Disclaimer

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Solo parenting

This has been my first solo week in Small Town with Cora and without Husband. He's got class in the morning, and he worked last night, so he wasn't able to make it out this week. This morning, Cora was in a pretty good mood... until we got to daycare, of course. Then she screamed as she was ripped from my arms by the daycare worker. Ugh. We didn't walk this morning, because I had errands to run during lunch. So when it was time to pick her up, I left my car parked at the office, and walked across the street to the daycare. Cora apparently saw me through the window, and then saw me disappear (as I was walking into the building), which caused epic meltdown. Then she kept asking for Daddy, and cried all the way to dinner. She continued to be in a bad mood throughout dinner. We went to Chick-Fil-A, and she scarfed down like 6 chicken nuggets, several waffle fries and chugged her chocolate milk (also spilling some on herself from insisting on drinking from the cup without my help). Since I don't get any sort of report from the daycare, I wonder if they actually feed her during the day. Blah. Anyway, after eating a ton, and then grossly enough, picking up a fry she'd dropped on the floor and shoving that into her mouth too, we went to play in the kiddie area. She actually perked up then, and was very happy once she had the whole place to herself. She worked up enough courage to climb the stairs, go through the tunnel and go down the slide, so she wore herself out doing that.

We later went for a stroll around the park, and then came back to the apartment for some relaxing before bed time. I finally got around to hooking up my electronic piano last week, and Cora absolutely loves it. I keep trying to explain that she should use one finger to hit a key, and not her entire hand, but she wants none of that. So, she plays several notes at once, that don't belong to the same chord, and sings along, just as off-key. Tonight, she actually sat on my lap, and watched and listened as I played the alphabet song (a/k/a Twinkle), and then she wanted to do it. She sang the alphabet song while playing wrong notes for a good 30 minutes. I think she'll definitely be a good candidate for piano lessons. She was also completely enthralled by my violin, which she's never seen before. (I don't play much anymore, and also, back at the house, all the instruments were downstairs, where Cora never goes.) It was too close to bedtime, however, to pursue that, and it just caused a meltdown, because she wanted to play with it. So, we'll try it again when she's in a better mood and will take direction.

Now I'm ready to get some more work done and get to bed early. I'm exhausted!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Week, Another Weekend

There's never a weekend where there's just nothing going on. That's not a bad thing, I love being busy and having stuff to do. But I know it's only a matter of time before I need a weekend of hibernation. I'm an incredibly lazy person by nature (most humans evolved from apes... I evolved from the sloth), and the past couple of weekends have been action-packed.

Last weekend I had a full day of baby-sitting. My friend the [now formerly] preggo, had an ER trip/hospital admission to make, and so I watched her munchkin on Saturday. Her munchkin and my munchkin are exactly the same age, and are in daycare together. They spend so much time together, that they're like siblings... by that, I mean they fight constantly. But it's pretty hilarious, because they do stuff that purposely pisses off the other one. Who knew the calculated mind games started so young? Cora doesn't like her personal space being invaded, so (we'll call her J) purposely invades it to irritate her. They'll be sitting on the couch together, and J will inch her foot closer and closer to Cora, until Cora starts whining and pushing her away. Cora is territorial and pushes J out of her chair when she sits in it, and if J's playing with any of her toys that she hasn't even touched in months, Cora gets all bent out of shape and tries to take it away from her. (My kid is destined to get "Does not play well with others" written on her report cards. Sigh.) But... a funny little story I forgot to tell last week amongst all my personal angst... I took the girls to the playground at the neighborhood elementary school. There was a little boy there, just a little bit older than them. They were playing well together, taking turns on the slide, but then he wanted to get past J to climb further up on the equipment, so he put his hand on her to nudge her out of the way. Cora immediately gets up in this little boy's face, shoving her finger in his face, and shouts "NO!" and mumbles what I only assume are toddler profanities, and follows it up with another stern "NO!" Again, just like siblings: You can continuously beat the crap out of your sister, but if someone else puts a hand on her, you'll kick their ass.

So this weekend was action-packed too. I actually went back to The City on Thursday, because we had a doctor's depo there Friday morning. Since it's a 2 hour drive, I just went home Thursday, spent some time with an incredibly cranky Cora (she's been having a rough time at her regular daycare too, and didn't take a nap that day), and then had a very late dinner and drinks with girlfriends. It was nice only being away from the family for one day, even if neither of them were all that interested in spending time with me, bah. Anyway, Friday I got up and started working even before normal office hours, even though the depo wasn't until 11:30 (because I wanted to prove my ability to not be in the office and still do work), prepped some notes for Boss Dude for the depo, arrived at the doctor's office, where we had a really long wait until the doc saw the rest of her patients, which was fortunate, because I was the only one who noticed that there was no court reporter, and finally made mention of it when it was almost noon and there was no court reporter. (I suspect that the other attorney thought that I was the court reporter, which is generally the presumption geezer lawyers make when a young woman in a suit shows up to the deposition.) Turns out his office didn't notice the court reporting firm, and the court reporting firm had no knowledge of the depo, so they had to put out a call to another firm to get a court reporter. One showed up about 10 minutes before the doc was ready for us. As an aside, I've never seen a court reporter take down a deposition in shorthand before instead of using the machine. I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually write in shorthand at all (unless you count a scene in the third series of Torchwood). I was oddly fascinated, it was like watching someone write hieroglyphs.

Anyway, the depo was a good experience. I've never been to a doctor's depo before, only depositions of regular ol' witnesses. I've read plenty of transcripts, but it's different actually being there, and if it isn't a video depo, you don't get the nuances of hidden meaning behind the words. You don't necessarily get that the doctor is trying to say something, without having to say something, if that makes sense. And I am getting more of a sense of what Boss Dude is looking for, and what his style is. Not that I don't have my own style, which is okay too, but I need to cater it to what he's looking to get out of the deposition. I was very familiar with the defense attorney's style, and I would have known exactly how to run that depo from a defense perspective. But being on the other side means a new perspective, and that's going to take some time to refine. Fun stuff.

We finally got out of there about 2, and I was able to get some lunch at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. Then I went home to do a little bit more work before calling it a day, picking up my munchkin from daycare and enjoying a nice evening. I made it out to visit my friend in the hospital and meet J's new little sister. I do love a snuggly little baby, but whew, I'm not sure I'm ready for all that again. That pretty baby is big and hungry, and I really like my sleep. So, it's a good thing we're waiting quite a while before attempting a Round Two!

On Saturday, Cora, my mom and I attended the wedding of a childhood friend of mine. Cora did really well... up until the ceremony started. In her defense, she had been sitting there for a really long time, because the wedding started almost 45 minutes late. So by that time, she had ants in her pants. But it all worked out, and Cora had a great time after the ceremony running around the big open lot. It was a perfect day for the wedding, it couldn't have been any better weather. It was 70 degrees, not humid at all, and a clear blue sky. And Cora got to wear the adorable new dress I bought her at this uppity children's clothing store here in Small Town. I refuse to spend that much money on kiddie clothes, but it was super on-sale, and super-cute.


Little Lady

Today, however, was full of fail. I woke up this morning to discover that Cora has learned to take off her pants and her diaper, and I'll leave it to the imagination of my readers to figure out what that involved. Husband fortunately came home from work in time to help finish scrubbing off the kid, while I went and stripped everything from her bed and washed it and deodorized her bedroom. I think the solution is going to be duct taping her pants to her butt at night.

Husband had been at work late at a meeting that I can only describe as employment fuckery. Husband works a weekend position at the hospital, meaning he has to work two days out of every weekend, he gets no sick time, and he gets very limited vacation time. In return for that suckdom, he only works two shifts, but gets paid for three. It's a trade-off for having to work every weekend, because otherwise, it's tough to find enough people willing to work weekends. However, the hospital decided that they're cutting the weekend people's pay and vacation time. And when the nurses asked if this would be the only cut, or if they should be expecting further cuts, the HR lady couldn't even muster up a lie. Ugh. So, either he'll need to pick up extra shifts, or we'll have to seriously re-evaluate our budget. He doesn't want to find a new job since he's graduating in May and will hopefully be getting a new job as a nurse practitioner by then. This on top of my mother's ongoing unemployment, and my anxiety about having failed the bar in an epic way and losing my job, is going to give me an ulcer. I'm trying to work as much as I can, so that I might be able to justify my continued employment when I find out I only answered 3 questions correctly on the MBE and don't get to be a lawyer in October. It all makes me want to throw up.

Anyway, Cora and I are back in Small Town. I was guilt-ridden from her asking for Daddy, and so distracted her by letting her watch "Abby" in bed until she got tired and fell asleep. Now there's a bad precedent to establish. Just trying not to scar the kid too much, while I muddle through motherhood and pseudo-legal-practice in a town two hours from home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Demons of Stupidity

Today was Epic Judge Fail Day. A judge in our county failed to enter a domestic violence protective order for one of our clients who was beat up by her spouse. I won't go into details, but let's just blame it on the Demons of Stupidity, which caused said rejection. It's unbelievable, and our poor battered client... just... ugh.

Boss Dude filed her divorce papers today, getting the matter before a different judge, who is as appalled as we are by the situation (and it was apparently the big lunch table discussion for the courthouse crew today). I mean, I'm just flabbergasted. The worst thing about it is, Alleged Wife Beater owns guns. Big ones. (Everyone around here owns guns.) And because the protective order was rejected, we could only get a restraining order against him from the other judge, which is less restrictive. Which doesn't allow for confiscating the guns. The really big guns. Forget the client... I'm going to get shot. By really big guns. Great. This week keeps getting better.

I just can't believe stuff like this still happens. I mean, it's one thing to have a bad ruling on a civil case. Like, someone doesn't get their money/their property/whatever. That sucks and all, but this is someone's safety on the line. I don't know if this guy would go crazy and shoot his wife, but who knows. When someone beats their spouse, they prove what they're capable of. I just can't fathom how we managed to not be able to protect our client as much as the law allows. Maybe I'm just a naive little law grad that thinks justice ought to prevail, but shit. It didn't. Consider my bubble burst.

Anyway, suckdom of Epic Judge Fail aside, I had the opportunity to chat with the local nonprofit that helps battered women, and it seems like an excellent program. Sadly, I'm sure I'll be working with them plenty in the future. And hopefully not for this particular client again.
Justify Full
I'm about to call mulligan on the whole week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Suckedy Day

I'm in a bit of a funk today. I spent all day researching this horrible mess of a case, trying to do research for a reply to an appellant's brief that is so bad that it doesn't cite any legal authority, or even the record of the case itself. After spending hours trying to figure out how on earth I should even begin to respond to that, I talked it out with Boss Dude, and he gave me some specific areas to research and address. Which ridiculously took me all day, it was awful. I feel stupid and incompetent today, and like my work product is incredibly shoddy. I doubt my memo was really useful at all for him to piece together a final draft, and now he realizes I'm a completely useless person incapable of complex legal analysis...

And Husband and Cora just left for home, so that is likely a contributing factor as well.

Cora is having difficulty adjusting to the new daycare. She is always so happy to go to her regular daycare, that she walks in the door, waves and says "HI!" to everyone she sees, and marches right to the toddler room where she gives her teachers a big hug, and I'm lucky if I even get a "BYE, MOMMY!" out of her and a goodbye hug. Some parents might be hurt by that, but I take it as a sign that she's just happy to be there and take comfort that I'm making good choices for my kid. So I guess maybe I've just been spoiled by never having that experience where the kid has an epic meltdown because she doesn't want to leave me, and is grabbing onto my shirt and hysterically screaming "MAAAAAAMMMEEEEE!" Yeah... that's been the past two days. It was so bad yesterday, that even I started crying. Husband went with me this morning, which didn't make it any better. She starts chanting "No no no no no!" as soon as we pull the stroller up to the building. She did stop screaming today right after we left (we can see her through the window), so that was good. And she was in a good mood both days when I picked her up. So, I don't think they're torturing her or anything, I think it's just a lot of change for a little kid to handle. When we dropped her off this morning, another Mom dropping her kid off (a nurse, I assume, from her purple scrubs) said it took her daughter two months of morning tantrums until she finally is happy to be going there. And of course, since Cora's only going there two days a week, it might be longer.

Anyway, so that sucked, and made me feel like shit. All kinds of fun thoughts, like, what am I doing to my child, she's going to be scarred for life, I'm a horrible parent. All the things that I know are completely irrational, but I can't help but feel guilty anyway. Even the dog is having trouble adjusting. She's such a skittish, high-strung dog. She refuses to go potty in the back lot here, I guess because other dogs go there, and she's afraid. So, we have to take her in the front yard. She just spends her time here pacing back and forth. I think it's because of the upstairs neighbor's labrador. And the local park doesn't allow dogs, even on leashes, which sucks. We can only walk her around the perimeter of the park.

As far as good things go, I got complimented on my handling of last week's crazies. I was told I wouldn't get a lot of those, so I should frame that memo! Ah well. I don't need compliments, they just rather embarrass me. I just like to have feedback that I'm doing my job right and I'm not an epic screw-up. Which after today, I could definitely use. On the other hand, some crazy client started screaming at Boss Dude today, so I guess I'm not the only one having a bad day.

Even though Cora was in a good mood today when I picked her up from daycare, she was later in a bad mood. She managed to face-plant into the couch with a mouth full of banana, which made a huge mess, and she was incredibly unhappy after that. We opted for getting fast food instead of going to the nice restaurant we'd planned on, since she was pretty much screaming at us. So, we had a stressful quick meal, then got them on their way back home. Now, I'm sitting here, wondering what to do with myself for the rest of the evening. I suppose I could go back to the office and do some more work. Watch Dexter on DVD that I borrowed from a friend this past week. Go for a run through the park, like I saw this really fat guy doing yesterday, and I was very impressed and proud of the guy for bettering himself. Because I sure haven't been. I dunno, I should do something other than sit here feeling bad about myself. Hopefully tomorrow will be much better.

UPDATE: Oh, and just when I think this day couldn't get any more suckedy, I just got an email from a friend of mine saying she's getting divorced and needs a lawyer. They've been together forever, I even gave her the "something borrowed" for her wedding day. Sucks. This day needs a mulligan. Going to drink beer now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

End of the Week

I got back into the city tonight at 5:30, in time to have dinner with Husband and Cora at our favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant. I missed them both very much. Of course, I'd been so busy Wednesday and Thursday, that even if we'd been in the same city, I wouldn't have gotten to see them anyway. Even still, I missed tucking Cora into bed, and snuggling with Husband, even if I sleep better without him snoring and stealing the covers. It's good to be home, and spend some quality time with Cora and I won't have to be away from her again until Wednesday.

My job is totally awesome, I love it. The people are great, and the setup of the firm is amazingly organized and functional. At first, I was a little weary of working for another solo practitioner because of a lack of structure and organization where I've worked in the past. But Boss Dude so far provides the perfect balance between independence and guidance. I love having a mentor, while still getting to actually practice law (in a month... hopefully). It's been a crazy week, but I thrive in crazy. So, I'm having a lot of fun. There's so much to learn, sometimes I just stop and think, what am I doing here? How am I ever going to know enough to ever do this on my own, without constant supervision? And then there are times when it all comes together. One evening this week I found myself with a client sobbing hysterically in my office at 5pm, and amazingly enough, I knew what to say, and I knew what to do to help her. The legal training, the diplomacy... it came together to form a minimally competent new associate undergoing trial by fire. I think. At least she stopped crying and left 30 minutes later with a plan of action. That she probably won't take, but whatever. But, people make their own choices. I guess all we can do as legal professionals is help sort out the messes as they go. And oh the messes they make.

Already, I can tell I need to work on creating an organizational system that works for me, as well as working on my research skills in having limited Westlaw access. I realized I've gotten very used to starting with secondary sources just to understand the issues I'm researching, then branching out to case law in my jurisdiction. That doesn't really work when you don't have access to secondary sources, just our state and federal case law. Fail. So, my research is taking way the hell longer than it should, which annoys me greatly. I guess it hasn't helped that there have been a myriad of computer issues this week (mainly that I don't have a work laptop yet, so I'm using my personal laptop, which needs to be shot and put out of its misery, and was having huge difficulties connecting to our office wireless). Anyway, that's life. Lots to learn.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Employed

I have a job. It is awesome.

I arrived Sunday evening with the whole family in tow. We got everything unpacked and enjoyed some family time/exploration. The apartment is across the street from the park, so we've gotten to take lots of walks through it. We found a few fabulous restaurants that we've tried the past few days, although apparently people don't eat out as much here as they do back home. But more on that later.

Monday was my first day at work. I had been awake since 6am, when the Cora alarm clock went off, then took a cold shower since the gas wouldn't be on until later in the day. I was on time to work after dropping Cora at daycare. (Which didn't go so well... more on that later too). I walked in to discover... no one expected me to be there. They thought I was starting in September! I offered to go home and take another two weeks vacation, but they made me stick around anyway. Oh well, can't blame a girl for trying! Boss Dude was out of state at a deposition, so me, the paralegal and Mrs. Boss Dude cleaned out my office (particularly my desk drawers), and then I entertained myself the remainder of the day filling out some paper work, choosing my laptop, some office furniture and office supplies, and finally, by reading through some of our family law cases. Paralegal gave me the rundown of the filing system, and I was shocked to discover how many clients we have. But hey, I much prefer busy to sitting around with nothing to do and being bored. I think it'll be good to be home by myself on Wednesdays and Thursdays, because I will probably be burning some midnight oil.

Today, after apologizing profusely for forgetting about me, Boss Dude took me on a grand tour of the courthouse. I got to meet the judges, and a few colleagues. I got to see the clusterf%ck of juvenile delinquents pouring out into the hallways from the courtrooms (apparently there are a lot of delinquents) and happy I won't be handling any of their cases. I got to meet with a few of our clients today, all family law. It was a variety, from the very uneducated, unsophisticated clients, to the cooperative clients, to the sophisticated clients. It was a really good experience in seeing how Boss Dude handles them, and where my knowledge gap is. He wants me to continue to shadow him (I assume until I'm licensed and useful), so I get lots of field trips. Except he's going to a depo on the coast on Thursday, I don't get to go there. Oh well. Someday!

I'm really impressed by the variety of cases, and the variety of the sophistication. I'm going to learn so much by working there, I'm really excited. It's a practice where I could spend my entire career and still be constantly learning. I just think what it would be like to be stuck back at the old firm, doing whiplash law. Here, go take a deposition in boofoo, here, go to motion hour in boofoo. Nothing new, nothing fun, nothing even remotely interesting. But already, I have assignments that are wild and exciting. I have a brief to write, I have clients to meet with, I have sophisticated evidentiary issues to research that will key in to the strategy of our case in strengthening its settlement value. I feel important, and yet I'm really just some doofus with an unframed JD and a questionably pending law license. But now people will count on me for advice and guidance. Scary, but really cool. All of my legal training, my years working in the legal profession, my graduate work in negotiation and dispute resolution... it all comes together now.

I like the new town more and more. There is no real "rush hour." I mean, it's a small town, it's not like there are a ton of cars on the road. We drove to get coffee 3 miles away at a Tim Horton's this morning, and it was raining, and there was no traffic. Back home, such a trip would have been 30 minutes at least. Here it was 10 minutes. The park is lovely, and there are some fantastic restaurants here. The only thing is, there aren't a lot of restaurants downtown open for lunch. I guess because people can just drive home if they want, they don't go out to eat as much. Working downtown back home, there was no way you could go home for lunch unless you lived downtown. So, I'll probably just go back to my apartment, or just bring a lunch and then take a little walk. Husband thinks I'm going to gain 400 pounds living here, but it'll likely be the opposite effect. When I was single, I ate a lot less. I would eat a bowl of cereal for dinner if I didn't cook an actual meal, and I went to the gym quite often. I think the only times I'll be eating out will be when Husband is here.

The daycare, however, I don't like. I think we are hugely spoiled by Cora's daycare in The City. They keep progress reports, they have a set curriculum, the kids are divided into different rooms based on age, they do lots of arts and crafts, and they don't have any televisions. Cora is 20 months and she knows all of her letters and numbers 0-20. She has a huge vocabulary, and she often speaks in actual sentences. I have no doubt this is because of the daycare. They do letters and numbers, they do flashcards to teach them things. They really are fantastic. Small Town daycare, that is supposedly a great daycare... yeah, not so impressed. There's no curriculum, she's in there with a variety of ages, there are no progress reports, and when we drop her off, she starts watching Barney. When we pick her back up, she's still watching Barney. Now, I know they play with toys, and they go outside and play when the weather's nice. But I suspect the rest of the day, she's probably watching TV. I mean, they seem nice and she's well-cared for. But I have a feeling the standard for a "great" daycare here is more of the "doesn't beat your kid" and "doesn't let your toddler wander out into traffic." We're going to give it some time, and if we're still not impressed, I'm going to look into hiring a part-time nanny and make my own rules about daily activity. I mean, she can sit at home and watch TV all day with Husband for free. We have her in daycare because we expect it's a lot more stimulating than that.

Anyway, I met my upstairs neighbor tonight. She's a nurse at the local hospital [we sue], she works nights, and she apparently gets the hell out of here and heads for civilization when she's not working. So, neither of us is here on the weekends, pretty much. She said the apartment is perfectly safe to leave though, because the old crone next door is incredibly nosy and watches the place like she's hired security. Old Crone and her kin folk accosted us last night to chat as we were coming home from dinner. She asked to hold Cora. I was like, uh, if she'll let you (knowing full well that wasn't going to happen... Cora looked at Old Crone like she had two heads, both ready to eat her). We quickly made our escape into the house. Hopefully I'll get a chance to chat with neighbor soon. She also has a chocolate lab, although my chocolate lab is super annoying to other dogs, so it's unlikely they'll be friends.

So, that's that. This evening, I'm going to relax, maybe put up a few photos, watch some Netflix shows and go to bed early. I have found it's much easier to get up in the morning to go to work when I actually want to be there. When that alarm goes off at 6:30 in the morning and your first thought is "Shit! I have to go to that hell hole again?" it is super hard to get out of bed. However, this morning, I groggily hit the off button on the alarm, didn't even hit snooze, and took my shower while thinking about what pretty suit and which pretty shoes I'd wear today. It was a nice change of pace.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekly MILP Roundup #111

Welcome to my very first MILP Roundup, ya'll!

(insert cheer here)

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup is the brainchild of Saramel (retired). It is hosted on a rotating basis at PT-LawMom, and A Little Fish in Law School and is usually posted no later than Monday morning. Next week’s MILP Roundup will be hosted by Butterflyfish.

So, what's up with us moms in the legal profession? We're rawkin' it out with some karaoke, that's what... we are so rock 'n' roll.

Dontcha wish your [lawyer] was hawt like... Tranny Head and Legally Certifiable? That's right, these ladies are so young and hawt, people make sexist assumptions about them, based on their appearances. Too bad they're also brilliant and going to kick your butt in court...

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? You're gonna get your case dismissed when the cop doesn't show up to Court, that's what. Googiebaba gets burned by Cop Fail.

Mother-in-Law, Mother-in-Law, Satan should be her name, to me they're about the same... Lag Liv endures the baggage that comes along with that great guy you married... his mother.

She's a brick -- house... Mighty mighty, just lettin' it all hang out... Butterflyfish explains why we don't just let it all hang out. Unfortunately for you. 'Cause we're hawt.

Up in the morning and out to school, the teacher is teaching the golden rule... It's that time of year again... And our newest MILPs Mom and Law Student? and Just Trying are startin' One-L Hell. Throw down your books and out of your seat, you go down the hallway, into the street... But now that the MBE is done, Magic Cookie is reading for fun, Dakota's pondering the important questions in life, and Better Together has made her big move with a cutie in tow.

(insert wild applause here)

Yay! Thanks for coming. Hope my singing wasn't too bad! I've been practicing all week... Oh... what? You couldn't hear it? Hmmm... is this thing on...? Hello...? Stupid microphone... Aw, forget it...

Tune in next week over at A Little Fish in Law School, for more MILPs. (And long live rock 'n roll.)


If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adventures in Domesticity

I decided to try something today that I don't do very often -- cook. We made plans to take dinner over to our friends' house, and I decided to make lasagna, which I definitely don't do very often. I wanted to try one of Giada's recipes, and I've never been disappointed with one... until now. I was quite underwhelmed. It was just very bland. It wasn't bad, but definitely could have used some serious seasoning. I suppose if I cooked more, it would have been a red flag that the recipe didn't call for onions or garlic, or really any other spices besides salt and pepper. It was quick and easy to make, though, so I think I'll use the recipe again (although altering the bechamel sauce with more tomato), and spice it up with lots of garlic. It was also a bit too watery. I squeezed out the spinach pretty good, but maybe it just wasn't enough. Anyway, it's part of my effort to try new things. Like cooking. Which I hate.

Other household things I hate: laundry. I did lots of that this week while Husband was geeking it up at Gen Con (yes, Gen Con). He and his boyfriends go every year. He only went for three days though, Wednesday through Friday. His boyfriends will be there until Sunday. The geekery is incredible. And Husband tells me I'm a geek? Uh, I didn't wet my panties over signing up for some Mage game at Gen Con. It's out of this world geekery. So, I spent three days getting caught up on laundry. I did all the laundry. The only dirty laundry in the house are the clothes I'm currently wearing. The kitchen is clean, the laundry is done, the bills are paid, and everything is in order. All set for leaving for the New Town tomorrow.

Husband, Cora and the Labrador are coming with me and staying until Tuesday. Husband's going to get Cora settled into the new daycare on Monday, and then wait around for the cable and gas guy. Yeah, there won't be hot water on my first morning before work. I guess a cold shower will wake me up! Husband's already complaining about a lack of things to do while he's there. Seriously, once the cable's hooked up he can do what he always does, which is sit around on the couch with his laptop. But he's upset because I didn't want to bring the TV. I'm not getting cable service, just internet, so why bother? I can watch TV shows on my laptop, and most of what I watch is just my soap and stuff streamed from Netflix anyway. Oh well. He'll survive.

So, cooking, laundry, packing. Oh, and hanging out with my pissy, whiny ass kid. She really thinks she's two. Last night, she got mad at me for something, screamed something incoherent at me (I think it was toddler for "I hate you, you ruined my life!"), stomped her feet in a little tantrum, stormed into her bedroom and slammed the door in my face. Yeah... great. The best one was the tantrum she had at the pool the other day. We were at the Y, and they have this outdoor pool that has a slope where you just walk into it (good for little kids). She was about knee-deep in water when she started melting down. When she has a tantrum, she generally goes into Child's Pose (guess that's why they named it that... for screaming toddlers). When she had her pool tantrum, she therefore got a face full of water. She was pretty shocked by that one. I was quite amused though. Oh well, it's been a rough week. She's been sick, teething, and continues to have difficulties with her little friends in sharing. Then she got her little friend sick.. I guess she shares, after all.

Oodles of fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Early Morning Insecurities

I woke up this morning (unfortunately before 7am) and my initial thought was that I have no idea how I'm going to practice employment law. How am I supposed to tell my clients that they should fight for their rights against their employers, when I've never stood up to do the same?

I was thinking about those assholes who promised my mom a job four months ago and then changed their minds. It was a really dick thing to do. And my mom's reaction isn't to lawyer-up and make them own what they did, she's just sad, because she was looking forward to the job, and she thinks it's her fault that the husband didn't like her and that they have a right to treat her this way. Just like she thought it was her fault that her last retail employer found an illegal way to push her out so her manager could hire a friend in her place (and for cheaper).

Then I realized that I rationalize the same way. Blame the victim, blame myself. When my previous employer pushed me out during my maternity leave, I didn't stand up to them. I let them treat me like that, and damnit, I didn't deserve it. In the back of my mind, all I could think of was that I must have done something wrong. I must have made someone angry, or messed something up, or didn't work hard enough, because otherwise, they would have valued me enough to keep me. And that simply isn't true. They're assholes that staged a coup on a named partner soon after they pushed me out the door. They're assholes that are filthy rich, while their associates make barely more money than secretaries. And I can rationalize it all I want to that I didn't stand up to them because I didn't want to harm my career in the long-run, or ruin what would still be a good reference. But the truth is, I didn't stand up to them because I was afraid, and because deep down I blamed myself, or at least felt that I had done something wrong. The idea of having every mistake I'd ever made paraded in front of me in response made me sick to my stomach. What was a supposed "mixup" about my continued employment would become a harsh evaluation of everything I did. I didn't want to face that. I let them have their "mixup" excuse, didn't call them on their emails of promised continued employment, or any of their other lies I had documentation of. It cost me full time employment over the summer, and definitely ruined any chance I might have had of finding a job in that city. But I just didn't want to face it.

And that's what I'll be expecting my clients to do. To stand up to their employers and demand to be treated fairly, to receive just compensation. To believe it wasn't their fault and still have to face all of it.

I just hope I'll be a better advocate for my clients than I have been for myself. I've always had an easier time standing up for other people than for myself. I don't feel this insecurity with other areas of law, just with employment. I've never had a problem calling up a hospital or an insurance company and demanding anything and everything, for me or anyone else. But employment law does scare me a little and I'm still feeling a bit insecure. Anyone else out there felt the same way when they first started practicing law? Anyone out there practice employment law? Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

People suck

My mother is back to being unemployed thanks to people being giant assholes. Our state's unemployment rate is over 10%, and she is soooo going to end up living with me. With me. Husband said she's not living with him, that I have to take her with me to the new town if she ends up losing her house. Ugh.

Anyway, the wife, who had been doing all the correspondence with my mother, didn't even have the balls to tell her they changed their minds about hiring her. The husband emailed her today, and only after mom emailed the wife again to follow-up since she hadn't heard anything back from her since last week. Mom was so upset. She really liked the wife, and immediately liked the babies when she met them, and was so excited about the nanny job. But she's pretty sure the husband didn't like her when they met, and she thought he was a bit of a creep. He's probably thinking a nanny should be co-ed eye candy, not middle-aged grandmothers, but who knows.

So, whatever. There was only an oral contract, no written one, although there are emails back and forth discussing terms of employment. And of course, there's detrimental reliance, blah blah blah. Right now she's still drawing unemployment, so hopefully she'll be able to find something before it runs out. She still told the guy she would be talking to her lawyer though (which will be my boss dude, ha), and reiterated how they had a contract and how he was breaching it. Hopefully it'll make him sweat some. You just don't go around offering people jobs, telling them, "oh, please don't look for any other jobs, you have a job with us," and then four months later, be like, "oh, never mind." Employment law is at-will. There'd be no issue if she'd worked for them for one day and they were like, yeah, we don't like you, you're fired. But the fact that she hadn't started yet makes it a different story. So, we'll see. Not really digging that my first foray into employment law is dealing with my mother's drama.

It's just, people suck. If you make someone a job offer, and they stop looking for jobs relying on that, in the middle of a terrible recession, you don't just get to change your mind on a whim. That makes you a colossal douchebag. But as I told my mom, if they're big enough douchebags to do this to you, you don't want to work for them anyway.

Regardless, I'm tired of assholes. It's hard enough to get through life as it is, why do people have to go out of their way to be shitty to other people? I try to be nice to people, I'm much too afraid of the karmic fallout if I'm not.

Monday, August 10, 2009

On government

A couple years ago, our mayor and her city government began a very expensive fight to take over the local water company. The argument was that the city should own the water company, because it would be an investment in our future, and would be overall better for our city's residents. I voted "no" on public ownership of the water company. I'm rather conservative when it comes to economics. I'm a capitalist, I prefer privatization of business over nationalization. However, if I could change my vote, I probably would.

My reasoning for voting against condemnation was that a private company would run the water company better than the government. I'd heard stories from other cities where the city runs the water, and the major screw-ups that ensue. I thought, no way. Our city government can't even fill in the damn potholes, how are they going to make sure we have safe, clean water at affordable prices? The matter came up for vote, and the electorate voted "no." It was a huge blow to the mayor, who had spent a great deal of time and resources to bring the matter to vote, and she subsequently lost re-election. However, after the vote, what did the water company do? Why, they jacked up their rates, of course. And I've heard plenty of stories about their screw-ups and extremely poor customer service, and last night a classmate told me they just sent her to collections over fees she didn't even know she owed (and shouldn't have even owed). In retrospect, I wonder if being run by the city would have been any worse, or if it was just my fear of government intervention.

I haven't had a chance to chime in with the whole health care debate with the whole bar exam thing hanging over my head, so I figure I'd throw it out there. I'm not a fan of nationalizing health care for a variety of reasons, but I believe we've gotten to the point in our current system that has failed so dismally, that government-run health care would be a breath of fresh air. Health care should be accessible to everyone, regardless of the ability to pay, and it certainly shouldn't bankrupt people just because they have the misfortune of getting sick or injured. If we started a universal health care system run by the government, I would support it 100%.

However, that's not what the Obama administration is proposing at all. The knee-jerk reaction to government intervention in the health care industry has been fueled by the variety of morons that work for Faux News, and a few insignificant idiots that continue to rattle off crazy shit and just won't go the hell away. Okay, I get that they're the "opposition." Great, good for them. However, why can't they, as the opposition, actually engage in real debate on the issues and come up with their own ideas and solutions so we can come up with the best course of action, instead of doing more of the same fear-mongering that lost them control of the executive and legislature in the first place? You don't like the ideas coming from the White House? Okay, so what's your idea? How do we reform the health care system to make it work? Because right now we've got this horrendous health care system that is about to implode. We're in the middle of a terrible recession, unemployment is crazy high, and people already couldn't afford health care even when they had jobs, because costs have skyrocketed and benefits dwindled. What we've got now doesn't work. We need something else.

Medical treatment in the US is phenomenal. I've seen the miracles of modern medicine first hand. I wouldn't have my daughter if it weren't for brilliant doctors and amazing technology. I don't know if those treatments would have even been possible in other countries. And that's in part because the market system in the US encourages those achievements. But it shouldn't bankrupt people, and it should be accessible for everyone, not just those who can afford to pay astronomical figures for simple diagnostic testing. It also shouldn't encourage people to not work because they have an illness and Medicaid is better than continuing to work and being expected to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. How do we provide health care for everyone who needs it regardless of ability to pay, without punishing those who remain in the workforce?

I don't know what the solution is, but since no one's coming up with any other particularly brilliant ideas, I don't think there's much room to criticize the plan that the Obama administration has put forward without countering with another idea. I just wish the opposition party would do more than just oppose everything. Here's a thought: how about working together to come up with the best ideas possible instead of standing around holding your wanks while the country goes to shit? Stupid politicians, and even more stupid flapping heads on Faux News.

Anyway, here's what the Obama administration has to say on their health care plan. I'd be interested in hearing alternative ideas instead of knee-jerk reactions against reform.





Last Week of Unemployment

I'm planning to enjoy my final week of unemployment. It's going to be quite the adjustment, not only to working in a new city, but just working in general. I haven't worked full time since the summer after 2L. And more importantly, I'm totally not a morning person, not at all. When I worked retail, my favorite shift was always 10 to 7. Early enough there's still time to do stuff in the evenings, late enough that I got to sleep in a little. But, I have to be at work at 8:30, and on the days I have Cora, I'll also need time to drop her off at the daycare first. Plus, I can't just roll in with wet hair and no make-up, like I've been used to doing. Since I worked at firms where we never saw clients, I've always taken the attitude that I ain't gettin' paid to look pretty (except back when I worked in corporate sales at a now-defunct computer retail store, because the hotter I looked the better my sales would be). But now I work in a plaintiff's firm, and clients will probably be coming around and stuff, so I need to look professional and all that. I guess my hair will need to be dry and brushed, and I should probably wear some make-up like a grown-up. That will require waking up more than 30 minutes before I have to be at work. Sucks.

I will have to work really hard to be on time. I run on a 15 minute delay. I consistently pissed off my professors this last semester, because I was incapable of making it to class on time. Sorry, but I might have been frightened into being on time my first two years, but my "give-a-shit" meter was set to "zero" by the end of 3L. However, Boss Dude is a stickler for punctuality, according to the paralegal. I'll have to learn how to do that. Boo. We Americans are way too monochronic, if you ask me. Time is eternal, after all.

Besides that, I need to keep up with my dry-cleaning, since I'll need to wear suits to work every day. Either my feet will have to get used to wearing ridiculous shoes every day, or I will need to get a few pairs of "sensible" shoes. Boo. I just bought the most adorable pair of black stilettos in Niagara Falls at the Guess store. Super hot.

Anyway, my plan for this week is to spend lots of time with Husband and Cora. On Wednesday, Husband's going to Indy to get his geek-on at Gen-Con. Super lame, I know. He'll be back on Friday, in time for our last full weekend together for awhile. Then I start work on Monday. Crazy. I can't believe I'm employed. As a lawyer (or at least I will hopefully be in October).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bar Exam Advice

Being a week out from having taken the bar exam, I of course don't have my results. So I don't know whether I passed or not (and I go between feeling absolutely confident I passed, and moments of horrific panic that I've failed). But I can tell you what I did and didn't do to prepare, what I'm glad I did and what I wish I didn't do. So, here's my advice:

1. Know what you're up against early enough to do something about it. Is your state's bar exam crazy hard? Does it only have a 50% pass rate, or does it have a really high pass rate? How much preparation you have to do depends greatly on these factors and also, how good of a student you were in law school. If you got top grades at a top school, and your state's bar exam has an 80% pass rate, you don't have as much preparation ahead of you as I had. Also, gauge what kind of student you are. Can you pull it off by just studying for two weeks before the bar? There are plenty of people who can. Not me. I started studying when the bar review course began. Some people don't even need to take a bar review course, because they can do it on their own. Not me. I wouldn't have even known where to begin. Also, if you aren't an exceptionally intelligent person with advanced intellect, I really don't think you can ace the MBE just by knowing the black letter law. There's a lot of strategy involved with the MBE, particularly figuring out which is the "best" answer, when what they give you are four not-so-great choices. Again, I'm not sure I even passed the MBE. The questions are so difficult that the "goal" on many of the Bar/Bri practice sets are below 50%. That sucks big time, but they put us through that hell anyway.

2. Don't start studying two weeks before the exam. I know there are plenty of people out there who just can't get motivated until the pressure's on, and that totally works for them, but I was stressed out enough already. If I'd have only started studying in July, I would've had a stroke.

3. Follow the Bar/Bri Paced Program. It certainly isn't a must, but as someone who isn't overly-bright, nor overly-motivated, the Paced Program is really good to keep you moving forward. I'm someone that really needs the structure too, I work best in a structured environment, with a plan and things I can check off of a checklist. I did all the work Bar/Bri told me to do.

4. Use Bar/Bri's StudySmart MBE Software. I wish I had started out using the software instead of doing the practice tests out of the book, because the software gives you your statistics and breaks your scores down by subject area. Maybe you're getting lower scores in Contracts, because you miss every single remedies question, but you're getting all the other questions right. Well, it's silly to go back and study everything in Contracts, when what you're screwing up on is remedies. I figured that out much later than I should have, once I started using the software. So, I went through and made a list of subtopics I had the lowest scores in, and worked on those areas to get my scores up. If I'd done that from the start, I would have been in much better shape and felt much more confident going in.

5. Don't stick with just Bar/Bri. If you're having trouble with a certain subject area, and you've read the outline, listened to the lecture, and still get really low scores, pull out some supplements from 1L. I still had my Law in a Flash cards from Evidence, and after I went through those, my scores jumped dramatically. On the Fake MBE, I only got 1/3 of the Evidence questions right. After I went through the cards, I was getting 3/4 of them right, even the hardest ones.

6. The iPod is awesome. It's worth every penny to not have to sit in the law school again every morning. I have a short attention span, and need frequent breaks, so being able to pause it, go get a snack, watch some TV, take a nap, etc., was very helpful in getting the most out of the lectures. Not every lecture is particularly helpful (I got absolutely nothing out of the contracts lecture), but when you're listening to Commercial Paper, and that's the first time you've ever heard the terms "Bearer Paper" and "Order Paper," and you're trying to figure out if you're a "holder in due course," being able to pause it and let it sink in before moving on is very helpful. For me, it cut down on later study time, because I felt like I had a good handle on Commercial Paper and Secured Transactions early on. Also, for the subjects where I suck big time (like Real Property), I went back and listened to the lecture again. I'm not sure it helped significantly, but I'm not sure that anything will resolve the mental block I have with Property. I think it's a combination of a horrendous real estate law gig I had before even going to law school, and my 1L Property class where my professor was incredibly scary and mean, and yelled at people. It was traumatic.

7. Do as many practice problems as possible. Even if you're getting them wrong, once you read the explanations, you know one more thing that you didn't know before. Bees are apparently domesticated animals. I don't know why, I don't think they should be, but there ya go. Now you know, and there's half the battle.

8. Don't Panic. Fear is crippling, and if you're spending more time worrying about how you're going to fail than you are actually studying, it becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy. Relax, watch some TV, take lots of breaks, and breathe. The last two weeks are horrible, but most of the summer can be productive and still be enjoyable. Plan to be done studying a couple days before the exam, otherwise you'll be exhausted and burned out. By the last day of studying, I could barely even focus anymore and I was a frazzled, nervous wreck. Relaxing the day before the bar did much more good than trying to cram more law into my brain. The law was already in there, I just needed to relax long enough for it to come out in some sort of coherent form.

So, that's pretty much it. If I have to retake the MBE in February, I know what I have to do, and I definitely would pass the second time. I would need to work on Property, which is my worst subject. If I had been getting over 50% on the Property questions, I don't think I'd even be concerned that I didn't pass. But I just couldn't get there. And I'll probably go buy some more supplements if I have to go again in February.

Anyway, I'm glad it's over, and hopefully it stays over. My school has a 90% pass rate for the bar exam, and I'm pretty sure I was at least more prepared than 10% of my classmates. So, I'm hoping for the best.

If any of you are newbies looking for some great law school advice, Dakota just posted some. I can't even think of anything to add really, she's covered it. I know many of you out there are incoming 1L's and are excited and terrified of what lies ahead. Just relax, and don't take everything so seriously. Law school sucks, and if you absolutely love law school, then there is something really wrong with you, and you need psychiatric treatment. What's important is to get through the next three years while enjoying life as best you can. It isn't all bad; there are good times, and there's fun to be had. There's lots of hard work ahead after law school too, and law school is a crash course in life balance. Learn to live with the stress in law school, and be happy through all the suck, and you'll keep that going throughout your career. So, good luck to all of you starting 1L this month.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moved

Yesterday we moved my furniture into the new apartment. Fortunately, the torrential rain stopped long enough for us to get the furniture into the apartment without getting wet. We were already a bit wet from moving the furniture from the house into the truck, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't bring much furniture anyway, so it was a quick move. All the rest will be moved gradually as I commute, and I'll need to head in to town earlier on Sunday to get some groceries and whatnot. Suckily, the gas won't be turned on until the day I start work, so I won't have hot water until then. I guess I'll just have to suffer through a cold shower on the first day.

We had pizza for lunch at this great place in New Town. It's pretty well-known in the area. It was very good pizza. The best part... they have gelato. For some reason, we can't keep a gelateria open in our city, so I was very excited about the gelato. It was really good too. The tubs were almost empty, and the gelato was pretty fresh, so it must be popular. Each time I visit New Town, the more I like it. I like the small town charm, it's a pretty town too. My hometown is a little run-down and parts of it are pretty trashy, so I'm glad there is some polish to this place. The new apartment is really nice, and I'm excited to start work. (Although I admit there is a part of me that dreads having to be at work every weekday morning for the next 40 years. I need to shoot for partial-retirement by age 35!)

We came back home, then went to the luau last night, which was kinda lame and really crowded. At least it was free food and alcohol, so we can't complain too much. And a friend was there we hadn't seen for a really long time, because she lives in another state now. So that was fun. And we made a couple new friends, so that was fun too. (I'm a people-person, I always like making new friends.)

We then came home to deal with more of my mother's employment issues, which is seriously stressing me out. She'd worked briefly as a live-in nanny for this crazy family back in March. Things just progressively got worse (stuff like they wouldn't let her leave the house, and made her work 7 days a week), until she finally quit. Then she interviewed with another lady who was pregnant with twins, she accepted the job, and she's scheduled to start in October. So, in the meantime, she's been back drawing unemployment, which will run out the end of September. She stopped looking for jobs, because she got the job offer the end of April, and even turned down a couple other offers that came later. Well, suddenly the husband, who never bothered to meet with my mom back in April because he trusted his wife's judgment, never bothered to call her on the phone or check references or anything, is suddenly wanting to get involved since the twins were born a couple weeks ago. He's like oh, well, I need to interview you before we make a decision (dude, a decision was already made, your wife hired her), and then after that he's like, oh, we need to run a background check (and didn't even know how to go about doing that... I printed off the damn form for him), and now it's, oh, we need to talk to that last family you worked for (which is definitely not going to give her a good recommendation because they're psycho). Which is all fine and good, and anyone looking for a nanny should certainly be thoroughly researching their prospective caregivers, but he needed to do all this back in April before his wife offered my mom a job and she relied on that offer of employment to her detriment. He can check references all he wants to, but at this point, if they decide not to hire her, they're getting a demand letter seeking damages for breach of contract.

The problem is that in the meantime, my mother's unemployment runs out in September, we're in a huge recession with no chance of her finding another job anytime soon, and I'm going to end up having to pay her bills instead of paying off my huge credit card balance (which I need to have paid off before I start paying on my huge student loan balance). Husband's idea was for us to take Cora out of daycare and have my mom watch her and pay her instead, and then we'd only need to make up for a couple hundred dollars more that she'd need to pay her bills. I hate the idea. Cora does so well in daycare, and my mom doesn't care for Cora the same way she does other kids, with rules and structure. She just wants to spoil her and baby her, which makes her bratty. The other option is to send Mom back up north to stay with her aunt and be her caregiver, because Mom's cousin would like to move out but someone needs to be there to take care of her. But we'll just have to see. Regardless, it all gives me an ulcer.

Today, since we haven't gotten to spend much time together as a family, we kept Cora home from daycare. We tried to take her to the local Children's Museum, but failed. They're apparently closed this week for renovations. So, we walked around downtown instead, where Cora had a great time pointing out all the letters and numbers she saw. We walked by this funeral home, which starts with an M. They have these four square flower planters on the sidewalk, that have an M on each side. We spent about 15 minutes standing on the sidewalk while she walked around each one and pointed out each "EHHHHHMMMMM!" Then we walked around the parking lot while she went around to all the cars and pointed out the numbers and letters on the license plates. Funny kid. Yesterday she was playing with her bath letters, and she brought the "P" over to me, and very seriously, with her brow furrowed, shoved the letter in my face, and exclaimed "PEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" She repeated it a few times, as though I didn't believe her. She's a funny kid.

After Cora wakes up from her nap, we're taking a trip out to the pet store so the dog can get her "hair did" and hopefully smell slightly less disgusting, and Cora can see some critters. Then we're going to the book store, and to dinner with friends.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of cute to go with this rambling blog entry.


It was empty, I swear.


Holding Elmo, watching Elmo. Worship the Red Master...


"FIIIIIIISSSSSHHHHH!"


Cora and her second cousin. The kid is almost Sumo-sized. Except he's short for his age.


"EHHHHHHMMMMMMM!"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Home, Sweet Home

Or, I guess, part-time home. Tomorrow I'm moving my furniture to the new apartment.

Very busy day tomorrow. After Cora goes to daycare, Husband and I are having breakfast with a friend from law school/grad school. Then we're picking up the moving truck and loading up the furniture. Cora's godfather is coming over to help load the truck (he's in town, currently surfing someone else's couch, since I've been gone). Then we're grabbing lunch and heading to the apartment to unload. When we get back, we're attending a luau at the British pub. (Figure that one out. I can't.)

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I have a thousand phone calls to make and at least a hundred people to yell at, most of whom work at Crappy University. First, after I mailed a timely payment to them for my final payment for the hospital bills, Crappy University's knee-cap breakers medical billing department calls me five days before the effin' bar exam to ask where my payment is. Even still, I politely told them I had already mailed it. Then I get the mail today, and Crappy University's douchebag billing people medical billing department sent the account to a collection agency. Furious, I called the collections agency and told them my account is paid in full, and I would be cutting the faces of billing people contacting Crappy University's billing department to express my discontent with their service. I checked my credit card statement on-line, and the payment was posted, so they don't even have the excuse that it was lost in the mail. I hate them. I hope they sustain painful paper cuts that get infected and require extensive medical treatment that results in extensive medical bills. The second hit is from Crappy University itself that's holding my diploma hostage because of something involving student billing. Considering that they pay themselves from my loan disbursements, before issuing my residual checks, if I owe anything to them, it's from their own incompetence, and that's going to seriously piss me off. I could understand if it was some sort of unpaid parking ticket, or overdue library fees, but seriously. They just suck. I can't believe how much money they've gotten from me, they aren't getting any more.

Anyway, the rest of the vacation was pretty good. I did some shopping and spent way too much money. There's this new outlet mall in Niagara that has a Saks and a Guess store, which is really really bad for my credit card balance. I got this adorable dress for the wedding this weekend (which can also be worn to work with a suit jacket), and a pair of totally hot shoes from Guess. Then I hit up the Duty Free store on my way to Toronto, and bought Husband two very nice bottles of Scotch (our liquor taxes here are crazy high, so going Duty Free meant I saved about $100 in taxes). I had lunch with my friend in Toronto, which was awesome. We had Dim Sum, and then walked around in Chinatown. Then it took me 3 1/2 hours to get back to New York, because apparently today is a Canadian holiday, which means that every single Canadian decided to go to the US in a sudden mass-migration. (They probably wanted to go to the Guess store and buy hot shoes.) So, that part sucked but it was still a fun trip and I didn't get strip searched by border control, so that's a win.

But it was nice to get away from all the family (particularly, my mother) for the afternoon. After the 9 1/2 hour trip back home today, I don't think I can see her for awhile. She makes everything so much more difficult than it has to be, and just all around drives me insane. Cora's behavior is much worse when she's around too, because she babies her and spoils her, and then she doesn't listen to me at all.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to some relaxing with Husband and Cora, before starting the new job. A well-earned break!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chillin' in NY

I'm stealing someone's wireless right now to reconnect to the cyber realm. Cora's taking a nap, and I'm taking a break from family (in particular, my mother). So far, we're having a really good time, and we managed to make it up here on Thursday in only 9 1/2 hours, without killing each other.

We left about noon on Thursday, and stopped for dinner in Cleveland, in the Little Italy district. I dated a guy like a decade ago who went to school at Case Western, and his frat house was over in Little Italy. Best pizza ever -- Mamma Santa's. They also have a huge bowl of black olives as an appetizer, which I'm a big fan of, I could eat my weight in black olives. So could Cora, she ate nearly the entire plate. The original plan was to do some shopping after dinner, but we left home later than we'd anticipated, so we just continued on after dinner. Cora was great in the car. So long as Elmo was on the portable DVD player, she didn't make a peep. I so wish there had been portable DVD players when I was a kid. Long car trips were so boring. I never could read in the car, because I'd get carsick if I did. All I had was a cassette tape walkman when making those long trips, and pretty soon, I'd run out of tapes (and batteries). My mom refuses to fly, so we had to drive everywhere.

We're staying with my mom's aunt and her cousin (who lives with his mom to take care of her, because her health hasn't been that good). We spent some time yesterday with them and Mom's other cousin and his wife and kids. We also went to see my grandfather, and my aunt and cousins and their kids last night. (That's all my dad's side of the family.) We took Cora to the Niagara Aquarium yesterday, which she absolutely loved. I was exhausted by the end, just from chasing her around to all the exhibits. She loved the penguins, the sharks and the sea lions the most. It's perfect for little kids, because most of the aquariums are low enough that she can step onto the ledge and see the fish without me holding her up. She only needed help for the sharks. It was so cute, because she'd wave to all the fish and say "hi!" "Hi, penguin!" "Hi, shark!" "Hi, fish!" We took a stuffed penguin and a stuffed clown fish home as souvenirs.

This morning, we went back to see my aunt and cousins, and this afternoon (when Cora's done with her nap), we're going to the mall with an old friend of my mom's. I'm looking forward to the shopping, but not really the company. I mean, they have a daughter my age, and we played together as kids, but these are my mom's friends from her crazy religion. I'm surprised they're even willing to talk to me (since I'm Catholic and not of the Crazy Religion). But at least none of our family up here (except my grandfather) are in the Crazy Religion. I'm going to mass tomorrow with my great-aunt and cousin, it's nice to not be the odd one out with the family for once.

Tonight, we're going into the Italian district here and going for a good Italian meal. Then tomorrow after mass, I'm going to Toronto to have lunch with a high school friend. After I get back, we'll go to a cousin's house for dinner and, if the weather's nice, go swimming. Monday, we'll go see my grandfather again and head home in time for Husband to wake up (he works Sunday night), and have dinner as a family. Tuesday, I'll be moving my furniture to the new apartment. Then I get to relax until I start my new job!