Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: Screws shall roll! The EI(eiiiiiioooo) end times erupted from mid-March like facehuggers from a colonist's chest. Mechanical behemoths bellowed and stumbled in an overtime imbroglio of inconceivable contingencies and mysterious debacles. Flipping the bird at bliss yields steely punishment to our hero's knuckles; only an entendre or twenty could intervene on his behalf and dethrone the cobalt usurper from its misplaced perch. Try as she might, Adella could not run from what lay unevenly behind her. The Physio Wizard revealed new cures for ailing arches, but at greatest peril in the miasmic hinterlands of iron pulleys and parturient giants. Our heroine deftly donned her diadem and flickered her wand to battle the erosity of her exterior, climbing to new heights of spaceless running. Book lost and then regained! Relief and jubilation as an erstwhile lover returned home mewing for juice.
Coming up: Hail the conquering heroes! Manifold versary blow-out days are here! The doting DINKS shrug off the blear and blurg of endlessly churned disaster for a bacchanale of pre-conjugal commemoration. Andrew is poised to sweep Adella off her feet all over again, but a stagger looms in the briefcase below. Will the Farmer in the Mukilteo Dell cut in with strident exigency? Will contusions and concussions outrun the daze of love re-struck? Will the (W)rights falter, or will they have their date night dip in vats of treacly tequila? Adella re-opens the Ex-Files and peers beyond Pandora's package in search of hope. Will she unleash new horrors or merely the dark glee of Paradise regained?
Sign your X on the line (and initials by the five hundred stickered sections), break out the cowbells, and look out for those kamikaze comestibles to find the answers below...
Toss-back Tuesday Because #throwbackthursday is soooo last year
In the grand march of anniversaries and symbolic commemorations, today is the old engagaversary. No the proposer was not apprised of the foolish particulars of the date when maundering into the initial proposal (though the proposee was quite pleased with the timing). Yes, we held off making the announcement until the day after just in case one of us had been capturing the spirit of the April Fool's Holiday. Yes, about twenty minutes after we did the whole "will you?" and "yeah that seems like a logical extension of our prior plans and stated life/relationship goals and criteria" (I'm such a mushy little vixen of a romantic, I know) excitement and afterglow, Andrew's erst-while roommate did expel a young gentleman from her room endued in only her bedsheet, and he did give us a spectacular stunned saunter of shame on his way to the car.
I probably won't "celebrate" the engageaversary several years down the road, as there are only so many things to commemorate in a year. Like our Firstskitripaversary, our firstvisittobellinghamaversary, or our firstfutureinlawmeetingaversary, or our firstcommunitymicrowaveaversary, or our funnystoryaboutAndrew'sbiopsyaversary. Every day a -versary and double so on Tuesdays!
But then again, today's also our we-got-our-wedding-license-as-a-compromise-since-we-couldn't-actually-get-our-family-members-to-attend-a-weekday-wedding-just-because-it-would-be-an-awesome-anniversary-date first anniversary! Happy that !
Paperwork! Forms! Visits to various courthouse and bureaucratic functions! Now that's my kinda connubial romance!
This time last year, Andrew was still living in Seattle, and had just wrapped up his Masters (I swear that's why he looks so tired in this photo, though some may be wont to blame it on wedding planning madness and the sheer terror of living with a firecracker like me for the rest of his life). He had stayed the weekend, as he usually did. After meeting me at the courthouse first thing Monday morning (last year's incarnation of April Fool's Day was all the more manic), he drove back to Seattle to start packing. Coffee was involved. Often.
This year, we are naturally old hands at all this married stuff. I mean if we thought the license forms were challenging (they weren't and we never did), then we hadn't seen nothing yet in the sheer volume of name-change nonsense (Andrew was spared by virtue of having the more awesome last name to begin with), or the first year's joint tax return!
But some things don't change much. We may or may not be moving again some time this summer. That all depends on the whether our landlady's daughter wants to move back here or not. For some odd reason, she has priority in the heart of our lovely landlady. I am bereft at the betrayal of course, but excited for any excuse to dump half of my possessions in anticipation of the ever-dreaded "moving". Andrew is still rushing off down south after breakfast. And he's recently also pretty damned swamped, tired, and stressed out due to the evolving debacles of the giant satellite fixture that seems to be recognizing the holiday with an impish elan. Coffee is still involved. We daren't whisper the accursed name of decaf in these hallowed halls.
And, like last year, I'm back at work, once again resenting having a consult coming in and interrupting my morning routine (while simultaneously recognizing I like consults and enjoy having them come in, but damnit, my routine!!!) And possibly spilling coffee on myself and various surfaces in the meantime. So far, my kamikaze tea bag has managed to vault from my tea cup into my coffee cup and then subsequently onto the the floor. Happy April!
The Ex-Files in Eunomia's Arena What non-vital work task is your favorite?
There are lots of things I love about my job. Lots I hate too. One would have to be anhedonic not to have at least a few little snippets in each category. Litigation makes my stomach writhe and rage, but of course the legal research and writing part tickles my frolicsome fancy to no end. Meeting with clients still makes me so nervous that my gut erupts in acid, and I wear down metaphorical prayer beads with the ardent orison that some emergency might intervene to forestall their arrival, but I usually feel giddy and surprisingly competent by the end. My informal station of case-management tsar and accompanying fiats is something that affords me contumelious coruscation.
But there are also little annoyances and little pleasures. Things that don't require flow and rarely roil my core. Pinning down files. Sorting through mail. Filling out forms. Double-checking billing against work (I swear that the entire bump in profitability from my arrival is exclusively due to this activity). Following recent court rulings and other incidental research (the kind we can't bill as Legal Research to a specific client, but which is important to know anyways). Filling out time-sheets. Yadda yadda yadda. Some are more and some less essential or relevant. A few, like organizing the shelves, may happen on lighter days because it's nice and all, but hardly essential.
One of my favorite psuedo-work tasks is to maintain what I call "The Ex-Files," our shadow client spreadsheet. We have an ordinary Case Status Spreadsheet. Being the self-proclaimed autocrat of all things case-management, I keep this fastidiously updated with relevant information in various categories (deadlines, dates of actions taken, operative contacts and players, crucial information, what's next to be done, and who in the office is handling what). That's the one we go over every Monday.
That Case Status Sheet is crucial to the functioning of our wee little firm, as things otherwise just do slip through the to-do box, and miscommunications are inevitable. When a client signs on, that client is added to the worksheet. We check the status of that client's case at least once a week during our case status meeting, at which point we brainstorm next steps and assign work. After a case is resolved - and hopefully (but not always, because I don't think any of us love all the cerulean strips involved with completing the closing-withdrawal process) after we've withdrawn and the case file closed - the client shuffle-ooohs-to-buffalo off the Case Status Spreadsheet and into the file boxes clogging up any available storage area.
Some special clients, though... They stay on record outside the archives. The Ex-Files is a side project of mine, one that I tend to from time to time when the triage dies down. It's a spreadsheet of what's happening with the ex-clients with whom there was a parting of the ways (whether they fired us or we fired them). I justify my solicitousness on a number of grounds:
(1) Usually a premature Notice of Withdrawal is based on the client refusing to heed legal advice and wanting to take actions that border on futile, unethical, unprofessional, or thoroughly self-undermining. Sometimes, it's simply based on "not communicating well" (but this could be considered code for "not getting what was just explained to you at length and then conforming to the prior category" or "intentionally failing to disclose things to the firm in a way that put us at peril of benighted unethical behavior";
(2) Following one's peers is an invaluable learning experience, for better and worse. Lawyers here all do things slightly differently and - in time - you start to pick up what is most and least successful. Seeing what subsequent attorneys have done with those same clients and those same demands is additionally instructive, because of the inherent context it brings. Were we too cautious? Did we fail to consider some approach that would have benefitted the client?
(3) Since the "not communicating well" type of client is often also the most demanding, unhappy, and needy of clients, they are most likely also the bar-complaint prone set. Some have tried to blame prior attorneys (including our firm) for their legal misfortunes in subsequent declarations. It's both good to know what's being said, and to reassure ourselves that there are records already identified and available should a bar complaint be thrown at the wall as well. Of course, we usually do have all that documentation prepared, because there are pretty clear warning signs about a client before the final adieu, but sometimes the things they claim are pretty left-field outrageous...
(4) Plain old fashioned Schadenfreude. Occasionally. Or reassurance, perhaps. Turns out often clients did better when represented by our firm. Turns out sometimes clients sift through attorneys like desert sand in a revolving door representation until nobody is left. It's also reassuring when such a client subsequently sambas through several more attorney, as it creates a bar-complaint buffer zone, and at least some substantiation to any claims of "it's not me, it's him/her!"Sometimes the annoying and dodgy practices of the other side is still slapped down. Both are kind of satisfying as an affirmation that certain practices are still valued and valuable.
(5) Gossip - sometimes the office needs to blow off a little steam. It's not as much fun talking about current cases, because we're still having to think clearly and objectively, and deal with the other side and so on. But an ex-case is instant entertainment. Granted it's a limited slice, since I am only following the court documents, but that makes it even better somehow by making it more removed.
Happy humpday! Now get back to (essential or non-essential) work!
Ole Agave and the Bacchanale of Commemorative Guacamole Date Night Resurges.
In the EI(eeeeiiiiiiiooooo) emergency land of my bike-and-chain's career cycle, the febrile panic of last weekend is slowly simmering into a comfortable steam. I can tell this for several reasons: (1) Andrew actually went on a bike ride on Tuesday night! He also was home at a semi-reasonable hour on Monday night.
(2) Andrew is slightly more distractible from conversations about "the work" and occasionally even comes up with non-work topics of his own with a little encouragement. And personally, despite having been interested and loquacious about the "work situation" through the stormiest parts of last, I am finding myself increasingly impatient for a break from nuts, weldments and various interpersonal dynamics of the Grand Company. That's not to say I'm not interested generally - as a solicitous and preternaturally curious person, I am pleased to question and dissect just about any personal experience and doubly interested when those I love are involved. A loved one once accused me of being a sponge - soaking up information wherever it may be and leaking but a little of my own. Still topics of conversation are like blackberry bushes: lovely and yielding of good fruit in some quantity, but apt to strangle out all other lovelies to a point of invasiveness if left uncultivated. The chimerical world of coworkers I've never had and emergencies only mine by proxy are entertaining until they begin to uproot my own little contribution to the shared-life equation, and maybe start trying to move into personal fantasy land of Adella. Besides, sometimes I think that a subject can be talked to a point of brooding beyond productivity. I take it as a marital responsibility to interrupt with some declaration about my thoughts, life or day, at this point. Not easy, given my introverted predilections to offer only the information I am assured is wanted and which will be received well. So perhaps instead I wax on about others around me or the news. But I do throw myself in there from time to time. As I say, the balance of conversations is slowly receding from monofixation to something lightly peppered with farraginous elements.
(3) Date night! Whooooo. Like the days preceding it, Andrew actually got home earlier than anticipated and we scooted off to El Agave, land of the 39 ounce margarita (el gigantico). We did not imbibe, but I kept an ongoing monitor out to see if any one else did. Since it was 6 on a Wednesday, people seemed mostly content with the 20 ouncer (el jumbo).
As befitting a place that proffers a mixed drink on par with your average big gulp and which only glosses the vestiges of the McDonald's graveyard on which it was constructed, the meals are quite large at El Agave. They may have confused the term "plate" with "platter" in fact, and I suspect that carrying one of those "plates" constitutes as a full strength training workout. Andrew, of course, finished his entire calorie-mound ombre of beigey-orange and washed it down with a basket of chips and those fried dessert things. But he is watching his weight, of course, so no sour cream. (Ok, that's actually the lactose intolerance - it's date night! There are not calories on date night!)
They also embraced the spirit of the building's "fast food" heritage and delivered our voluminous viands with admirable celerity, leaving us with quite the cushy span of date-night remaining. Having unwound significantly during the re-fried bean feeding frenzy, we made good use of such time, only narrowly avoiding death and injury when Andrew romantically swept me off my feet, began to carry me through the kitchen, tripped on his briefcase and stumbled forward onto the scale. Neither (W)right was harmed in the making of such romantic hijinks, but it added a bit of a bubbly Buster Keaten lurch to the old announceaversary.
It felt like the weekend - as they sometimes do - and yet today is already Thursday with another lovely weekend beckoning already. How very fortuitous.