Reframing

Ana reminds me that your perspective is what you make of it.  Right now my perspective is pretty damn shitty.

Cluster headaches have been back since last Sunday with the corresponding nausea, crankiness and general out-of-it nature.  I cannot do this again.  Last time it was the entire. third. trimester.  Praying hard for relief.  The doctor nixed my natural remedy because the wintergreen and thyme it contain have methyl salicylate in them and can cause some duct to close.  Bummed because that stuff worked!  But I don’t need to catastrophize.  This does not mean they will last forever.  I am going to take control and explore other options.  First, I’m going to try a mix of the rest of the oils in the blend I was using that takes those two out and see if that helps.  Then I’m going to make an appointment with my neurologist and see about a lidocaine spray up my nose along with prednisone, each of which are apparently safe options during pregnancy.  Last time we tried oxygen, drugs, massage and electrical stimulation on my neck with no success.  Hoping we can find new options with better results this time.

Work continues to be ridiculous.  Two of my colleagues refuse to talk to any of us and one is downright combative.  We had a group meeting with HR on Friday where nothing HR-related was discussed (weird…) but when asked two questions my colleague’s response was “It’s been discussed. There is nothing more to say.”  Super rude and even the HR lady raised her eyebrows.  It’s such a toxic environment.  Boss announced that he will be restructuring us in a month and putting junior people as first-line reviewers with no client contact while senior people get to go out and negotiate our redlines.  Yeah, cause THAT will be productive!  Let’s hand off our contracts/thought patterns to someone who has to figure out what we were thinking…. (we typically work off the customer’s paper so we are constantly redlining conceptually rather than lazily slapping in our language).

Reframing work?  Trying to think positive that I will have a new job soon.  The interviewer updated and said he will come back with an answer early next week.  Word from a reliable source in his team is that I will be getting an offer.  Not trusting anything, I also interviewed Friday with an international E&P company.  They are offering a JD-preferred position with a salary range of 104-125, a guaranteed 15% annual bonus (not merit-based) and 4-12% in a 401k vested 1/3 each year over three years.  Um, yeah, no lack of good options out there!  :o  But clearly the internal position is better for a variety of reasons  – 26-week belly bump, knowledge of internal politics/players, maternity leave and continued tenure.  However, I feel good that there are nontraditional legal positions out there that want someone with my experience, will allow me to use my legal knowledge and are competitive in salary.  I have had three external company interviews in the past two weeks and have received inquiries from others.  Certainty will make me feel better.

Reframing children?  Baby J is in his cranky toddler phase where every evening is a screaming throwdown as he refuses to leave daycare and wants to be carried while I juggle laptop bag, purse, sippy cup, etc.  Reminding myself that this phase passes and looking at all the cute things he does.  Also preparing myself with apple slices, pretzels, toys, stickers and other bribes to get him out to the car, walking and calm.  Heh.  Pumpkinhead is stinky, rude and every 5th word is “penis” or “balls”. :roll:  He is being a real challenge, in part because he is off one of his meds for the summer while he visits his father on and off.  Fortunately his father is stepping up and taking him on a real vacation this year.  They are going to New York for a few days and Chapin is even picking up Pumpkinhead’s cousin in  Baltimore on the way so that he will have an English-speaking buddy.  I’m pleased about that and hope they have a blast.  I will enjoy the break, particularly next weekend as I prepare for the MPRE the following weekend.

Speaking of school, I am now managing to keep up, thank God. Have done two practice California performance tests and am feeling a bit more confident although, dang, they take a lot longer than the three hours we are given!  If I do well, though, it will apparently erase a bad showing on two of the CA bar essays.  Thank God for this book.  I attended the author’s bar prep seminar when I returned to law school before my first set of 2L finals so that I could reacquaint myself with IRAC.  She uses an under-here-therefore scheme and provides some helpful memorization tips.  Her bar prep book is really practical but the MPT book takes the cake.  Now to just stay on track.  MPRE August 17 and another class (virtual law practice) starting in September.

For now, it is off to my mother-in-law’s house for lunch and drama.  She is having a full hip replacement in a few weeks and is, of course, fighting it kicking and screaming.  Now she’s panicked about division of her assets and wants us to come help catalog her jewelry and decide who gets what.  I told her that her daughter should get everything but she’s not having it so this afternoon with my diva SIL and MIL should be a bag of fun.  Reframing?  My MIL is an awesome cook and has likely made us a lovely lunch.  I will enjoy spending time with her and looking at the beautiful antique pieces she has been fortunate enough to accumulate over the years. And then I will come home and NAP! :mrgreen:

Delusional

Sometime in the next two-three weeks my life is either going to change immensely with a new job or I’m going to resign myself to staying in my personal hell of a work situation, dedicate myself to succeeding in spite of the crap and work hard on school and baby-growing. The potential new job will mean double the commute (40 miles each way), a new daycare for Baby J and a lot of work but it will also mean a great new challenge, a significant raise (20-25%) and positioning myself well for career growth in a non-legal, JD-preferred area.  I am currently doing the exact same work as the JDs in the offices next to me (and some even come to me for advice…nuts!) but am seeing far too many JDs who simply cannot find work.  We have had some major overhauls in our senior management so my previous verbal offer of in-house counsel after bar passage is quite likely a pipe dream.  And if, like others, we go through layoffs?  Well, hell, we have a 20-year former BigLaw attorney and two former GCs who have worked contract for us over the past year and can’t get full-time work.  With the potential salary increase of the new job and the opportunity to move into a field that has (and will likely always have) a lot of job openings, I don’t think I can pass it up.  Now just hoping they don’t see the belly and pass ME up as all interviewing to-date has taken place via phone or e-mail and the in-person portion will take place this week or next.

But I am starting to think I am freaking delusional for taking on something extra right now.  Not that it makes much of a difference – current day job  has ratcheted up to 12-hour days where I find myself working nights and weekends while trying to cram in school and kids.  Reading Magic Cookie’s post today reminds me of how driven and over-worked I was in my job a few years ago trying to convince myself it was all balancing out.  Ha!  I moved into my current role with the backing of a senior executive and my former boss both telling me to only work 40-45 hours/week and to be sure I am making time for school, which I have happily done.  The flexibility I have had over the past two years has been incredible and I keep pinching myself at the difference.  Now it’s back to insanity mode either way.  The new job won’t be any different (except for the extra commute) but my back is up against the wall and I don’t seem to have any choice in terms of finding a position that is more hours-friendly – seeking outside opportunities hasn’t worked and is less of an option as the pregnancy progresses.  I’ve been pursuing the intercompany promotion so far without telling my current boss.  Unfortunately the people who said they would be discrete until we determine if there is a fit are being very much less than.  I have had two calls from people telling me that a certain individual has told them I am applying.  Then on Friday a former coworker came into my office while I was on a conference call, hugged me and told me she had been asked about me earlier that day by the departmental director who is interviewing me.  Then she went to have lunch with my boss.  :???:  So, yeah, probably time to tell him something and pray I don’t lose the promotion opportunity as well as my current role.  Argh.

This final school year is KICKING MY ASS.  Instead of a 30-module, 11-month year with pacing every 11 days, we have a 30-module 8-month year with pacing every 7 days.  This means reading, assignments, etc., are all kicked into high gear and there is no room for slacking.  Pretty much every week involves a couple hundred pages of reading, some video lectures and 1-2 live classes in one of my five subjects.  The law school is also trying to help us prep for the bar in a way I haven’t seen before – we have to submit four graded sets of rule statements covering 20 topics for EACH class.  We also have to submit four three-hour practice MPTs at various times throughout the year.  I know this is ultimately aimed at success on the bar but, damn, it’s just more, more, more!  For admin law, I get to go participate in a local agency hearing and do a 5-7-page paper.  I’m looking forward to that but need to get my ass over to the USCIS ASAP rather than waiting until the last minute.  I also need to take the MPRE prep course already because it’s looming on August 17.

But… it’s Pumpkinhead’s birthday weekend.  My baby turned 10 years old yesterday.  :cry:  We had a great party that ate up all of my Saturday between prep, execution and recovery.  Followed it up with a sleepover for Pumpkinhead and my nephew who was flown down from DC as a surprise.  Tonight is the circus with Pumpkinhead, Baby J, nephew and my parents (driving me nuts as usual!).  I brought a shit-ton of work home that is not yet touched and am trying to get through schoolwork this afternoon.  My dreams of a nap will likely remain dreams.  Sigh…

Please send good vibes for whatever comes my way this week on the job front, for more time in every day to get all the work done and for my boss to stop being such a d-bag.  I feel like I am letting everyone down right now, most of all myself.

Weekly MILP Roundup #311

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the Butterflyfish, Ptlawmom, Attorney Work Product, Attorney at Large, Today & Tomorrow, Magic Cookie, and Reluctant Grownup blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday.

After a weekend packed with studying and a fried preggo brain, I will apologize in advance for my lack of creativity.

LC is battling with her daughters in an unexpected manner

CM is missing her baby

Alice has one of the cutest babies I have seen in a while.  Just want to squeeze his cheeks!!!

LL is nesting

Grace got up close and personal with some animals

AAL’s give-a-damn is busted

Izzy’s enjoying her travels while But I Do Have a Law Degree is becoming one with nature and CP took a hike

Daisy searches for the charm in it all

Kate goes the distance

Butterflyfish is drowning (and thriving) in produce

If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

Baby Names

Lag Liv’s wildly successful name post has prompted me to ask the 3-5 of you who still read my blog if you have boy name ideas.  With the third boy on the way, I’m running out of options.  We have a four-syllable last name that starts with V if that helps.  I like Charles (Charlie), James, Robert, David, Joseph and others.  Would be grateful for any good ideas.  Mr. V and I are stuck.

MILP Roundup to come later today.

On the rails

My final year of law school started yesterday.  Wills & Trusts, Remedies, Community Property, Admin Law, Virtual Law Practice and Fundamentals of Patent Law.  Trying to stay ahead because this year will fly by – all classes turn every 7 days instead of the normal 11, leaving very little breathing room.  I also ended up with As, Bs… and a C- in Evidence for 3L.  If I had gotten a D, I would have had to repeat my Entire. 3L. Year.  My 7 study buddies all got Cs and one got a D and is repeating.  If that had happened, I literally would have quit.  Fucking California rules.

As I mentioned previously, work has gotten super stressful under new boss.  He has decided to bring back a colleague who was fired a while back for totally fucking up and one colleague and I had to clean up that person’s mess.  He’s doing this because they are buddies.  Apparently he doesn’t realize how pissed certain executives are with this individual or the extent of the mess caused.  Not sure how but the fired colleague made people think that the individual was a super awesome person – I suppose I can see how giving up critical indemnity provisions (without approval) to get the deal done quicker would make the business happy in the short-term.  :evil:

Anyway, to follow up on his prior antics, boss decided to tell one of my colleagues not to get herself knocked up because he has too many pregnant people in his group.  And the reading comprehension test he gave to all of us (3 lawyers and myself)?  Only given to the females….

So, 21 weeks pregnant and in 4L, I am looking at other options.  One of our senior counsel has moved to a different division and is staffing up so I’m looking at potential roles in that division – either in Legal or the Ops side doing contracts.  But it would mean working for someone who has a history of “mean girl” behavior and also moving offices/losing awesome daycare.  The upside is longevity, earned maternity leave, other benefits, etc.  I’ve also been approached to apply for several positions at outside companies but know it is a longshot for those roles once they see the big ole baby belly.

Mostly I’m just depressed.  I could live with the sexist pig for a while if I had to. Married and divorced one, heh; at least you know what you’re getting.  But bringing former colleague back?  And the drama/divisiveness within my department already?  Not sure I can take the cumulative stress.

Trying to end post on a positive note, so thankful to Butterflyfish for sending me a ton of business clothes during my time of burgeoning belly crisis.  It’s so awesome to have you MILPs out there for support.  :D

Stress redux

The problem with not blogging in forever is that I’m pretty sure there’s only 2 people reading at this point.  But whatever.  This is an outlet.  Better, maybe, than my middle school diary that was in a box up high in a closet but somehow ended up in my son’s room.  :shock:

Stress-induced stomach bug last weekend turned into nasty cold this weekend.  Gotta love spleen-less immunodeficiency.  Pumpkinhead was up puking all night Thursday and then home Friday while I still had to head to the office. Baby J also has nasty cold and is using his t-shirt as a tissue despite the boxes of Kleenex we have in every corner of the room.

New boss asked my colleague what religion she is.  Actually, he asked her if she is Catholic and then kept pressing her for what she actually is.  I think he was fairly dismayed after a few guesses when she finally responded “spiritual.”

Then new boss gave everyone a reading comprehension quiz.  We negotiate multi-million dollar oil and gas contracts each day and he is checking whether we can catch the extra word in a sentence.  It all seems like a stupid, stupid game and it makes me mad.

Three finals this week.  My great aunt passed away yesterday and of course they have scheduled the funeral for the one day I have two of those finals and cannot attend.  Argh.

Iron infusion the following week.  My iron is in the toilet and I am feeling every bit of that.  Or that could just be the pregnancy.  16 weeks.

Week after that, I go away for business.  I need two full business days but it will take me a total of four days away from the office to get to and from this remote office location up north.  In order to maximize available work time, I’m taking the latest flight and getting back home at almost midnight.  Awesome. And since Baby J’s daycare is at my office building 45 minutes from home, that means we either need some help getting him there or a separate (expensive) sitter.  I’m thinking he needs to stay in preschool, particularly as he will be out for at least a week the following week.

Week after that?  Gender U/S on Monday the 17th.  Then Baby J is getting tonsils and adenoids out on the 19th, requiring an overnight stay at the children’s hospital and several days of hell at home.  New boss is thrilled that I will be out.  He can suck it (well, unless sucking it means he fires me in which case “so sorry but I’m doing it anyway and please don’t fire me”).  I am worried, thanks to blogger experiences like this one.

July brings Pumpkinhead’s 10th birthday. Cannot believe he is going to be 10 already.  :|

</ramble>  Gotta get back to studying for finals.

The stress, you guys, the STRESS!

So many things I can’t really blog about, either because the overwhelm/upset me too much or because my only free time with work, law school and two kids is in the 15 mins I take to wolf down lunch and read the news or check social media (and, of course, don’t want to blog from work).

Do you know what a RIF is?  As it applies to my work, it’s the second one on this list.  5% this month and 5% next.  Globally.  My boss was one of the first.  Then they let us sit and wait for FOUR days before telling us who would be in charge.  The person in charge is a somewhat known commodity but new boss seems to have been picked to promote us and get us “out there”.  Unfortunately that means that my already overloaded department is getting no help or guidance and instead being “advertised” so we can take on even more work.  For the first time in forever, I have brought my laptop home several nights in a row and on the weekend.  (Whether I used it is another story).  The 45-50-hour schedule I had negotiated during law school in exchange for my former 65-70-hour schedule is looking like a pipe dream.  Great timing as I head into my 15th week of pregnancy and last year of law school.  :roll:

On top of the RIF, I have finals this month.  FIVE finals.  And whereas former boss was willing to give me as much (paid) time off as I needed to study, I felt unsure about new boss so am now taking all except two of the finals from my desk at work.  Argh.  Of course this same new boss was present last year when I took a redeye to a foreign country, worked all day, took my ConLaw final from the hotel and then took a redeye back only to work the next day.  So, yeah, high bar set already.

Of course when I get stressed, I get sick.  This past week I came down with a stomach bug and was off Monday.  I was fine-ish for three days and then lost it again.  Can barely eat (no bueno for baby) but have managed to keep liquids down. I’ve pretty much been in bed (or the bathroom) since Friday and, yes, had to leave mid-day.  New boss must think I am a total slacker AND that means a weekend of almost no studying for finals except the lectures I could listen to through my headphones and the supplement reading I could handle.  :sad:

In the middle of all of the above, Baby J had nightly swim lessons at 7p that required me to leave at 5:30 for two straight weeks (yes, the same weeks as boss firing/new boss starting).  Pumpkinhead also had Saturday therapist sessions cancelled TWICE by new therapist until she finally kept one this weekend.  During that session, in which he refused to sit his butt down, he admitted that our planned induction date makes him nervous because the church thinks it is bad.  UM, WHAT CHURCH?!?!?!  Isn’t that the Pentacostals?  We’re freaking Episcopalian, kid.  Halloween is barely discussed, except perhaps in the context of planning a trunk-n-treat event, and certainly not as it pertains to devils and such.  Geebus.  I blame my fucking born-again nutcase brother for this.  :evil:

As a cap to the hell-that-is-my-life-right-now, our car repair bill estimate of $3k soared to $4900 unexpectedly and a post-divorce credit card bill that Chapin was supposed to pay (but was joint) landed me in court facing summary judgment and, of course, the stupid/evil creditor law firm accepted my proposed $2500 settlement the day after the car bill hit.  And they want it paid by the end of the month.  FML, folks, FML!

(As a follow-up to crazy parents, I am reading some great books AAL recommended and trying to maintain distance.  They finally came by to semi-apologize and set forth their position and we have established something of a truce.  I can’t deal with the drama right now.  Of course my father is going manic-nuts on Mr. V now and drama is sure to rear it’s head again any day now.  Can I just get through finals?!?!)

Weekly MILP Roundup #304

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the Butterflyfish, Ptlawmom, Attorney Work Product, Attorney at Large, Today & Tomorrow, Magic Cookie, and Reluctant Grownup blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday.

I am RIGHT THERE with But I Do Have a Law Degree.  Can I just say “ditto” and call it a post?

Butterflyfish has a case of the happy babbles.

Lag Liv is plagued with worry.

AAL has had *quite* the week!

LC reflects on her girls’ non-girly nature.

CP is figuring out what she really wants out of work and life.

Reluctant Grownup’s constellation is getting a whole lot brighter.

CM’s kid is turning their calming bedtime routine into comedy hour.

ProtoAttorney is one incredibly lucky mother (OMG, can’t remember the last time my kids slept that late!)

Momttorney is feeling guilty, stretched and overworked.

Daisy reflects on her relationship with her spouse.

If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

Checkmate

Thanks to everyone who gave me reassurance and feedback that I’m not a crazy psycho.  After sending my overkill e-mail, I sent another one the next morning apologizing for being rude but stating that since they had come back to the U.S., all of our interactions have been very stressful.  I then tried to be more straightforward and set forth some specifics for them to consider. 

For example, when they give advice or express disappointment about how I’m raising Pumpkinhead, they seem to be forgetting that I have both Chapin and Mr. V’s parenting styles to contend with already, in addition to my own desires, and I don’t need another voice chiming in.  Or that where they never said anything about my controlling, emotionally abusive ex-husband (and, indeed, stay in contact with him and have only sweet things to say about him), they somehow feel it is appropriate to make negative comments about my current husband.  My suspicion is that this is because he is a more outspoken and, in addition to lots of my own post-divorce therapy, has helped me express my desires in a more healthy and less co-dependent manner.  We talk constantly and make a lot of decisions together because I agree with him whereas with Chapin, I would do what he said, even if I hated it, because he scared me and dealing with his bullying was overwhelming.  I’m in such a better place right now that it disappoints me that they don’t see this and understand that I am making choices, too, not just going along for the ride.

I also mentioned my father’s behavior.  He is bipolar and he thinks he has aspergers.  I think he’s just rude and inconsiderate.  This has gotten much worse and I don’t know if it is the meds he is on or that he just doesn’t see it.  After he cut off a saleswoman when she was responding to a question of mine with “no one cares.  We just need to know ‘x’ and you need to do your job and tell us”, I exclaimed “DAD!”  It was totally out of left field in the middle of a good day when he wasn’t agitated.  Seems strange.  I then followed up in an email expressing concern.  He says it’s just his family who is down on him but he knows his colleagues would tell him if he was out of line.  Hahaha.  So in my email, I said that his colleagues most certainly would not tell him and, moreover, he’s treating mom badly with his curt, aggressive tone and I worry about the impact on her and on his work.  He has been out of work a lot in the past 5-10 years, mostly triggered by his outbursts or depressive states, and I worry about having to support them in their old age (no, I did not say that last part).

Finally, I was straightforward about my mother bailing on her commitment to Baby J.  I said that I was disappointed that she chose to lie and to blame my father.  I told her that, even if my Dad would be angry or disappointed or her friend would have been upset, the decision to choose an elderly friend who she hadn’t seen for years over a commitment to her grandchild was ultimately hers and she needs to own that.

So they got my email and said nothing.  Then today I get an email that says they read my concerns, are discussing them, but feel like we need a time out from each other.  They said maybe they will meet with me and a counselor later in the summer.  Guess I got the estrangement I was considering.

I responded fair enough.  And asked them to let me know if the “time out” means that they will not continue taking the boys to church on Sundays while I study, particularly as I am heading into exam time.  We’ll see.  If they do that to their grandchildren, a line will be irrevocably crossed.

Overkill

After bailing on Baby J and me and going gambling for a week, my mother returns with the following text “I’m going to need your help cleaning my house for two hours tomorrow.  We’ll talk tonight.”  Um….  Yeah, so they are trying to sell their house.  It has been on the market a week and they have had HORRID reviews.  Couldn’t figure out why until I went over there.

I had told her I would need her to watch Baby J while I cleaned (she can’t get down on her knees due to bone-on-bone osteoarthritis and one day’s notice wasn’t enough time for me to call/pay for a housecleaner, although that’s what I should have done in hindsight).  I show up at 9a and she’s out running errands.  Baby J is racing around the empty house like a mad nut on the incredibly hard concrete tile floors.   I have bleach and other not-baby-friendly chemicals in tow.  She finally shows up at 10:15 and decides to watch him by the pool.  This is not reassuring since she can’t exactly jump in after him if he takes a dive. Then my father mentions that they won’t be taking the kids to church Sunday while I study but instead plan on having them at the house while they finish repairs before the open house that afternoon.  Yeah, NOT!  They were upset that I didn’t seem to think that was a good idea. :???: But I digress…

So I go into the master bath and there is a cracked toilet, seat up and rim covered in hair and pee stains.  I proceed to vomit, as is my current modis operandi around anything even slightly gross (thank you, 11 weeks of pregnancy hell).  I then scrub it, gagging as I go, and proceed to the dust-caked ceiling fan, the yellow/soap-scummed tub and the dust-and-God-knows-what blinds.  To be fair, my parents have been living overseas for three years and the house wasn’t this gross when they left.  Their tenants were nasty pigs. But my parents had promised Mr. V (their realtor) that they would clean, put doorknobs on, etc., before it was listed and then pushed him to list it a week ago.  Eleven people came through before I came to clean.  Cause, of course, my mother was off gambling….

Anyway, this story is again getting way too detailed and long.  I finished the scrubbing, rescued Baby J and drove an hour back across town to my house.  Then Sunday came.  My mother posted something nasty and passive/aggressive to my Facebook wall.  I responded to note that my Dad had not done what he said he would do at the house and, as a result, X had happened.  She freaks and asks why Mr. V isn’t telling them and then sends him a nasty text telling him not to discuss their house with me.  Then today she texts me three times at work about stupid, random shit.  I ignored her (was actually, gasp, WORKING!) until I got an e-mail.  The e-mail reiterated the husband crap and I lost it.

And here is the overkill part.  I went Pregzilla on them.  Called her, fought, hung up on her, took call from my father, screamed at him and then sent super-pissed smackdown email in response to hers.  And then proceeded, after 5 minutes of calming down, to feel horrible for being so bitchy.  Now I am just bummed and upset with myself for my complete inability to set boundaries.  Instead I wait until they are fully violated before freaking out and shoving them back to a point that makes no sense.  Not sure why I do this but it is definitely a trend.  Hormones are not helping.  Between the daycare director, my husband/kids and now my parents, I am freaking out and going to hormone defcon 10 in a flash.  I know I need to have a sitdown with my parents.  And I know this post probably sounds silly and I haven’t explained the full story.  But right now I’m shuffling between enraged and in-bed-in-fetal-position.  I have no energy to fight or discuss except that caused by hormone-induced rage.  Bah. :sad: