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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cheese-free

Husband's brilliant idea for Lent is to give up cheese. Of course, that means I'll need to give up cheese too, because otherwise he won't be able to eat anything I cook (on my 1-year, 5 a week, 3 ingredient minimum cooking challenge). He usually gives up alcohol. This means he'll be less cranky, but I will be more cranky, because I love the shit outta some cheese. Probably why I'm 40 pounds overweight and have high cholesterol, but whatev.

A friend/grad school colleague has agreed to train me at the gym for free, since he's working to get his certification and wanted me as a guinea pig. Ugh. I told him my "goal" (other than being less of a fatty) is to pass the fitness test for super awesome federal agency that investigates stuff. Not that I'm 100% for certain I'd like to be a super awesome agent that investigates stuff, but I know 100% for certain that I don't want to not do it solely because I'm a fatty. So that means a lot of arm and chest work, so that I can eventually do those awful pushups. When I took the written exam, I was great on situps and sprinting, but needed to shave 1 minute off of my 1.5 mile run time, and needed to be able to do twice as many pushups (14 minimum). Since then, I've gained 10 pounds and spawned another human. Let's just say, I'm starting from scratch again.

Anyway, I'm supposed to be doing the full workout every other day. I did it once last week, with my friend. I've done it once this week, without him (we're meeting every two weeks). I just can't seem to find the time to go to the gym. The problem being I have to go when there is childcare there for Vee, and the Y has odd hours, and I'm competing with Cora's activities too. I got a ballet conditioning DVD, so I really need to do that on those nights I couldn't make it to the gym. And don't even get me started about eating a shitload of sugar cookies. Sigh. My pants are tight. It makes me sad. I'm sad so I eat more cookies. Okay, so being sad doesn't make me eat more cookies, I just like cookies. But it sounds better than saying I just have no self-control.

On the cookie front, I made these ridiculous Wilton heart-shaped cookies on a motherfuckin stick. It took me like 3 hours last night. Seriously, domestic goddess, I am not. Maybe some sort of domestic lesser spirit being. Domestic sprite? Domestic daemon? Oh well, at least they tasted good, the ones that ended up in my belly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

MILP #239

Was at Magic Cookie. Will be at Attorney at Large next week!

Monday, February 6, 2012

MILP Roundup #238

Was at Kate Sherwood's place. Next time, it will be at Magic Cookie!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reflecting

My mom's surgery went fine on Friday. She had some freak-out in recovery, complaining of severe pain, getting more pain meds, then vomiting, rinse, repeat, that left her there much longer than she should have been (we closed down the place at 5:30). I think she needed a Xanax more than pain meds, but they didn't have any Xanax. Finally, they poured her into the car, and I poured her into the bed. No more gallbladder, and she's been fine since, although she's stayed the weekend because she can't drive yet since she's still been taking the pain meds. Been kinda exhausting with Husband working, having both kids and Mom to take care of, but Cora mostly entertained Grandma today, so that was good. I think she'll be able to go home tomorrow and either back to work Tuesday or Wednesday.

Of course, she couldn't possibly have surgery without The Cult sticking their damn noses in it. Some cult member I've never heard of before shows up while she was in pre-op, and sticks around, even butting in on my meeting with the doctor after the surgery is over. What. The. Fuck. Of course, I know exactly why. Because I'm a sinful "worldly" person, I can't be counted on to make sure those sinful "worldly" doctors don't give her a blood transfusion just for shits and giggles. (It's a minimally-invasive surgery with very little blood loss, people, so fuck off. However, they do have a point, because I have zero respect for someone's religious beliefs when it means dying an easily preventable death.) Once she was in recovery, the cultist scooted off. At the point it would actually be helpful to have someone else there to help out, they're nowhere to be found. When you don't want them there, because all they want is to be all up in your business, well, there they are.

So, I spent the weekend reading a memoir I purchased awhile back by Kyria Abrahams (after my last run-in with The Cult, leaving my best friend homeless, my mom with a sudden budget shortfall, and us with a roommate for 5 months). I had started it, then put it down to read some crime noir and then The Hunger Games trilogy (awesome, by the way... I've gone total fangirl for the series, but that's another post entirely). This weekend, after Friday's cult encounter, I picked it back up and finished it today.

Ugh.

Up until the point the author drops out of school and gets married at 17, I could have written this book. And even then, there are still major similarities in our life stories to the point that I now realize that even when I thought I wasn't taking the same path out as everyone else, essentially, I was taking the same path out as everyone else. A bit eye-opening for me. Honestly, I've often thought that maybe my perception about my upbringing was simply skewed. That I remembered things so much worse than they were, or that I just had parents who were harder on me than other parents who didn't take the rules so seriously. But reading the book, realizing that someone else's story could be so disturbingly similar to what I experienced... it's chilling. And it brought back a lot of memories I've tried hard to suppress. Little details that seemed so innocuous at the time, but in retrospect, are simply horrible.

My story differs from the author's because my "rebellion," was education. And although that was a difficult path (thanks to many missteps along the way) I finally got there. (Not a whole helluva lot of good that did me in today's job market, but what can you do.) I didn't have to marry to get out of the house, I was booted out. Worse things happened in my family, serving as the catalyst for my escape from the cult. But I went through very similar things. Used alcohol, people, etc., to escape, and at times became extremely self-destructive. Cheated in order to extract myself from a bad relationship, because it was the only way I knew how to escape. I realize now it's because that's all I knew. I was trying to overcome the guilt and the harmful programming. Trying to figure out how to become "normal." Only later realizing there's no such thing, and we've all got shit to deal with.

My husband would say it doesn't do any good to dwell on the past. It's true. I fought my way out of it and I won. I married a man I love, and like, and respect, and who is my equal, and reciprocates all those things. We have a nice home, and we have a lot more than most people do. We have two precocious, sassy daughters. I hold three advanced degrees and I'm licensed to practice law. I'm an active member of the local and state bars. I'm a registered and active Democrat and feminist. I'm a not-so-orthodox Catholic who's pro-gay, pro-choice, and, thanks to a combination of boredom and email reading in the hospital waiting room, now serves on the Vacation Bible School committee (sigh). I have awesome friends, some great family members, and great support, both personally and professionally. My life is good.

I recite this list of who I am, what I've accomplished, and what I have, whenever I feel the walls closing in on me. Whenever I feel bitter about what I didn't have or what I could've had. Ungrateful. Resentful. Broken. When I see the damn cult propaganda left around the clinic (which I gather up and throw in the trash bin), and the anger swells up in my throat. When I felt my chest tighten and found it hard to breathe while canvassing for Obama in 2008, because it was too reminiscent of "field service" while in the cult. When my best friend was booted from my mother's home by the "elders" (a/k/a closet perverts who need to get dick-punched) for being male, for being gay, for being "worldly," and because they're more concerned with "what the neighbors will think" than with the needs of its members. When the last memory I have of my grandmother is her muttering about the "end times." When I cried when she died, not because of the loss, but because there was no loss for me to even feel and all I felt was numb. And soon it passes. Life isn't perfect. (My career especially.) And it may not be completely in my power to change that, but I can make many changes, and I need to.

At the same time, however, for my daughters' sake, I do need to unravel the past. I need to understand myself better, because the programming runs deep, and I need to know how much of that affects my present. Ignoring it doesn't just make it go away. For instance, I realized after reading the book, that it is mostly survivor's guilt why I've been representing a childhood friend in her post-divorce litigation, pro bono. (Although part of it is simply familial loyalties... our families had been close friends for three generations. They were kind enough to bring over food this weekend, the only ones to offer help from The Cult.) I escaped. And I feel compelled to do something positive with that. I don't want to write a memoir; obviously, I wouldn't have much of anything to add to the existing literature. Ms. Abrahams's memoir was very well-written, rather entertaining, and sadly quite real. She doesn't appear to sugar-coat her mistakes, or make herself out to be the victim, or make excuses for her behavior. She's simply a product of her environment, as am I. Which makes reading the book all the more unnerving for me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crazy

Lots of crazy:

1. My mother. Crazy for many reasons, but the latest thing is her having gallbladder surgery. She's doing that on Friday. So, last week I went with her to the surgery consult, and then yesterday to what was supposed to be an ERCP, which turned out to only be an MRCP (the former being an invasive, sedation-requiring scope, and the latter being just an MRI), so that confusion, rescheduling, and driving to Hometown, kids in tow, really freakin' early in the morning, for no reason, aside, everything's a go for Friday surgery. Husband's best friend is drugging her, she asked him to do her anesthesia. Hopefully he'll send her home with plenty "to go." She needs sedation, sheesh.

2. My eldest child. Our house is a "reverse ranch," meaning we enter in what is technically the basement, and to access the main floor of the house (with ours and the kids' bedrooms), we take the staircase from the foyer. In the basement is a large den, a bedroom (previously occupied by the House Elf, and once again occupied by Husband when he sleeps during the day), a bathroom, and the door to the garage/utility room. The staircase has a nice sturdy gate at the top of the stairs, which we don't usually latch anymore, because Cora really never goes downstairs unless requested to do so (to wake up Daddy, for instance). Although we close it, to keep the dog upstairs, and if it's open, it blocks the hallway to the living room. I do, however, always latch the gate before I go to bed as part of my night-time routine, because I did a little bit of sleep-walking as a kid, and it's always my fear that someday Cora will do the same, and just fall right down the stairs.

Well...

Friday night, we hadn't even gotten ready for bed yet, it was about 11:30, and as of 10:30, Cora was still awake in her room (even though she'd gotten into bed at 9). We were in our bedroom, which is beside Cora's room. We heard the dog rustling around, but that's not unusual when it gets close to bedtime. Then we heard a thump and crying that sounded much too far away to be from her bedroom, and we immediately just KNEW. Found Cora at the bottom of the staircase, her face covered in blood. (Fortunately the Murse was home for this incident, because I would have freaked the fuck out. It's also pretty apparent that, as a result of her first emergency room visit, I cannot rationally deal with any emergent medical issues with this child, because I lose my shit. And I am usually a pretty cool cucumber when it comes to handling emergencies, keeping others calm, etc.)

Anyway, her nose was gushing blood, and she has knocked out one of her top front teeth, the other top front tooth being loose and out of place. She was coherent (well, as coherent as a bleeding 4 year old can be) and weaving together this story of why she was downstairs (multiple stories, actually, none of which pan out... the first was she had lost her Hello Kitty purse, she'd left it downstairs by the couch... it was in her room by her chair. The second was that she'd lost Lamby's blanket downstairs... Lamby doesn't have a blanket. It's a stuffed lamb. It never had a blanket.) The best we can figure is she made it to the bottom of the stairs (for some unknown reason) and came back up, but tripped in the dark, on her blanket she was carrying, and faceplanted on the stairs.

I wanted to take her to the emergency room, but the Murse assured me that she was fine, she hadn't hit her head, just her mouth and nose. The nose stopped bleeding after a few minutes, the tooth was knocked clean out, the gums had stopped bleeding, and although she'd had a lip laceration, it too had stopped bleeding. She was as coherent as she ever is (Lamby's blanket aside), and there's nothing that can be done about the tooth. We called the pediatric dental resident at the clinic (my dentist was out of town over the weekend) and confirmed there's nothing urgent, and I took her to the dentist on Monday for an x-ray. He says the other tooth will fall out. She's already lisping a little, she'll be lisping a lot more soon. Sucks. But she was pretty excited about the Tooth Fairy, who she'd never heard of because she's not supposed to lose her damn teeth for another 2 years or so. Two years without her front teeth. Ugh. Well, she's her father's daughter, he knocked his out as a toddler, as did our niece. Family trait, I'm guessing. She really didn't cry much though, which is funny, considering she'll scream like the world is coming to an end when, like, a friend won't share, but she knocks out her damn teeth, and she's like, yeah, whatev.

And, from now on, I'm keeping that fucking gate latched until she's at least 17. Maybe she'll keep the rest of her teeth for the next 2 years.

3. My clients. Today, I spent 3 hours in a settlement conference to bicker about frickin' household furniture. For reals. Fine by me, because that's actually a paying client, with money in escrow. Sure you don't want to individually name each piece of cutlery in your property settlement agreement? Win.

4. My husband. Started drinking when he came home from work this morning and was shit-faced by the time he went to bed at 3pm. Very bad night at work. He woke up at 7 to entertain his best friend, who brought Cora's best friend J and her little sister over to play (wanted to get them out of the house so J's mom could write her paper). As an aside, Cora made sure to point out where she bled on the stairs. (Nice.) Husband has since headed back down to his man cave to suffer through his hangover.

5. My youngest child. Honey Badger holds a grudge. Vee was being a cuddle whore when we got back from Cora's ballet class, and I was trying to make dinner, but every time I'd put her down, she'd scream. Finally, I just had to go put her in her crib and close the door and let her cry. She screamed bloody murder for about 20 minutes. Then I went to go get her, and she was still PISSED. She gave me seriously dirty looks and continued screaming at me, and it took about 5 or 10 minutes to completely console her. She's really not used to having to cry. She's really just such a good baby, that she doesn't cry unless she wants something/needs something. And usually she's chill at dinner time and sits in her seat and watches me cook dinner, or quietly watches us eat dinner when we're out. Not tonight. You could see it in her eyes, she was PISSED at me. Who knew she'd start gathering material for her tell-all book at age 5 months?