Giving New Meaning to the Word “Interminable”

Like the mighty Mississippi, this never-ending trial just keeps rolling along, overwhelming everything in its path — other cases, any shred of a personal life, family vacations, you name it. It looks like both sides won’t be done putting on witnesses until sometime the week of August 22, probably Wednesday or Thursday. None of the lawyers on either side has been very good at predicting how long things take, but the judge has made it clear he wants to hold us to these dates, so maybe this time the schedule will stick. It wouldn’t be fair to say he’s losing patience, but he has indicated a couple of times — more in response to opposing counsel’s questioning than ours, I should note — that he doesn’t need to hear things more than three or four times. I can’t blame him.

So three more weeks of traveling west for trial testimony, then two weeks for each side to prepare closing briefs before the Junior Associate and I fly back for closing arguments in mid-September. Doing a brief before the closing isn’t the usual practice — just like on TV, you usually do closings right after the evidence is all in — but this isn’t a jury trial, and there’s a fair amount of law to consider in addition to the 25 years of history that both sides have presented through  their witnesses and hundreds of documents since trial began in May.

We arranged weeks ago to postpone our usual August trip to the beach by a week, and today the Siren and I need to sit down with a calendar and figure out whether to postpone it again — if that’s even possible, given the schedules of the other family members who use the house — or if we should just give up on the 813-mile road trip this year and spend the limited time we’ll have between the close of the evidence and the start of school closer to home. Maybe we’ll rent a place on the Michigan shore for a week instead. I’ll have to work on the brief wherever we go, so we need reasonable internet and cell service (no camping this summer, apparently), but we need to do something and go somewhere for at least a week where the Siren, the Unfocused Kids, and I can all be together uninterrupted for a while. We’ll all be disappointed not to go to the beach together, if that’s the decision — the Siren took the kids and her mother out for a week in June, so at least they’ve been, but the August trip has been our family time since before Junior was born, and even considering letting it go feels like opening a door we had taken great pains to board up.

Meanwhile, I need to pull out the copies of Yoga for Runners and Martial Arts Over 40 that the Siren gave me a while ago. Between sitting on my tuchus all day in court, sleeping on hotel beds (“Heavenly” or otherwise), then strapping myself into a tin can for hours on end twice a week, I’m slowly twisting into a pretzel.

Signing out, once again. I’ll try to check back around Labor Day.

It’s June 30, so I must be done and headed for home. Not.

Psych! The joke’s on you, imaginary internet people — We’re only halfway done with the trial, at best. I’ll be going home tomorrow, all right, but only for a couple of days. I’m flying back here on the Fourth of July for another week. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Hmm. Maybe the joke isn’t on you after all. See you in August. I hope.

Trying Times.

I was reminded a few weeks ago by Jeanne that I haven’t posted in a while. Of course, I hadn’t posted for a while before then, so what else is new?

The current excuse is that I’m on trial on the West Coast. That is to say, I am trying a case on the West Coast, as an attorney, not as a defendant. We started three weeks ago, took a two week break (long story) and are starting back up again tomorrow. The forecast calls for me to be out here for the entire month of June. It’s going to be a grueling month, unless something changes. Something can always change — things change all the time in this business (like any other), but not always for the better.

A little travel every couple of weeks — like a day or two — adds spice to the same-old same-old; day after interminable day in the office makes me want to hurl myself onto sharp objects. But week after week, coming home only on weekends, if then? Been there, done that, the first year the Siren and I were married. It wasn’t, to be blunt, any fun. I get twitchy without her after all these years, and while Skype video calls make being away from the kids slightly less unbearable, the time difference makes it hard to connect before their bedtime. We are less than 25 pages from the end of The Hobbit, with Bilbo, the dwarves, the wood elves, and the men of Lake-Town about to plunge into the Battle of the Five Armies along with the goblins, orcs, wolves, and eagles (sounds like more than five, doesn’t it?), and we probably won’t be able to finish it until Saturday. I have a copy on the Kindle app for my iph0ne, so I can read it to them over Skype, but it’s complicated to set up in their room and time it correctly, and I have only managed it once in the last several weeks.

We’ve also had some personal/family issues. At the top of the list, my stepmother of 35 years died last week, just 5 weeks after her cancer diagnosis. I’m not going to go into detail here — wrong forum, wrong time — but let’s just say that I’ve been doing a fair amount of compartmentalizing.

Not only do I not have the mental energy to work on my novel, but I’m not even going on F2ceb00k during the week until this is over. That’s just how little free mental RAM I’ve got.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been working on this case for 4 years now, and we’re finally reaching the denouement — I’m glad to be able to see it to the end. But I’d sure as hell rather be at home.

PowerPointapalooza!

I’m heading off to the Firm’s partners’ conference in sunny Florida today! So excited! I’ll miss the Shamrock Shuffle (moved to April this year to avoid the blizzards), but in its place I’ll have two full days of PowerPoint presentations on firm finances, large AND small group sessions on strategic initiatives, and of course, inter-office and cross-disciplinary networking opportunities! Slide shows and spreadsheets, with a chaser of mingling and small talk – the word “awesomesauce” was created for weekends like this.

On the upside, there’s a fair amount of socially acceptable drinking, and the Saturday afternoon group activities are a heck of a lot more varied and interesting than the first one of these things I went to (at the Old Firm), when the choices were (a) golf, and (b) spa day! (for the lady partners — this was 2005, so they had to be progressive). I think I went for a long run that afternoon instead. Maybe I’ll do the same thing this time, when I start to lose my mind after 7 hours straight of synergistic paradigm-shifting bullet-point riddled slide shows.

Happy Birthday to My Unfocused Girl!

Oh, God, she’s 10, and all I can think about is soon she’s going to be 14. I’m taking deep breaths.

Some pictures of my tough, determined, brilliant, serious, silly, buttkicking not-so-little girl from the past year:

First day with the bo staff in traditional weapons class.

Getting her high green belt in taekwondo.

Rock climbing in the Dells on Father's Day.

Getting ready to boogie board at the beach.

 

At the Renaissance Faire.

School picnic at the beginning of 4th grade.

In full Ravenclaw gear, as we were leaving to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Happy birthday, honey. I’m sure it will be a terrific year.

So Much For That.

I just wrote a long, rambling post that WordPress.com ate when I hit Save Draft, a good reminder that I should compose these posts elsewhere and just paste them into the New Post window here at WordPress. I don’t have the energy to re-write it, and frankly, you’re better off without it. Here are the highlights:

– Politics: Mayor-elect Emanuel good. Recently-appointed incumbent alderman running for his first election bad, because he is the 5th consecutive member of his family to serve as alderman in this ward, a seat they’ve held for 80 years. He could raise the frakking dead and I’d vote against him. Although he’d probably still win, what with all the dead voters supporting him and his “raise the dead platform” – this is still Chicago. Since he can’t raise the dead — so far as we know — that’s purely hypothetical, but he’ll probably still win. In Chicago, reform only goes so far, but political dynasties go on for-freaking-ever.

– Health: The Boy has strep for the second time in a month. He threw up in the bathroom sink in the middle of washing up for bed, which was extra special. The Siren and I both have slight fevers and my throat is sore. Question for the reader: if the Siren and I wake up in the morning with full blown strep, who will help Unfocused Girl with her Inventors’ Fair project tomorrow?

(It’s a trick question. I don’t care how sick I am, I’m going to help her finish the Inventor’s Fair project – it’s too cool not to. If you’re lucky, I’ll post pictures. If you’re really lucky, I’ll post video.)

– Unfocused Girl’s birthday: My first-born child turns 10 on Monday. Whatever it was I wrote probably didn’t amount to much more than this, only with fewer sweeping violins. I’ll post something specific on Monday.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m completely wiped out, so I’m just going to post this fast and then look at LOLcats until I can drag myself upstairs.

Disillusioning the Boy Early.

I sort of wish I’d pulled this out before the Boy read it, but on the other hand, it isn’t that different from what the Siren and I say over dinner. It’s just that it brings it home with a reference he understands:

Prickly City