Archive for the ‘Friends, Acquaintances & Foes’ Category

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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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Virgin Islands, Wait! (And other streams of consciousness)

October 5, 2012

I had butterflies in my stomach all day today, while gearing up to head into the partner’s office to say, “YOU do the hearing on the motions, I have a trip planned.”

I felt better than I had when I first found out about our new dates, and I also had a hugely invigorating, successful, productive day.*

So I was a little surprised when I found myself choking up when I raised the issue with the partner.

I didn’t have tears – not even close.  But my voice was weird. And I had to look down at my paper.

I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth – I started, I said, “I planned a trip -”

And he cut me off.

“I’ll do it.”  Then the weird voice wanted to turn into tears, but it didn’t.

“Don’t even give it another thought, go on your trip, I’ll take care of this.”

Honestly, I’ve earned this.  I really have.  [redacted]

______________________________

Through this little crisis, this struggle over what it means to love my job and to hate my career choice, all at once, I’ve only solidified how much I love my firm.  The support, the love, the encouragement.  It’s come from a partner, a fellow associate, and 2 assistants.  They’ve checked in on me, cheered me on, and forced me to advocate for myself.  (not that it was THAT hard.)

______________________________

I don’t know what it means that I had a certain feeling of … self? [pride?] That my biggest reasons for hating this conflict, this tension (I love my job!  I want this opportunity!  This fucking sucks!) wasn’t about babies and kids and motherhood.  It was about me.

I mean, yeah.  The trip is with Emma, and that’s very important to me.  But the birthday party, and the weekend away with my husband, and the idea that we [lawyers?] have these plans, and they’re dashed, and we’re miserable.; that’s ME, it’s not a MOM.  We set these priorities, and they’re upended and we want to cry (or stomp our feet or punch the wall).

It’s universal.  It’s not only for moms.

Maybe that’s because I am 40, and I have so many childless contemporaries.  And my childless contemporaries – they have struggles.  they’re deeper, and they’re current, and they’re … childless.  Because they’re my contemporaries, but they’re partners.  Or they’re senior associates. They didn’t do what I did when they were 21, 22, 23.  [get married, have one, have a second baby].  And now, their bodies don’t wanna.

They don’t have a trip with their daughter.  They probably don’t want to hear about mine.

But I love these women and we have so much in common (because I’m not just a mom, I’m also ME), and I want to be close to them, and I don’t want this gulf between us because of what I have and what they don’t.  Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have what they want:  I have TEENAGERS.  They aren’t babies.  But I know I do.  Because they likely won’t have this, either.  And I, personally, love this.

_____________________________________

Anyway.

Things got fixed.  We may move the trial by a few days,** and that will be enough days to allow for my party (which I did not mention, by the way; I’m willing to roll the dice on that one).  I’ve been given permission to take my trip without worry.

___________________________________

In the meantime …

I’m over 5 years out of law school, and I’ve briefed the shit out of a lot of cases and issues, and I’ve enjoyed myself.  I’ve argued motions in court.  I’ve been on a BIG trial team where I did the prep stuff, but none of the examination of witnesses, and I’ve done a smaller trial, where I was able to delegate the prep stuff and did all of the witness examinations.

I’ve done stuff.

But I’ve never taken a deposition.

I know that there are a few of you who think, “what?  that’s crazy!!”

Tomorrow, I am noticing 4 depositions.  All of which are to be taken back here:

By me.  On (likely) Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, I think we’ll be holding a mediation on the same case.

And now that my trip with Emma is squared away, and my bitterness toward the locale is abating  — I’m SO EXCITED!!!

As of next Monday, I never again have to hang my head in shame and say, “I’ve never taken a deposition.”

[my mother called me fickle.  I told her she was wrong. What do YOU think?]

* a male associate came into my office today – we were both playing hooky from a firm event because of work we had to do, and we were sharing in our lament about how we had SO MUCH WORK!  He looked at me at one point and he said, “I have this impression here, that you’re at an “oh shit!” moment, because you have literally too much to do, and that you – in reality – love it.  And ‘oh shit’ or not, you’re going to get it done. And that it’s how you thrive, and that it’s what makes you happy.  Am I right?”

I smiled.  We both got back to work.

** Oh yeah, baby – I will be going back there in DECEMBER.  I’m totally going to learn to love this.

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Being the Loyal Fan

February 5, 2012

I was a very sad girl tonight.  I was such a loyal fan. I bought a shirt! I wore it every day this weekend. I went to a PARTY. I made FOOD!  And then they lost.  Ugh.  Seriously, the game was completely painful. There were almost no happy moments. It was just so hard.  Boooo!!  When I got home, and was done stomping and crying and gnashing my teeth, I took OFF my Gronkowski shirt and said, “I’m throwing this away!” But then I decided – no.  I’m better than that.  My fandom is bigger than that.  The shirt stays on, and I will happily look forward to September.

moving on . . . 

The Ex and I came to an agreement. I was proud of that.  It’s a good agreement.  It is fair. I could have potentially fought for a small amount additional money, but the increase he was resigned to was so large, and the cost to fight would be more than what I’d gain (financially as well as emotionally).  And like I said, it’s a fair agreement.

I have a 10 a.m. meeting tomorrow at work.  Unusual that I have to be there at a specific time, these days. I will try and put in a solid day, cleaning out files and working on transitioning my pro bono cases (the only ones I have left).  I have doctor appointments with the girls on Tuesday and Thursday (getting all of our check ups out of the way before the insurance change over), and so don’t really plan to go into the office on those days.

And – that’s that!  For now.  I have to go write another post about my failed monthly goals . . . embarrassing !!!

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Happiness and Headaches

February 1, 2012

Happiness

  • I’ve accepted the offer from the new job.  Man, does it feel good to know that I have landed without a gap in employment.  Hooray!
  • The new job agreed to my starting AFTER February vacation week, so I don’t have to be in stress-mode while Mouse is home from school and her friends are all away. Lemon will be traveling with her crew team, and we are not traveling without her.  We thought about it last February, when it was freaking cold out we didn’t yet know that I’d have this transition forced upon me.  But since today – February 1 – it was 60 degrees outside – we aren’t feeling too bummed about the change in plans.
  • The old job owes me 3 weeks’ vacation pay.  I didn’t know that until yesterday.  That will be a nice chunk o’ change. I am seriously considering a late-June re-do of last year’s vacation.  The house itself is very affordable, we will drive rather than fly, and we will all be happy with cooking in the house.  It could be great. It could be perfect.  Just what we need.
  • I’m home a lot. I don’t have much work left, and most of what I do have can be done at home.
  • When I’m home, I get to hang out with my kids.  And I like them.  And I have fun with them.  I love how much they make me laugh, I love how much they find what room I’m in, and hang out with me.  I love that Lemon came home today and laughed from the door way, yelling (to me), “Honey, I’m hooo-ooooome!” And that she then met me at her sister’s basketball game, and we went out for a sushi “snack” afterwards, chatting all the while.  Where are the nasty teen years?? (Don’t answer that.)
  • Mouse had a doctor’s appointment (annual physical) yesterday.  I picked her up early, we went and grabbed some burritos, and then went to talk about how damned healthy, tall, athletic and smart she is.
  • My girls are really enjoying each other lately. I may enjoy that more than them enjoying me.
  • Tomorrow is mine and David’s 5th wedding anniversary.  When we went away for our birthdays this year, we realized that it was also our 10 year “dating” anniversary.  He got a haircut today, and he looks super-cute.  Also, he probably noticed today at the basketball game that I raided his sock drawer, but he didn’t complain.  He’s a great guy.

 

Headaches

  • I had a 3 day headache.  For real.  Like, my head hurt.  An Advil fixed it, but I had to complain, because it just fits here so well.
  • While I had posted previously that the Ex “was less resistant” to the idea of kicking things back to the level they should have been at all along, I was being overly optimistic. We are going back and forth with proposals.  He’s dragged the sharing of travel costs and tax deductions into our discussion, and he pisses me off.  Then he throws in his usual condescending asinine comments (i.e., “I am very sympathetic to the financial and professional difficulties you face at the moment . . . “), and I want to rip his face off.  For reals.  I still think we can reach an agreement, but dealing with his bullshit in the meantime drives me bonkers.
    • I wanted to retort that while I am facing a paycut, it was something I always knew was coming, AND!  Another thing!!  This is not a “professional difficulty,” at all!  This is a very logical and typical move at this stage of my career, and is resulting in increased experience!  You dummy!  Instead, I ignored his blah-blah, and responded only about the issues at hand.  So, ha!  You cannot rattle me!  [except that, really, he did.  because he’s a jerk.]
  • Also, the Ex just canceled the girls’ summer visit again.  So now David and I will both be working, and I think that the girls will be home.  Without much to do.  Last year, with me making gobs of money, we filled the time with crazy-costly camps (no, really — the girls were in camp with the grand-daughter of the owner of the Patriots, and with the daughter of the owner of Newbury Comics … we paid dearly).  This year, Lemon will likely be looking for someone to pay HER, and Mouse will be, uh . . . .
  • Just after I came to terms with my reduced salary, I called the H.R. person at the New Job to find out about health insurance details.  They were bad.  Very bad.  I almost cried.  I didn’t know what to do – I was totally unprepared for the costs.  I know I’ve been spoiled and spoiled and spoiled, but this was a blow.  I have since spoken with some people that tell me that while the number was double what I pay currently, on a salary that’s half of what I currently have, it’s “normal” and “fair.”  Fortunately, they told me that AFTER I decided to negotiate this point with New Firm.  So, this maybe should be up there in “happiness,” because it looks like there will be movement on the issue.

So, thanks for reading!

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A Little Bit Awkward

January 1, 2012

In the past month or so, I’ve been applying to jobs as I see ones that pique my interest, but haven’t gone whole-hog.  My firm has provided me with a professional career consultant, and I’ve started that process, and our plan is to really kick things up after the new year (you know, tomorrow?)  But when I see things that I don’t want to go by me, I send my stuff.

Last night, David and I went to a New Year’s Eve party where one of the other attendees was one of the bosses of a job I applied for.

It’s an odd situation I find myself in – I socialize with people who are far ahead of me, career-wise, because of my gap between undergrad and law school, and because I had kids at a (relatively) young age. I’m 39, and several of my peers here in my hometown – fellow parents of kids my kids’ ages, are 50 and up.  10 years older, plus my 10 year gap – they’re 20 years more advanced in their careers.  So when I was graduating law school, attending a school fundraiser, I was seated next to someone who had just been appointed as a federal magistrate judge. One of the volunteers for the play I just produced is a senior Attorney General in my state, and another is a Senior AUSA who is close with one of the partners at my firm.

It’s not that I’m not used to this difference. I am.  But it is the first time that I’ve been on the job market, and these people who are much senior to me may be potential employers.  So when I reviewed the invite list of the party I’d already RSVP’d for, I developed some butterflies.  What if he’s seen my resume? How do I talk about my situation?  Do I say that I’ve been laid off?  Do I mention that I’d applied?  My “career consultant” thinks I need to be very open about my situation, as it’s valuable networking – but if this person knows I’m not leaving my firm voluntarily, will it hurt me?

In the end, it didn’t really come up.  The party was big enough that while I did intersect with and chat with him, we didn’t have a detailed conversation. We laughed and joked a couple of times, and I chatted with his wife (also a lawyer).  I had a couple of conversations with my close friends about the situation and the job search thus far, and at one point, I did think he was tuned into what was being said – but I had to let it go.  I wasn’t going to shove the job search in his face at a holiday party — if he has seen my resume, he already knew who I was (I have a pretty public presence at the school, because of the plays and other volunteerisms).

But it was a little odd.  More so conceptually than in how it played out.

 

 

 

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Disappointment, for a Fifteen Year Old

October 7, 2011

My poor daughter has had an avalanche of bad news.

1)  No call back for the musical.  After all of her prep, hours of practice, a financial contribution by me, and her feelings that the audition went very well, hers was one of the very few names NOT on the call back list.  As I said before, she’s dealt with rejection at the higher competition of the high school, and she’s dealt with it with grace and dignity.  This time, however, in combination with nos. 2 and 3 below, she was in tears.

2)  As I may have said before, she is a huge fan of Team Star Kid, a fun & irreverent drama troupe comprised of college age kids (at least initially) who she discovered through their creation A Very Potter Musical.  They have also done other shows.  Ones that she knows I will never watch with her.

Well, a couple weeks ago, she found out that Team Star Kid was going to be going on tour.  From a fun little teaser that they put together, it was pretty clear that Boston was a possible city.  Her adoration for this group goes well beyond its most famous celebrity, Darren Criss, and may be equally as large for the young woman who plays Draco Malfoy in the show, Lauren Lopez.

Lemon was ecstatic.  I still support this fan craze fully, as I think these kids are pretty cool.  I’d be thrilled if Lemon did with her love of theater what they are doing with theirs.  Fun, witty, creative, entrepreneurial.  I think it’s amazing.

I was excited for her, and told her, sure, I’ll help her get tickets.

On Wednesday night – the same night that we were waiting for the call-back list with baited breath – she was refreshing her computer every 3 seconds to find out when the concert would be in Boston.

We went for a walk to check the call back list at 8 p.m. (she wanted to wait until morning, but had to give her crew team notice if she was going to miss practice)  The list wasn’t up, and we had reason to believe that it would not be posted until the morning. So we went back home.

She refreshed the screen again.

Boston on November 25th.  The Friday after Thanksgiving.

A few weeks ago, her father asked me if we could switch holidays this year … if the girls could go visit him over Thanksgiving instead of Christmas, so he would be free to go visit his babies (who are living in another country with his in laws for the year — yes, without their parents).  Lemon and Mouse both rolled their eyes and said, “Fine, whatever.”

They’re flying out on Thanksgiving morning and coming home the Monday after.

She’s missing the concert.

So upset.  Ranting and raving against her father, insisting she wasn’t going to go, insisting we switch it back! Or she just skip the visit! She can’t miss this concert!

Then – mid rant – she gets a text from her friend – “hey, the call back list is up, and N has a picture of it – she said I got a call back!”  So Lemon calls N and says “hey, did I get a call back?”

Nope.

The tears come down in full.  Which is rare.

I took her for another walk to the high school, just in case her friend missed her name.  She was so unhappy, “this is the worst day EVER, but these are BIG things!  Things that aren’t just today!  They affect EVERYTHING. Why do I never get into shows?  Why can’t I go to the concert?  I just want to be in a show, and to go to this concert.  But obviously, I just suck!” (She doesn’t suck.  Singing may not be her strong point anymore – even though she used to be strong enough to get several leads when she was younger. But she does not suck, and I certainly hope she bounces back.)

She really wasn’t on the list.

WD and I were in separate rooms while all this was going on.  We later found out that while I was looking at drive times to the other cities that Star Kid is visiting, he was checking airfare.  Neither seems feasible (duh).

Then:

3) She accidentally threw away her retainer (we found it); and

4) Her throat was feeling horrible, and she woke up the next morning with a horrid cold.  She went to school and was able to listen to all of her friends (SEVERAL of them) talk about their call backs and the parts they were called back for and yadda yadda yadda, while holding her swollen head and longing for her bed.  She skipped crew, and I gave her permission to make a giant vat of rice and sit in front of Veronica Mars all afternoon.  Today – she’s home from school.  She has no voice & says she feels worse than yesterday.

Poor kid.

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Today is my “ahhh” day

September 21, 2011

This is THE day this week that I do not have school-related things on either side of my work day, and it’s bliss.

Last night, I had 20 people in my house.  TWENTY!  We all sat in my dining room.  This dining room:

My dining room, taken 2 years ago when we first moved in. Only slight variations since.

How?  I’m not sure.  We have 8 dining room chairs, 4 kitchen island chairs, my office chair, Mouse’s desk chair, 2 desk chairs in Lemon’s room, plus 6 deck chairs.  So we made a BIG circle around the table, and it worked.

The meeting was of fellow parents in Mouse’s grade.  I’m a huge proponent of what we’ve deemed our “Parenting Exchange.”  The entire grade is invited to each meeting, which we have every 6 weeks.  The meetings are relatively formal – we have topics chosen ahead of time, and we have a facilitator (just a parent – rotates around the group) who keeps things on track, both topic- and time-wise.  We really only use the meeting to check in on what other kids are doing, what other parents are wrestling with, how honest are kids are being when they pull out the inevitable “but all my friends are allowed to!”

We started when they were in 6th grade, and the town started having dances, the kids started asking if they could walk further and alone (our town is conducive to that), the homework started to get harder, etc.

There are some parents who never miss, but others come only occasionally, and others still have been only once.  It doesn’t matter – we still invite everyone every time.

I find it invaluable not only because of the actual conversation or things learned, and not only because of the connections that we truly do make with other parents that we might otherwise not — but because our kids watch us. They know they do this.  They know we talk.  I don’t only talk to my friends – I talk to my entire community.  So if they want to skip a class and wander around our village with their friends – they can’t think “pfft, mom’s at work, she’ll never find out.”  They have to worry about EVERY mom.  EVERY dad (we often have as many dads as moms, by the way).  That is my favorite part.

And my kids aren’t even sneaky.

But having 20 people over made for an insane day.  I left work early to come home and prep the house.  WD pitched in x10 (as usual), so I didn’t need as much time as I took.  We also had to find Mouse a place to go, because that is one of our “rules” – the kids should not be home when we meet (so they don’t learn things they have no business knowing).

After everyone left – by 9:15, I had to fight with one of my children.  Because life’s not complete without at least one argument per day when living with 2 teens.

I asked Mouse to find a place to go from 7:00 – 8:30.  We have friends who live steps away in 4 different directions.  Literally steps.  Literally across our small street in 2 directions, plus around a very short block corner.

But what does she do?  Knowing she has (a) homework, and (b) the messiest room in the universe that MUST be clean by Thursday a.m.?  She makes plans with a friend who lives the furthest away, starting right after school.  WD negotiated with her for some time after school – reminding her that if she hangs out all day long, using “Mom said I have to go somewhere” as the excuse, she’d have to come home straight after school tomorrow to clean her room and do homework, and she’d have to clean her room that evening, even though it means she cannot watch Glee.  She said, “Awww.  But okay.”

Guess what the fight was about?

Not so much that she could not watch Glee, but more that Lemon and I were daring to watch it anyway!!

What??!!  That’s not fair!  You never watched it with ME last year when SHE couldn’t!

But that was because she was doing her homework, not hanging out with friends.  You made your  choice.

It’s not because I was hanging out with friends!  It’s because YOU are making me CLEAN MY ROOM!! 

See how I made her letters red?  To convey her anger?

We also had a lot of bickering about the meaning of the word “grounded.”  Saying that she has to clean her room by Thursday (housecleaning day), and that she has to be in the house in order to clean her room, does not mean she is grounded.

Yes it does! because I can’t go anywhere!  That’s being GROUNDED!  

No, that’s telling you that you need to clean your room.  Which is in your house.  If you finish at 3:30, you can do something else.

What am I going to do at 3:30?  There’s nothing to DO at 3:30!!!

Whaaaa?

Fortunately, she finished off her hissy fit with lots of energy that she put toward cleaning her room!

If only she skipped the hissy fit.  It would have been nice.

Although I did feel bad for her, because (a) Glee featured a song from her play this year – the song she auditioned with (Anything Goes), and (b) her sister, out of habit, hit the “delete” button on the DVR when we finished watching.  Oops.  Thank god for Hulu.