Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘work’ Category

The Scene:  Harried working mom on her way home after a 12+ hour day, about an hour longer than she planned with.  The mom is wrought with guilt, feeling the pressure of months of a heavy work load.  She is concerned that her family is starting to get sick of it.  At the same time, said Mom is kinda tickled over her new iPhone, and is fussing with it in the backseat of the taxicab when she receives a text from her daughter:

E:  When are you coming home?

M:  I should be there by 7:30. Why?

E:  I just wanted to know.

M: Are you mad?

E:  No.

M:  Sorry that I’m running late.  It was a busy day.

E:  It’s okay.

M:  Are you sure?

E:  MOM!  I’m watching Heroes!  Stop texting me!

M:  So, here I am, feeling guilty that you’re missing me because I’m working too much, and in reality, you just want me to stay gone long enough for you to finish your television show?

E:  That about sums it up.  Now can you stop texting me?

Harumph.

Read Full Post »

Shopping

I went shopping today.  My wardrobe has been feeling oh-so-tired, and I really needed some new things.

Unfortunately, so did the girls, so the bulk of the clothing budget went to them, and I was not left with much to toy with.

Also unfortunate – I can’t find the perfect clothes for Lawyer-Zuska.  I am trying to find the right style, the right look.  Hasn’t happened yet.

Well, I found some stuff I absolutely LOVED.  But I can’t afford it.

I feel stuck between a hip young thing and a stuffy old maid.  I can’t pull either off. I’m looking and looking for a place that I can find affordable classic pieces that mix and match and don’t make me feel like I’m pretending in some way to be someone that I am not (like Ann Taylor makes me feel).  I need Ann Taylor on Tweed.  Or something.  I wish I knew.

I ended up at Gap.  I bought a few pairs of trousers and a few sweaters, and felt like I took care of the immediate need, but that’s about it.

I shall keep searching for the perfect Zuska attire …

Read Full Post »

The third coat.

I had to dash out of work at 5 p.m. today (not a normal leaving time, in my line of work), despite the fact that I’m dealing with a pretty tight work deadline.

I used to have to do this once a week during the kids’ school year, because my husband used to work late on Thursdays, and J needed to get to soccer practice, and both kids needed to eat, and you know, be parented.

But tonight, it was not a human being who was waiting for me – none were.  They’re all gone.  It was some crappy looking unevenly painted walls.  An exciting bedroom project gone horribly wrong, needing the next phase of repair.

And I was it.  Tagged.

Our bedroom in our new place came with mint-chip-ice-cream (the kind with nasty food dye in it) green walls.  When we first saw the place, we thought it was nice:  refreshing, even.  But as J was picking colors to cover the pepto bismol that exploded in the room that was to be hers, i got jealous.  I don’t want food-dye colored walls.  I want pretty walls.  The landlord said painting was fine with her, as long as we repainted any dark colors before we left.

So, the husband started looking at colors, and thought perhaps we would do what we started talking about back when we lived on the other ocean, and do a Moroccan color scheme.

How about red walls, a tan ceiling, and dark brown trim?

Sounded fine to me. But first I asked, “are you sure the room is big enough to carry off the dark colors?”  He said, “yes.”  And, b/c he went to art school, and knows his colors, I trusted him.

Should I say it here?  Or later on in the story?  The “trim” in this particular bedroom consists of 3 doorways (and, he insisted, the doors themselves), 3 large windows with intricate trim, a really nice moulding along the [entire!] celing, and – get this – a fireplace.  With a mantle.

Before he left for his 10-day trip out of state, we went to Home Depot and chose our colors.  They looked nice near each other.  I found me a Home Depot Paint Dude, and told him what we wanted.  He said, “you need a primer with reds.”

Now, if I’d done some research ahead of time – instead of believing the commercials where the Home Depot Paint Dudes are actually Home Depot Paint GODS – I would have known to say, “yes, I know we need a primer.  We would like a [dark grey] primer, or perhaps, a primer [the same color as the paint].  I would not have just nodded and smiled.  I would have done more than thought “how weird” when he handed me a can of PINK primer.

Light pink.

Let’s flash forward about 5 days.  The husband is gone.  The parents come to town.  My father paints E’s room.  “oh!  it’s so pretty!  It’s so easy!”  Then they move into J’s room – where my mother has a minor freak out that I’ve bought “day glo blue” paint.  She calls me at work, demanding some kind of answer from me.  Not sure what kind.  But then she called an hour later and said, “oh, I think it’s just the way it looked next to the pink, or else it just dried softer, it’s a nice color.”  thanks, mom.  Then they did the 1/2 bath, and it came out great, too (even though I did get a phone call saying “this yellow is really BRIGHT!” just to be predictably, at this point, followed up with a “oh, it softened, and now it’s really pretty!”)

Saturday brought a first stab at my room.  The reds!  The tan!  The brown!  Oh boy!  First some primer …. huh.  The red isn’t very red on top of that.  It’s more of a pink.  Let’s set that aside and do the tan ceiling (more of a sand color).  It was beautiful.  So soothing, and warm.  Very nice.

The pink primer was so horrible that we may as well have skipped the primer stage.  The red went on uneven and wimpy.  The first coat looked wretched.

but while it dried, my dad tried the trim.

Oh.  Ew.  Gross.

On top of the pink primer, the trim looked …red.  Just a different, bloodier red.  Or, perhaps cherries next to strawberries?  Or something else that just looks totally UGLY.

So we went to IKEA where I spent $700 on new furniture, and that made me feel a little better.

Then we went to Home Depot to figure out what the fuck was going on.

“The guy gave you PINK primer?” said the Paint God, who apparently took the day off when Beloved and I were there the week before.  “Oh, that’s bad.  He shouldn’t have done that.”  So we got a new primer, and went back on our way.

We tried it again – just the primer first, but it was the color of the paint.  Now the brownish-red looked more brown, but it was dark.  And it didn’t really look good. So in one small place, I went ahead with the glossier real paint.  It at least matched the color chip at this point.

But standing in that room, with the deep red walls and the pretty sand ceiling, the dark-dark-dark of the trim already felt oppressive.  And it was only covering a 1 foot piece of baseboard.

Shit.

If I were to cover the fireplace, 3 doors, 3 windows and the moulding with that, the room would close in like a dirt-packed cave.  The red would be lost.  The tan would be useless.

And in the meantime, the second coat of the nice, deep, red did not finish the job.  There still wasn’t total coverage.  And dad had to leave.

So they went back to Connecticut, leaving me in a room with pink trim in some places, white remaining in others, and dark dark brown in others, and strawberry mush, still in others, and walls that were streaky and uneven.

I was so upset.  I had spent so much money on re-buying and re-doing the paints to make this work.  I needed a second gallon of ceiling paint, and second gallon of wall paint, a new gallon of primer …. it just felt like I spent the whole weekend buying paint and paint accessories, watching my new bed fly out of my checking account with it all.

So I decided I was done.  Since Beloved picked the color for the trim, he could deal with it.  I had worked my ass off all weekend, and I was so stressed out.  I had spent every day all day walking up and down multiple stair cases carrying boxes and then scrubbing the new kitchen, and packing the girls’ current bedroom, and stressing over my parents, and spending money and more money and more money …. the bedroom mess was pushing me over the edge. I was doing my best to release it, to pass it on and let it go (unbeknownst to him, b/c he is not here, and has not called even ONE TIME.  Which is fine.  I’m fine with it.  Really.  He’s busy.)

But then it dawned on me that the Paint God (not the Paint Dude, who was wholly inadequate) and my father both said that we needed one week in between painting the walls with their third coat, and then putting tape on them to protect them from the trim-paint (which, as far as I’m concerned, and which Beloved does not know yet, will be the color of the ceiling.  It is a beautiful, soothing, complimentary color that will not shrink the room, and which we will not need to cover over when we leave – I can’t live with that dark brown suffocating me every time I walk in my room). Or else the tape will take the paint OFF.  Which would really piss me off.

Which meant I had to paint.  Because if I didn’t, and I left the whole thing for him when he got home, then he couldn’t paint until Saturday, at the earliest, and then the week wouldn’t be up until AFTER the movers, which would mean AFTER all our stuff was in our room, and the whole thing would become infinitely more complicated.

I had to tackle the bedroom demons, and apply the third coat.

And, since it’s – you know – paint.  Which is a color.  I thought perhaps it would be good to do it with light.  Preferably from the sun.

Which is why, deadline be damned, I scurried out of there at 5 p.m., wrestled with the 9,000,000 people in Boston who did the same, squished on the T with the 6,000,000 of those who take the Green Line, go to the dry cleaner to spend 1/3 of my spending allowance for the month on the privilege of having clean clothes to wear tomorrow, carry 8,000 pounds of plastic and clothes home – which is not near the dry cleaners – in 87 degree weather, put on crappy painting clothes, gather my phone, my blackberry, both sets of keys, my wallet (in case today – unlike every other day this week – I would actually have time to EAT something for dinner), and start painting with as much daylight left as possible.

And of course this was the night that a partner called me (in my office) at 7:15. I don’t need to return the call until tomorrow, but it at least momentarily added to the stress.

Daylight dwindled, but I think things look good now.  (other than the pink, the brown, the white and the smooshy strawberry trim).  The walls are rich, the paint is even, and it’s shaping up. The room really can carry the red.  Just not the red and the brown. Now it can dry for a week, and then someone else can take over to figure out what color primer is needed in order to make a tan look the same when applied over a pink, a brown, a smooshy strawberry, and white.

Now it’s 10 p.m., I’m back in the messy house, and no – I haven’t eaten dinner.  Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow brings a training until 6 (so I can do family law pro bono work), and then the much-needed cleaning and emptying of the girls’ room.

What a week.

Read Full Post »

(yeah, apparently I remembered that I have a blog … for today)

Boston wore a disguise today.  It pretended to be San Francisco, and try on the natural air conditioner for size.

Of course, it wasn’t as beautiful.

Like on the hotter days, back in Berkeley, when I’d decide to pack the kids up for a quick jaunt to the beach, just to cross the bridge and see the fog rolling in, wisping down off the tips of the hills, realizing that if I hadn’t brought sweatshirts, the trip would have been a waste.  But we knew what we were doing, and had not only bathing suits and sunscreen, but also sweatpants and sweatshirts.

No, it wasn’t that extreme in Boston today — there was actually no fog, just an ocean breeze — but it was a huge change in temperature.  I had gone downstairs at 2, and even left the building (an absolute rarity between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., I’m sad to report) so that I could stop by the bank and get a cashier’s check for the last step before our move in three weeks … it was sweltering.  It was so hot, you felt like you were a chicken in a roasting pan.  Despite the linen, despite the shorter sleeves – it was just. too.  hot.

But when 4 p.m. struck, and I felt drowsy while reading a deposition that printed in a weird order, I rounded up some friends for an iced coffee at Starbucks (unfortunately convenient in the lobby downstairs … still no call to leave the building).  But I’d seen that headline – 20 degree drop in 20 minutes?  And I said, “let’s go see!”

It really was cooler.  There was no sweat dripping down the butt cheeks.  Not a single drop.  It was still muggy and moist and nowhere near as seasonally disorienting as the S.F. fog had been.  But we got to sit outside.

For all of 7 minutes before the Crackberries started buzzing and the twitching got to be too extreme to ignore as we started to imagine all the partners that were (of course not) ringing our phones off the hook wondering why the hell we weren’t working at 4:07 p.m.!!

I later enjoyed my walk to Boston’s South Station, the weather still mild.  But by the time I got off the train a mere 3.5 miles away, I had left the little ocean-breeze-bubble, and the sweat returned.

Ick.

Read Full Post »

I do not write this blog to educate others.  I am not here to give you instruction or advice.  There have been times that people have read my blog and thought perhaps I would have some advice, or experiences to share, and they’ve written to me through my publicized e-mail, and they received the advice and they’ve received more details. Through a private conversation.

If you want to know what it’s like to be a lawyer-mom, then you’re going to have to find people who want to tell you what it’s like.  You don’t have the luxury of just browsing the internet and stumbling on this blog, which is MINE (not yours), and having that particular detail of my life exposed to you.

Blogs are public.

My job is important to me.

It is not the fodder for public commentary.

Regardless of the “honesty” that you feel I have somehow committed to just by using up this URL.

Having a blog has NOTHING to do with my livelihood.  I will not risk one for the sake of the other.

If you want “honesty” from people – dig a little fucking deeper than clicking on a link.  That’s not where real sharing comes from in my life.

Real sharing comes from a give and a take – from an investment in each other’s lives.  From some sort of trust which – in my opinion – cannot be built amongst strangers.

Hell – in my experience – real trust can barely be built through years of friendship.

So if you want more – give more.  Make a fucking effort.   Don’t just sit there whining about other people’s choices and other people’s refusal to hand you your life’s research on a platter.

Read Full Post »

This is the first year that the girls have been home during a school vacation week.  My higher income gave me a bit of a bargaining chip in the child support/visitation department.  He pays less, I get to play with the kids more.  We were going to go to D.C., but instead choose to syphon funds into the new apartment and furniture therefore.  I think it’s for the best, because the girls often complained about traveling for the vacations, preferring to STAY AT HOME.  D.C. is not home.  I think if we planned a week long trip, they would have been upset.  They also really needed the week of downtime, after the play last weekend having sucked all of their energy for the past 3 months.

This means it was also their first time seeing the Boston Marathon.  Beloved and I saw it in 2005, and had a great time wandering down Beacon Street, watching the “elite” runners, and even having one front runner woman collapse at our feet – seconds after we scrambled to move our sandwiches as she hovered above us looking peaked.

Today, I took the girls.

They were enthralled.

We had a great time.  We just wandered around our town, cheering the runners on, feeling first bewildered at the “elite” and their absolute lack of fat (and seemingly a lack of muscle – some of them looked like refugees!), then enjoying checking the “normal people” runners for those that we know.  I must also admit to a wee bit of mockery toward those who were still jogging/sweating/puffing 6 hours later.  Just a wee bit, because I know that would be me, if I were doing the marathon.  I mean, I could do a 1/2 marathon, and certainly a 1/4 … but not a 26 mile run.  But I also DID NOT do it.  I would rather put in the time and train and then run it in 3 or 4 hours than spend 6 or 7 hours miserably trying to keep up.  What a FULL DAY of huffing and puffing.  Ick!!!

It was a great day, though.  Beautiful weather, fun kids, relaxation.  I had one 25 minute phone call with work about some stuff that I have most knowledge about, but I don’t think it interfered too much with our day.  I knew it was probable that it would come up, because some big stuff is happening in my absence.  Considering everything – my interruption was tiny.

I just had to call it quits on a game of Yahtzee because the kids were going NUTS – so very hyper and looney.  I kicked them to the park, and am trying to take deep breaths in the quiet.

Read Full Post »

Posting has been light, but with good reason.  The kids’ school play was this past weekend, wherein E was one of the leads, and J was an adorable little singer & dancer.  I, meanwhile, was on the “production team,” and ended up spending every spare moment – both at work and at home – dealing with various play-related issues.

Because of the play, and the importance of it to E, we had a few other things going on this weekend –The Ex was in town; my parents came for the day; and I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to schedule E’s parent-teacher conference for Friday, thinking that I would be at the school all day anyway.

But uh, Zuska?  Did you forget?  You have a job.  It’s sort of full time.

This whole thing worked to force my firm to live up to their oft-stated promises of being a place where work-life balance can be achieved.  I will find out tomorrow (maybe) if there is any fall out to my proclamation of unavailability.

The balancing of the two universes in my life gave me great stress.  It was very uncomfortable, and tense for me.  I did not have uncomfortable interactions (well, sort of one, but I think it was okay), but I had stress and guilt emanating from my very soul.  I am so glad it’s behind me.  (Although I still have a twinge of bad-feelings due to the fact that I am taking the week after next as a vacation week.)

Once that was all folded up into its work box, I was able to shift my stresses to the personal realm.

And how.

In order of events:

  1. I have my first ever negative parent-teacher conference about E;
  2. The ex shows up and drops a summer-related bomb on me during the intermission of the kids’ show – and would not let it go despite several repetitions of “i don’t want to talk about this right now.”
  3. My parents came for the day, bringing all their accouterments and noise;
  4. E woke up on the day of her second show with a scratchy voice, stuffy nose, and persistent cough;
  5. My parents and the Ex and his wife, and Beloved all had to wait in line for the play together for an HOUR, standing no more than 3 feet away from each other.  (That’s where the civility came in – thank you to all.)
  6. Beloved was assigned (by me) a play-related job that required us to partner in dealing with the actors and the cues and such – it didn’t work out so well, and we had the great pleasure of having an in-public argument.  I think people noticed.
  7. I was recognized publicly for my work on the play, with a spotlight on my face.  I hate being in front of a crowd.  Ptooey.
  8. My work at the play included being sure that people weren’t sneaking in to “save seats” and keeping the right people in the right places.  SEVERAL people now refer to me as “that bitch over there,” because unless someone was blind (there were two of them) or otherwise impaired, they were waiting in the fucking line with the rest of the universe (including my family and my children).

It is no small feat that my parents and the Ex managed to stay civil.  I was very worried.  Wanna know how worried?  Here is a funny story.

I told my mom on the phone about the Ex’s stunt re: the summer, while she was driving here from Connecticut.  She was lamenting the fact that she had to see him, and was promising me that she would not even acknowledge his existence.  Which I knew could be very awkward, since I knew they both wanted to be first in line (the line that other people felt too special to go into) so they could have good seats in a sold-out show to see their daughter/granddaughter.

While the parents were finishing their drive, I was e-mailing the ex about the fact that he dropped the fact that tickets to a cruise have been bought by his mother for a week that he does not have the kids, and for a week that Beloved and I planned on taking them to Maine for vacation.

Then the parents arrived.  Mom asked me for a book.  I gave her “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” which I must say I didn’t like so very much, and found quite UNremarkable, but thought she would like.  She doesn’t like my favorite books.  She finds them “too hard.”  So I’ve learned to give her books that I find to be a bit …. thin.  She read the back of the book outloud.  It’s about a doctor, who because of a blizzard ends up delivering his own children.  One is born a perfectly normal boy, the other a girl with Downs Syndrome (This is all on the back of the book, I’m giving nothing away)  He turns to his nurse (tiny little sole practitioner office, his nurse his only employee) and tells her to take the baby to a home.  His wife is unconscious.  The nurse instead keeps the baby and moves to another city to raise her.

A beat goes by.  Perhaps other topics discussed.  Then:

Mom:  I am mad at him already

Me:  Mom, please don’t talk about this right now (because I just know she’s talking about the Ex, despite the fact that J is curled up on the couch with her).

Mom:  What?  I’m entitled to my feelings.  Maybe I’ll change my mind, but right now, I’m mad.

Me:  MOM!  I am serious, I need you to not discuss this right now.

Mom:  [sticks her tongue out at me]

Me:  I am NOT kidding!  If you don’t stop right now, I am going to need to talk to you in the other room.

Mom:  You are being very unfair.  I’m not saying anything but my own feelings and I’m entitled to my feelings.

Me:  RIGHT now, you need to come with me in to the other room.

[she gets up with me and comes into my bedroom]

Me:  The girls do NOT need to know that anything is going on, I don’t want you to …..   [her perplexed expression causes my brain to click into gear.]  oh.  You were talking about the doctor, weren’t you?

Mom:  What ELSE would I be talking about?

Me:   I am sooooo sorry!  I thought you were talking about the Ex!!

Mom:  NO!!

Nice one, Zuska.

J later said that she knew we must have been talking about different things, because she knew I would never get so mad about her just talking about a BOOK.  At least she knows that about me.  And is not thinking that she has an irrational control-freak bitch of a mother.

Like I said to my mother – I guess we now know what’s at the forefront of MY mind.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »