The Novella of the Novelty Week: Cha-cha-cha-changes in Attorneydom! (With Bonus Danger-Recipes)

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: Black cats bayed and gravid moons, with potent lunacy abounding. Emergencies erupted threatening steady friendships and long-worn vacation plans. And the Jersey Plague spread further and deeper into the marrow of the (W)right's fair hamlet. Produce pullulated but Adella rose to the challenge with knives ablazing. No match for Siri-lite, she fled the stores and hid with her tissues and dayquil in the cozy kitchen. 


Coming up:  Professional shenanigans commence as the fulcrum of Englettlaw flies south for the summer. An office of two attorneys hell bent on abandoning the rules, and clients equally excited to expand the anomie. Will Adella's new stabs at business modelling yield long-term contracts and covers of Vogue? Our heroine jumps into the way-way back machine and youthenizes herself to expand her novelty notions and bring forth paradigm revolution (or at least instigate scheduling Armaggeddon) Will she ever sleep again? And Kitchen madness reigns supreme with helpful hints and intriguing results. Will the results yield tasty treats of cataclysm? 


Draft up your waivers of liability, sign on for a shift, and warily skirt that cantankerous rice cooker... to find out more!






Englettlaw and the Case of the Sun-Tanning Office-Manager/Paralegal/Point-of-Contact/Non-Legal-Fulcrum-Front

And with a toss of tequila, Leslie is gone (for a few semanas)!


Cue the dramatic music and deep-throated over-narration: In a world of high-stakes legal insanity... two lawyers left entirely on their own with a busy calendar and without a Leslie to facilitate or handle logistics... dun dun DUUUUUUN! 

Our June parties have begun. In addition to the absence of our lovely senorita Leslicita (that's Spanish for Leslie, right?), I've got two appointments of a non-traditional kind, am starting my volunteer shift at the WDRC, and will be juggling all that with impending family visits near the end of the week. Get ready for some lost sleep and giddy giggles. The rut, should there ever have been one, is getting paved. 

I'm nervous about this week. Not so much because Leslie's gone. That will be kind of a wash: on the one hand, it does mean that several things that just "get done" will suddenly stymie (payments might not be processed, the giant scheduling machine will grind to a halt); on the other, the absence of this mighty titan of business-lubrication usually results in a concomitant "well-we'll have to deal with that when Leslie's back" gradual grinding down.

I am more nervous about this week because there's a lot of novelty all at once. After corresponding with another mediator in town, I'm experimenting a new model in which I draft papers based on mediation agreements for a flat fee. It's a potentially fantastic model, and one I've considered trying to get off the ground before. The advantages include bypassing the retainer issue, limiting responsibility for ongoing issues that might arise (pointedly not representing either spouse, and not providing legal advice). But I've never done this before, so I've been doing a lot of experimenting with the right waivers, forms, paperwork, and approach. That client comes in on Tuesday morning. 

On Wednesday morning I am doing an info-only free consult with another couple. I do these frequently enough, but I'm altering my approach a little based on a seminar the WCP had a few months back. I am having both parties come in, with appropriate waivers, to talk about collaborative law, mediation, and DIY dissolutions. After explaining the process, I'm going to let them decide which way they want to go and how they want to use me (oh my! Tsk tsk, no that's a violation of at least a handful of the RPCs, you dirty minded imaginary reader, you!). So far, not that different, but lawyers are typically careful about meeting with only one potential client at a time and avoiding conflicts. I have waivers and explanations to avoid trampling into legal advice land, but it is a new area for me. And my god, not giving legal advice is really difficult when people want it. Kind of a more complex version of Simon Says or Mother May I. All these prompts with easy or obvious answers that cannot be directly answered. Sometimes, you'd know the answer as a lay person, but if you talk even remotely as an attorney all hell breaks loose and the little RPC goblins start to summon up David Bowie to steal your baby brother (darn, wait, that doesn't happen - why doesn't that happen??) 

And then there's my new gig at the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center. In a mad annual afflatus of "people who volunteer feel that they have more time and are better invested in the community" I wrote to the local dispute resolution center. I was a case-manager of the UW mediation clinic for a year and a half and did a case-management externship my 3L summer, so I have experience to spare. And they had use. After my most involved interview in several decades, I was officially offered (dun dun duuuuun) the position of Case Management Intern. I love that intern thing. makes me feel so young. A teeny bit like Spring has sprung, even. They typically rely on WWU for their volunteer-base, if you couldn't guess.  

I'm excited, but every new thing brings variations on reality and a sudden complication of simple habit and proficiency. Any new job (paid or from the bottom of your tuggably fraying heart) brings a spell of uselessness and diminished competency while ropes are learned. As one of them there introverts, I also take a while to get into a rhythm with people. So it's a long term investment to get out and get to know a greater group of people, but it's one that will be kind of exhausting (and daunting before I begin) in the meantime. 

And of course all of this gets a little wonky with Rachel and Ryan flying in on Thursday, so the usual work-week of new clients (silver emergencies) and old clients (gold emergencies) is being condensed down into three days. 

Bring it on! Slowly and gently and with much coffee. 

To langor in the weekend just a while longer, yesterday I made quinoa "lasagna"! Lasagna is one of those truly "weekend" type foods for a family of two. It takes a long time of fairly attentive work and - even with the infinite pit of rapacious appetite that is my husband - it's made for leftovers. I currently have several parallelograms of lasagna chilling (har har) in our freezer for future convenience consumption. Oh freezer, how you enable my hoarding habits... if only there were a plausible space for one, I'd supplement you in a heartbeat with a standalone. Perhaps in the corner in the living room... 

A note to future lasagna makers: lasagna bakes better when you leave the oven "on" (clearly I should have my own food blog with tips like these). I'm not sure how and when, but apparently at some point I turned off the oven during my bake-fest last night. I'm going to posit that I was subconsciously respecting Mr. (W)right's time with Daddy-Dubya (with whom he'd been telephonically chatting for most of my span of defined "dinnertime") by pushing back all progress on dinner to forty-five minutes in the future. It sounds better somehow. 

Before lasagna-fest 2014, we had a saturated sniffly Sunday (Andrew's carrying forth the legacy by taking the lurgy-helm, as my viral discomfiture abates) with an abundance of chores and a little run. I am so impressed with myself: I managed to keep our run slower and easier than I've been able to since the arch injury. Possibly I wasn't running with fast enough turnover (I'm aiming my cadence at 90, which makes one feel like she's running in a hobble skirt with shoes tied together, but which spares the arch a lot of pain and prevents overstriding), of course. I'll have to reboot on a treadmill where those can be counted better. 

But back to today. AHHHHHHHHH. MONDAY!!! MONDAY ATTACK!!! It'll be fine. It'll be good. There's pilates. We'll get through the novelty nonsense. Breathing.... breathing. Wheeeeeee. 






Wham, Bam, Thank You Spam And other nonsensical murmurings of a Tuesday in the Brewing

Today is V-Day! Volunteer Day, that is. I'm starting it off meeting with a client and ending it with volunteerientation before beginning the consult candombe once again tomorrow morning. A whole 24 hours of mandatory professional-lite appearance! I don't know how I'm going to cope. With power-socks obviously. 

To celebrate my day of interacting with the public, my brain decided to rise with the larks (or whatever those chirpy little buggers outside our window actually are) at roughly 2  in the so-not-morning-yet-a.m. I exaggerate. Good old brainy didn't start rallying until the nearly civilized hour of 4 a.m. (hey, it was noon somewhere), and I struggled like Jacob with his angel until sleep was officially ceded at 4:38. I'm not sure how I feel about this trend, except to say that I'm glad solstice is nigh and the days may soon become a teensy bit shorter once more.  

You'd think that would have given me all kinds of extra time to get ready this morning, but somehow any extra time frothed away in the grand mix of things. Ah well. I'm awake for now, and I do have coffee. 

Yesterday afforded me a leisurely reorientation into the weekday routine. A bit topsy-turvy with Leslie officially absent (and only popping in once  for last minute follow up), and our Case Status Meeting bumped into the afternoon. But restorative nonetheless. I took a longish pre-lunch break to meet up with Molly (a drowsy Emma carted in caravan) at the park for a rainy-day amble and catch-up. I realized once I got there that I probably could have run to the park in the same amount of time it took to drive, and almost weekly do, so perhaps if I'm lucky enough for future incarnations, I can blend the two activities for some kind of uber-action socializing.

In our usual "man it's been too long let's do this again" postlude, Molly recommended things would be much easier if I just stopped working, and we could just kind of idly wander around together during working hours. Having just enough appointments to make scheduling tough, and usually wanting my post-work hours for husband-household time, I tend to agree. The bike-and-chain has been put on notice, but somehow I'm not sure the "Adella misses having more time with her bestie" is sufficient economic justification for adiosing our DINK-status.  

Ah well. We carry on. 

And yesterday evening carried me back to my pilates class. I love my pilates class, which is less of a pure pilates and more of a pilates goulash targeted at a wide but typically more mature and less terrifying clientele base. In a gigantic room. Usually with three or four people. And we get to play with lots of toys! I skipped the prior Monday due to the plague, so it's nice to get that slotted in. 

My new internship (yes, yes, Ms. Bartender, you do have to card me before selling me liquor so LOOK AT MY DAMNED ID! I'M NOT THAT OLD YET, little whippersnapper!!) shift is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4, so my other schedules are going to have to shift with the shifts. I've fallen into definite grooves each day. Wednesdays are long lunch and errands days. My mom and I go to Old Country - where the salad is endless and almost everybody knows our names - and then peripheral stores for office supplies and groceries.

Mondays have been case-status mornings, with a pilates kicker. Tuesdays and Thursdays were my A-Team Workout days, although that's fallen into desuetude given completely incompatible business and busyness schedules. Fridays are "work all the way through, but maybe leave early" days. And typically Tuesday or Thursday was my "massage around 4:30" slot, with the non-massage day being the "catch up in the kitchen" day. A lot of this structure is transferrable, but there are definitely some tweaks to make up for the fourish hours of lost work-time.

Of course, as staid as I am in my regular schedules, I also have a major fetish for the act of calendar Tetris. So I'm kind of excited about this whole new need to shuffle! Wheeeee. At least I will be after I finish with the totally unwarranted nervous stomach about my upcoming day o'people!






Flutter Flutter Through the Belly Noveltly Excites and Insomiacifies 

Well - pats self on the back - I survived my first big blitz of novelty. Yesterday, I started the day with my new experiment in unbundled flat fee drafting extravaganzas. Loved my potential client, although he's pretty overwhelmed with the various details of totally changing his life, and hasn't made it back in to pay/pick up papers just yet. But still. I had fun. I love not having to watch the clock when I'm drafting papers. I love not feeling the perverse effects of being paid less to do something more efficiently. I love not having to touch the IOLTA trust accounts. I love having my role limited and clear outside of the potential morass and billing Abbadon of full representation. So, we'll see. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages (and ethical nuances to really pay attention to in this newer model of practice), but I'm hoping I can make this a more regular thing. 

I rode pretty high (no horse required) on this excitement right through my first goshdarned shift at the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center. I get a name tag! With a really awesome magnet system to lock it onto my clothing. Hoping I don't immediately lose it, but so far, so good. The day was a slurry of information, and my head is still spinning right 'round like a record (baby), but I feel really good about this. I love the staff members I've met and my supervisor is pretty awesome. And, so far they remain really excited to have me on board. I'd feel daunted by high expectations, but apparently I don't have time for that sort of nagging discomfiture while trying to memorize where all the fire extinguishers are, and how to log on to the various shifting computers (interns are nomads, so I may master several). 

As is often the case with my outgoing moments of introversion, the nervousness abated and mutated into a giddy kind of happy-high of optimism and excitement for new things and change and yadda yadda yadda... until I crashed later in the day.

 But said crashing certainly didn't interfere with the lingering adrenaline land-mine waiting to go off at roughly 2:30 a.m. this morning! Oh no! A careless tumble must have jostled the darned thing into flood-mode. I could NOT go back to sleep. My stomach was screaming FEED ME SEYMOUR, and every muscle in my body went fugal in cavilling cantankerous chorus. I conceded I would at least rouse enough to eat a banana and drink some water, which I did at around 3 a.m. Begging for lenity, I slumped back to bed to cast my net once more for those sonorous Zzzzzzs of yore. No dice. No even a single die. So I officially surrendered to consciousness around 3:45 or so with the pact that I'd sit quietly and restfully until my normal wake-up time at least. 

So... today should be interesting. Boy do I wish I were the napping sort. I have another newish thing straight off this morning. I've done free informational consultations for a few years. These aren't legal consultations, but basically a meet and greet explanation of mediation, collaborative law, and the other ways to reach a dissolution. Usually I just siphon people off from my mom's calls, but recently I've gotten more targeted interest in my Collaborative Law or mediation background.

Taking strategies from a more zealously market-savvy colleague, I'm meeting with both spouses today for this meeting. Meeting with a husband and wife at the same time can trigger all kinds of bar exam ethical imbroglios (don't ask; just imagine connubial war breaking out, trust funds being plundered and probably combustion at some point), but it also makes the most sense for somebody presenting alternative models that require buy-in, trust, and good faith between separating spouses. So LEGAL FORMS have been drafted to cover my tooshy!! And I'm going to try to work in some borrowed educational materials from the same colleague. 

Since I've never tried it before, it's kind of exciting and a little scary. I'm having to figure out other little nuances of agreements and fee schedules for various options that are not standard Englettlaw Procedure. My mom has her niches down to rote, but each time I go off-script (and because I don't want to emulate huge swathes of her practice, I'm starting to do this more often), I have to invent the process for myself at least well enough to explain to potential clients. Not always easy, considering there is still no consensus in the collaborative law community on how to handle financial pieces when a team is involved. 


As an update, it appears that I've got a mediation gig next Thursday, so something I did during the consult must have worked. I met them (they were early - shocker of shockers) on my way back from the bathroom. They were looking adrift in the thoroughly destitute hallway (being marked out for painting and looking like a crime scene) and then proceeded to bumble about grabbing papers and shutting off fans and music. Didn't get to change out of my sneakers, but the sneakers + ear plugs + pointedly askew Law Degree (falling down in the frame, which I've decided I actually like symbolically and think I might keep) seem to express ME pretty well. 

Fortunately, the dearth of sleep shouldn't overpower the inevitable resurgence of adrenaline until at least noon today. At which point I should be sufficiently surly and dead for our upcoming Special Marker of Semi-Arbitrarily Commemorated 5 Years of Dating and Stuff Conveniently Having Fallen on Date Night date this evening. Lucky boy, Mr. (W)right. I think for him, I can rally.

Happy Whatever Day is may be. Hope it is full of some excitement, the succor of interspersed familiarity, and just enough challenge for you to meet.







How to Make a Pancake (A/K/A "Rice Cooker Pumpkin Banana Adella-Apocalypse Disaster Dessert!") Adella-Style - So, I had a banana. It was overripe. I had a can of pumpkin and a fond memory of once having made delicious pumpkin pancakes. I had seen the repost of that article about "making pancakes in the rice cooker" which had sparked my curiosity. And... I had time.

Go-go Gadget Adella baking skills. This segment may also be known as Another Reason Adella Will Never Ever Have a Food Blog: 

1. Have a ripe banana and the desire to do something with it other than eat it or throw it away.

2. Try to find old recipe for pumpkin pancakes, discover several other variations, and subsequently blend about five into your basic outline of "pancakeish" with several substitutions, a change in cooking medium, and a complete rescale. 

3. With recipe outline in mind, actually see what's in the kitchen. Ok, so we have the ripe bananapumpkin puree (phew!), whole wheat pastry flouravocadoan egg and spices... ok.

4. Weigh the banana so that you can scale your various recipes to the anchor ingredient. It's about 100 grams. Readjust everything accordingly. Ingredient Number 1:100 grams of banana. Plop peeled banana in the gigantic pho bowl that you use to serve soup to your garbage disposal of a husband, and feel accomplished. 

5. Attempting to do a direct conversion of avocado for butter, realize that you're just going to scoop out the remaining half of an avocado you've been using to "avo" your morning toast. Ingredient Number 230 grams of avocado. Plop on top of the banana in pho bowl. 

6. Cuss up a storm while mangling a can of pumpkin. Eventually pry the lid off with a fork and a prayer. Going off a different recipe, add Ingredient Number 3: 1/2 cup of pumpkin

7. Scale down a recipe with flour to add Ingredient Number 4: 70 grams of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. 

8. Dither between various recipes and their additional calls for baking-type additions. Realize that you have baking soda, but not baking powder, and that most but not all recipes call for this... compromise with some baking soda knowing this is likely going to compromise the final product, but also feeling far too committed to back out now for a shopping trip. Ingredient Number 5: Some baking somethingorother. Lord knows. 

9. Decide to add an egg because, hey, you probably need a little moisture and one of the several recipes calls for three (plus you have an extra egg laying around and you like the eggs to be in even numbers, due to some slight OCD qualities and your tendency to use them in twos for breakfast). Ingredient Number 6: One Egg, because heck why not?

10. Spices! Ingredients Numbers Everything Else:Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices to taste

11. Let the Baking Commence. Feebly attempt to mash the banana with a fork before breaking out the immersion blender. Proceed to blend the crap out of your mix, while eating at least 1/3 of the recipe "to make sure it tastes ok." 

12. When you're done devouring the batter, throw whatever's left in the rice cooker and set the cooker on the cake function. Go with the default suggested time because, again, why not. And back away slowly.  

13. When the default 50 minutes are up, reset and start the rice cooker in cake mode one more time because that is SO NOT DONE. Consider doing this several more times. Each time you "check" make certain that pancake thing still tastes "ok" by getting a gut-scoop of the ooey gooey center.  

14. Eventually decide that you're done sampling, and give in to your husband's eager stares at the rice cooker. Thank the gods above that an egg flipper pries the gigantic pancake from its lair. No cake, because of the dearth of baking powder/soda. But kind of a Super Mario Brother's Giant World sort of pancake that's roughly two to three inches thick.  

15. Serve a chuck to your husband, with the disappointing revelation that there is no syrup in the house. Allow him to smother the whole thing in butter as a compensation.  

16. Leave overnight, slice the remaining fat pancake down the center to reduce breadth, and throw in a plastic bag for future munching.  

17. Realize that probably making pancakes on the griddle would have been easier, particularly given the available ingredients and the amount of babysitting ultimately required. But also swear to try again with more baking soda/powder to see if you can get that nifty cake effect you've read about.  

18. Buy more bananas and avocados, realizing full well you'll have completely forgotten what you actually did when making this cakey creature. 

Eat more batter. 

Rinse

Repeat. 
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