A Hot Independence Week With a True American Celebration (Working on the Holiday for Franz Kafka's The Family Law Trial!)

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation (DINKYNESS, Engineering, Cycling, and Attorneydom...) - Date night reemerges from its cocoon and takes the world by storm, turning a regular eating out decision into a full on hostage situation... Toasters evolved from hardware tools? The only kind for a burly toast-eating family such as us. And just a bit before that Adella reflected with trepidation her intensive legal-July as trials began to stack up upon her almost at pace with her pullulating pessimism! Coming up: The sun explodes as a farewell tribute to June; sweltering succotash all about! And the trial bubble finally bursts, bringing relief with a modicum of madness. Adella goes MIA from her happy homelife as guests arrive. 

Melty Monday - Disclaimer - this is a post by a whiny bog creature. She has lived through East Coast summers without air conditioning, so she understands that in many parts of the country "90 degrees and 80% humidity" is the quintessence of "mild" in the summer dictionary. She also realizes that people are, in fact, dying, and rubber is sticking to concrete to the South of her. By bemoaning her poor luck to be currently living in a sauna, she in no way expects much sympathy from her geographically diverse friends and followers... but she is, I repeat, a bog creature. A temperate bog creature.

So it's the PNW counter-point to our one week of crazy snowmageddon (which did not come this year, to my surprise and mild suspicion): the one week of hot blechy humid weather. I always wonder if this is the Pacific Northwest's way of saying "hey, you're always complaining about the rain and clouds? WELL TRY ON THE REST OF THE COUNTRY'S WEATHER and see how you like it!!!" We, generally, don't much care for it, I believe. If nothing else, we don't have functioning snow plows in winter and we don't really have infrastructure to support widespread air conditioning in the summer (I demand universal climate control!). But we do cavil with the best of them. 

And suddenly - as happens during Snowmapocalypticarnagegeddom - the weather is the most interesting topic conceivable for polite conversation. Or internet browsing. Whole hours have been devoted to arguing whether Accuweather's prediction of uncomfortable heat is more or less accu- than weather.com's slightly less dire prediction. 

Since our house was essentially constructed to get hot and stuffy in 40 degree weather, this particular hot spell has plummeted me and the fella straight into Tennessee Williams territory (with less booze and fewer gentlemen callers). Many a desultory evening spent in our separate corners, unable to quite talk over the noise of the fans. Oh the fans. They are better than stagnant air, but mostly serve to bloviate hot air better than most of my colleagues, and to make our home seem like an aircraft carrier (it's ok honey, we're on a one way ticket to September, just buckle in for some turbulence!!)

Yesterday, we went running and to the gym. We do this often, of course, but usually not at quite these temperatures. The downside of going on Sunday is that the YMCA doesn't open until noon, so if we want to do our run as a direct prelude to our strength training, we have to wait until about 11 to get started. Yesterday, we couldn't quite wait that long, after some appropriately obsessive internet monitoring of escalating levels of incalescence, and went instead to Lake Padden at around 10 a.m. It was still pretty darned hot. Hot enough that I wouldn't be pitching any woos with my babies that night, for sure. But not hot enough to keep Mr. Insano and his yuppie sidekick, Super-Wife, from hitting the trails in their almost matching workout clothes.  

Since I can get heat stroke just being out in that weather for too long, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I felt for most of the run, particularly because we picked a hillier course with the occasional 15% grade (I highlight that to manipulate the story and make it sound even more toilsome and arduous than it already was, since there's only really one 15% grade on the course, and we only had to traverse it twice... but there were hills). Despite breathing mostly water and fretting over a tight hamstring, I felt quite thoroughly "warmed up" (har har) by the end of our 53 minutes (and maybe a few seconds, since I had to run back a little bit after Andrew's watch went off). 

However, I definitely noticed some results from the exuberant exudation of the day's aerobic activities. Namely, SALT. I was craving salt. I eat a pretty low sodium diet by preference and usually find commercially prepared food off-puttingly salty. But after we got back from the YMCA, my brain was quite utterly fixated on a nice cool glass of seawater and some pickled ginger if possible. Having nothing remotely salted or particularly processed in the house, I went out and bought a dark chocolate sea salt nut bar (which probably tasted better than straight seawater, and maybe was a little bit less likely to contain all the Mercury that the old GP plant dumped into our bay), and some Roasted Seaweed Snacks (just to embrace the original nautical theme). To my amazement, it tasted goooooooood sooooo gooood. Didn't hurt that I happened to be in the Fred Meyer's food court where it is always a touch cool and where I camped out for the next two or three hours. 

Needless to say, while I was gorging on fruits of the chocolatey airconditioned sea,+Andrew Wright was back out on the side of a mountain with his bike. He, incidentally, handles this weather very well if he's moving. He can race in the nastiest of conditions with no problem. We were talking about this, since I've noted he is a particularly efficient sweater. His sudor seeps at the slightly hint of effort, and is usually clean and copious in quality.

 Since apparently human beings more or less evolved sweating to prime us for endurance efforts enabled by self-regulating temperatures  (so that we can, of course, challenge our prey to a distance race and then eat the prey after it doggedly runs itself into heat exhaustion), Andrew is apparently quite evolved. At least evolved for endurance. As a girl, I'm as sweat-prone as most fit people, but nothing near his level of gleam. Hence why Andrew could kill me by challenging me to a long distance race... Or something like that. Either way, it means he's made for this kind of insanity, while I am made for wandering grocery stores with decent a/c. In other words, we are differentiating into urban hunters and gatherers: he stalks Strava records on top of a warm mountain and I graze and pick at various produce piles inside two or three grocery stores.

The office is another place that does not handle heat well. In fact, any floor above the 8th floor (we are on the 12th) becomes unsufferable once outside temperatures hit about 65 degrees. There is no air conditioning. We have window fans. This is like giving somebody a plastic picnic spork for their cut of steak... it kind of works, but not really.  I've been planning ways to work outside the office as much as possible until we get our usual July back. Surely with the 4th coming up, we're due for torrents of rain, right?? I mean it's tradition!

In other weird things caused by the heat wave and suggesting the end of times is nigh, Andrew woke up by himself at 5:15 this morning. This doesn't happen. He was also conscious and coherent. I believe that my husband may be suffering the beginning of a breakdown and/or is a pod person. This heat is doing very strange things to us. 

To all my friends in less temperate intemperate climates, "stay cool" and "be safe" and to the weather gods of the Pacific Northwest: we get it, we love the rain, could we have our weather back now?? 

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the ... office(?) and celebrate #shoesday  ! - Well, we've theoretically survived Inferno 2013 for now... I say theoretically, because I can't honestly observe that office conditions are any better than they were yesterday. Then again, I spent a large swath of yesterday hiding out at Round Table with a laptop, two briefcases and enough paper to have fed the world's termite population in a prior life. I think I would like Round Table to be my new office. It is air conditioned. It has plenty of space. And if you buy an endless salad bar, you're pretty much set for a day or three's consumption.

But regardless of the fact that the temperature is a clement 70 (down from about 80, down from about surface-of-the-sun...), the office continues to retain heat like it's water and the office is having severe pms. Oddly enough, I believe that the discomfort I experience is actually equal whether I am walking or sitting. I am guessing this from the two hours I just spent in another office preparing for our upcoming trial next week, so there may be other discomfort factors to consider.

Trial preparations are funny things. They take twenty times longer than you anticipate, but are five-hundred times more mundane for much of that time. Mostly, it involves getting down to one's skivvies and diving into an ocean of paperwork, because everything you say, apparently, needs to be documented. I mean everything. If you write a sentence that doesn't have a citation behind it... well you had better be in the one paragraph of the analysis section that allows such things. Good legal writing is the perfection of plagiarism.

"Good legal writing" is also condensing down the last several weeks' of research and analysis into half a paragraph, or five-seconds' reading time... which can feel a touch dispiriting after all that effort, especially contrasted with all the energy you will spend citing everything from case law to the take-out menu of the place down the street just to set up your actual argument and premise. But I enjoy that damned paragraph every time I reach it. I feel like screaming BADABOOOOM! When I reach the money part. Basically, legal arguments, are punchlines, I guess. We all knew the law was a joke, right?

Preparing and reviewing and marking all these documents is apparently a hot and steamy affair. I had no idea, but my oh my is my face red! My arms actually are radiating enough heat to melt a small igloo, I am certain. I am oh so looking forward to getting hot and sweaty at the gym... um... ok I'm not. I tried valiantly to suggest that we try swimming laps instead today, but Azita appears to actually care about her appearance at the office, so this wouldn't quite work for her. I hear the melted plastic and Alice Cooper eyes look is oh so chic look.

But since I am about to go out, I suppose I should select an appropriate shoe to really capture the whimsy of summer... and I think we've got a great selection this week. I'm particular to the 21st, since it makes me think of a slide going into a lake and oh boy would I like to finish my work day while submerged in a lake... I think the 28th is particularly adorable and classic. If I were going to choose a shoe to go out, I'm probably want the 25th, which has a lovely balance of bright and strappy. I love the prismatics, but don't deal with wedges. And of course the first is just so brain meltingly #pink  ... well I don't know that I'd ever find something to match it, but it would be fun with an otherwise all black outfit.

And as I trudge on the treadmill towards hotter and hotter mid-day temperatures, I wish you all a lovely +Shoesday and comfortable summer temperatures all the way around (except in the Southern hemisphere, where you can keep your winter for a little while longer, thanks!)

And what a wonderful Wednesfriday it is, too - So, being a patriotic Amurricun and all, I do plan to celebrate the Fourth of July tomorrow... possibly in the most American fashion: by working! Yes, it's that delicious and refreshing crunch of Almost-trial time.

Everything we imagined we knew has naturally eroded into the anticipated bog of uncertainty in that way things certainly do right before trial. Numbers we've relied upon heavily for months seem to have merely materialized in various manifestations without any basis in reality that anyone can recall. It's all so easy in the informal wheeling and dealing part of settlement conversations (lots of math, but it can usually have a lot of give and an expansive new interpretation of "imaginary numbers" just so long as we all have faith in them!)

While I burn through yet another version of the worlds least literal form of (trial) "BRIEF," documents are being thrown about like confetti, figures are bouncing off walls like raquetballs and we are, despite all our best efforts, revising proposals and waiting on our client to finish up some additional information gathering we never quite managed to request until now. It's your typical three ring binder circus, but without the clowns.

Luckily, the weather is backing off a bit, and we planned enough ahead that it should only be a little smidgen of work tomorrow... Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday... well, I do love the office!

Daddy-Dubya is coming to town for the holiday 'weekend' after a promising interview with a company down in Redmond. We may soon have a surplus of fathers/father-in-laws in Washington state! Not this weekend, though, as Papa-T is off to - of course - Canada for the July 4th weekend. Hey, I'm pretty sure that half of British Columbia invaded Bellingham to commemorate Canada Day, so we shall call it tit-for-tatriotism.

+Andrew Wright has naturally presented his father with several very athletic ways to kill himself in our company... so far, there will definitely be a bike ride in the works that I may or may not quite be able to attend. I'm sure I can meet them up later in the local ER, after Andrew has pushed his dad into the bushes while chugging up a hill...

I'm also happy to report that Daddy-Dubya will be our first official house guest! 

One Nation, Oh Dear God, With Litigation and Billable Hours for All (disclaimer, the writing of the post is unfortunately not qualified for billable hours, despite it being part of my self-imposed mandatory productivity breaks)

So, Americanos, happy starz and stripz and/or legalized pyromania and summertime gorging day. Hope you are having an appreciable celebration of our grand old statement of Independence from those awful darned aliens that kept bothering Will Smith after vandalizing the White House. I expect that, as true patriots, you are all (my American friends) having rousing discussions about the living document that is our Constitution and just how... ok, screw it, hope you're all having BBQ's and playing in sprinklers.

Me? I started my day watching British guys (and Bobke) talking about a bike race in France. The nice thing about the Tour de France is that it starts in ... well... France, which is several hours ahead of over here in not-France. So the official start time was about 5:00 a.m. over here. We didn't quite get up that early. Well, I did, but I am not that cruel to my beloved +Andrew Wright , but we did manage to catch up with the recording and set me on my way to work by about 9:00 a.m. not-France time.  

After celebrating several victories by Slovakians, Germans, Frenchies, and South Africans I went forth to embrace true americana: dissecting the charred remains of a thoroughly broken marital home with some final coffin nails in the executioner's Trial Brief. Or, am I more like the funeral director? Maybe just the doctor that reads the Advanced Directive and orders life support be suspended. Whatever I am, it does seem awfully appropriate to be contributing to the emerging demographic of Single Mothers out there (hey, I am a big fan of single mothers, considering some of the alternative).

We have some significant deadlines coming up by noon tomorrow. I am actually feeling pretty confidant that I will survive, although there will be about twenty hours of my least favorite part, proof-reading and cite-checking. Not that I haven't done several proof-reads in the process and with each section, but I swear typos and non-sequitors ooze into each paragraph every time I look away!! Or vanish upon my observation (only mine)... I invoke some twisted liberal arts version of quantum theory here, of course. Quark-typos? I'm really not entirely confidant that I won't look at the brief two minutes shy of deadline time and read thirty pages of "All work and no play makes Jack a very unstable father!!"

Always weird getting into the office at "normal people time" (9:00 a.m.), since I usually get in closer to 6:30 and came in earlier when I was a single lady. It's so late in the day already!!

I imagine at some point, there will be a sort of festive celebratory something with the husband, Daddy Dubya (who did arrive mostly intact last night just about ten minutes before I went to bed and who hopefully will survive the hike that Andrew is taking him on this afternoon). For instance, I can spend part of the night swearing and moaning because I'm exhausted and planning to get up around 5:00 a.m. tomorrow... and am really close to the place where all the big fireworks will be blazing between 11:00 p.m. and midnight!

Those darn kids (and municipalities).. 

Things that Go Bumpety Bump-bump in the the Night - After you've spent all day drowning in papers!! Well, it was touch-and paper-cut and then go there for a few hours, but we did it. We prepared for trial. We got the judge's notebook just shy of Louvre quality. We got a trial notebook (different than a judges notebook). We got exhibits perfected. We got everything for the other party. And, I gave a very stirring dramatic reading of the trial brief to myself! Yes, when you've spent so much time on a thirty page brief, sometimes there is such amazing degree of error-blindness that occurs in routine read-throughs... and reading out-loud can rather highlight the nonse- er... poetry you may have inadvertently scribed. So, yes, as a final act of litigious immolation, I read the entire damed thing outloud, which is surprisingly difficult while walking on a treadmill. And, yes, it took an hour to get through. Incidentally, I was brilliant and will be taking the brief on the road in my new one woman show: BREEF)  
Several forests, a few nervous breakdowns, and plenty of copier-malfunctions into the day, we have just been informed that... DUN DUN DUUUUUN the trial has (likely) been bumped. And not in a way where it's just a minor fender bender or some kind of legal version of the macarena. More like "probably won't happen anytime soon after all, because some other case it like waaaaay more cooler than anything you silly family lawyers ever deal with."This happens a lot with family law cases, as they are the lowest of the low priority compared to any other case. Usually, it's a criminal case that bumps us (er, assaults us in the 4th degree). But I think the gods were against us on this one, going so far as to make another civil case (I'm sure that somebody tripping on somebody else's lawn or a contract dispute is hundreds of times more important than a breakdown of the family unit) run obscenely long and basically putting the Guardian ad Litem's mother on death's door so as to forestall her ability to attend. This isn't horrible news, but it is exactly what I predicted would happen at the earlier end of the rabbit hole that has been these two days. 
Fortunately we were informed in time to call the service processors and keep them from delivering all of our trial information and arguments to the crazy other party, whom we would just as soon not tip off  about the existence of things like "exhibits" and "trial brief" and provoke into the inevitable flurry of random papers, bizarre, claims and inappropriately provided legal documents any earlier than necessary. He has to get them three business days before trial, but he does not need an extra three business months to get together his version of our fastidiously collated little diorama of a not-so-fabulous marriage and this hinterland twilight of getting divorce (which can drag on for roughly several years since people can be nuts and trials can, apparently, get bumped and bounced more vigilantly than a Globe-Trotter's basketball)
Well, it's been a long and bumpy ride, but this is just trial one of five-billion we scheduled for the summer. Several of them have blessedly settled at the last minute, but there are a few of the very near horizon that won't settle anyway-anyhow. Of course, if we don't prepare, they'll go on as planned. If we do... bump-bump-bump!
And with that I say zzzzzzzzzzz. Oh the excitement of being an attorney. It's JUST LIKE ON MATLOCK! Except with fewer white suits and jovial Southern banter. 

Post a Comment