Friday, March 26, 2010

Then I decided it was better not to know

I was helping a sister out at work, badging her back onto her floor on the elevator and then letting her into her floor because she forgot her badge on her desk (not an uncommon error as we often hear people banging on the stairwell doors when they've locked themselves out. Can be embarrassing yes).

As I commonly do with peeps on the elevator, I introduced myself. Why yes, I do try to meet new people in my office. We have 600 attorneys (yes that's not a typo) and lots of staff. My kids have asked me if I know everyone, and I tell them, "No but I'm working on it." So today I said, "By the way, I'm M.E." And she said, "Yes I know who you are. My name's Jane."

Jane appeared to be a young associate. I am fairly certain I have never seen her before although I am NOT good at names and faces. But still, that whole, "I know who you are" is a bit scary.

It's not like I'm a partner who has accomplished things that everyone knows. We have some awesome superstars here (I'm talking Supreme Court landmark decisions, former Senators, former Cabinet members. Celebrities of sorts). I am NOT one of them. So I almost asked, "How do you know me?"

Then I thought about it.

I am a former "Bocce Idol" contestant. You know, karaoke in front of the whole firm. When you can't sing. [that post has been deleted for reasons of stupid hijackers]. I am a former Bocce Champion of the Firm. I've played Sarah Palin as a Halloween Costume Judge (our firm's Halloween party is kick ass). I've been called out by the Managing Partner at "all Firm" meetings as one of his Peeps who speaks her mind.

So I decided perhaps I didn't really want to know how she knows me. Then I can pretend it's because she knows me as the Firm's Chairman of the Associates' Committee. (thank goodness I have at least one Firm-related activity that's dignified!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Done Communicating with Men

I have noticed a pattern recently in my life - I am constantly misquoted, misunderstood, misconstrued, misrepresented or simply blown off by the men in my life. And I'm done. It seems the harder I try, whether it's being more precise (and using shorter sentences) in emails, or speaking slowly and clearly, what I am saying or trying to achieve is so clouded as to be incomprehensible.

Yes I admit that sometimes I am not the clearest communicator, despite doing it for a living. But it's just getting ridiculous. For example (just in the last 3 days):

1) Email to Ex telling him that although Son wanted to go to Possible Future College for a visit this weekend, I couldn't take him until March 31. So Ex, FYI, I'm taking Son out of school March 31 and going to PFC. Ex's response? "You can't go with Son this weekend - I need him for X,Y.Z" HUH? I'M NOT TAKING HIM THIS WEEKEND.

2) Email to Ex telling him that Son was complaining about teeth and thought there was an infection so we stopped by Pediatrician who said check with Dentist re: wisdom teeth and they might need to come out. So I made appointment with Dentist for Son. (despite being with Ex this week, I got the complaints and made the Dr visits etc). Ex writes back: "Circle back with Dr. X [the dentist] first as I would value his opinion more than the Pediatrician." HUH? I SAID SON HAS AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE DENTIST - THE ONLY DENTIST WE'VE HAD THEIR ENTIRE 17 YEARS.

3) Partner tells me client said, "I'll call you in 20 minutes" but never did. I say, "Gee, I had the same thing happen about something else with same client. He never called me. And, honestly, it's difficult to get a hold of him which is essential if I'm going to help him." Partner says, "Why are you getting annoyed? What do you need to do right now?" [Partner is not litigator but it's His client, so although I am running case, I am forced to try to communicate my very different job with a non-litigator.] Conversation goes on for 13.76 grueling minutes in which no matter what I say I am misconstrued. We circle back to the reason Partner called - to inform me Client hasn't ponied up the extra $$$ for impending litigation. I was the one who told Partner we needed more money b/c "just filing suit" wasn't going to be enough and Client wanted War. Partner apparently totally forgot that - despite the fact that I had previously emailed it AND told him that over the phone. [typically we don't ask for big $$$ unless there's a good reason - like you want me to fly all over the country and take depositions and pummel them with discovery requests, etc.]. Eventually I just stopped talking, agreed with the Partner on whatever point he was trying to make, thanked him, and hung up. Aggravated.

3) Client emails me random "urgent" notice and asks if we can talk about it tomorrow. I immediately respond "Yes" with times. It's now tomorrow afternoon and client has not responded in any manner.

4) I email Other Partner to ask for advice on issue. Included in email was the "holy grail" of a lawyer's life, the client number to which he could charge his time for his advice - so if you get an email with one, you notice it. usually. After 4 or 6 exchanges (very enlightening and helpful, as this Other Partner always is), he asks me for the Client Number to charge his time. Oh you mean the one I gave to you in the initial email when I asked for help?

To be fair to these men, I have been on lots of cold medicine, antibiotics, steroids, and codeine trying to get healthy. And I also have lots of trouble communicating with my assistant who is a woman. So There is a Very Good Chance the problem is mine, not theirs. But just in case? I'm done talking to Men.

Oh except the Captain, who has the amazing ability to listen, remember, respond appropriately, and generally be an excellent communicator, friend and confidante. Good thing. Otherwise? My head would explode.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Recovering in Charleston

Some things transcend colds, fever, ear aches, deep hacking coughing.

What, you ask, could transcend such evil, vile feelings? Being in a lovely Inn in Charleston, in 75 degrees, walking through the gorgeous campus with my Daughter, as she plans for her future.

This morning we awoke early, shared a breakfast, then made our way to campus. She set off with her future "Honors College" classmates to a class where they would discuss Western Civilization classic literature and I had a campus tour. The day developed into information, sessions, chatting with parents, educators, students.

Someday soon, my child, my babyduck, the light of my life, will be setting out on her own, in this place, to grow, learn, experience, live, do things that will help to develop her into the person she is destined to become. I am excited for her and all the things that are available to her. I am thrilled she is in a place so lovely, so cultured, so full of friendly faces and potential that will turn my lovely babyduck into a full fledged swan.

Simultaneously I am terrified and scared and dreading the future, the days and weeks without this vibrant, energetic, funny, entertaining child illuminating my every day, my nights, my weekends. She will be beyond my protective wingspan, out on her own, meeting new people, making her own decisions, sharing her stories and her laughter with strangers, with kids I haven't checked out and invited to the house and taken to the movies. She will be creating her own circle of new friends, her new life, where I am but an infrequent visitor.

I know this is something that she must do. I know I have done all I can to prepare her for this moment. I know she has good judgment, good morals, good values, and a determination to succeed. But still.....

A little part of me knows that when she leaves (and simultaneously, her Twin Brother Leaves, which is a whole other post for a whole other day) I will struggle to be happy for her amidst my sadness at saying goodbye to a truly amazing friend. Ok I know it is not "goodbye" for she will always be an integral part of my life, but it will be goodbye to the way things were. It will be hello to a whole new world - for both of us.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dirty, Embarrassing Confessions

I didn't know about it. I swear. I'm not normally this naive. But somehow I missed it - even after all these years. It's embarrassing. And not just a little bit disgusting. My discovery horrified me.

But at least now it's clean.

And I'm here to save all of you who might not know.

That bottom shelf in the fridge - the one that holds the big drawers for the fruits and veggies -it comes out of the fridge AND it also comes apart.

I'm still sick and work is slow, so I decided to stay home today. I felt some energy kick in around 9ish and decided to tackle at least one big project. No kids this week means a fairly empty fridge, so what better time to clean the thing? It has been weeks, months, years a long time since I took everything out of the fridge and wiped it all down.

As I got to the bottom of the fridge, I took the big drawers out and began wiping the very bottom of the fridge. Somehow I bumped the shelf - the one I thought was stationary and immovable for eight years when suddenly it popped up somehow. And I realized I could take it out.

Then I became afraid. Very very afraid. What would I discover if I took it out?

Are you sure you want to know?

I discovered a little mini 4" shelf in the waaaaaay back of my fridge that this glass shelf sat on top of (the very back of the glass shelf being opaque so you can't see the mini shelf - stupid design). And red and black and blue and green things have oozed under and created quite the menagerie of disgusting, sticky puddles.

The puddles have been eradicated, and my fridge is so clean and happy.

If I have saved even one person, my personal shame and embarrassment have been worth it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Sitting in my snotty bed, strewn with tissues, spare papers from the Complaint I was drafting for a client today, purse overflowing with pens and checkbook and things Son wanted, wallowing in my sickness, head still hurting, breathing worse not better, lamenting missing my indoor game, back hurting from sitting improperly all day, tired of being sick. [NOTE: Girl Next Door is a wimpy-assed sick girl. Cold? Oh no I am sure I'm dying of pneumonia - double pneumonia even!! ]

It's 7pm, my game has officially started without me, my Complaint is submitted, and I'm hungry. Sympathy Hungry. [iTouch diet? Shhhh he's sleeping in his charger and won't know if I eat something and can't log it on the LoseIt! Program! Besides, I'm S-I-C-K and these calories don't count!]

I have had 47 cups of tea and I'm sick of it. I don't do juice. I've had 32 Vitamin C pills. Cold pills. Snorted Saline. Looking for The Cure.

And then - Inspiration -Thinking about a cold day in Annapolis with the Captain and an evening drink: Hot Buttered Rum

Hot like Tea
Rum like Medicine
Spices like Herbs
Butter like...slippery Vicks Vapo-rub [oh shush so I'm going to eat it, not wear it, so what?!]

But I've never made the stuff. Enter the Lovely Internet, Google "Recipe: hot buttered Rum"

Emeril pops up first - of course. And his recipe? Awesome. But no time to let this sit in the Fridge to harden. I'm in a NOW kind of mood. Click, next
Rachel Ray - fast but still not quite right. I have to do math to cut it down to one serving. (because that's all the Rum I have left after the Captain's visit). Math Sucks. - of course . Just the right amount of everything:
  • small slice soft butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • optional spices to taste: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, allspice
  • vanilla extract
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • hot water

Mix the first 4 in an Irish coffee mug [hey didn't I get 4 of those as a wedding gift and have never used them 21 years and a divorce later? Perfect]

Add rum and hot water.

Carry up to bed. Get under covers. Turn on Country Music being careful not to wake iTouch Mean Man Calorie Counter. Blog and sip Medicine.

I'm feeling better already.....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Secret Momentary Delights

Some random happenings lately that have made me smile.

1. Talking to opposing counsel in Court, apologizing for my coughing, feverish sickness transmitted by kids. She says, "OH I bet you're in those daycare years, huh?" And I say, "No they are twin 17 YO's." And her look of shock.

2. Sitting in the car in the parking lot awaiting the start of Son's Rugby game b/c it's freaking freezing outside so we're waiting til the last possible second, "talking" with the Captain, and Ex walks up to the Car, right as I'm kissing the Captain.... (I didn't promise not to be a little snarky)

3. Standing in front of the Court seemingly between a rock and a hard place, when suddenly "the Spin" hits you and you're on solid footing again.

4. Your teenagers "demanding" that you go to your Parents' house for Easter - a 6 hour drive - because they miss them.

5. Your 17 YO senior announcing she has Straight A's - despite the fact that she has already been accepted to all colleges, has received a scholarship and by all rights should have a major case of senior-itis by now but that hasn't yet dawned on her.

6. Your 17 YO Daughter and Son letting down all reservations and teaching the Captain to play Kaluki (Jamaican cards) on a Friday night, complete with insults, giggles, and down right mean card playing, showing his acceptance. Finally. (Two-fer - your teenagers playing cards with you on Friday night!)

7. Your Daughter admitting she isn't very good at breaking up with her boyfriend - and you laugh together because apparently - with the Captain here for the weekend - you have the same "problem."

8. Putting the top down on the convertible in early March.

9. Sticking to your LOSE IT "iTouch" apps diet for a whole week and actually losing weight.

10. Realizing you are within 4 weeks of your Jamaican Vacation.

11. Finally finally finally teaching Stinky Butt to roll over!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Aw thanks BigCityDad!

Yes Props to me because "You've got to be kidding!' [living next door to ex]. Yes at first I thought it was a great idea. Now I can't wait to move. Not for any specific reason - more just a space issue in general. So thanks for coming by and noticing!

Of course in the bloggy world, getting means giving. But First, I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about me you don't know. That might be hard, because I'm pretty much an open book here (isn't that the point of blogging? Ok for my kind of blog anyway).

1. For a hard-ass lawyer, I cry about everything. I remember crying during the McDonald's commercial on the last episode of M*A*S*H - the one where the big brother gave the little sister his last french fry? Because I was in middle school and my Big Bro was in high school and I loved him like that and hoped he loved me like that, too. So Sentimental? Um yeah, that's me.

2. other people's blood makes me want to die (OK Captain so you knew this - maybe lots of people don't). When Son smashed his fingers in the neighbor's door at 3 years old and took the tips off his fingers, neighbor didn't know whether to tend to screaming child or passing-out mama.

3. I fantasize about having a gazillion kids. Philosopher Mom? She's my hero. 9 kids, phd, awesome person. I wanted 12 kids when I was a kid - after reading "Cheaper by the dozen." When I got married I wanted 6, Ex wanted 1. After many years of trying, I got a 2-for-1 special and we quit there. Many days I regret that - but it would have had to be many kids with a different Man.

4. I fantasize about singing like Kelly Clarkson or Barbara Streisand. I know I can't sing for crap and that it sometimes hurts people's ears to listen, but in my shower or a crowded bar full of drunk people? I AM the next American Idol! And no matter the song, I know ALL the words. It's a gift. Some call me the Human Radio (wait is that two things?)

5. I'm going to die when my kids go to college. OH don't give me that "freedom" and "they're growing" and "next stage" crap. I'm going to die. They are so awesome and I love it that when they are with me so are all their friends. My house is so crowded with overflowing shoes and food wrappers and soda cans and laughter and hugs, I love it. There I said it.

6. I love football and wish I had been a boy - a big boy - just so that I could've strapped on the pads and done some serious headknocking. Boys got all the fun sports. I played in the neighborhood until middle school when it became uncool for boys to be tackling me. Man I missed the many hours of playing "kill the man with the ball." Being a girl sucked then.

7. I love tonic water. OK sometimes with Gin or Rum, but I also love plain tonic water (diet even!). It's yummy. Add a splash of lime juice and it is awesome. Really.
So now bloggers I admire!

Wow that's hard - I love everyone. But I am going to choose the unusual - none of my commenters! They all know I love them to pieces and they are loyal fans. And win lots of awards. Here are my newbies:

1. My friend started a money advice blog at The Money Heifer. Now my friend is not a multi-million dollar salary earner.** She works for the government, is single, and is the most amazing, talented, dedicated saver I have ever met. She's an awesome friend, too. Check her out - she is wise on the money issues let me tell you! **edited to add: I mean this as the highest compliment - I think it's easy for "big money" people to tout advice that may or may not be "real." The Money Heifer, however, is someone we can relate to, someone who shows us that we can do this just as she has! I realized after writing this that this might have come out as less than a compliment!

2. OK This is how pathetic I am lately - I am going to name EVERYONE ELSE to Beautiful Blogger. Because truthfully? Although I always give the award to the same people (I am such a non-reacher-outer) I love my bloggy buddies. I Love Cheri (who I wish would write more b/c she's amazing), I love my cousin JO for too many reasons to list, I love Suzy who has such energy and ORGANIZATION and lives in a warm climate, I love Jenn who is truly Juggling life, Katydidnot makes me laugh out loud and spit things out my nose, ChiTown girl makes me think twice about hating the cold Chicago weather, Bumpkin stops by and cheers me up, Debbie at Etc Etc Etc cracks me up but makes me feel badly for being a wimp about life when she's living 1/2 way around the world from her peeps and thriving!, Loving Jason and his unique family because his courage sometimes make me cry and often makes me laugh, I love my cousin DF for his wisdom and telling me the hard things sometimes, I love and am amazed at my cousin at DuckFeet who keeps it all together in her uber-brilliant way, (My cousins taught me to blog by the way!), I love HulaGirl for her Buffet-ways and her awesome photos. I know I forgot some (add Philosopher Mom Here).... You can all claim the button (or not) and play along (or not). No worries.

Thanks again BigCityDad. So Nice to make new friends in the BlogOSphere.