Archive for the ‘Suz the Lawyer’ 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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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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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.

 

 

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Mid Life Crisis

October 5, 2012

It’s the last day of a very long week.  I’m so tired, I feel like my tissues are melting right off my bones.

I was telling a friend today that I wished hard work – my kind of hard work – burned calories. Then I could really work my ass off.

Drove Emma* to a voice lesson tonight, and we were chatting.  She told me that she was thinking about the fact that between school, crew and homework, her days are often longer than mine.  I told her that I was not minimizing the work or stress or commitment of doing a sport (i.e., a coach to answer to, no flexibility to skip without consequences), but I really wished exercise was built into my day like that. She actually understood.

Then I had her fill out a check for me to sign, to pay her voice teacher, and she told me a funny story about when she was in Manhattan this summer – with my credit card – and people would be thrown off when one of the many checks would come back from the split bill with MY name on it.  “Who is Suz?” they’d ask.  “Oh, that’s, um, me!” she would respond.

I said to her, “you know, it wouldn’t be so bad, being me.  I have a good life.”  I told her I like my job, my husband, my kids.  She said, “wouldn’t it be funny if you woke up on the day after your birthday and you changed your mind?  INSTANT mid-life crisis.”

Then I puzzled through that for a minute  (out loud) … I had my kids on the younger side, they’re getting older while I’m still young – I’ll have an empty nest at the age of 44!!!  Does that mean mid-life crisis comes sooner?  hits harder?

Her take was this:  mid-life crisis happens when people look at their lives when they hit 40 or 50 or whatever, and they think, “crap! I didn’t do anything I wanted to do!”  “But you, you’ve done everything you wanted to do.”

I liked that.  I like thinking that’s what I’ve shown her.  That she looks at her mom and she thinks “she’s happy; she did want she wanted to do.”

Including – in largest of parts – raised [almost] daughters that I can have fun conversations with, and who sit in the dark in the car even though they’re 3 minutes late for their lesson to finish a conversation.

Happy Friday.

 

 

 

*Yeah, I know.

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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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A little bit on fit.

September 29, 2012

My first marriage wasn’t a very good fit.  We fought a lot, we didn’t complement each other well, we had the same weaknesses.  We were unhappy.  We divorced, I got remarried.  It is good.  We are happy.  We fit together well.  Things I hate to do, he loves to do (i.e., cooking, crafts, creating things).  We fit.

Same thing happened this year with my job.  I left a place that always felt like a struggle, where I felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t.  Where I couldn’t picture myself there into the future.  And I came to a place where it just — clicked.  The work, the fellow attorneys, the clients, the support staff.  It all just feels like a place I want to be.  A place I can see staying for a long time.  When people decide to run out and get drinks after work, I really WANT to go hang out with these people.  I don’t groan inside and think about how I’m going to have to see this person or that person, and how I won’t have much in common with most of the people.  I can go out to a lunch with other women attorneys and honestly tell them that I plan to (finally) get a tattoo for my 40th birthday, and be peppered with stories about first tattoos, comparisons of various locations, etc.

Here, people ask me what I think, and they listen to my answers and incorporate my thoughts.  They don’t ask as a test or a trap.

I don’t think it was the firm itself, before.  I think it was the chemistry.  I think this is a better place for me.

And I like that I feel like a real lawyer.  I don’t feel like an “associate” – I feel like a lawyer.

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Sunday Bullets

July 8, 2012
  • I was knocked down by a wretched virus this week.  David started to get at the end of vacation, and then it peaked for his first and second days of his new job, poor guy.  I started coming down with it on Tuesday, and it peaked on Friday.  I went home after lunch on Thursday, and stayed home on Friday.  I think that’s the first time I’ve done that since I have been working as a lawyer (2007).  I decided to go to the doctor, since I was home anyway.  I feared it was strep, and that I’d still be sick on Monday if I didn’t take care of it. My fever spiked while the doctor was examining me, and I guess I was warm enough to make him go “hmmm,” so he sent me for blood work and chest x-rays.  Everything was negative, and he decided I had “viral laryngitis.”  Today – Sunday – I finally am feeling on the upswing, and my throat is only a little sore.
  • Mouse is away for the long weekend, sharing in part of a friend’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.  I am jealous.  I also kind of miss her.  She stayed home from all things social on Friday to tend to me and keep me from getting lonely.  She made me lunch, brought me water, and generally spent the day hanging out on my bed with me.  We had some good chats about her thoughts and fears about high school (starting in 2 months!), and about this and that.  So now I miss her.  David rolled his eyes at me, asking what I’m going to do at the end of the month when she goes to camp for 4 weeks, and then of course – the inevitable.  
  • Lemon has been fun to be with, too.  Yesterday she was home for most of the day, and we hung out for a good bit watching Twin Peaks.  I decided that finally watching that iconic show that I have never seen (even though I was the perfect age for it when it first came out; hyper-religious parents got in the way of watching such shows) was the perfect healing mechanism for my crappy “cold.”  She’s not home today, though.  She voluntarily woke herself up at 7 a.m. to go to a crew race to cheer her team on.  (She’s not doing crew this summer, but is doing her best to stay in touch with the team, regardless.)  I woke up at 7:30, and was sure that she slept through her alarm.  But no, her bed was empty. 
  • David is annoyed with me.  The shifting is more complex than we were ready for, I guess.  I think as much as we know that we’re sharing in cooking, there is more to figure out as far as shopping, and kitchen-ownership.  Or maybe he’s just sick of me complaining about being sick, and as a result, everything I do annoys him.  Which is possible, considering that I have about a pinky toe’s worth of sympathy for him when he gets sick.  I’ve been working on that, but I’m stained with the irritability of years’ past.  Not sure I can ever recover.  
  • I’ve been pretty consistent with my low-carb eating.  It’s going pretty well.  When I was not feeling well but still had a full-on appetite, I found my mind wandering to convenience foods:  a sandwich, a pizza, a burrito.  But I resisted.  It looks like after about a week, I’m benefitting from the initial weight drop of a few pounds.  Of course, “it’s likely water” blah blah.  It will be fun to see what happens once I’m truly over this bug and I can exercise.  I haven’t been exercising consistently for a few weeks.  I may be focusing on walking, rather than running, and strength, including yoga.  My running partner is out of commission with a knee injury, and between the two of us, injuries have been plentiful.  I’m wondering if running is my “thing,” especially given my wretched feet.  We’ll see.  No reason to write it off just yet.
  • I had a small lull in work this past week.  I chose a good week to go on vacation (the week before the 4th).  Most of the office – if not the profession – took off the week OF the Fourth.  So things were slow in the office and with opposing parties.  Which is why I was able to take it easy with my illness.  But as I was lying in bed, assignments and new projects were coming in fast and furious.  Everything for “Monday.”  Tomorrow’s gonna be a doozy. 
Have a great Sunday!
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Major Shift in Household Duties

July 2, 2012

Gulp.


David started a new job today.


Guess what I have to do tonight?  I have to cook dinner.*

I make much of the fact that I don’t cook, and that David does.  My girls make much of that fact; David makes much of that fact; my parents make much of that fact.  My home-friends roll their eyes at me (in jealousy).  My work friends either do the same as my home-friends, OR they are in the same boat.  (It’s not as unusual as you’d think for female attorneys to have partners who either work from home, work part-time, or stay at home caring for kids, etc.)

I know for most people, needing to cook about 50% of the dinners in their house wouldn’t be a big deal, or it would be, because they would get to STOP cooking the other 50% of the time.

Before David was in my life, I cooked all the time.  I cooked all the time while I was a stay-at-home mom to babies and toddlers; I cooked all the time when I was a working single mother.  The shift from being an at-home mom to a working single mom came with a shift in meals.  The girls’ memories tell them that we had Amy’s Mac & Cheese for dinner every night.  The reality is that it was our Friday night meal.  But I did definitely get into ruts.  I had several meals that I cooked often, if not once a week.  But they were years where the girls were pickier eaters.  When I did try something new, rebellion ensued.  I remember a certain eggplant dish in particular …  (although, to be fair, I also found that dish to be inedible).

When David and I were dating, back in California, he would come over and cook dinner for us a couple of times a week.  We were all Very Impressed.  They were great nights.

When David and I took the plunge and moved across the country together, we shared cooking duties and grocery shopping duties.  For a while.  I think I wheedled my way out of my turns shopping sooner into the cohabitation than I managed to get out of cooking — but eventually he was doing it all.  And at the time, he was working full time, and I was in law school.

When we were sharing the cooking, the deal was that he would cook and I would clean.  I don’t remember when even THAT stopped.  But it did.

At one point, when he was doing all the cooking and shopping, but I think I was still pretending to clean up after dinner, I started doing his laundry.  He had been doing his own, and I would do mine and the girls’.  But I saw that he was getting the very short end of the stick, and so I said I would do his laundry, in an attempt to even things out.

But then, I stopped doing that.  He does his own laundry now.

All this to say — This change is happening now that he is going back to full-time work, but it really has been long overdue.

Now I’m back to perusing recipes, looking for inspiration.  I need inspiration that is quick, simple, and healthy.  Not easy to come by.  But I think I can do it.  I’m going to have to acclimate myself to our grill — I’ve used it a few times, but I don’t know it well.  I’m also going to force David to eat a lot more fish than he prefers.  Because Mouse is a vegetarian, and I’m not really down with the “cooking two versions of everything” method that David has adopted.

Tonight, I’m making tilapia with garlic and lemons, and roasting some broccoli.  Because I am doing a low (or no) carb thing right now, and because they really ought to be contributing to the household, especially since they’re home all day lazing about, AND because they’re picky as all get-out, the girls are making their own sides.  Mouse is baking a potato, and Lemon is making herself a vat of rice.

And while I’m trying – really I’m trying – to get back into work-mode, I’m instead perusing more recipes. Would love to hear about any that are quick, simple and healthy.  Cheap doesn’t hurt, either.  (I know, I want everything!)

* Drafted this post at work, just now posting.  First dinner was a HUGE success.  Girls loved the fish and broccoli – Mouse made herself a baked potato, Lemon made some steamed rice, David and I had double portions of broccoli.  All plates were clean.  Hooray!

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Speaking of bratty — (or is it neglected?)

June 6, 2012

Next week, Mouse “graduates” from 8th grade.  I know, I know, “that’s not a real graduation” [please, read that phrase with a nasty, nasaly, grouchy, crotchety tone of voice].  But you know what?  Who cares. This has been her school, her class, our community, since she was in 1st grade.  No, she’s not done with school, but we are all closing a huge chapter of our lives.  I’m calling it graduation, and I’m celebrating.

Maybe 6 weeks ago, she and I went shopping with one of her closest friends and her mom, who I’m relatively close with.  Mouse found the requisite two dresses — one for her school “dinner/dance,” and one for the graduation ceremony itself.  Both were way cute.  The dinner/dance dress, however, which is strapless, is a little loose in the bust.  Even though it has some rubberized stuff at the top of it, it still runs the risk of falling right down her pole-thin body and onto the floor.

About 2 weeks ago, she said, “Mom, we have to get this taken in.”  I said, “okay, I will call.  But you have to remind me – I get busy at work and I forget until it’s 5:30 and everywhere is closed.  When you get home, text me or call me, and I’ll take care of it.”

Well, she got busy.  With friends or with homework or with other 8th-grade sorts of things, and I never got a text or a call.

I was talking with a friend today about the graduation plans (because we are organizing decorations and a grade-wide party), and all of a sudden, like a punch in the gut, I remembered that we need to get Mouse’s dress altered.  I thought I also remembered her saying that sure, she can go into the seamstress shop by herself ….

So I was chatting with David while eating lunch and mentioned to him that I texted Mouse with instructions to go by the boutique that we used last time at 3:30.  I explained to him where exactly it was (basically across the street from her school), and things seemed fine.

But then she got home, and upon realizing I was sending there by herself, went into all-out meltdown mode.

I don’t know – when Lemon was her age, she’d do anything and go anywhere by herself.  I had called ahead, she was expected, arrangements were made – what’s the problem?  “I don’t feel comfortable, and I don’t know what to do!” So I’m texting Lemon, and I’m chatting with David, and they’re both in the house with a bit of a tantrum-y Mouse, and everyone is annoyed.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to draft a brief for the Third Circuit … and feeling very frustrated.

It really came down to the fact that Mouse didn’t want to go with anyone but me.  But she wanted her dress altered.  And I couldn’t be there (hello, Third Circuit).  And if we didn’t go today, we couldn’t get a guarantee it would be ready in time for the dance.

So she gnashed her terrible teeth and roared her terrible roar, and then said, “fine.”  (well, the “fine” didn’t come until after I lectured her about her inflexibility, and explaining that I could not come home to go with her, and that I’m taking off tons of time next week for her graduation and all of the surrounding events, and that she had offers from both David AND Lemon to go with her, and she needed to knock it the F off.  Only I didn’t say F or Fuck.  I just said, “you need to be more flexible.”  I also apologized for not having the chance to talk to her about it/ prep her in advance, but that’s just the way it went, and now she needs to Fing Deal.  Only I didn’t say “Fing.”  Or Fucking.  But I was thinking it!!)

And David took her.  He reported that she was a total grouch the entire time, but it was all over with inside of 3 minutes, and they were back home.  When she walked back in the door and found multiple 10th graders in the kitchen eating all our food, she completely forgot about the trauma of Seamstress Without Mom, and got lost in hanging out with the older girls.

 

 

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Inequities

June 6, 2012

The other day, I was commuting into work.  Happily, I ended up with a seat pretty early in my ride, near to the front of the train.  The train driver and another MBTA worker were chatting.  (I was on the second of 2 cars, and in that situation, my “train driver” is really nothing more than a glorified fare collector and announcement-maker; the chatting was not a safety issue).

I found myself eavesdropping.

Me, one of many people in suits or other business dress.  iPad or iPhone in hand (for many, like me, it’s both).  Well-regarded literature or magazine in hand, to read when the mindless games on said devices become tiresome.  Checking our email every moment that we get reception in the tunnels, because work may need me, they may have Important Questions.

But the eavesdropping:

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  I just want to travel, you know?  I want to go all kinds of places and see all kinds of things.

Female MBTA Driver-Lady:  I want to go on vacation, but I don’t really care where I go.  I can’t really afford to go anywhere far away anyway.

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  You know what would be so cool?  To go to D.C.  And you can drive there.  They say that in D.C., there’s a lot of museums.  Like tons of museums! Man, I would love that shit!  I would love to go and see all the ancient Egypt shit.  That would be cool.

Female MBTA Driver- Lady:  I don’t wanna go to no museums.  If I go on vacation, I just want to rest on my hotel bed and go to the hotel pool.

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  Man! Are you kidding me?  What’s the point in that, you might as well stay home!  Don’t you want to see stuff?

Female MBTA Driver-Lady: [some quiet mumbling about having three babies]

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  yeah, that’s hard when you gotta deal with all of that.  But then they’ll grow up and move out, and then you can do other shit.

And that stuck with me.  All day.  The privilege, which I don’t always see, every now and then becomes overwhelming.