Tag Archives: Work


On Sunday night, I arrived home with the Siren and the kids from the beach. Our trial team finished examining the last of the witnesses on Thursday, August 25; the Siren drove the kids out on her own earlier in the week, and I was going to fly out to meet them on Friday.

Irene. What a bitch.

The beach town issued a mandatory evacuation order — not that the Siren needed to be ordered away from a hurricane — and we spent the first three days of our postponed and reduced vacation in a Philadelphia hotel, then had just four and a half days instead of our usual two weeks.

Even though I spent at least half of each day at the beach working — the evidence is in, but we have closing briefs to write before the closing arguments, now scheduled for the end of the month — at least we had a few days together before school started up again.  We got home Sunday night, and it was the first time since May 10 that I was coming home and not turning right around again to fly back out west.  The kids started school the day after Labor Day, and I spent my first full day at the office in four months.  To say I’m disoriented would be an understatement. I assume I will loosen up a bit in the next few weeks, but for now I’m still very tightly wound.

You see, I still haven’t unpacked. I’m not sure I remember how.


One Week More.

No, really, this time I mean it. One more week of hauling back and forth to Botox City, and the weekly commute will finally be over. Oh, sure, I’ll go back for a day or two here and there — we won’t have closing arguments until mid-September because the judge wants us to brief the legal issues for him, and there will probably be follow up, but after this week, the most TRYING part of the case will be over (get it? what, did I make that joke already? fine, be that way).

Also, weekend fatherhood sucks. I spent more time with my dad during summers growing up than I’ve spent with my kids the last three months, and my parents were divorced. Trying to step back into that role when you’ve been gone all week, week after week, isn’t easy. Today it was trying to advise my daughter when the bratty girl across the street behaved badly, again — I don’t know that I’d have any good answers for her ordinarily, but I’m so removed from the situation now I really don’t have any idea what to say except that the kid’s a jerk and not to bother about her. Inspiring stuff.

One more week.

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.


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.

Planning for the Future.

I went to a business development training session this afternoon at the office (it wasn’t mandatory, but it seemed like a good idea). This is not the kind of thing I generally enjoy, and today was no exception; I spent the hour making notes about all of the other things I needed to do and generally wishing I was somewhere else.  I did make some notes about the presentation itself, since the presenter said that taking notes was important (I don’t remember why, because I forgot to write that part down).

Did I mention there was PowerPoint? You knew there was PowerPoint.

At one point, the presenter put up a slide telling me I needed to think about future trends that could impact my business, then told me to think about future trends that could impact my business, then added a bullet point on the screen suggesting that I write down five future trends that could impact my business.  Here’s what I wrote:

  • energy scarcity
  • flooding
  • chemical poisoning of the food supply
  • zombie attacks

I just realized I only wrote down four future trends that could impact my business.  Crap.  Although after the zombie attacks, I’m not sure there would be any future trends to worry about.

Over the weekend, I finished my re-read of what I’ve written so far of Breezeway (95% written during NaNoWriMo last November, the rest in fits and starts since).  I didn’t make many changes on this pass, just a few notes or tweaks here and there; I’m glad to see that it isn’t as execrable as I thought it would be. Today, I managed to write 1100 words, probably the most I’ve written in one day since November 30. If I manage another 1000 words over the rest of the week, it would be the most productive week I’ve had since NaNo ended, too. It’s hard getting back into the habit, but re-reading what I’ve done so far left me really wanting to finish the damn thing.

Why I Don’t Blog About Work.

There are two reasons I rarely even mention my job, and never post about anything I’m actually working on.

1.  I assume it would bore the hell out of you and no one would ever visit this lonely blog again.

2.  This. Seriously, this is why they need to make the bar exam harder.

The Goddamn Thing Is Goddamn Done.

I sent The Chapter off to the publisher a few minutes ago.  Now I’m sipping a bit of Scotch and trying to decide how bad it would be, really, to simply collapse on the floor when the last of the adrenaline wears off in about … now.

Ninety pages — 90 — and 17,839 words.  I think I wrote 10,000 words since last Friday night.  My Scrivener file for the project, which contains the draft and all of the research, is a whopping 178 MB. The last couple of weeks have been a little challenging, to say the least.  If the Siren hadn’t stepped up and just handled everything (even more than she usually does) I’d have fallen apart days ago.

Unless you’re an estate planner in Illinois, or (like me) a litigator with a quirky niche practice, you’d fall asleep by page 2.  But for that narrow audience, I think this treatise is going to be really useful, and I’m glad to be a part of it.  It’s not a novel, but it’s major work and it’s going to be published with my name in big bold type on the cover sheet for the chapter.  It may not be the same as seeing something I wrote on display at airport bookstores nationwide, but it feels pretty damn good.

I did learn a couple of important lessons in the last few months of working on The Chapter, mostly in the last few weeks.  Here’s a short list before I pass out from exhaustion:

  • The process was educational; I’ve learned some substantive law in subjects I didn’t know much about.
  • Now that the hard work is over (until they send it back for revisions), I’m really glad I volunteered.
  • It’s amazing how quickly I can type when I need to.
  • It is possible to do a massive research project without wasting truckloads of paper.
  • I also learned an important lessons about starting big projects on time and working consistently, so that I can finish them on time without unnecessary stress and drama.


OK, seriously, time for bed.

This Goddamn Thing Is Almost Done.

Very tired this morning, because I was up too late working on The Chapter. I haven’t talked about it much here, but last spring I was invited to write a chapter for a one-volume legal treatise. Now my final-you’ve-had-three-extensions-and-that’s-it deadline is Friday. I’m pretty close to finished, got a lot done over the weekened, and if I could just spend one more solid day on it I’d be in great shape.  But between court appearances, meetings, phone calls, and a couple of filings later in the week, I have no time to steal for this.  So it’s late nights and bleary mornings for the rest of the week.

Labor Day Weekend is going to be sweet.