It was Contract Firm. I haven't heard from them in 6 weeks. They want to meet with me next week. One of their associates is leaving and they want me to talk to me about resuming contract work and possibly taking over his position permanently. They said that even though he is experienced they think that they can get me up to speed and train me to take over.
I could not have been more shocked. When I think about it, I feel like I am going to vomit. I really don't want to get my hopes up again because I don't think I can take anymore emotional turmoil.
I think in the meeting I need to tell them that I need some kind of commitment or deadline to move from contract to permanency. I do not want to take myself off the market if they are not serious about a permanent position. And it's not like they haven't already seen my work.
Meanwhile I went ahead a submitted the application for the other job, and I have rescheduled the meeting with the recruiter.
I got cute girly CD boomboxes for the twins. We decided that would be easier for them than MP3 players. And I got games for all three girls. I think it is becoming a tradition to give board games on Christmas Eve--then we have something to do together that night. (We usually spend Christmas in our own home, and visit our family who all live 350 miles away the weekend before or after.) I am thrilled the twins are finally big enough to play adult friendly games. I hate Candy Land with a red hot passion. I got UNO Spinner, Jenga and Boggle. It was hard to find games we don't already own.
I also bought tons of stocking stuffers. I think stocking stuffers are my weakness--I usually get enough stuff to fill two stockings. But I was a lot more conscientious about what I was buying this year, with all the recalls.
Oh yeah, and I got a Wii. It was sort of a spontaneous purchase. DH and I had discussed it, but they are so hard to find and we were anticipating a lean Christmas so we just kind of forgot about it. But all the forces of nature sort of combined at once. First, I found them in Wal-Mart just as a shipment came in. I hate Wal-Mart (even more than Candy Land) and I never shop there, but I had a $100 gift certificate that I needed to use. I was in the electronics department looking for the CD boomboxes (which I did not buy at Wal-Mart), when I noticed the Wiis. I could cover almost half with my GC and the rest with the money I just got from selling my barbri books. I knew it was probably my only chance before the holidays, and if I changed my mind, I could always return it or sell it. Of course, now I have to get games for the darn thing.
So anyway, shopping seemed to improve my mood (as always!). I think we may get our Christmas tree this weekend, which sounds fun (we go to a tree farm and cut it ourselves), but dragging all the decorations out of the attic does not. And I have no idea how our foster kitty is going to do with the tree.
The twins had their ears pierced a little over two months ago. We cleaned then for the first 6 weeks, but I haven't done much with them in the last week or two. A couple of nights ago I noticed that SS's ear was red and puffy. Upon closer inspection she had a cyst about the size of a jellybean on the back of her ear.
I removed her earring and her ear started oozing pus. I cleaned both ears with peroxide and soaked the earrings in peroxide overnight. Yesterday the swelling was down, but when I cleaned her ear it started oozing pus again. I squeezed, hoping to get it all out, which just made DD scream and did not get it out. It was nasty, as SS said, "That looks like snot!" The cyst was now about half its original size, but still looked like it needed to be lanced.
Today I took her to the doctor to be lanced. Did he lance it? Noooo, he squeezed it just like I did. But he collected a culture to be tested for staph. We won't know until Monday if it's staph, and I am trying not to freak out. Staph has been running wild around here, and on the way home from the doctor's office there was a news story about a local high school kid who just died from MRSA.
Now I'm feeling guilty for not taking DD in when I first noticed her ear. I think one of the hardest things as a parent is knowing when to take a kid to the doctor. Half the time I hear, "it's just a cold' and the other half my kids have contracted some wierd disease and needed to see the doc three days ago.
They are just tiny little cotton things, sort of like a sports bra. Shockingly, or perhaps not, they had much more mature-styled bras (with sequins!) that were padded! Really? A 10 or even 12 year old needs a padded bra? I have noticed a similar trend when shopping for swimsuits. Blech!
I can't imagine a cat on this planet that is going to sit there while you GLUE these tips on their claws. The lady who runs the cat rescue said that she only knew of one person who tried it, and he glued his cat's paws together. Poor kitty.
Her class is reading Shiloh, which she has talked about and she loves, and takes a quiz at the end of every chapter. PS, who usually get 100's suddenly got a 71. WTF? It turns out that their "reading" is listening to an audio tape and following along. I'm not quite sure what purpose this serves in the fourth grade. I can see it to help first graders, but shouldn't fourth graders all be fluent readers?
So PS tells me that she has absolutely no recollection of chapter 8. She tries to tell me that she was in her GT pull-out class, but there are two other GT kids in her class that remember chapter 8. I convince her that she must have just zoned out. She said that she hates listening to the audio tapes and would rather just read it herself. She also asked me to take her to the library to get the book so that she could read chapter 8 and catch up on what she missed (which we did.)
I have emailed PS's teacher asking if PS can read independently and do an extra project or report instead of listening to the audio tapes. I don't want to tell the teacher how to do her job, but PS is such a gifted reader, and I don't think the school is doing an adequate job of challenging her. I had a major battle with her second grade teacher because she was only allowed to check out certain leveled readers from the school library. The child had already read three Harry Potter books, and they were limiting her to Junie B. Jones and The Magic Treehouse. (But her 3rd grade teacher started a Harry Potter book club for a handful of gifted readers.)
I also explained to PS that not all schoolwork is fun, as she is finding out, and that is part of growing up. I don't want her to think that because I am asking for special consideration on her reading lessons, that she will somehow get out of all boring work. Sometimes life is just boring.
But I'll also admit that part of my the reason I set such high expectations for PS is because I don't want her to be like me. Because everyone who knew me as a child says that PS is a carbon copy of me. We look a lot alike, but it goes deeper than than. I was bookish like her and she is a know-it-all like me. And I was a smart kid too (although I am told that my daughter is smarter than I was). But I was lazy. I never put any effort into my education until I got to law school. Before that I could slide by with minimal effort. And PS could too, but I want her to put out more than minimal effort. I want to push her to live up to her potential. But perhaps I push too hard.
This weekend we found a stash of papers hidden beneath the sink in the kids' bathroom. They were all of PS's "bad" grades, ranging from 86 to 70. The 70's were for papers that she turned in late or didn't complete properly. The 86 is bad because a B is bad, in the world I have created for my daughter. She was afraid she'd get in trouble. I felt like an ogre. DH thinks I push her too hard.
I explained that she would never be in trouble for bad grades when she genuinely didn't understand--that if she had shown me those papers we would have gone over them together to make sure she understood, and that I couldn't help her if she hid things from me. I told her that she would have been in trouble for the late and incomplete work, but that had been an issue just last week and she had only received was a short lecture. I'm not sure what she thought would happen--the only punishments she ever receives are extra chores or removal of privileges.
I guess I need to lighten up. It worries me that she thinks she has to hide a paper with an 86--or even a 70. What if she gets into serious trouble as a teen? I don't want her to be so fearful that she doesn't come to me.
PS, however, is making life easy on us. She created a PowerPoint presentation of her Christmas wish list, complete with fly-ins and sound effects. The child has a better grasp of Power Point than I do. I think her first job will be to create my trial presentations.
Look what my SIL sent. Isn't it cute? I love the little lawyer bear in the front. My law license and bar card showed up in the mail today--woohoo, now I am official.
Both of the kitties we have now are getting sick, so I had to meet with the person who runs the cat rescue to pick up meds. She has been a paralegal for a very long time and said that if I were thinking about going solo she could send me plenty of referrals. She also said that she had a huge forms library and could help with almost anything. You just never know where you might pick up a network connection. I'm still not sold on the idea of going solo, but I have decided that if I don't have a job by my birthday in late January I will go that route. I think it's good to have a deadline to work towards.
And just in case you were wondering, I survived Thanksgiving with my mother. My aunts, who are fully aware of the situation and basically on my side did a good job running interference so that she couldn't corner me. Unfortunately, my mother invited herself over to my house on Sunday. Sort of took my by surprise and I wasn't thinking quickly enough to get out of it--so we'll see what happens then. (Why is it I have no problem standing up to anybody in the world except my parents?) But at least I'll be on my own turf. Plus she has cat allergies, so maybe the kitties will run her off. I know this makes me sound like a real bitch, and unless you have a mother who is the center of her own universe you just can't understand. Heck, I didn't even understand how bad it was until I had children of my own and realized that I would never, ever treat my children the way she did.
But otherwise, T-day went much better than anticipated. I enjoyed a raucous game of chicken foot dominoes with my grandparents, who I know were very happy to see me (or rather my girlies.) And it snowed! I love snow, but it doesn't happen much in my neck of the woods, and I have never seen snow here on Thanksgiving before. They were big gorgeous flakes that didn't last long, but were a nice Thanksgiving surprise.
And speaking of Thanksgiving surprises, my brother called my uncle's house to speak with everyone, since he was the only family not present. I haven't spoken with my brother in 9 months (because he won't take my calls) and he has been blowing off the rest of the family too. But he called and he talked to me, and he sounded ok, so I guess he is speaking to me again.
God my family has too much drama.
We had to give our orange kitten back to the cat rescue because he was sick. It was sad to give him back. We still have the little black kitten who loves to snuggle and we were given a 3 month old cat named Dylan. We'll have him for about a month, until he can be neutered. Dylan is hilarious. He zooms back and forth across the house at top speed. Then he'll snuggle for a little bit, then back to crazy cat. I think the kids enjoy him more than the little kittens because he is so playful. And he is very tolerant of the kids carting him around. I guess one good thing about is fostering is that any animal that comes from our house will be used to kids.
And Dylan loves DH, who has been rather grumbly about us bringing cats into the house. Last night he kept rubbing against his legs and jumping in his lap.
But I am now remembering why I didn't want a cat--the litterbox. PS cleans it every day and it still smells up the whole powder room. I don't know where else to put it, but this is not working. I don't want a stinky cat house.
Next, tomorrow is DH's last day at his current job. He has been there for nine years--since right out of college. It was time for a change, but the timing isn't great (I think he first interviewed with the new place 2 months ago), and there is a lot that is still unknown. Like when he'll get his first check at new place and for what time period it will cover, and how much it will be with all the benefits taken out. And with the holidays and my continued unemployment these unknowns are a little stressful. Besides the uncertainty of leaving the stable and secure for the unknown. He was working for a place largely unaffected by whatever the economy might bring. Now he is going to work for a real-estate investment firm--is this really the best time for them?
And of course there is the ever-present stress of unemployment.
And the kids are out of school this week, and while I love the little critters, they are about to drive me crazy with the fighting. And the, "Can we please go do something fun?"requests. Because no, we cannot go do anything fun because mommy doesn't have a job and Santa's coming soon.
I finally got my new non-anon blog going. (No, I'm not linking here, then this one wouldn't be anonymous, and I don't want my bitching to come back and haunt me when I am being confirmed for my federal judgship some day.) It took all damn day. I decided to go with WordPress because it seems to have a lot more customization options. But then I couldn't figure out how to customize a regular old WordPress account, so I decided I needed to host my own account. Not a big deal, I already have a hosting account that I use for a nonprofit whose website I maintain, so I only needed to register my domain. And install the WordPress files on my account. And then my WordPress template. And then tinker with the template until I got it like I wanted it. And then draft my first carefully thought out, non-rambling, sensible post. Seriously, an all day event, and one I couldn't have pulled off without DH's help. But it's up and, if nothing else, it looks nice.
Yesterday I bought two rotisserie chickens, for $5 each. My kids all want legs, and since I haven't found a three-legged chicken, two chickens solved that problem. For dinner last night I cut off the legs, thighs and wings of both chickens, and a little of the breast. I chopped up the rest of the breast (about 3 cups) which will be enough for two more meals. I'll probably do a chicken pot pie one night (which is a little time consuming, but can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen) and fettuccine alfredo another night--which I can thrown together in about 20 minutes.
Am I just unusually clumsy or does anyone else have this problem?
One att'y took my info and said that he may have some contract work for me. Another att'y who works for a civil defense firm in Big City gave me his card and said he thought they would have an opening in Jan. And another att'y advised that I take mental health court appointments if I have to go solo, and gave me contact info for that.
But apparently my little town is overrun with family lawyers. None of them were happy to hear that is what I'd be doing if I go solo. According to them, there is just not enough work here, and Big City lawyers keep taking what there is. Maybe its true, or maybe they are just protecting their turf.
So today I finally registered a new non-anonymous blog and gmail account (to keep things completely separate.) But I have no freaking clue what to do for content. So I currently have a postless blog. It's a lot easier to patter on about one's daily trials and tribulations than to actually write about something significant.
Also, I am a little worried about how blogging plays into the bar's advertising requirements. There are other lawyer bloggers in my state, so presumably it's ok. But does it have to be approved as advertising. All websites have to be approved by the bar--does that extend to blogs?
Sometimes the details are overwhelming.
Also got an email from CSO informing all of us unemployed souls that Big City DA's Office isn't planning on any hiring anytime soon. Double fuck. That was the last hold out, because we knew they wouldn't interview until after bar results. CSO said to start looking at surrounding DA's offices. Yeah, they aren't hiring either, I've already applied at all of them. Well, there are a couple in BFE podunkville. But I'm not going there--not if I want to continue to live with my family.
But today I'm being proactive. I emailed my local suburban bar ass'n yesterday, and their monthly meeting is at lunch today. So I will go and be social. And hopefully make some connections. I'm not hopeful enough to think I will get any job leads, but I'm hoping to get a lead on office space in my local area. And I will need mentors if I have to go solo, because I am essentially an infant who knows nothing.
Finally, to address some of the comments I received yesterday.
- I can't send the irate letter to the fundraising dept. of law school for reasons that I can't publicly post. That's the same reason I can't go to the CSO and throw a fit. Because believe me, with my bridge burning, typically type-A personality, I would be down there raising hell. But I have a pretty compelling reason that prevents me from doing so.
- I don't want to look for a non-legal job. I love practising law. I even loved law school. It is what I was meant to do. And I'm good at it. I just need to find that one person to give me a shot. And if that doesn't happen, I'll just have to do it myself--even if it scares the crap out of me and means financial turmoil.
But anyway, I am trying to put that all aside, and this is my current plan of action:
- Email Contract Firm, who hasn't used me in a month, to say thanks for the reference, I didn't get the job, I'm still available if you need me.
- Write Interviewer to say, it sucks that I didn't get the job but I understand. Keep me in mind if you or any of your lawyer friends has an opening. And, oh yeah, I do contract work, too.
- Contact law school b/c I can no longer access job boards.
- Resist the urge to send extremely bitchy letter to fundraising dept of law school, who is already asking for money. Apparently they do not coordinate their lists with the career services office.
- Scour internet for any job ops I have missed (doubtful).
And I have reevaluated my career plan. Going solo has moved from Plan B to Plan C. I just really don't know how to pull it off financially right now. And finances are beginning to stress me out. A lot. But I will still continue to investigate, so that I can pull it together quickly if I need to go there.
Plan B is now to aggressively pursue a position that will be opening in January. It is not my top choice for employment, but I have several friends (aka connections) there , so I should have a decent shot. because Plan B isn't the kind of place where I could take any business that I manage to drum up, I can't pursue going solo until I see how that works out. Meanwhile, Plan A is to find a job before January. Because I need to work, for both my mental and financial stability.
I was shocked by how many people were there. Hundreds of lawyers and many more families. And babies--there were babies crying throughout the whole damn thing. Why do babies need to be there? And if they do need to be there, why can't you be respectful of everyone else and remove them when they start to fuss? This was in a coliseum, so everything echoed--even a little fuss could be heard for several rows.
The hotel we stayed in was gorgeous. It is very old and supposedly haunted, but we saw no signs of ghosts. It was also in a great location, so we were able to walk out the door and have our choice of eating and drinking establishments. It was nice to be able to go out and have fun without worrying who would drive back or when we needed to relieve the sitter. And I learned that tequila-induced relaxation relieves my TMJ better than anything else I have tried.
And, honestly, I was taking it very personally. Last week was really rough on me. I was just so tired of fighting and trying to figure out what was so wrong with me when there are so many law students with worse grades and stranger personalities. I spend a good part of the week in bed feeling sorry for myself.
I had finally determined that Interviewer must have contacted Contract Firm, and that Contract Firm must have been unhappy with my work product, since they haven't contacted me in a month. But still, I wanted an answer.
So Sunday evening I was surprised to finally get a phone call from Interviewer. I did not get the job, but it wasn't anything I did. For once, I did not screw up my own life. He said that I was "on the very short list of candidates," that all of my references had spoken very highly of me and that Contract Firm had said that I did great work for them.
So what happened? The associate who I would have replaced decided that she did not like her new job and asked for her old job back. Which means no opening for me.
How do I manage such shitty luck?
This makes me so angry I don't even think I can write a sensible post right now. A woman (and law student) in Nicaragua died because her doctors refused to treat an ectopic pregnancy. They refused to treat her because Nicaragua, under the direction of the Roman Catholic Church, has a total ban on abortion for any reason. So even in a case like this where there is virtually no chance the embryo will survive and a very great chance the mother will die or suffer permanent damage to her reproductive system, the doctors will not intervene for fear of losing their medical licenses. It just disgusts me that the church has so much power over the lives--and death--of these women.
I had originally booked a decent hotel for $150/night a couple miles away from the heart of Capital City. Then I remembered Priceline. We have used it a couple of times before when it was just DH and me and got really great deals. Like the Hyatt on Michigan Ave. in Chicago for $45/night. And TI in Las Vegas for $60/night. Doesn't really work for families, though, so I haven't used them lately. Anyway, I managed to get Fancy Pants Hotel, right in the heart of Capital City for $85--less than 40% of their internet rate. WooHoo!
If you use Priceline to book a hotel, you must first visit Bidding For Travel. Their message boards include a breakdown of what hotels to expect in each of Priceline's hotel categories and areas in each city. There are reviews of many of the hotels. But they also allow users to post the bids that won along with the hotel received.
So I knew before I bid, that someone had won a bid for $85 on Fancy Pants Hotel for the same night that I needed it. I also knew that that person had tried lower bids without success. This is important because you can only bid on a single hotel class and city area once every 3 days. You have time to try low bids if you have a longer time frame, but not if you are planning to travel within a few days. And the caveat is that the best deals are available with the shortest notice. But if you spend time on Bidding For Travel, you can get a good idea of what to bid to get a nice hotel.
I will now stop sounding like a commercial. And, no, I have not received any endorsements from any of the above listed websites.
I received my score in the mail today. I had envisioned passing by only one point, I actually passed by a comfortable margin. It was not a super awesome score but, who the hell cares?
In addition to congratulating me and welcoming me to the bar, the powers that be have kindly informed me that I am in fact not licensed to practice law until I am sworn in and have paid almost $300 in fees. A little notice would have been nice. I hope I hear something about a job soon or my kiddos are getting a copy of mommy's law license in their stockings this Christmas.
For some reason my 1L study group was obsessed with the Chupacabra. It became sort of an inside joke. The answer to everything was the Chupacabra. And now its just a freaky hairless coyote.
Even though it was the day before results were due, I was checking the website regularly. But I had to leave at 3 to pick up my girlies from school, and once we returned home I was chatting with them about their day and going through their folders. I finally wandered back upstairs for the sole purpose of refreshing the bar result page again.
Oh crap--it has changed. There is now a link to the pass list. I had wondered if, once I saw that results were posted I would be too freaked to look or if I would go directly to where my name should be. I went right to where my name should be. Of course I suddenly forget alphabetical order as I am scrolling for my name. Finally, finally there it is.
I screamed. Not like a girly squeal--a blood-curdling scream. I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the police. Then I collapsed into sobs. Huge, wracking, can't-catch-your-breath sobs. I think I scared the crap out of my kids. I am not a crier, but I think all of the stress and emotion that has been building since May finally came to a head.
Somehow, through the tears, I explained to the kids what was going on. The I made PS look at the computer and validate that my name was in fact there. Then I had her call DH, because he would have freaked if I would have called while I was bawling. Seriously, I could not stop--this went on for like an hour.
PS gave me a thumbs up and a "good job, Mom". SS gave me a big hug and said, "I'm so proud of you, mommy." Then the phone calls started, all full of "I told you so's."
DH came home early and we all went out to dinner. Lucy (our nanny) is out of town, so no private celebrations yet. But that was ok, because I still wasn't feeling great, and all of the crying made it worse. And the kids needed to be part of it anyway--they had to put up with me through all of this.
Today there have been a couple more calls. SS seems to have picked up whatever I have, so we are being sickies together. I'm still trying to process, and refuse to close the results page on my computer.
Meanwhile I've been checking out how my classmates did. One of my friends is missing from the list. I am surprised and sad for her. There are a couple of acquaintances missing, too. It sucks that the whole world has to know your terrible news.
I learned so much more from my internships, clinic participation and performance-based classes like Trial Ad and Negotiations than I ever did sitting in a traditional classroom.
And I won't even feel guilty for wasting my day on the internet. I seemed to have developed a sinus infection late last night and I am stopped up, headachey and generally feeling crummy. A good excuse to curl up on the sofa and do nothing but surf the net and clean out my TIVO.
So anyway, given all the garbled thoughts flowing through my head right now, I foresee numerous rambling posts today. And so I apologize in advance for clogging up your blog reader.
I think I checked the bar results website about 10 times today. Not too compulsive, I don't think. Especially considering that the number on their hit counter has doubled in the past day or so. 30,000 hits in one day. I think there were around 1500 who sat for the bar here. Apparently I'm not the only one checking regularly already.
Despite the fact that I have tried to be very nonspecific about when bar results come out, people have been coming out of the woodwork this week asking me about it. And everyone says that they are absolutely certain that I passed, there is no possible way I could have failed and that I have never failed at anything. What these people don't understand is that their confidence in my actually make it worse. Because disappointing all of them may be just as bad as the disappointment I will have in myself if I don't pass.
But the thing that worries me the most, is that if I don't pass I honestly don't know what to do better or differently the next time around. I gave the bar everything I've got--I have never worked so hard for anything. I don't even think I would have the heart to put in what I did the last time--much less go beyond that. It is not surprising that pass rates for retakers is morbidly low.