Tuesday, February 28, 2012

labor of love

Last summer, Kathy and I were sitting on lawn chairs on the sand in front of our Fire Island house, talking about how the stock market had just taken another dip.  The reason we were talking about it was because we were trying to figure out with some retirement funds.  Putting it into the stock market again didn't seem to make much sense.  As we mulled this over, a solution slowly came to us. 

We had also recently been thinking about how it didn't make much sense to continue to dump money into a vacation rental, even someplace we loved as much as Fire Island.  We had retirement money that we didn't want to put in the stock market.  Suddenly, it became clear.  Maybe, just maybe, we could buy a house on Fire Island. 

After some looking around, we found a perfect two-bedroom bungalow that would just barely fit our family.  When we talked to a real estate agent about it, he said that the house we found was fine, but there was something even better for us.  There was only one problem with it...

Monday, February 27, 2012

first days

Last Thursday, I started at my new law firm.  The first day, as can be expected, consisted mostly of training and orientation activities.  Afterward, there was a cocktail party -- which apparently happens relatively regularly.  By the end of a four our technology training, I was dying to go home, but I felt like I should go to the cocktail party -- especially since it was my first day. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


When Kathy and I sat down to start looking at wedding invitations online, I was not fully prepared for how different our visions were.  Generally, when it comes to sylistic decisions, we agree.  We have similar clothing tastes, and we almost always easily agree on house-decorating decisions.  So I thought wedding planning would be similar.

"How about this?" Kathy said, as she pulled up an ecru rectangle with black script writing on it. 

"Um, boring."  I replied.  "I want them to be a little different.  They should reflect our style and our wedding a little.  How about that one with the adirondack chairs?"

"Too casual.  I don't want people showing up in jeans because it's on the beach and we put adirondack chairs on our invitation.  How about this?"  This one was an ecru rectangle with navy blue script writing on it.


"This one?"  Ecru square with black script writing.

"Square invitations require extra postage.  It sounds like it wouldn't be a big deal but it adds up.  No squares.  And it's boring.  How about that one?"

"I hate floral patterns.  What are you, 80?"  And on, and on like this, for rather an extended period of time.

Finally, I stood up and stretched.  "Why don't you just pick one you really, really like, and if I don't hate it, we'll go with it.  We're never going to agree.  You want something stuffy and boring, and I want something too casual for you.  It seems like we have fundamentally different visions of what we want this to look like, and it's way more important to you.  I guess I just don't care that much."

BLACK and WHITE Damask...

Friday, February 17, 2012


Frequent readers of this blog may have noticed that it was private for a few days.  Here's why.  It turns out that someone at my old firm circulated a link to this blog to a bunch of partners.  Which meant that they were reading it.  I always knew, when I decided to start a blog, that it was public.  I knew I had to be prepared for my worst enemy to read it.   But I kind of always figured that no one would be cruel enough to pass the blog along to the partnership at the old firm, and that even if they did, the partners would seriously have better things to do than read about my search for life-satisfaction and gardening success (or lack thereof).  It turned out I was wrong, in both respects. 

So when I found out that had happened, I had two thoughts:  (1) Was there anything on here that made me look bad, professionally?  and (2) How creepy, that there are people out there that I would never even tell what I did on the weekends, and now they know that Kathy and I got in an argument over what towels to use and my identity as a  non-lawyer.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I received an offer from the firm I interviewed at last week.  The partner from my old firm, who moved to the new place, called and left me a voicemail with the details.  When I listened to the voicemail, I felt like I was only catching the drift, not hearing the individual words.  As the words washed over me -- "Making you an offer... Would love to have you on board... Conflicts paperwork... " -- it hit me.  I was going back to work. 

Remember those days I never got dressed?  The week I finally put "take a shower" on my to-do list to make sure it happened?  Remember the long mornings weeding my garden, filled with gratitude for all I had?  The DIY projects I took on, some more successful than others?  The books I read, the naps I took, the old hobbies revived?  All of that was ending.

When my phone rang, I was doing yoga for the first time in months (years?), trying to alleviate the back pain that had been plaguing me for the last month or so.  I heard the phone ring, but could not find it to answer in time, so I paused my video, waited for the voicemail to show up, listened to it, texted Kathy with the news, then got back to the yoga.  As I stretched my sore muscles, I let my mind wander and let the news really sink in.  I had decided to go back to work, and had decided, for a number of reasons, to go back to BigLaw.  I knew, in my head, that this was the right decision.  But I was also so afraid, and was trying hard not to allow the fear to take root and grow. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

really, actually perfect

When we last left our heroine (that's me) she was sitting on a bar stool with wet feet in "Whispers," the hotel bar of the SoMa Courtyard by Marriott, happily crying at the news that her partner was finally officially divorced, after approximately four and a half years of battles.

Once I had collected myself, Kathy again pleaded with me to go to the bathroom with her.  I was feeling all fond of her and squishy, so I agreed to go, despite the fact that (1) the bathroom was up some stairs, across a catwalk, and down a hallway, (2) I had absolutely zero desire to put my feet back into my soaking wet shoes, and (3) I think it's weird to go to the bathroom when you don't have to go, just to keep someone else company, especially considering that I do not wear lipstick so there was nothing to re-apply while I was in there.  But like I said, I was feeling particularly fond of her, and sort of wanted to be with my divorcee girlfriend for her really long walk to the bathroom.  So off we went.

Friday, February 3, 2012

a banished ghost

The weekend before last, Kathy and I took a short trip to San Francisco.  She had to go for a work function (the social and work lines are often so blurry -- it was basically a mandatory party).  We had a trip planned for February while the kids were on break with their father, but had to cancel it for a variety of reasons, so we decided to take the opportunity and a few thousand frequent flier miles, and I tagged along. 

When we arrived, we went to my favorite San Francisco restaurant (Taqueria Cancun, in the Mission -- I advise you to get some kind of Super Burrito, if you are ever there, and split it with someone), checked in at our hotel, went shopping at Gumps, without the kids, found me some boots that could withstand rain (duh, this is why you don't wear Uggs in California) and met up with our friend for drinks.  Which was kind of weird, since she was 8 months pregnant, but whatever, we were on vacation and technically ginger ale is a drink.  It was, actually, kind of a perfect day.  But then, the night happened.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Yesterday, I interviewed for a job as an associate at a big New York law firm.  Have I lost my mind?  Did I forget all that I went through last year, including the crying on the floor in a towel incident? Um, I hope not.

I need to find a job.  If I wait until the end of my sabbatical comes and goes, it will get significantly harder for me to find a job, since I am completely and officially unemployed.  So, I started to panic.  I met with a headhunter, revised my resume, and told her what I wanted -- ideally, a firm that was open to part time, or a full time in-house job where the lifestyle would be drastically different.  She called me back and told me that the only opening for someone with my experience was at a huge New York law firm notorious for burning out associates.  I politely said no, thank you, but to let me know if there were any other opportunities.  I waited, and the days of silence stretched into weeks.  Then, I found out that a partner at my old firm, who I liked, was moving to a different firm.  I took a deep breath, bit down hard on the bullet, and asked him if he needed associate help at his new firm.