  “Oh, you poor thing,” they say.  And I always say, “no, it’s good!”

And it really is so good.

There’s no doubt that they’re more independent than they were when they were smaller.  Our relationship is definitely different.  But they do not have an attitude with me.  They are not rebellious.  Both of them still cuddle up with me, and they tell me about their days.  They talk and talk and talk about things that happened in class, what went on in volleyball, how things are going in crew.  They talk to me about decisions they need to make, challenges they face.

They don’t talk to me so much about their social lives.  They don’t tell me kid-gossip (except occasional HUGE things).  Which is fine.  I’m not a teenager.  I don’t need to know who is dating who and who yelled at who, etc.

And it’s not just me.  They are this way with David, and they are this way with each other.  Emma was so happy to tell her sister the news about the musical, and they are both so happy to be in it together.

The other day, Em’s class went on a field trip, and ended up in a cannoli shop (very educational, I know).  I knew that cannolis are one of J’s favorite desserts, but when Em texted me to say “guess what I’m doing!”  I was in the middle of something, so responded with a “that’s so cool!” or something like that, but didn’t go on to remind her about her sister.  But a minute later, Em texted me a picture of the cannoli to-go box with the note, “I got some for J!”  And then she carried that damned box around for the next hour or so, just so that her sister could have her favorite treat.

This school year has been pretty intense for both girls, which has contributed to the time we all spend together and at home.  When Em was a freshman, it was a big transition, but the school work was just so-so.  For J, the school work has been a HUGE step up  from 8th grade (a welcome huge step up, in my opinion).  And Em has AP classes, and they both have sports.  The result has been a lot less social time on weekends.  In fact, a couple weekends ago, J came to me very upset because she kept telling a close friend “no” to requests to hang out, and she felt bad.  But she had homework, and tests to study for and auditions to prep for, and she really didn’t feel that she could hang out.

I know I still have years to go, and things may fall apart.  But every day I am grateful that my girls are going through these teen years without some of the issues that I know are out there.  Issues I had as a teen.

Geez, when I was a teen . . . I honestly used to bait my mother with my attitude and my snarling remarks to try and force her to blow up at me.  I liked having that control.  Now – to be fair – my mother and I were locked in power struggles over freedom and other issues in a way that my girls and I have not been.  I didn’t do just for fun.  I did it in response to being forcefully limited in friendships and associations based on religion.

And even without that kind of extreme (or something even more extreme), I know there are a lot of teens who are just basically disengaged.

And I’m very grateful.

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Drama on the Home Front

October 22, 2012

In some ways, I feel like I would have used this as a post title in the past.  I know I’ve used similar.

The nutshell:  In elementary/middle school (my girls were in a K-8 school), my kids were in plays.  And they were successful.  They had lead roles.  Because they enjoyed it and did well, I decided that it would be the way I gave back to the school.  So in my last year of law school, I offered to be a “parent volunteer coordinator.”  By the end of that year, I was a producer.

One of the best experiences of my life.

And I did that, and got to know kids and parents and processes.   I felt like what I learned as a producer informed my experiences as a lawyer.  I learned how to deal with people, how to deal with my own failings, how to rein myself in, how to deal with people, how to convince people to do things they *really* didn’t want to do.

And my girls kept thriving.  They got great roles, they enjoyed the social aspect, they had self-confidence.

Then Emma got to the high school and … well.  They didn’t cast her in any shows.  She did other things, she was resilient.  her sister – still back in the K-8 school – kept getting lead roles.

Then it was Juliette’s turn to go to the high school.  She ended her 8th grade year as the lead in Anything Goes, and she was strong in that role.

I was worried.   It might be bad to admit that I was worried that after Em was rejected for 2 years that Jules would get in to the show, and Em would feel deflated.  Now, Emma has been just — amazing.  She hasn’t been shattered by the decisions not to let her in.  She’s shrugged and said, “I just wasn’t a good fit.”  Last year, she was sad. But she spent the summer doing different acting things, and she has been really strong with crew, and she’s been fine.

But as auditions came up, it was clear that Emma wanted in.  Juliette also wanted in, but after having seen her sister struggle to get in for 2 years, she wasn’t so confident.  She was looking at the Freshman Play as her better chance.

I was really unhappy that auditions took place during my week of travel.  I stayed in touch via phone and text, but I hated being gone.  With auditions on top of sports, the girls were out of the house until 8 and 8:30 p.m., and then got home to eat dinner and do homework.  One one of the audition days, David told me that J was up until 12:30, and E until 2 a.m.

After Freshman Play auditions, J found out pretty quickly that she got a callback.  She was so very excited, and really energized.

A couple days after musical auditions, both girls found out they did NOT get call backs.  Jules wasn’t too surprised, Emma was looking at the bright side (“now I can focus on crew!”).  Emma also said, “well, the policy is that no callback doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a part.”  But I said that to her last year when she didn’t get a call back, and she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  (Hmpf.)

Then Jules went to the Freshman play callback, and felt like it went really well.

I got home Friday night, and Jules was a ball of nerves starting then and through the weekend.  “What if I don’t get in?  I really want to do the play! What if I don’t get in?  I might not get in.”

I was encouraging.  Reminded her of her past successes.  Told her I really thought she’d get in.

Monday rolled around.

Mouse didn’t get in.  She texted me, and said she was really sad.  Friends of hers did get in, and she didn’t, and the musical callbacks were the following day, and everyone was a buzz, and she had nothing.

When we were all home that evening, she just dissolved.  She cried (she doesn’t do that so often).  She was very, very sad.  I gave her hugs and let her sit on my lap (which is hard, considering I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’8.5″).  I wiped her tears, and held my tongue when I thought things like, “it’s good to learn how to do deal with disappointment.” and “well, we still really don’t know about the musical.”  I just let her cry and told her I knew that she was very, very sad.

That was Monday night.

Tuesday a.m., she had the puffiest eyes in the world.  She went to school, still a little glum.

I started to get nervous on Wednesday because she was still glum, even a little snippy.  I didn’t want to see her get into a funk.  We started talking about her doing Volleyball on a private “club” team this winter, since she didn’t have a sport or drama.  She was game, and I thought we’d be okay.

Thursday was my big arbitration, as I mentioned.  I debriefed with colleagues, and made my way to the T station with a friend.  As I was descending the escalator at 6:15, my phone rang.  It was Emma.  She never calls, always texts.  A friend of mine recently told me that HER daughter was crossing the street and got HIT BY A CAR.  So I freaked out.  I answered the phone with “are you okay?!”  First there was nothing on the other end.  Then some yelling.  I got even more nervous, and said again, “are you okay??”  My friend was getting nervous.

“O MY GOD, MOM! THE CAST LIST IS UP AND ALKJKLJHOUWINBEOJN”

“Wait, Emma, what?!?”

“The cast list!  For the musical!  It’s up, and Juliette and I are BOTH ON IT!!!”

I then came back with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” and then had to give my friend a thumb’s up, and she was very nervous that my daughter was dying or something.

So I asked Em if she knew if Jules knew, and she said no – Jules was at Volleyball. It was 6:35 then, and we thought Juliette was a volleyball practice, there at the school.  So Emma decided to stay at the school and be there when volleyball ended so she could be the one to tell her sister the news.

I went underground, and chatted with my friend, grinning like mad.  This was such great news for my girls.  It was so great for Em, after years of trying and being told no, and it was great for Jules to be so happy and so rewarded after such a low thinking she hadn’t made either show.

I got back above ground at 6:50, and my phone INSTANTLY rang.

“MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!!”  It was Jules. But it wasn’t 7, so I didn’t know if Em had gone into the practice and interrupted, or what?

No.  Jules was at an away game.  Poor Emma was sitting there outside the gym waiting and doing her homework on the floor for NO REASON.  Juliette was on the bus, and a friend texted and told her “The cast list is out!  You are on it!”  And she [again] cried with happiness.  Then she called me.

I ended up texting Em to tell her that J found out.  She knew already, but asked, “please don’t tell Davey?”  So I quick texted David and said, “can you please play dumb with Emma?”  Because OF COURSE I told him the moment I found out!  But she was bummed that she missed telling her sister.

So I got home that night to 2 girls that were just exploding with happiness, and me on a huge high after the positive arbitration, and . . . wow.

Such a happy house.

 

 

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Roller Coaster

October 21, 2012

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been a roller coaster lately, and that remains the case. Let’s look at this week:

Monday:  I started my day ridiculously overwhelmed with an impossible list of things to do.  It was my first day in after a solid week in the Virgin Islands, getting home on Friday night at midnight, I rebelled over the weekend and did only about 10 hours of work, instead of 30, deciding to deal with what was left on Monday.  This is what was left:

  • Responding to no less than 3 outstanding motions on the trial (Virgin Islands) case;
  • Deciding whether or not to depose a major witness;
  • Preparing to defend my own client’s deposition – my first defense of a deposition;
  • coordinating affidavits and stipulations re: third party documents within the discovery deadline;
  • Preparing witnesses and witness outlines for a totally different case which I hadn’t looked at in a long time and in which I was running and arbitration on THURSDAY.
  • Making miscellaneous phone calls and follow up on the other 7 cases I’m on, after being gone for the entire previous week.

While working my way through this list, it became clear to me that on the trial case I had royally fucked up.  I missed a filing deadline on a motion.  My response had been due on Friday, and this was Monday.  Maybe in many circumstances this wouldn’t be such a big deal – you seek leave for a late filing, and that’s that.  But this particular case wasn’t going to allow for that without some real credibility issues, for reasons not to be going into here.

So I had a moment of feeling like my life was over, my job was over, and that I sucked.  In the end, I talked to the partner, he shrugged, we fixed it, and all was well.  (It helped that during the previous week I’d been working 20 hours a day in a place far away from home . . . it’s not like anyone thought I missed the deadline because I was playing tiddlywinks).

Tuesday.  I defended my client’s deposition.  Over the phone.  Everyone else was in the Virgin Islands, and I refused to go.  So I was likely nothing but a screechy “objection!” coming out of a box on a table.  But it went really well, and I really liked defending.  It put me in a good mood, and I liked that I finally could stop saying “I’ve never defended a deposition.”  Wheeee!!  I also then started to do some minor prep work on my arbitration.  I don’t think I yet understood just how much more I had to do, so I went home on the early side (i.e., 6:30).

Wednesday.  I started prepping for my arbitration, the one that was set for the next day.  By noon, I was freaked the fuck out at how much I had to do and how little time I had to do it in.  I had 6 witnesses.  I hadn’t prepped any of them.  I hadn’t drafted outlines.  I started prepping my main witness at 9, thinking we’d be done by noon, but instead we ended at 1:30, and that was because she had something else to do.  Another main witness was (get this) – the most senior partner in my firm.  Yep.  I had to put my boss on the stand.  Holy shit.

I finished with witness prep by 5, and then started typing up/finalizing outlines and marking exhibits and doing other prep.  I had dumped a huge copy job on my assistant at 3 p.m., and was so very grateful that she just made it happen.  I am very, very lucky.

During that prep, another senior partner came into the conference room – while I was prepping the Most Senior Partner – to say “did you hear?  We won that other arbitration!”  It was a case that was dryer than dry, and that he laid at my feet and said things like, “It’s your job to make sure that not even a period is out of place!” and then when I’d say, “well, did you read the other side’s brief?” he’d say, “uhhh, no.  I’m relying on you.”  And we won.  Most Senior Partner was impressed, and Other Senior Partner pointed at me and said, “it was her!”  Most Senior Partner said (after Other Senior Partner left the room) “Huh.  You’re getting a lot of experience here.”  I said “Yes, and I’m really loving it.”

I left the office that night at 11:15.  I got home at 11:45.  I don’t know if I slept, or if I instead just went through my witness examinations in my head all night.

Thursday.  I went in super-early (6:30) to finish prep, and to incorporate ideas from the night’s tossing and turning into my witness outlines.  My main witness and I met at 8 so we could run through her testimony.  She was nervous.  I was going to be conducting an arbitration with the most senior partner in my firm watching — I was nervous.  I didn’t finish with that prep until 9:30, and the arbitration started at 10.  So the appropriate thing was to get pissed at my assistant and bark at her (after her heroic efforts the day before) for daring to ask me about another case.  Ugh.

The arbitration went really, really well.  And it was kind of fun. (It helps that this particular arbitration was essentially a trial without rules.  I could ask what I wanted, use documents I wanted — whatever.  I hope it didn’t create bad habits.)

I got back to the office at 6 p.m., and had fun telling my peers about the day.  Then I turned into a bowl of jelly made out of exhaustion and headed home.

[my plan is to draft another post as soon as I’m done here, to talk about the amazingness on the home front that happened on my way home that night.  My girls rock.]

Friday.  I could have been more efficient.  I know that.  I had deadlines that day, and I met them.  But I also had deadlines on Monday, and I didn’t really start on that.   I had fun with people at work.  I chatted a lot.  I worked on other cases, despite the Monday deadline on the trial/Virgin Islands case.

I was also still on a huge high about the home front.  Did I say my girls rock?

Saturday.  I know.  Sad.  I worked all day on a motion for summary judgment, and I didn’t finish.  I had evening plans with friends from Big Firm that are bigger friendships than just that old job, and I wasn’t willing to let go of it.  So I wrote the partner and said, “you’re not getting this draft today, it will have to be tomorrow.”  I was tired and run down with my friends.  I was happy to see them, and the baby that comes with the package, and to catch up with them about what we’re all doing as we leave Big Firm and try to leave and hope to leave . . . but I was so tired.

Sunday.  Sadder.  I got home SO TIRED on Saturday night, and I still had to get up early on Sunday and go back to the office to finish this major motion and all of the accompanying documents. But when I went to leave the house, I realized I didn’t have my building i.d.  Because I rushed out so fast the day before in order to make it to my gathering with friends, I’d left it in the office.  I wasn’t sure I could even get into the office without it on the weekend, so I looked at getting onto Citrix, but I’d left the goddamned document open the day before, on the computer at work, so I couldn’t access it from home.

Fortunately, I got into the office.

And I worked until 4:30 and finished the motion and proof read it and sent it to the client and the partner, but I didn’t love the motion, and I was so tired, and I was mad that it was Sunday and I’d barely seen my family, and I’d hope David and I could go to a movie this weekend, and now it was too late, and I’m just SICK AND TIRED OF THIS.

But then the partner liked the motion, and it turned out no one was home all day (so I didn’t miss anything), and the work I have left to do is going quickly from the couch, so now I feel okay.

See?  A roller coaster.

Once I file this motion tomorrow, I really should have a reprieve from this insane schedule.

I was telling a colleague that I thought that I will be able to breathe after tomorrow, and she started looking at me funny.  We were in a room with all of the lawyers, but I didn’t know why she was looking at me with a weird look.  But she happens to be the lawyer in our firm who handles assignments.  She started pointing at another partner and telling me to SHUT UP.  Apparently, there was another case coming up . . . and I was one of the associates on the table as being assigned, but she’d told him I was too busy knowing what was going on in the past 2-3 weeks.  And now here I am saying, “I’m going to be so free as of Monday!!”

I shut up, and the new case went to someone else.

I am hoping that after tomorrow’s filing, I can take Tuesday off.  I have a call at 3 p.m., but I think that’s easy to do from home.

I love my job.  I love how much I’ve been able to do.  I have fun with it.  But can’t it be just a little bit spread out?  Do I have to have so much at once?  Arbitrations, depositions, deadlines, freak outs, dispositive motions, all within a week?

It’s hard.  But I still love my job.

And I miss my family.

And I miss breathing.