Tuesday, August 25, 2009

i have developed an unhealthy addiction to brickbreaker. it's not a constant thing. basically it goes like this: when b's score is higher than mine, i can't put the damn blackberry down. but when i'm beating him - meh.

so i was on the train after work, at a time when b's score was higher than mine (not the case anymore, sucka!), breaking my bricks, listening to my ipod. and this woman walks up to me, i assume to sit in the empty seat next to mine, and says something to me. now, i'm in full-on, brickbreaker mode here, and of course she distracts me so i lose a life. (bitch.) so i fumble and pause the game, take the earbud out of one ear, and she says very loudly (so loudly that i definitely would have heard her over the ipod, despite the fact that i now have a free ear) - is that your paper? and points to the newspaper on the empty seat next to me. no. and i start to put my earbud back in. because i think the protocol here is that she then puts the paper on the floor, and sits her ass in the seat. but apparently my metro etiquette is incorrect, because she proceeds to ask me (even louder now than before) well, do you want to move it? um, lady, not my paper. (ok, not in my outloud voice.) i look at her for a minute and, dumbfounded, finally pick the paper of the seat where she's about to plant her ass, and toss it on the floor. and for a minute i was feeling a little riled up, like, i shouldn't have taken lip from that lady. she can move her own damn paper. and, also, seeing as how i was entertaining myself with not one but two means of electronic media, clearly the paper wasn't mine.

but then she sat down. i'm not sure what it was about the fact that she smelled like cigarettes and pixie sticks at the same time that scared me so much, but i was suddenly very glad i kept my comments to myself.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

it serves me right

last week in michigan was chock full of nephews and nieces and breezes and baseball games. and driving the new SUV* around detroit like a real midwesterner. arriving back in DC just in time for the hottest, nastiest, swampiest day of the summer was not awesome timing. maybe there's something there, but any blog about that would have all my DC friends asking (not for the first time) if i'm going back to michigan and my michigan friends trying to tempt me with their amazing real estate purchases (jack, tell your momma i'm talking to her!).

so instead, i'm going to tell a story from the week before i left that b has been chastising me for not sharing.

i had a doctor's appointment that was smack dab in the middle of the day, and nowhere near a metro. i had thought about driving to the office that day, but first of all i don't live in michigan and second the thought of paying for parking twice on k street is just against everything i stand for. also, my car is a piece of shit (not the new american suv, obviously - but the old foreign one). so instead i decided to treat myself to a cab. and after i emerged from my office and waved one down, i was sitting in the back, feeling pretty impressed with myself. i had on a cute wrap dress, some great pumps on, and as i pulled out one of my blackberries from my coach bag, i thought - this ain't bad. a year ago, taking a cab to and from a doctor's appointment was a luxury that i simply could not justify. hell, taking a cab in general is a luxury as far as i'm concerned, and there i was - a cute BigLaw associate taking a cab in the middle of the day. i was using blackberry messenger to tell b i was off to the doctor, and how swanky i felt taking a cab at 1:30 in the afternoon.

and that's when it happened. when the fates (and perhaps my cabbie's lunch) conspired against me, to put me in my place, to remind me that i'm not such a big shot after all.

my cabbie farted. and we're not talking about a little toot that i heard and over which i was embarrassed for him. oh no, friends. we're talking silent but deadly. i don't know what that dude had for lunch, but it mixed with the vinyl seats and three year old green tree air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror and produced a stench that i'm pretty sure would be considered torture under the geneva conventions. it was that. bad.

through my stifled gags and watering eyes, i started clicking away on my blackberry to tell b. and he was right, shit like that is exactly why i started blogging again.

*hybrid, of course, bbs.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

my momma told me there'll be days like this ...

so now there are five little kids that are lucky enough to have b and i spoil them rotten in an attempt to secure permanent status as best auntie and uncle ever. (we're well on our way, don't you worry.) i don't think it had actually hit me that we were about to have another little person before whom i could barely remember before last week. in my defense, b's sister has been pregnant a lot in the past few years. but when she called me thursday, while driving HERSELF to the hospital, bitching (at 3pm) about how she didn't know who was going to make her in-laws dinner, it was all pretty damn real. she wasn't sure if it was labor, but it sounded to me (remember, experienced auntie here) as though her water had broken. she almost went home, but they had the good sense at the hospital to check her first. which is good, since she was 4cm dilated.

7 hours later, #5 made her entrance.

what did i do, you might ask, as i waited for the newest family member to arrive? why, i went to a nice new spa on k street and got myself and mani and pedi, that's what i did. and let me tell you why. i've had five of these days so far, days where a huge personality was entering the world. days where i knew i'd remember where i was, what i was doing, when this human who i'd come to love and worry about every day came into being. the excitement hasn't changed between #1 and #5... but there was something about this one that felt a little different. i couldn't help think that the next time the family's excitedly calling back and forth about a new grandchild,* the next time a new, huge personality before whom i'll barely be able to remember makes an entrance - it probably won't be because of b's sister. this is their last (though those are famous last words) and it probably won't be my brother preparing the cut the umbilical cord. it will probably be someone else. someone else who decided to get a mani and pedi rather than think about that.

*this is not imminent, let me be clear.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

dear two years ago s,

sorry i'm so tardy in responding to your letter. greetings from the future! i can barely believe it was two years ago that i experienced the delicious satisfaction of returning said staples to said jackass in a neat little pile on said desk. (see how lawyerly i am now, what with all the "saids" and the extraordinary delay between your initial letter and my response. i'm like a lawyer rockstar over here.) BigLaw is super duper. it turns out you like document review, but mainly because it sucks less than other stuff. and that the contract law you research is maryland, not minnesota. obvs. oh, and sometimes, in the morning, you can hit snooze for an hour and a half, roll in at 9:45 (ok, maybe closer to 10), and no one even effing notices. it's kind of awesome. (that was yesterday, btw. i also did not shower.) (one more thing, you have bangs now. they look good.)

but you should know there is actually a part of me (a small, perhaps mentally ill part) that genuinely misses the days of answering phones and making copies and plotting my next passive aggressive move in the chess match that was s versus douchebag. first, that working only 2 1/2 days a week thing wasn't awful (even if the rest of the time was law school, which was awful - though not nearly as awful as studying for the bar, which was every kind of awful). also nice was the leaving at 5:00:01 thing. as was the complete lack of obligation past 5:00:01. i never caught myself peaking into my purse (btw, you have nicer purses now, that's totally a perk) during a dinner out, looking for the dreaded red flash on my blackberry.

i guess what i'm saying i am obviously very happy to not be 2007 s. for sure. but i liked that s. she had it alright. just in different ways.

(another reason the future is awesome: you get to be an auntie to one more niece ... as of today!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

hello, stranger.

i doubt i exist on anyone's bookmark list any longer, but here we are. sorry about that. i think i was concerned that my semi-anonymous blogging would somehow get found out by my law firm, and that it would somehow get me fired. but then it turns out i was probably was just being paranoid, and also it turns out i'm not all that concerned about it. but i should probably try to keep my big mouth shut about work stuff. note to self.

so anyway, i'm in the ladies room today at work. another woman walks in, walks past my stall, goes into another and then says, s? mmm. yes? i thought it was you, she said. i saw cute shoes. let me just say right now how much i LIKE that people see cute shoes in the ladies room and think it's me. a lot. that's how much. there are a whole slew of women that work on my floor, well-put-together, well-compensated women. but the assumption was those cute shoes were mine, and so strong was the assumption that this girl risked it being a peeing partner instead of me. that is a good day. also the tigers up 7-1 in the 4th is also a good day.

well, it looks like i'm back. i have to keep myself busy somehow now that b lives in a different city. and i'm reading julie and julia (finally! god. rk gave me that book like a year ago) and i was inspired.

Monday, August 25, 2008

love at first sight

i'm a superstitious girl. i fully believe in jinxes. i refuse to acknowledge whenever a tigers pitcher goes more than three innings without allowing a hit. i dared not mention to b, when our best friend chris was crashing on our couch the weekend after the bar exam, that he wasn't snoring (i love chris, but that's not normal). i don't mention if the weather is good on a winter drive from the west side of michigan to the east. i just don't mention.

which is why the previous post is not the whole story. i just couldn't dare to mention it.

what i wanted to write was how, just one measly week after i finished the bar exam, on the next wednesday afternoon - i was skipping. i was leaving our real estate agents' office, a binder with condo rules held close to my chest. i was grinning like a damn fool. jesus, i thought. there's no WAY it's only been one week.

you didn't know we were looking for a condo? that we had a real estate agent? neither did we, before monday. well, maybe sunday. sunday, we dropped chris off at the airport, and took 395 to eastern market to grab a coffee. i was trying to convince b that we should get a new car. i want a new car. our car is small and it shakes at 63 miles per hour (one of the tires is slightly bent - from parallel parking, no doubt) and what better way to celebrate taking the bar? we were thinking about it. and then b mentioned that this condo he'd seen on craigslist was having an open house that afternoon, just down the street.

now, let me be clear. though we weren't looking looking for a condo, we've been avid real estate stalkers for a couple of years now. i've watched virtual tours online of nearly every house or condo on the market in dc. it's how we unwind: look at houses, daydream about what we'd do and how awesome it will be when our real life has begun, and we can look look. so when we walked into the newly gutted 1930s building on sunday, we were not completely uneducated.

but even still, i was totally overwhelmed by the idea that we might live there, what with the teak floors and cesearstone countertops and patio. and doors that separate both bedrooms from the rest of the place. and windows. oh the windows. they open. windows that open. and a dishwasher. can you imagine?! a dishwasher. i'm sure we left looking like cartoon characters, with our eyes mysteriously shaped like hearts and walking two feet off the street.

the next evening, we sat in the office of the only real estate agent i called, who was recommended by DG, and who by chance was already representing the people who have the unit above the one we wanted under contract. we sat there, and i felt a like giggling or pinching myself, what with all the talk of closing dates and elfa closets and offers. and i spent the whole of our anniversary on the phone with half the mortgage brokers in the metro DC area, waiting for the call that those folks on HGTV are always prepared for - when the cameras turn on and the phone conveniently rings. we sat at a sports bar in cleveland park waiting for the phone to ring, though we left without getting a single call.

it has not been an easy few weeks. i spent much of the saturday night before last in a hospital in troy, michigan, hooked up to a heart monitor, my heart skipping a beat once nearly every minute. we watched the olympics until 2am on a miniature television, while the doctor sat across the hall and watched my heart beat. i've been stressed, i've been sick to my stomach. i've seen the new home slip through our fingers more than once. i've talked to more mortgage brokers than i can remember, and i've shed a few tears.

and today, finally, i scheduled the movers. we take up residence at our first home a month from tomorrow. so this fall, you'll find us on the back patio, grilling and relaxing and grinning.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

done waiting for my real life to begin

i thought i would do cartwheels out of the roanoke civic center last week. i thought i'd skip, or maybe even fly, back to my car. a week later, those days are a blur. but the sensation i felt as i quietly pushed my chair back from the table, stood up, and looked over the hundreds of poor compatriots - that sensation has not left me. i thought i'd shake it as i dropped my scantron in the huge bin, my exam book in the next, and my bar exam id in the little box. i thought maybe as i passed through the doors, through the lobby where i felt as though i'd spent hours waiting for the doors to open, unable to bear standing outside in the brutal heat in my requisite court attire. maybe i expected it to suddenly be 75 and breezy in roanoke. as i walked back to my car, i tried to muster .... something. joy, fear, something. but i had nothing - i was numb. i called b as i waited for the a/c in the car to kick in, and his joy at hearing my voice, knowing i was done, far eclipsed what i was feeling.

OH MY GOD! how does it feel? does it feel awesome?

not really.

not really?

i don't really feel anything.

oh it will sink in.

and then i could hear his coworkers: is that s? is she DONE? OH MY GOD SHE'S DONE! YAY S!

and still, nothing. i stopped about five miles from the civic center, realizing that i left my victory/reward dunhills in the back of the car, thinking a celebratory smoke or two would help it sink in. it just compounded the dull throbbing in my head.

i couldn't have been more than 30 miles outside of roanoke when i first started to think i might not make it home that night. dark clouds moved in fast, and the transition was quick from sprinkles to a downpour so heavy i could barely see 10 feet in front of the car, even at 5:30 in the afternoon. i slowed to 30, as did everyone else around me, our blinkers all on, and forced my exhausted brain to focus. my knuckles were white as i tracked the progress of this monsoon on my odometer. three miles. five. five and a half. five and three quarters. ultimately, it ended up lasting for 13 miles - which at 30 miles an hour is too fucking long to be driving 30 on the interestate after just taking the bar exam and wanting nothing else than to get home to your husband and a nice glass of wine.

i think at about 11 miles i started wondering if it was going to stop. i could feel the exhaustion rising, like the heartburn i had saturday night after ethiopian food. i was afraid i was driving the length of the front, that it might last forever. i could feel the lump in my throat and knew no one would hear me if i cried, but that then i really wouldn't be able to see. and no one heard my whining - oh my god this is never going to end. what do i have to do for this to just be fucking OVER?! there was even a little yelling, a little you have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! and then, it was over. the rain completely stopped, the evening sun was there, and i realized how tense every muscle in my body was. i took a few deep breaths, pushed in my cigarette lighter, and cracked the window. it's over. thank god.

as i said it to the empty car, quiet since 14 miles prior when i had turned off the music so i could concentrate, i didn't know what i was talking about - the storm or the Exam. the numbness, i realized, was relief. an enormous, heavy relief, the likes of which i seriously have never felt. a lawyer friend told me some time ago that this summer was going to feel a lot like banging my head against a wall for ten straight weeks. but he promised that it would stop hurting instantly and relief would immediately follow. i leaned back in my seat, turned coldplay back on and enjoyed the dunhill. and my god was i relieved.


a couple hours later, the sun was falling. the smell of cigarette smoke was pretty much cleared out of the car, since i had been driving with the windows down. on the happy side of the front, it was less than 80 degrees. i drove with the windows down, in my suit, comfortable. at some point i switched from coldplay to colin hay (after about 15 CDs that just didn't do the trick). i smelled the air. i mean, actually smelled it. i was telling b this and he said, it smelled like the South, didn't it? and oh god it did. whatever that smell is, they need to bottle it and sell it at pottery barn with little sticks (that are a mystery to me, seriously, what are those little sticks they put in the bottles with the perfume for your house - anyone?) and they should just call it "the south." and it was gorgeous. the rain had left the trees and grass a darker green, and a strange fog clung to the treetops of the mountains. the blue ridge delivered. i found myself realizing that the last time i had genuinely smelled outside was back in may, when the first magnolias bloomed and i went out of my way to walk on streets where i knew i'd find them. i spent so much time locked in my english basement, stuffing my brain, that i had no time all summer to even smell outside. that is fucked up friends. it really is.

i probably listened to the colin hay album three times, though each time i came to my anthem, waiting for my real life to begin, i'd go back and listen once or twice more. the difference was that unlike all those other mornings, i woke up that morning and suddenly something happened. something actually happened.

i decided not to treat the next three months before i start work as waiting, but as a victory lap. i'm going to soak up the time spent as an auntie extraordinaire back in michigan. i'm going to read books on the beach alone. i'm going to nap in my parents' hammock. i'm going to try like hell not to fight with them, and to not think about what a disaster the last summer i lived with them, a decade ago now, was. i'm going to remind myself that my real life has begun.

don't worry, i'll tell you all about it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

i've got you under my skin....

i was barely awake this morning as b was getting ready for work. in the fog of sleep, i remember suddenly having this pressing need to ask him about eminent domain in the district of columbia. congress has its hands all over dc (stupid constitution) and i was convinced that there must be some special congressional approval for eminent domain.

let me be clear: i'm not taking the DC bar exam.

so i'm lying there, thinking about how in virginia, localities can exercise eminent domain, and it can even be to give the land to a private party!, and what if they ask about DC because it's so close, or what if they ask on the multistate exam ... should i know this? how can i find this out if b doesn't know?

of course i was still so asleep that i couldn't make my mouth form the words to ask him, though now i wish i could have because i'm sure he would have laughed hysterically at still-asleep me, asking him urgently about eminent domain at 7:15 in the morning.

i've been having dreams about the bar exam for a couple months now, though not the typical fear dream where you show up to the event naked (which would be especially problematic in virginia since i have to wear a court appropriate suit). nope, they've been dreams where i've fallen into a ditch after dark and wondered what the city and contractor's duties to warn were under standard tort law, and if by jay-walking i had assumed any risk. or i'm looking at a house with b, and it's called blackacre (all property questions call a piece of land blackacre. or whiteacre, or greenacre, if there are multiple plots). and yesterday i was walking down florida to CVS and saw a garbage truck with "aggregate" on the side, and my brain immediately lept into an analysis of when multiple claims can be aggregated in federal court under diversity jurisdiction to meet the amount in controversy requirement.

my brain has been hijacked by bar preparation.

obviously, this is a fantastic thing from now until 5:00pm wednesday afternoon. but what i'm looking forward to most is the feeling once i get in my car wednesday afternoon, shimmy out of my suit and throw it over the seat, roll down the windows, light a cigarette (you had better believe i'll deserve a celebratory pack of cigarettes - besides, it's VIRGINIA), and let the hot july air swirl around inside the car, pulling out the smoke and emptying my brain of all this information as i head back through the blue ridge mountains and home.

UPDATE: after telling b about the eminent domain episode, he told me that last night he had to wake me up because i was doing flashcards OUTLOUD in my sleep and i woke him up. he said he could tell i was doing flashcards, because i have a certain rhythm in my voice when he quizzes me, but it actually sounded like i was talking in tongues and it totally freaked him out.

wow. it is time for this thing to be over.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

despite the fact that i've spent ten weeks and - at least for the past ten days or so - 14 hours a day in preparation, i'm really trying not to think about it. no, seriously. i'm trudging through my ridiculous to-do list every day, marching across the volumes of practice essays, learning because that's what the calendar from barbri says i'm supposed to do. it's all i do, it's all i think about, but i'm not thinking about it. i'm studying for the bar exam. i'm not actually taking it. yet.

it's less than a week from d-day. i type that only because it appears my body, from whom i've been trying to keep this secret, found out. i've decided some asshat of a cell realized over night just how close It is, and started telling the others. based on the fact that the entire left side of my back is tied in knots, i think he resides over there. he's a trouble maker, getting everyone riled up. and i think they chased out all the cells that were all, she's cool, she's ready, everyone REMAIN CALM. those cells have become refugees in every sinus cavity in my head. it feels awesome.

so now that my body has found out, i suppose i can put it out here as well.

the bar exam is next week. and even after a lifetime of school and tests of every variety, i honestly don't even think i know how to be nervous for this thing.

before i allow myself too much time to actually think about it, i'll return to the coffee cup stained to-do list for this week, the one with the words "HOMESTRETCH" scrawled across the top, and start working my way through wednesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


in hindsight, there was something a little fishy going on, but i just didn't put two and two together soon enough. what's more, the clues were all clumped up closely to the culmination of events, too close for me to have seen the writing on the wall. the lightening fast response when i noticed a text on his phone from his boss, the excessive hours, the shower saturday evening after "work" even though he'd taken one that morning - but before we left to have dinner at her house with her husband. i'm an extraordinary snoop - and what's more, i didn't think he'd have the patience to tiptoe around my peering electronic presence.

and so it was, saturday night, when we walked into his boss' house, me dressed a bit more formally than i thought appropriate for a small dinner party. it's why i especially resembled the proverbial deer caught in headlights when the crowd of friends that under normal circumstances would not find themselves in the same room came into focus - their smiles and shouts rendering me completely disoriented. this man has never once successfully kept a secret from me, let alone a party to which 75 people were invited to celebrate the end of law school ... including countless friends that, i'm sure, have smirked a little and winked at him in my presence without my noticing, even listened to me complain about my disappointment over him spending all saturday at work. it's why even now, a few days later, i find myself smiling and shaking my head thinking about it - not quite believing he really pulled it off.

it's why, as i stood there in front of everyone, trying to remember when my birthday was, he had to lean in and whisper, it's for your graduation. that was right before i punched him in the arm and his grin stretched from ear to ear.

before saturday, the whole graduation experience (except for the actual walking across the stage and first putting my hot little hands on my JD) had been markedly underwhelming. for some reason, the heavens didn't open and angels didn't sing the praises of my intellect, i didn't grow four inches, i'm still spending all day at the law school, and i don't yet have a house where the windows actually open and i can sit outside and drink coffee in the morning. i had found myself cursing law school me, for all those days when i'd reassure myself under my breath, if i can just graduate, it will all be ok.

i know now that in a few months, when the bar and the months off before entering the real world like a big kid have faded much like the long days spent answering phones and shooting death stares at my boss, and for a long time afterwards, what i'll remember about graduation won't be the graduation eve fight with the parents, but the moment on saturday at which i realized that man had been making all those plans and doing all that cooking to bring all my friends together for me. i'll remember the smiles on everyone's faces - both because of the satisfaction from having duped me and because of my accomplishment. i'll remember a night full of congratulations and laughter and general merriment, which is really all i ever wanted.

i'll remember that i really do have the best husband ever. and that he can be a sneaky, sneaky bastard.