Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Potential Doesn't Mean Sh#t

For example, this evening had the potential to be very productive with Senior and I going through our mail/paperwork and at least starting to prepare our taxes. I was also going to practice singing for an upcoming concert for 20-30 minutes, maybe squeeze in 20 minutes of yoga, and get to bed before 10. I have achieved none of those things and it is 9:54. I suppose I could still make it to bed by 10, except I will be wide awake for the next hour anyway due to blue light from the computer. Eff!

Well, before I go and get a new job and stop bitching about work (ha! am I just fantasizing?), I suppose I should throw out a few more posts here and there. Let's see...how about, if you have a few days of family vacation planned, maybe you could arrange for people to cover your hearings more than one day in advance. Or, from a new, senior hire, if we are all stuck in a meeting for 4 hours--yes, 4-- perhaps you might consider that I didn't get to do any of the work I had to do that morning so that if you did not do something for the following day, the meeting was not really a good reason to ask me to do that something for you. These are the little things. The big things are too exhausting to even talk about, but since I foreshadowed the "offer" that my firm made me last year, I will finally address it.

Because it dovetails nicely with something going on right now. Right now as I write...a firm social event in firm headquarters location. Normally a 60-70 minute drive, but could exceed 2 hours in traffic. As part of a group I had been encouraged to attend on multiple occasions. Then when I finally admitted to my boss and the managing partner that I was not actually planning to attend, I got an email that said, "You should really make every effort to attend these firm events in the future." OK, cool, like the future when I am not breastfeeding an infant? The future when I am not trying to maintain a marriage with small children involved? The future when those small children grow up a little bit to become even the slightest bit self-sufficient? I just found it so obnoxious that we suddenly have forced camaraderie because somebody finally woke up and realized the was hemorrhaging talent and that perhaps morale was part of the problem, and I'm supposed to take 7 hours out of my day and away from work and family to drink beer with people I don't know/care about so that I can spend more time away from my family on the weekend making up for lost work time because of billable hour requirements. I am going to have a face-to-face with the managing partner because if I just let this go I will feel even more lost than I already do about being a firm lawyer and a mother to young children. I think I mentioned before that everyone in my satellite office has teenagers or above, or no children at all, except for one paralegal with 2 grade school age boys. This is related to the prior job offer because even though the firm thinks it's offering you something, it is really showing how much it doesn't give a shit about you.

Last spring I was offered a position in the Philadelphia office, where starting salaries are typically almost double what they pay us "up here," (which is amazing considering it's a viable commuting distance away) for $5,000 more in salary. The city wage tax would eat up at least $4,000 of that pay increase. I had just put earnest money on the house and was pregnant with kid 2. I asked about relo, but was told that that would set a dangerous precedent for the firm. I was not allowed to work from my current location, even if the partner I would have worked for came to my office once a week and I went to Phila once or twice a week. When I said I was almost insulted by the offer everyone acted like I was crazy. The managing partner (same as above) called me into his office to encourage me to take the offer because there would be more potential than that in my current position (the one thing perhaps we could agree on). I just want to know, how did they all justify this? How do you ask someone: take this pay cut so you can uproot your family and move away from the grandparents so you can live in a smaller home that costs more money because...potential! Just thinking about it now gets me close to blowing a gasket.

I have recently been in talks with a small firm that is not quite ready to pull the trigger on hiring an associate. They used to have one but when he left they did not replace him and have been doing fine without him and all making more money that way. If they put a plan together and decide to make me an offer, I fully intend to tell them I will be having another baby at some point in the near future. I just can't keep separating my family from work as if my family doesn't exist. I don't care what anyone at the firm says about how important family is...that is all obviously lip service if no one can stop and think that maybe a nursing mother isn't going to drive to Philadelphia to go to quiz night. Or that I won't bleed money to take their stupid fucking offer of a "better" job within their asshole ranks. I spoke to a friend from law school recently who works in another satellite office. I helped him to get hired actually and I feel a bit bad about it. He is having the same experience that I am having, and he said it quite well that he thinks that the partners don't actually care if their associates are mentored and developed and taught how to become good lawyers. Couple that with an inflexible billable-hour requirement, even though half of the work I do is on flat-fee accounts, and I just can't take this. Next week I have lunch with a guy I recently met who has started his own firm. Fingers crossed!!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Have a Great Day

Hire a babysitter to watch your kids all day. Seriously.

That wasn't the plan, originally. We were going to ski in the morning, planning to be back home around 1:00, preferably as soon as Junior fell asleep for his nap. But the temperature finally rose above freezing in the past week and then it rained all day yesterday. Today was supposed to be above freezing (good, if you're going to ski after a day of rain), but still cloudy, and I really didn't see the point of skiing in those conditions. So we canceled ski plans but kept the sitter. Turned out to be a good thing weather-wise because it was actually cold and blustery, even if it was above freezing, and mostly unpleasant. We had the sitter come over at 10:00. Then we set off on an aggressive agenda for the day: brunch, Bed Bath & Beyond, possibly Buy Buy Baby, and the gym, preferably all complete before 1:00.

First we locked our bedroom door and had sex. (I'm not really bragging about that because I have little interest while breastfeeding, but at least I was able to get that out of the way for the week.) Brunch included omelettes, house-cured bacon and--why not?--a cocktail. The spot was not crowded and we were the only ones at the bar, so we got out of their ahead of schedule. At BBB, only 10 minutes away, we proceeded to impulse-buy our way around the store and spend over $200. Thanks to all their stupid coupons though, we only had to pay $185. Let's see, we got these adorable little adirondack-like chairs for the boys (only one of whom will actually be able to sit in it this summer), some plates and bowls for the patio, laundry detergent, K cups, a cupcake batter dispenser...necessities, obviously...oh and a halogen lamp because there is no overhead lighting in our bedroom and I am tired of trying to see from the bedside lamp that is still holding onto one incandescent bulb (but the other is an energy-efficient one that throws icky cool light). We skipped Buy Buy Baby, where we were going to look at convertible car seats because we have been using oldish (maybe too oldish) hand-me-downs and are tired of those, because the Internet. Any recommendations?

Next stop, back through town and past the brunch place to the Y, where we have a family membership because Junior goes to daycare there three days a week. The facility is so old and outdated but I love that they have my favorite old-school Stairmaster and a Textrix right next it. There's also a pool and stuff like swing dance classes, and once the kids are older there will be programs for them that will be fun and affordable. They also have 2 racquetball courts, and Senior likes to play, so I let him kick my ass for a few games of racquetball. (Yeah, right. It was only the second time I played and I used to play squash which is quite a bit different as far as the pace of the game goes, so I'm pretty terrible. I did score 10 points one game but he gave me 6 to start. So I mean I scored 4 points one game. It's better when the guy wins anyway.)

We had already asked the sitter if she could stay until 2, which was fine. While on the way to the gym we passed near an industrial part of town that has a manufacturing and start-up incubator, which reminded us that there was a brewery tasting room that we wanted to try. Google maps said "closed today" but Senior called and they were open, so we asked the babysitter to stay until 3 and she said it was no problem. So after racquetball we went beer tasting. As we were heading over to the brewery, I told Senior what a great time I was having with him. He said, "yeah, it's like we don't have kids."

I actually went to high school with the guy who owns the brewery, and he was at the tasting room, which was neat because I haven't actually seen him since high school. I guess I can't say Facebook is terrible because I have reconnected with a lot of people that way, pretty much all for the better. The beers are really, really good, tastings are free and you don't even have to buy their growlers to buy their beer. But we did anyway, even though I hate their logo and the logo almost makes me want to not drink the beer. Nevermind that. I'm sure we were pushing 3:00 by now, and there was also a distillery and meadery with open tasting rooms in the building. We love our babysitter because she said she had no place to be and to enjoy our kid-free time. And we did. It was such an awesome day. Such an awesome expensive day, but whatever. It was really worth it. My advice to anyone with young kids who can afford to have the sitter for 5-6 hours is to have a day with your spouse and remember what it was like before you had kids. We didn't even talk about the kids while we were out today! But towards the end of the day, I was missing them.

When we got home, LJ had just been fed and was ready for another nap (good and bad, because I ended up having to pump for comfort), and Junior was willing to lie around on the couch with us, because we agreed to put on Frozen. I ate the other half of my brunch for dinner and now we are sipping on the cask IPA we bought for $3 that has to be drunk today.

Which leads me to my diet/sugarless life update. I consider alcohol to be equivalent to sugar as far as the diet goes. I am having a hard time staying away from baking (I made banana-oatmeal-pecan-chocolate-chip muffins this morning, and box brownies during the week for when we had friends over) and staying away from alcohol on the weekends. During the week I have been able to almost completely avoid sweets during the day. Some nights I will have something and some nights not. So I am still mixing in a few sugar-free days here and there, which is definitely progress. I think after the Easter-candy binge we are going to go 21 days sugar and alcohol free. My mom says those who work with addicts/addiction say it takes 21 days to make/break a habit. I learned a lot about my sweets-eating in just three days, and I knew that a few days wouldn't change anything for the most part, so I feel like 21 days will be attainable and also might lead to more long-term adjustments. Updates on failures and shortcomings will be provided. Now...episode 3 of House of Cards. The day is still going pretty great.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tomorrow's Diet

In case you were on the edge of your seat about my 5-day sugar-free life:

Due to the success of the experiment, I was forced to cut it short by 1 1/4 days.

Basically, Saturday night happened and I wanted to drink a glass of wine and eat some homemade bread pudding that my sister made for family dinner. I also had drinking plans with girlfriends on Sunday. I will say that, much to my chagrin, I felt like I had a lot more energy on days two through almost-four. I wanted to be able to say I didn't feel a difference, and that I could keep eating sweets on a daily basis without any consequences (unless you count a fat ass/belly/thighs). Alas, I did feel a difference, but not one that was so drastic that I immediately changed my plans back to sugar-free after the weekend.

Today was the first say since I started the experiment that I had any sweets during the workday, however. I got 2 cookies from the Fresh Market and they were actually pretty crappy though of course I still ate them. I think I can make a complete prohibition on crappy sweets without feeling like I am missing something. I baked a 5-bowl cake over this past weekend, however, and it got snowy on Sunday evening so I didn't take it to my sister's house for apres-ski after all so of course I have been binging on that for the past few days. But at least it's delicious (though not delicious enough to have to wash 5 bowls after making it, if you ask me). 

I also learned that I can avoid sweets without nearly as much effort as I thought it would take. Days one and two were pretty easy. By the end of day three I kind of wanted to eat some dessert, but I was still dedicated to not lapsing already. So maybe my solution for sustainable change is to have 2-3 dessert-free days and then have some dessert in the evening. Because if I have it during the day I still want to have it at night. Though I could probably work on that with a little more focus. I could also probably just go to bed before I feel like eating dessert.

Finally, I confirmed what I already knew, that sugar is not addictive, people. I went from practically mainlining it for at least five months to having none for almost four days and if it were actually addictive then I would have been hospitalized in the detox unit. I want to eat more sugar when I eat sugar because it tastes good. There may be some pseudo-addiction in wanting more of something good, and if you're one of those people who sees sugar as something bad, then I guess I can understand what you're trying to say but I think you are really failing to say anything meaningful and important if you are comparing sugar to cocaine and heroin and the like. Bottom line, sugar is not a mind-altering substance. Unless, actually, you are talking about two-year-olds. Seriously, the kid goes crazy after eating cake for breakfast. I mean, with breakfast. I mean, it was Senior, not me! At least he said no this morning when Junior asked for ice cream. Maybe the whole family needs to go on the next sugar-free binge. Which starts, of course, tomorrow.