Friday, February 27, 2015

Bits and blurbs - low-blooded edition

I gave blood at lunchtime and have felt kind of icky since, so you're getting a bunch of nothing tonight.
  • It's cold here. It's been cold here for weeks. And we're set to get another 6-8 inches of snow on Sunday. I'm done with winter now, thank you.

  • I painted my toes a lovely, springy lavender color tonight to try to fight the blahs brought on by the news of the impending snow storm. It's not really working, but my toes do look pretty.

  • I have a date tomorrow night. I have no reason for telling you this other than the satisfaction of being able to write it on my blog without worrying about it showing up as an exhibit in court.

  • Remember the other day when I talked about burning out on my job a little right now? Turns out it's not just me. "Radical indifference." Sounds about right.

  • BUT! The case that's causing me to hate life might, maybe, possibly be decided soon! Like on Monday, hopefully. I hate to get my hopes up (because I've thought this thing was leaving my desk at least three or four times in the past couple of weeks), but I'm really hoping the judge signs this thing and gets it filed before one of the parties does or files something else stupid.

  • I let the boys have a movie night tonight (which means eating dinner (generally pizza) in the living room (something we NEVER do) while watching a movie. It's a huge hit around here). We watched The Lego Movie, and now I have "Everything Is Awesome" stuck in my head. Naturally.

  • The countdown to the end of the speech and debate season is at two weeks. I have one more debate to judge on the 21st, and then I'm DONE. I don't really want to judge this debate, but I've conned convinced two of my friends from other areas of the state to judge, too, and I'm excited to see both of them.

  • I decorated my bedroom tonight! Sort of. I put up a print I finally got a frame for, and hung an empty frame I need to print a picture for. It's nothing much, and I had to use the existing nails, which are all kind of in strange places/at strange heights, but it's decor! This is an improvement for me!

  • I planned to go to bed by about 8:30 tonight. Oops.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Burnout

A quick update. Monday threw me a little off balance and yesterday I was CRABBY (moody is probably a better word for it). Yesterday was also therapy day, though, so I hashed it all with Timmy and only got his patented "Emily, what are you DOING?" look like twice, which I consider a success. I left his office feeling much lighter and hating the world slightly less. I still kind of like my genetic predisposition theory, but I'm moving on.

But why I'm really here today is the subject of professional burnout. I'm feeling a little over my job right now. This happens occasionally, but I get over it and go back to mostly loving what I do. What's unusual this time is that I'm also feeling a little over my profession. I feel like I need a break from the law. That's never happened to me before, and it concerns me a bit. During other burnout episodes, I've gotten through by fantasizing about my next - obviously more amazing - job that I'm motivated to find because I feel like I hate my current job. This time, though, the only thing that sounds appealing is chucking my state code books over a cliff and burning my Lexis and Westlaw contracts.

The thing is, I know exactly what's causing the burnout this time. There's a case that's been on my desk for about a month now that first annoyed me, then MAJORLY stressed me out, then pissed me off, and is currently stressing me out again while also pissing me off. It's a fairly high profile thing that has garnered media attention (and will probably continue to do so for a while), which makes me worry about the caliber of my work far more than I normally do; this doesn't just need to be good, it needs to be impeccable. The fact that I haven't been able to push out this decision because of idiot lawyers doing idiot things is also grating on my nerves. I had my decision finished, polished, perfected, and ready for His Honor's signature, and then one side filed something that screwed it all up and set the process back at least a week. I've been working on this project outside of work hours - practically every night after the kids go to bed and for a few hours on my weekends - for the better part of three weeks. And it's all free time for my employer because this outside time isn't technically required, so I can't (or, more accurately, won't) request comp time. None of these problems are particularly unusual for a lawyer (even one with a cushy government job like mine), but when you pile this crap on top of a trial with a problem-child defendant that caused significant personal stress because of unexpected scheduling issues, having to sit through my first child rape trial, figuring out the details for mock trial while dealing with a disgruntled advisor, and getting really behind on my other work because of the attention I'm devoting to this case, this case and its requirements are crushing my soul.

Worse, the lassitude I'm feeling toward work is bleeding into other areas of my life. I'm sick to death of speech and debate. I couldn't WAIT until the stupid mock trial competition season ended. Doing ministerial bullshit for the bar association makes me want to scream. Rearranging my schedule to accommodate meetings and appointments is irritating the hell out of me. And, as I so aptly muttered to myself this evening as I was cleaning up yet another mess my children created by being careless, "this parenting gig fucking sucks."

In short, I've got a bad attitude about life and everything in it right now.

I think the only real cure for my problems is a weeks-long tropical vacation, but considering the impossibility of that, I need some other fixes. What do you when burnout (of any variety) hits?

Monday, February 23, 2015

The homewrecker gene

I was born without the girl gene. Not the one that makes me look and feel like a girl, I mean. And I obviously have a perfectly functional female reproductive system. See, e.g., 

Yep, the uterus works.
I'm talking more about the gene that makes me capable of doing girl things like hair and make-up and scrapbooking. I suck at all of the above (and then some). In its place, I think, is something I've taken to calling the home-wrecker gene.

I have a small-but-significant string of completely inappropriate guys in my past who have fallen in love with me. These men were friends (JUST friends) who were in long-term romantic relationships. They also happened to fall for me. I wasn't interested in them romantically, and didn't do anything to encourage them (I don't think), it just happened. That didn't matter to the long-term significant others. They all - every single woman - hated me. I took a lot of blame for ruining relationships and being dishonest about my intentions.

As I'm sure you can imagine, I did not like it. At all. Since the last time (which was late college and resulted in the break-up of an almost-engagement), I've been fairly vigilant about not doing anything with/around/thinking about my guy friends that might in any way be taken as something home-wrecky because I don't want to be in that position again. It's worked for me over the past decade. I've had guy friends whose girlfriends/fiancees/wives don't hate me, and, in fact, like me and get along well with me. It's nice. And it's been long enough that I thought it was ancient history.

Well. That happy little train of thought came to a screeching halt this morning when a guy friend made the offhanded comment that "[his] wife kind of hates [me]." Because I like nothing more than opening cans of worms that are best left alone, I probed into that statement a bit. Apparently she thinks that my friendship with this guy (not HIS friendship with me, mind you, but MY friendship with him) has crossed a line into some sort of emotional affair and she's (naturally) pissed about it. Oh, and this conversation led to him confessing that he's in love with me.

*Headdesk*

Great. The curse is back and I've lost another guy friend to it (because I can't continue this friendship any more, right?)

I can't figure out why this happens. I don't mean for this to happen. I don't WANT this to happen. It's frustrating for me because I don't like being the one responsible for ruining romantic relationships.* Naturally, I think the only rational explanation is that it must be in my genes. If it's genetic, it's not really my fault, right? And I can't be held responsible for ruining lives, right?* Because I hate the way this makes me feel and I hate losing friends like this. But I try the best I can to fight against my genetic disadvantages, which is all anyone in my position can do, right?

As ridiculous as the home-wrecker gene theory is, I'm sticking with it because I need an explanation. But honestly, I'd rather have the gene that codes for being awesome at applying make-up.

* I know I'm not really responsible for their relationship problems, but it sort of feels like I am when I'm in the middle of this stuff.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bits and blurbs - exotic animal edition

So busy...trying to stick with blogging...giving you a filler post...
  • I STILL haven't told you about my trip to DC, mostly because I'm lazy, but also because I've been working my ass off with work-work and extracurricular-work. My evenings have been devoured by either research and writing or passing out by about 8:30 because I'm exhausted.

  • One of my extracurricular projects resulted in this:
That's a cert petition, bitches!
  • Indeed, I am one of the three named attorneys on a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. EEEEEEEE!!!! Such an exciting thing for a super-dorky lawyer such as myself. It'll never (ever, ever, ever) get in, but it was SO COOL just getting to file something there. So cool.

  • And chances are that it's not as crappy as a petition filed by a pro se prisoner, so it won't be the worst thing the clerks have ever read. So there's that.

  • Working on the petition resulted in my pulling an almost-all-nighter. Two weeks later, and I'm STILL recovering from it. If staying in a dorm room for a week didn't prove to me that I'm far too old to be pretending I'm still in college, this certainly did.

  • You know what made me decide to sleep for about 2.5 hours instead of going all night? I'd been researching a topic and trying to find law supporting our thoughts on it for over an hour. (As an aside, it doesn't take me an hour to find ANYTHING when I'm doing research. If I can't find something within 20-30 minutes, it probably doesn't exist. That doesn't mean I complete ALL the research in that little time; just that I always find a starting place by then.) At about 2:30 a.m., I opened a case I really thought was going to tell me what I wanted to hear and be my breakthrough...and it wasn't. And I burst into tears. I realized then that sleeping from 2:30-5:00 was probably not a bad idea, and would still likely give me time to finish my stuff by the 7:00 a.m. deadline. Good times.

  • Also on my work plate lately is a case involving lions and tigers and bears - literally. My judge was the poor sucker lucky jurist who drew this case when it came in as a temporary restraining order 15 days ago, and it's been the bane of my existence since then. I've been working for the past week on a huge decision that's going to be very highly and closely scrutinized, and it's giving me nervous tummy. I don't want my boss to look bad because of something I wrote, and this is all very new, untested law. I've got no precedent to go on, which makes me nervous. But I'm damn good at my job, so I'm relying on that to carry me through. I'm just ready for it to be done. And to not ever hear about pumas, black leopards, bobcats, or ligers again. I think this case has ruined me for the zoo forever.

  • I miss being on Twitter. I need somewhere to spew my random thoughts throughout the day. But it takes a lot of work to stay caught up with my Twitter people, and I feel like I just don't have time for it.

  • I had my first real childcare crisis last week. I had a trial that started on Wednesday and was supposed to last two days. B was scheduled to pick the boys up from daycare and take them to this children-of-divorce class thing we were court-ordered to sent them to. That was over at 6:30, and B was going to bring them home afterward. Generally, I make backup childcare plans whenever I have a trial because you just don't know what's going to happen. I didn't this day because B was taking care of getting them to class, and I thought there was no way I'd be at work until 6:30. Well. The trial finished and the jury started deliberating at about 4:00. The inside bet was that we'd have a not guilty within an hour. Well. They kept deliberating and kept deliberating and kept deliberating. Around 6:00, I started panicking and making desperate phone calls to sitters. Normally, I'd call my mom and she'd cover my ass (because she's wonderful and amazing like that), but it snowed all afternoon and the roads were shitty and Mom lives an hour away, so I didn't even call. Of my three sitters, one had to work (he plows snow), one had the stomach flu, and one is 16 and wasn't allowed to drive in the nastiness. B started getting antsy to drop the kids somewhere, so I made one last, desperate call. God bless my wonderful (adult) neighbors. They agreed to let the boys hang out at their house until I was finished. Which was 9:00 p.m.

  • Nothing sucks quite as much as a work day you expected to last about 9 hours lasting 13.5 hours, by the way.

  • I found out who's been shoveling my driveway. It's one of the college boy neighbors, of all people. His girlfriend babysat for the boys the other night while I went on a date met a friend for dinner, and as we were discussing the awful, frigid weather, I mentioned that my drive had been shoveled, and she said, "Oh, that was J." Like it was no big deal. I was so touched! It took everything in me to keep the phrase, "He's such a nice boy!" from spewing from my mouth. I think these kids already think I'm ancient, and that would have sealed my fate as the sad, old single mother next door.

  • I signed R up for kindergarten registration today. MAH (other) BAYBEE! They're getting so big!

  • I've figured out what to do about my 101 things. I'm taking the advice of the ever-wise Swistle and ditching the whole thing. I liked doing the 101 things, though, so I think I'll start a new one that better fits with my current life and goals.

  • I have no plans this weekend. None. The boys are at their dad's, and I have no obligations. It's going to be glorious. There's a going away party for two people in another work department after work tomorrow that I might go to. A single girlfriend and I might go on a "date" on Saturday. I'm thinking about trekking to IKEA (assuming my friend with a truck ends up being available) to buy the boys new mattresses and comforters and possibly myself some new couch pillows. But mostly, I'm planning to sleep. I'm so tired, you guys. I want to sleep and sleep and sleep. And I will.

  • I have to get back to the menagerie. I SO don't want to work any more tonight. Curse you, dangerous wild animals and obstinate department of agriculture!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Unexpected kindnesses

There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when you're on the receiving end of a random act of kindness. I've gotten more than my fair share of random, unexpected kindnesses over the past few months. From a coworker paying for the breakfast I bought the daycare workers for Christmas, to a friend giving me a book after I expressed interest in reading it, to some sweet, angelic, anonymous soul shoveling my driveway after we got 10 inches of snow last week, I've been a very lucky girl of late.

Sometimes, though, kindness feels like a punch in the gut. My mom and I were chatting in the car today about one of my extracurricular activities, and a woman who works for the same organization I do came up (because she's also involved in this extracurricular). I like this woman, but I've never thought she was particularly fond of me (she also has a pretty tough exterior, which could be part of it). The conversation went something like this:
Mom: She's the one who called me when you were in the hospital that one time. [This is apparently the euphemism we're going with for Crazypalooza '11. (I'm not linking to it; you can hunt it down if you really want.)]

Me: What?

Mom: [Work Person]. She called and said there was a blog post, or you said something, or something like that, and they were worried about you and wanted to make sure that you were ok. Asked if there was anything they could do. I never told you that?

Me: Huh. No. I had no idea.
This revelation caused many feelings. First, I felt very loved, knowing that someone cared enough to hunt down my mom to check on me when I was in a bad place and then disappeared from real life for a few days. Second, the familiar rage/shame the comes to me when someone in my real life admits to reading my blog. Plus, the offhand reference Mom made to a "blog post" makes me think that my one reader from the work sphere might actually be several readers (or that my one reader was sufficiently concerned by my writings to share them with the others at work after I disappeared from real life for a few days). Third, I was confused. While this woman isn't the absolute last person at work who might call my mom, I definitely wouldn't have thought she'd be the first. We hail from the same hometown, but there's a decent contingent from the same town in our organization. She doesn't know my mom personally or anything. It just seemed odd to me. The kick in the gut feeling came last when I realized that there were likely at least four or five women in my work world who knew what was going on while it was happening. That was, and still is, one of my biggest professional fears; I don't want my professionals knowing my personals, you know?

I also feel like this puts me in a strange situation. I didn't know about this until today, but I feel like I should acknowledge her thoughtfulness and concern for me. But it would be weird to suddenly bring up an event that happened almost four years ago. I think I'm just going to let it go. Hell, maybe she reads this. If you do, thank you for caring. It means so much to me. It probably means more to me now when I'm completely clear-headed and not absolute mortified by my life and situation. Thank you.

As an aside, I can't believe that's been almost four years ago. It feels like a lifetime, but also like it was yesterday. Writing this post made me go back and read my posts from 2011 for the first time ever (mostly to figure out what post, specifically, might have inspired work lady to call my mom). Yikes. Yikes. I was a disaster. I'm so thankful I survived that period of my life; it was touch-and-go for a while there. I'm lucky to be around to still be on the receiving end of other people's kindness.