Friday, July 27, 2012

Blog

Now blogging at:

http://fotdickens.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back

For now.

You can read about my scary internet harassment incident here. Nothing new has happened since that post. I'm optimistic that the whole ordeal might be over. For now, I just want to be back to normal. But I am going to try to be a little more careful about what I post on any internet forum.

Does anyone know how to make the content of blogs not searchable? Is that even possible?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adventures East Of The Columbia River

I'm the kind of person who will do something SOLELY for the sake of being able to say that I did something. My philosophy is to live your life so that you have stories to tell. This philosophy has guided me through many crazy little adventures and life tangents.

It's the reason I ate aligator on a stick and ostrich burgers at the Taste of Chicago in 2004. It's the reason I went to Space Camp in highschool . . . and put an unwrapped BabyRuth on the floor of the women's shower. It's (one of) the reason(s) I eloped. This philosophy has also led me to dance on top of many bars in my short life (Ok, fine. It was three bars). It inspired me to eat my friend's Mystery Pizza in middleschool (you don't want to know and yes, it tasted horrible).

aIt's the reason I skipped the only class I ever skipped in highschool and the reason I went home with the divorced elementary school teacher I met at a bar on my 21st birthday (he turned out to be a gentleman and slept on the couch, I swear). It's the reason I made my group of fellow law student volunteers walk three miles so I could ride the train in downtown New Orleans just for one stop.

This philosophy of mine has landed me one step from the beaten path on many occassions. And now that I've stopped going home with strangers and (mostly) dancing on bars, I still drag my family along on little adventures while we are on vacation. Never content to sit on the sideline and enjoy the freshness of a new place from pure observation alone, I'm the person who makes you try new things just fo the reason that it is new and therefore, "adventurous." I'm the person who takes pictures of everything she sees while on vacation. The one who makes you pose oddly with inanimate objects. The one who squeals over famous and not so famous landmarks and enjoys staying in any hotel just for the fact that, OMG, it's a HOTEL!

Last weekend my family and I drove out to Spokane for a mini family re-union. Aside from the five hour car ride with my mom, dad, little brother, husband and toddler, it was pretty fun. And I got to do some ADVENTUROUS things!






















Monday, July 26, 2010

When A Partner Calls Your Cell At 7:30am

It's never to tell you that you are awesome.

During my commute this morning, my cell phone started to ring. I looked down at the phone in my lap and saw the name of one of the firm's partners dubiously flash across the screen. My first thought was, "Oh Shit!"

Oh Shit! was I supposed to be at a meeting that I forgot about?

Oh Shit! did he just read my draft motion and think it was the equivalent of what would come out of Satan's ass if Satan ate a bucket of magnet alphabet letters?

Oh Shit! does he have a last minute project that he wants me to finish in an hour?

Oh Shit! did he actually mean to call his Great-Aunt Cee? (and, btw, who has Great-Aunts anymore?)

Let's get one thing clear, I was not thinking happy thoughts when I saw his name. And when I heard the tone of his voice, my gut went the way of old lady boobs and dropped straight down to my knees.

"Cee..."
"Uh, hi. Hello Partner."
"I'm preparing for that deposition in the X matter. The one that you prepared the notice of deposition for. The one scheduled for 9am today."
"Yes..... [insert feeling of death]"
"I didn't reserve a conference room for this deposition, did you?"
.... phew.... is that all?......
"No I didn't...I will talk to the receptionist as soon as I get in."
"You didn't happen to schedule a court reporter did you?"
OH SHIT.
OH SHIT.
OH, HOLY MOTHER OF SHIT.
"Oh...ahem....no?"
"Shit." [my thoughts exactly.]

Maybe I'm too hard on myself. Maybe I always fear the worst. Maybe I tend to over-react. But the only thing I focused on during the rest of my commute was what kind of funeral my career might be having by the end of the day.

My imagination went wild and I expected to show up at work with all the partners and associations huddled by the front door, wearing scaldingly scolding expressions. 25 pairs of fingers pointing disapprovingly at me. Boxes full of my picture frames and office nick-nacks, waiting for me.

I began texting my husband like crazy, warning him of the impending doom and the fact that I might be a stay-at-home mom by lunchtime. I can't say that I didn't almost cry. How could I forget something so basic? Sure, I've never scheduled or prepared for a deposition before, but STILL. I should have figured it out. Did I think court reporters magically rained down from heaven?

That was seriously the longest commute of my life. Then I got to work and it was so anti-climactic. No one even cared. No one even knew. Everyone was going about their own business and had no clue about my huge guffaw. I even popped my head into Partner's office and all he said was, "can you get me a copy of X's medical records? Thanks."

And so Cee rides again. She lives to make another mistake. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Spinning Wildly Out Of Control

I'm generally a happy person. People always comment on how much I smile (in fact, one of the partners at my firm recently called me "Smiley"). I'm very adaptable and, therefore, it takes a lot to make me upset. I like to think I have a high tolerance for stress, inconvenience, stupid people and for things generally not going my way. Well, this week, that threshold has been met.

It started last week with a bunch of assignments at work being thrust on me at the last minute and coming due all at the same time. Then it continued with more and more assignments. I would just come out from under my pile of work when I'd be hit with a mountain of more *urgent* things. From there, all areas of my life have snowballed into a big pile of shit. And it stinks. Like all my debts to the gods of Karma are coming due at the same time.

The thing is I still LOVE all the work I do. Each of my assignments is interesting and challenging and exciting in itself. The problem is with the AMOUNT of it that I have to do and the seemingly impossible deadlines that I have to meet.

Every day, it seems, for the past two weeks people have burst into my office with urgent, life-and-death pleadings that needed to be written and filed THAT DAY. In one day alone I helped to write and file four oppositions to motions in limine. Note to self: never, ever again hope that one of your cases goes to trial. I have so much on my plate that I feel like I'm dropping the ball all over the place.

On top of that, I got an email from management warning me that I did not meet my billable hours last month (or any month before that), telling me that I'm behind by 70 hours total and asking my to justify this. The thing is, I KNOW I met my billables last month so this is really frustrating. Another associate told me not to take it personally, but I can't help it. I was close to tears for the rest of the day.

Also, I'm working on an assignment for someone who literally stands behind me while I type. I just can't concentrate like this. When I can't concentrate,, I feel stupid and like a failure. I was forced to hold back more tears.

This week, I've worked three 11 hour days and two 9 hour days. Overall, I'm exhausted. I'm also mentally and physically drained.

Then there's the shit going on (or not going on) in my domestice life. For one, my house is a freaking mess. But I have no energy to do anything about it. My laundry is piled up into multiple out-of-control piles.

Because my house is a mess, my husband is pissed off at me. He blew up at me last night for not cleaning. Seriously? When was I supposed to clean, between my 11 hour work days and 4 hours of commuting?!

Then there's the fact that I haven't spent quality time with my son all week. I miss him so much. I feel like he's changing so fast and I'm missing it all. He just gets more and more sweet each day and it kills me to neglect him for work.

My student loan payment has increased by $300 dollars starting this motn. It's almost as much as our mortgage now. Forking this money over each month tears a tiny little hole in my soul.

Finally, I really, REALLY want another baby. And another one is still in the plans. But with all the things happening at work I'm really worried that I won't be able to balance the two. Will adding another person on top of this shit pile really be a good idea?

The cumulation of everything above is just really tearing me down. I've been on the verge of tears all day. I feel like everything is spinning wildly out of control and I can't get a grip on all my obligations and responsibilities. The work stress by itself, I can handle but the home stress, my feelings of inadequacy and the lack of sleep on top of that are really getting to me.

I think it's time to get lost in one of my cowboy western romance books... if only I had the time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Billing In Odd Places

One of the best things about my job is that I can work practically anywhere. Unless I need to meet a client or discuss something with a partner, I can do my job at home, in a coffee shop or even beachside. All I really need is my computer and internet access. Sometimes I don't even need that!

Here are some odd places I've billed today:

1) While taking a shower this morning, inspiration suddenly struck. Mid-lather, I basically drafted a letter to opposing counsel in response to a letter he sent me the day before. So, that would be .1 for preparation of correspondence to opposing counsel....while lathering my hair!

2) When I arrived at the ferry station I realized that they had switched out our usualy ferry boat for an older boat, one without an outlet. Ugh, if only I would have known, I would have charged my laptop. I circled the boat but the only outlet I could find was in the women's bathroom. Guess where I prepared my status report? The smell was less than inspiring though.

3) Later in the day I had to travel to a nearby city to do a privilege review of our client's documents. When we travel for work we get to add that in to the amout of time it takes us to complete the billable task. So I happily rolled down the windows and bellowed along to the songs that played on my favorite country station, all the while billing some good, quality time. NICE!

My joy was interrupted, however, upon my return to the office. The second I stepped back into the office, I received a letter from opposing counsel stating that our answer to a complaint was overdue and warning of a pending default judgment. My heart skipped a beat for a second. Then I berated myself and wondered how I could miss such an important deadline. Of course, in my state you can defeat a default judgment by bringing your answer to the default judgment hearing but I didn't want to look bad in front of the partner!

Then I read the letter more carefully and looked up the civil rule only to discover that opposing counsel's argument is in direct conflict with the plain language of the civil rule. According to the civil rule, we had over 30 more days to file our answer. Um, seriously? Did he even read the rule? In response, I sent him a one paragraph letter re-stating the local rule word for word- with relevant portion bolded, of course. I really, really wanted to end the letter by saying, "EAT THAT!"*

But I refrained.


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* This reminds me of one of my favorite lawschool professor's rants. Essentially he lectured to his 1Ls that students and attorneys need to read statutes really carefully. His quotable from that lecture was, "learn to read statutes, or else your children will not go to college."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Office Decor

My office badly needs a make-over.

The walls are bare with the exception of two nails poking out indicating where the old inhabitant hung his diplomas.

My desk is ugly. Butt ugly. It's a very light, yellowish fake oak color. And it's almost sparkly in the sunlight.

There are stacks of paper everywhere. I've been so busy billing that I've only had time to organize my case files into stacks of paper lined up across my desk, bookshelf and windowsill. Yes, it's pretty bad.

But at least I have my shoes in order. (see that white envelope to the left of my Frye boots? That's my law school diploma. Nice place for it huh?)

I've decided that my office needs this:


(a Fathead wall cling of a fireplace)

What do ya think?