Category Archives: Some old and new stories

The Best Advice I Never Took

I’ll call her Erin.  She was senior to me in the  fancy law firm we worked in — seems like a lifetime ago. She was attractive,  a model of good taste, not particularly well liked and frankly a little scary.   Harsh, is what people said about her.  She was playing with the big boys, and had watched the big boys make partner while they passed her over, year after year, despite her superior qualifications and track record. Picture a younger Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada, but a Miranda who has to work under all of the Mad Men.

On the personal side, Erin is single, never married. This made her an expert on dating. Over the years she had a long, too long relationship with an older man who would not commit.  She spent the bulk of her last good child bearing years with this man, kind of like Mr. Big from Sex and The City, but not as cute.  Following her ultimatum,  he finally told her he would never marry.  They continued to date and travel together but with no expectations for more. They kept separate apartments in the city.

When I was a junior attorney Erin scared the crap out of me. My work best friend and I vowed never to have a meal with her.  But once I matured professionally (and personally)  I found myself getting closer to her and we became friends.

By the time my marriage ended neither of us worked at that firm anymore.  They never made her partner so she found another firm that did.  She had ended her relationship with “Mr. Big Can’t Commit Guy” for good but had no serious relationships since.

I was struggling, this was during some pretty dark times, but I didn’t want her to know how hard things were for me — maybe she did still scare me a bit.  Regardless, her intuitiveness and observation skills uncovered my pain. Still deeply wounded by my then soon-to-be-ex’s ability to so easily discard and  replace me, I admitted that it  had deeply injured my ego and confidence.

Erin had never been impressed with my Ex and she didn’t mince words.  Ever.

Erin instructed me:

You should schedule three dates in one week. She was  so precise, talking about “scheduling” a date as if it was easy as booking a conference room.

She further explained that I needed to be around men who will appreciate my good qualities,  men who will appreciate my choosing to spend time with them. She elaborated that these dates should not end in sex, and that I should not be looking for a boyfriend or someone to love. These dates should simply be a means to an end, a way to break away from being the wife —  the jilted and rejected wife.  I needed, she said, to see myself the way others see me– not  how my Ex treated me.

That’s all.

I wasn’t really convinced that I could or should take her advice, because I really did not want a man and  was still too depressed and wounded (and physically ill) to  seriously consider it.  She sensed that, and added,  in her usual strong, pointed manner,

“Roxanne, he has changed the playing field. You have a right to play on that field.”

Whoa.

I wasn’t ready to take her advice then and I didn’t.  But looking back on it now, I see that she is a smart woman, a really scary, brilliant woman.

Just Me With . . .  the good advice, that I  just didn’t take.   

Jagged Little Pill

Dating, well non-dating posts:

Facebook Mutual Friend with the Ex’s Girlfriend? – Part One

If I’d Married My Stalker

I Have An Admirer

Five Kids, One Table, Rope, Six Chairs and a Plan

I had five children in just under three and a half years.  I had to improvise on some things.

Thankfully, my kids have all been healthy.  Their gross  motor skills developed early.  Translated, that means as toddlers they were (are still) runners, climbers and jumpers.

Plastic Play House

Isn’t she cute? I don’t think my girls ever went inside.

Once somebody gave me one of those big plastic houses kids are supposed to play house in.  I had space  inside so I put in it the family room.  Not once did my girls play house in it.  No, no.  They did, however, stand on top of it and jump off, repeatedly.  Had to get rid of it.  That cute little house  was a safety hazard for my twins, two of whom I call Thelma and Louise . . . but I digress.

We had a long informal dining table, also given to us.   With the leaves attached it sat eight people.  It was just the size we needed.   However, according to my Olympic monkey children it was also long enough to run across.  Again, a safety hazard.  The table wasn’t that long and  once the  toddler runs and reaches the end?    BAM!   No, this was not going to work.  I’d caught  the kids right before  falls on previous table running attempts but sooner or later my luck would run out.   My daily goal back then was just to stay out of the Emergency Room (and off the Six O’clock news).

Still, I needed a table, so it could not  suffer the fate of the play house.   The table and the children must learn to co-exist safely.    But the children were still little, they were at that age where I could really only chase behind them.  They had no concept of consequences, danger, or any real responsiveness to my voice — they were all,

Oh I can run, I can climb.  Therefore, I will run and I will climb — all the time.

And all  my parental, “No, Stop! Wait!!”  and all that jazz — meant nothing.

Absolutely, nothing.  Say it again, y’all . . .

Back to the problem.  How to keep the girls off the table?   (Later it’ll be how to keep them off the pole, but I digress again.)  They could only get on the table by first  climbing on the chairs, but simply moving the chairs away from the table had not worked.  These minions simply pushed them back to the table and climbed up, then a sibling would follow and in a blink of an eye, I had a line-up of  miniature Village People looking toddlers on a table.

The Village People

No, no.   I needed something more secure.

I think it started with a jump rope.  No, I didn’t tie the children up (not then, heh heh heh).

But after every meal, I would push the chairs in, grab a rope, thread  it through the chairs  around the table and tie them up in a nice knot.

The children’s fine motor skills had not developed enough to untie the rope.   They weren’t (yet) strong enough to pull the chairs  away, though they tried.

Success.

I didn’t realize how weird it was until a friend from out-of-town came to visit.   We sat at the table together, ate,  fed the kids.   When we were finished I cleared the table, got out the rope and proceeded to tie the chairs around the table while we were chatting away.

She stopped talking and said, carefully, slowly,  like talking to a crazy person:

“What are you . . . doing?’

Oh snap, sometimes you don’t know how strange and dysfunctional you are until there is someone to see it. 

Me:   “You mean you don’t tie your chairs together after every meal?”

Just Me With . . . a rope after every meal.  

Sometimes the kids did listen to me, even when I didn’t want them to.  See, “Momma said, No!

Tales from The Bar Exam

I have always prided myself on my test preparation and test taking abilities.   Not just knowing the material, but the little things that help with preparedness, like getting on a sleep schedule that coincides with the testing hours, eating brain and energy foods, avoiding things that cause stress, dressing in comfortable clothes, mapping out and timing the route to the test location, even listening to Mozart!   Then there’s the superstitions:   I firmly believe that sleeping with books under my pillow or next to my bed helps.  I don’t care what anyone thinks about that.  I believe it.

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Crash: If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you ARE! And you should know that!    – Bull Durham

The bar exam is one  pretty big test, at least two full days, depending on your state.  Accordingly, one must be prepared and ironically, having graduated from law school has little to do with being prepared for the bar exam.    There is a period of two and a half months of bar exam study  for would be lawyers.    In my infinite arrogance, I decided that unlike EVERYONE else, I would not pay for and take the bar exam prep course.   My thoughts were, it is stressful to be around anxious pre-lawyers all day,  the course itself is ridiculously expensive.  Plus, what do the courses do?  They give out materials, go over them, teach and practice test taking strategies and offer  practice tests.  I can do this myself, I thought.    I have always (until now . . . but I digress . . .)  been extremely disciplined.  I credit my musical training for this.   I don’t need a class to give me daily study structure.   I can, all by myself, put myself on a study and practice test schedule, every day for eight hours a day, plus a couple more hours at night.    I truly thought I would do better by myself.  I had never taken a prep course for any of the other standardized tests I’d taken, why start now?  Plus, I  resented the way in which the companies that sponsor these bar prep courses (not law schools) profited from the insecurities of pre-lawyers.   These companies know that we have to pass the test and we would do almost anything to pass the test.   No one wants the embarrassment of failing. No one wants to take it more than once.   One Tweeter @CriticalA aptly noted:  “”I’d rather suck Satan’s d*ck than take the bar exam again.”    That pretty much sums it up.

So partly out of arrogance, taking a stand against corporate greed, and, well,  I had no money, I decided:   No, I’m not going to do it.  I will buy the books, but I will not take the course.

Not one other person I knew made that choice. Not one.

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But it was all good.  I did put myself on a schedule.  I never missed a day of studying, except for the Rat In My House incident, all went well.   I felt prepared, ready.   Mine was a two-day test.  The first multiple choice, the second essay.  If  the test taker  scores high enough on the first day, the second day is less important, so most of the prep courses and study focused on the first day of testing.  I prepared for both.

As planned, a week before the test I put myself on test schedule for sleeping and eating.   I was well rested.  I actually felt good.  I had passed my practice exams well within the allotted time.  I was ready.  Nervous, but ready.

Day One

On test day, I successfully avoided my stressors, got a good seat.  And . . . go!!!!

At some point during the exam, however, I apparently decided that it was time to take a nap.  

 

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A nap!!!!  I freaking fell asleep.

I fell asleep on the bar exam.

I freaking fell asleep on the bar exam. 

There was no reason for this.    I was well rested, nourished.  All I can think is that my mind had been so focused on getting ready, that when the day finally came, my brain said — “Okay, I’m done now, right?” and checked out.

I don’t know how long I was out.  I woke up with about a half hour left and a lot more than a half hour of questions to answer.

I wanted to die. 

 I finished when they called time, but not with well thought out answers and with no time to spare.  I’d always had time to spare in my practice tests.  But then again during my practice tests — I WAS AWAKE!!!!!!!

CRAP!!!!!!

According to my finely tuned text taking strategies and rigid rules,  I must not discuss this monumental blunder with anyone.  I would only go home, eat, rest and sleep in order to be ready for Day Two.  Because  I FELL ASLEEP  on Day One, Day Two became much more important.

I put myself in denial and robotically followed my plan.  I spoke to no one, except my husband, only out of necessity.

Day Two 

I always liked  law school essay tests, but since I HAD FALLEN ASLEEP on the previous day’s multiple choice test, I had to do more than “like” these essays on Day Two.  I had to ace them.

Pursuant my test taking techniques,  I scanned the essay questions.   There was one that I absolutely did not know that answer to.  I would still answer it, of course, but it would take some reasoning.  No need to panic.  And as I recall there was another that was a bit difficult as well, but at least I knew the answer, though the reasoning might be tricky.  I did what has always worked for me, I knocked out the easiest ones first, to reserve time for the harder ones later.

In the end, I finished in time, actually with a little time to spare, proofread my answers and tried to put the whole experience behind me.

On the way home, however, I realized —-  to my horror:

I’d answered the one question I was initially concerned about but I’d  FORGOTTEN  TO GO BACK AND ANSWER THE OTHER ONE!!!

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I HAD NOT ANSWERED ONE OF THE REQUIRED ESSAY QUESTIONS ON THE BAR EXAM!!!!!!!!!!!

For the second time in two days, I wanted to die.

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Let’s  recap, shall we?  I didn’t take the bar exam prep course that everyone else took,  I fell asleep on Day One of testing, and I simply neglected to answer a full essay question on Day Two.

It wasn’t good.  Not good at all.

And now the wait . . .

If you don’t know,  there is a four-month delay between the date the exam is taken and when the results are published. It was a long-ass four months. By this time,  I was working for a federal judge. My co-clerk was a snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge. 

The  results day came, finally. This was before discovering your fate could be accomplished alone, via the Internet and without human contact.  The snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge  and I decided that instead of participating in the law clerk tradition of  walking to the county courthouse to publicly read the results,  we would call the designated a hot line at the State Bar.  Good.  For the reasons above, I had convinced myself I had failed. I figured that receiving the inevitable news over the phone would limit the witnesses to my embarrassment to just one: the snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge. That would hurt my ego, but it would be better than  public humiliation followed by  the long walk of shame back to my desk — and my judge.

Snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge and I  called the hotline.  He entered his identification number and got word of  his Passing  score.  He  handed  the phone to me.

My head was spinning:  Why was I so arrogant?  Why didn’t I take the course like EVERYBODY ELSE? Why did I fall asleep? Why did I decide part of the exam was optional? Why can’t I just lay down and die???????  I  entered  in my identification number, waited, then  . . .

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I PASSED!!!!!

Despite it all, I had passed.  I had passed.  I had passed.  Damn, I must have done something good.

(Yes, I see the typo in the image text, my apologies, it’ll have to do for now.)

Just Me With . . . the ability to say . . . I passed the bar exam in my sleep.

And here’s a bonus, much to the utter shock and dismay of  my  snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge  co-clerk, not only had I passed, but my numerical score was . . . wait for it  . . . higher than his.   (I didn’t say a word, on the outside.)

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And  here’s yet another  bonus.  Years later, I ran into my  snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge co-clerk, who actually gained some humility over the years and apologized to me for his arrogance (which is beyond the scope of this post).   Then he started telling me how busy he and his wife were:

Him:   “You’ll never believe it!  I have twin girls!  Yeah, it’s crazy!”

Me:    “Really?  Twin girls, huh?  Wow.   Crazy.   So . . . you  have . . .  just . . . the one  . . . set of twin girls?” .  . .    wait for it . . .   “I have two.”

We had a good old laugh about that.

Him:  “You always manage to one up  me, don’t you?  I guess I’d better just shut up.”

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See:

A Rat In My House  – Unscheduled study break …

My Law School Crush

Another Embarrassing Moment, Another Crush

A Sad and Disturbing True Halloween Story

This happened years ago . . .

I don’t come from a large family, I only had three cousins in the area.   It was my Dad’s sister’s family:  two boys and a girl.  They were Army brats and moved a lot, but eventually settled on our street.  The girl was my age and we were inseparable growing up all the way through high school.  She would escape to my house to get away from her pesky older brothers.  I had my first kiss at the brothers’  party at their house.

Adulthood happens.   Bill, the oldest cousin, was now thirty-two years old.  He was married with three children: a four-year old girl, a three-year old girl and a nine month old baby boy.   His wife was a stay-at-home-mom.  I was also married, but no kids yet.

On October 31st  his wife was home getting the children dressed for Halloween. She was waiting for their Daddy to get home from work  and take the kids Trick Or Treating.

He never got there.

On his way home from work on Halloween night, he was struck head on by a drunk driver  .  .  .  and killed instantly.

His wife, wondering why he was late getting home,  had to receive the news while the kids were in costumes.  It was the most tragic of tragic — a young mother, children too little to understand, a senseless accident occasioned by stupidity.   On Halloween.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were just around the corner –but it would be just the first of many holiday seasons missing a Daddy, a husband, a son, a brother,  and there had been no chance to say goodbye.  It rocked our entire family.  It was devastatingly sad.

Funeral Procession by Ellis Wilson

The services were, of course, well attended.  The steering wheel had gone through my cousin’s chest and broken his jaw,  but his face was otherwise intact and they were able to have an open casket. There was a viewing , the funeral itself, the burial and the reception.

It’s difficult to describe how heartbreaking it all was.   There were tears from three generations, a pretty and petite  mother of three– it seemed like a slight breeze could blow her away, bouncing preschool girls, a cutie-pie fat and happy baby boy,  grieving parents, siblings, friends,  aunts and uncles, and yes . . . cousins.  It’s been years and years, but I still think of it, the horror of his senseless death.

When we arrived at the funeral reception, my then husband turned to me and said something I’ve never been able to  forget.

He said,

“I’m not going to do this all day.”

Dangerous Liaisons

Just Me With . . .  no words.

P.S.   This is backstory.   The accident happened years ago, but understandably I think about it every Halloween.   The drunk driver did some time, I don’t recall  how much.  It got him off the road, but it didn’t bring my cousin back.   My cousin’s wife grieved hard but recovered as much as a person can.     She received a settlement from the insurance and never hurt for money.  She eventually remarried a family friend and had one more child.  The children grew up well, the  whole family keeps their father’s memory alive.  That nine month old baby boy grew up to look a lot like the Dad he never knew.   The girls,  young women now, are beautiful, healthy and happy.  His parents  routinely visit the grave and leave fresh flowers on holidays.  I say all this because I don’t want it to appear like I’m using this horrible tragedy just for blog fodder about me.  As I said, it’s that time of year;  it’s on my mind.  And my husband’s statement to me at the funeral reception has haunted me for years . . . and it’s scary.

Always a Bridesmaid . . .

Compared to many women, I haven’t been a bridesmaid that often.    I don’t come from a large family and only have a  small circle of good friends.   So I’ve only done the bridesmaid thing four times:  two sisters, one high school friend, one college friend.    I was a bride  once.  Yeah, that one didn’t work out.   Took a generation not to work out, but . . .   I digress.    The hundreds of dollars I spent on pictures for my own wedding, the dress  — well , it’s all boxed  — like some sort of evil time capsule.  Wedding Leftovers.

However,  hanging in my house is a picture of me in full bridesmaid regalia from my college friend’s wedding.    The gown was lilac colored, off the shoulder.   I was having a damn good hair day if I do say so myself.  It was one of those good hair days that ironically women usually only have at night while home alone.  But I was having a good hair day on a day where my picture was going to be taken.  Score!!!    The picture is a candid of me laughing at the church, fussing over  — whatever —  minutes before the ceremony.   Behind me is one of the other bridesmaids, now twice divorced, also smiling and happy.     It was a good day.  My friend was getting married to a guy I really liked  (this was before he lost his mind), her other bridesmaids were a hoot  and it was a gorgeous Spring day.   It was before I swore off weddings and became so cynical (in other words, I was newly married and child-free).

The wedding was beautiful, went off without a hitch.   My friend was the kind of girl who always had perfection just happen.   Unfortunately, the perfection didn’t last, however, and she and the guy I really liked eventually divorced.   For as perfect as things were for her then, they got as bad as it gets — i.e.,  he knocked  up another woman  — yeah, that bad.   So, the guy I really liked?  Well,  I don’t like him so much anymore.  Nope, nope.    See Remote Attendance at Weddings —  Royal or Otherwise.   But she got through it and last year she  married a guy I don’t know at all — but he’s a guy she really likes and loves and that’s all that matters.

Recently she came to my house and saw that picture from her first wedding hanging on my wall.   She had framed and  given me  the picture many, many years ago, but when she saw it she did a little double take and said:

“Wait, is that  my wedding?”

Yeah, I responded,  “I hope you don’t mind,   but I looked good and so happy that day and I always liked that picture.”

“No, it’s fine.  You did look good that day.  And look there’s Molly behind you . . . “

“Yeah, she looked good, too.”    She did.

We both smiled silently and my friend went on to look at the other pictures on my wall.  It was okay to hang that picture.  She was okay with it.   Those were simpler times.

My point is this.  For those women who tire of always being the bridesmaid, you do leave with pictures and memories that are completely independent of the success of  a  marriage.  Rejoice in them.  Hang them.   Show them.  Photoshop out the bride and groom in later years if need be.    But the fun of the occasion, the stories, the mementos — these are things to savor years — and styles,  later.

It’s  funny, being a bride can be so fleeting.  Sometimes, it can be disastrous, and sometimes all evidence of it just needs to disappear.   Being a bridesmaid, though, now that’s  forever and that’s a good thing — especially if you were having a good hair day.

Just Me With . . . a lilac off-the-shoulder dress, a really good hair day, and pictures from  somebody else’s   wedding I can happily hang on my wall — even though the bride can’t . . . . because, you know,  the  groom ended up being such a schmuck and all.

“Momma Said No!”

Here’s a fun fact:   As children grow they develop fine  motor skills.

One evening my then three-year-old discovered, to my horror, how to unbuckle his car seat.  He’d unbuckled it and gotten out himself.   And he knew what he was doing.   He was so proud.

So I did what everybody does, I told him, scolded him really:

“Do not ever unbuckle your car seat.  It is not safe.   Do you understand me?   You will get a time-out for that!  It is very, very, very  important.  Do you understand? ”

Him:  “Yes.”

Me:  “Are you sure?”

Him:  “Yes, Momma.”  He still called me Momma then.

He could tell when Momma wasn’t messing around.  I was using my stern voice, my serious face and my angry eyes.  Mission accomplished.

But my little Houdini is not my only kid.   I had had  five kids in all.  The three-year-old was just the oldest.  Twin girls, twice, came after.   Yes, They are Twins, Yes, they are Twins, Too.   Consequently, we didn’t get out much.  Taking a preschooler, two toddlers and two infants to any store — well,  this was not an outing that a person takes lightly.   So sometimes  when I had to run errands and my mother was with me we would buckle the kids in the car and my mom would stay with them while I would run in and out of stores.  It got us out of the house, sometimes the kids would get their naps using this method, and it gave me a little  break.

The very next day after the car seat unbuckling incident and lecture,  my mom and I decided to load the kids and run some errands.   We pulled into the local pharmacy and I ran in.   As per usual,  my Mom stayed with them in the car.  I was gone only a few minutes.

When I came out, my mom was standing outside of the car, all five  kids were still strapped in — inside.

Huh.

The doors were closed.

Huh.

This can’t be good,” I thought.

My mother was distraught.  Almost in tears.

“I can’t get in.”   She said.  “The babies started to cry and I got out to calm them down.  I — I — I —  closed the door . . . and now it’s  locked.”

We, the adults, were locked out.  The children were locked in.   Turns out I was right.   This wasn’t good.   The keys were in the car.

I tried not to panic.   After all, the  car was running and the air conditioning was on, so they wouldn’t cook in there  . . . but still,  it’s not good to leave five children alone in a car and I didn’t know how much gas I had.

Options:  I could run home and get an extra set of keys.    But that would take too long,  and my mother was losing it.  I didn’t want to leave her alone with the kids.  My husband was never really available during the day and worked too far away, anyway.   I could call my Dad to do it, but he’s hard to get a hold of  . . . so  . . . I guess I’d have to call the police to break into the car.    This was not a proud moment.  “Why?  Why, do I ever leave the house?” I wondered.

Well, hello there, Mr. Panic.

Then I remembered —  my son —  the big boy, the one who has motor skills!!!    The boy can get out of his car seat and  unlock the door!!!  He has the ability.  He has the manual dexterity.    I’ve seen him do it —  just yesterday.    “It was worth a try,”  I thought.

And so . . . one day after having scolded the boy for unbuckling his car seat and making him promise never to do it again —

I begged,  “Honey,” I spoke kindly but loudly through the closed window, “Momma wants you to UNBUCKLE  YOUR CAR SEAT and UNLOCK the door!”

He looked away from me.  “Clearly,”  his three-year-old mind must have reasoned, “This is some sort of test and I’m not going to fall for it, nope nope.”

I cooed, “No Honey, it’s okay, it’s okay, really, Momma says it’s okay, PLEASE  get out and let us in.  Please, you won’t be in trouble!!!!  I promise!!!!”

I saw him roll his eyes toward the ceiling, away from me.  His hands stayed at his sides.  He was more still than any three-year-old could possibly be.  It was impressive, really.

My mother was crying by this time and apologizing, she felt really, really badly.  But  I had to get to the kids.

Me to my statue-like son, “Honey, please.  Please!!!!!!  It’s okay, I promise.   Get out of your car seat.  Momma needs you to get out of your car seat!  PLEASE!!!”

This child would not even acknowledge that I was talking to him.  Again, it was impressive.  And comical.   I had literally just made him promise never to get himself out of his car seat and here I was begging him to do just that.   It was like a sitcom.

“Pleeeeeeease!!!!   Momma says it’s okay.”   But that boy was NOT going to fall for my obvious trickery.  “Momma said no,”  he must have thought, “Momma said no.”  

We had started to draw a crowd.  I was beginning to tear up, too.   The girls were useless, too young to manipulate their car seats, arms to short to reach the locks.  And . . .  they’d started to cry again.

This was not good.

In the end, my obedient son never unbuckled his car seat.   Some nice gentleman drove me home (I wasn’t far, and thankfully I’d left the house unlocked).  I got my spare  keys and everybody was fine.

—-  Except my mother.   It took her a long time to recover.

We didn’t go out for a while after that and when we did, no matter what the kids were doing, my mother never got out of the car again.

Just Me With . . . five car seats, a mom, and a son who had learned his lesson,  damn it.  

One of My Most Embarrassing Moments

I used to teach seminars  relating to discrimination in the workplace, specifically, sexual harassment.   You know, those annoying people brought in to identify improper workplace behavior and talk about how to respond, etc.

Well, one fine Spring I was sent to a company to teach a series of these seminars.   I stood, mostly, in front of a class for three hours at a pop.  What was different about this time was that I was pregnant  — with twins.   You know how women “show” more quickly  with the second pregnancy?  Well, with twins it’s even faster.    However, I hadn’t told anyone at my job that I was pregnant — again.  One pregnancy was tolerated in my white shoe law firm, but two?   Oh no.

So I was trying to do the “pregnant professional woman hide your pregnancy” thing as long as possible.   I was about four months along, looked bigger, but mostly in the belly, hips and thighs.   There was one skirt suit  I could still wear if I didn’t button it.  It  was the  kind with a longish  jacket that required no blouse and  a matching  skirt just above the knees.   Professional, but not stuffy.   But, because of the pregnancy, it was tight.  Yeah, that skirt was screaming.

And I was tired.   I had a two hour commute to the location of this particular seminar and I was pregnant and bloated and  uncomfortable in my non-maternity clothes.  Plus, I couldn’t even complain to anybody because it was my big secret.

At the seminar I talked incessantly about the hostile work environment kind of sexual harassment where it’s not that someone is saying have sex with me to keep your job, but where the environment is sexually charged and makes an employee uncomfortable because of his/her gender.   You know, unwanted touching, dirty jokes, leering,  flashing, and I talked about how dressing provocatively could make co-workers  uncomfortable.   I  noted that sometimes bad behavior  is not  legally actionable harassment but there simply needs to be a conversation.  Often the offending party doesn’t even know he or she has made someone uncomfortable, I explained.   These required seminars can be a pain, but the important thing employees are supposed to get out of them is that they understand the law a bit,  along with the corporate policies, and most importantly, they know  what to do if there is a — situation.

The seminars went well, people stayed awake and were engaged.   I felt like crap, though. and was so, so very tired.   Any chance I got during  the program,  I would perch on a desk.

After the seminar, a woman came up to me to ask a question, or so I thought.   She really wanted to inform me that while I was up front discussing inappropriate behavior, and how people act and dress in ways at work that make others uncomfortable,

. . .  the whole class could see up my too tight skirt. 

(*sh*t, f*ck)


I played it off and said that this is exactly what I was talking about.  My “reveal”  was  accidental and I, of course,  did not mean to make anyone uncomfortable.  I  thanked her for coming forward and offered my apologies  if I offended her.   (By her demeanor, I clearly had offended her.)  She said that she thought I’d want to know since I was talking about all “that stuff.”

Epilogue:   Told work about my pregnancy when I got back.  Switched to maternity clothes immediately.

Just Me With . . . an unintentional crotch shot and the ability to laugh at myself.  

My Law School Crush

Damn Facebook.  I hate it.  All the happy posts piss me off.  Having photos of me (especially unflattering or ones that reveal my age) posted and tagged pisses me off.   Having to connect with relatives I don’t usually talk to (sometimes) pisses me off.   I mean now I have my mother asking me if I saw a cousin’s graduation pictures on Facebook?  Ugh.

Then there’s the Ex, his fiancée, and their crap all over the net.   Soon it’ll be his wedding pictures, complete with group pictures of  my kids with the bride and groom and his and her family,  all dolled up for his big day.  Ugh.

And of course,  there was the accidental discovery that my Ex’s fiancée and I dated the same guy,  information gained via Facebook.  See Mutual Friend, Part I and Mutual Friend, Part II.

Yeah, I’m kinda sick of Facebook.

But for professional and familial reasons, I keep my  non-anonymous Facebook account.  I do not link it to my Twitter or blog.   I check into Facebook much less, rarely post, and took down all personal pictures.   I check in primarily so that I can un-tag photos and respond to messages from the people who still insist on communicating with me via Facebook.

On my weekly check-in last week, I had a friend request from a law school colleague.  The last time I talked to this woman years ago, she lit into me about some dispute regarding a club we belonged to, so I hung up on her.   I don’t like to be yelled at.

Question:  Why is she  “friending” me on Facebook?

Answer:  Because it’s Facebook.

I kept her dangling for a while,  but since my account is so impersonal now, I thought, what the hell, I’ll accept her friend request.  It might help in a future job search if she knows people.

Well, my connection to her led to seeing a profile of a man I had a secret crush on in law school. We’ll call him LawBoy.

LawBoy and I sat next to each other every day, front and center.   He held my seat for me if I was running late.   He was married, so was I.  We studied together, some.  Talked on breaks or in the library, just a little.   I thought he was one of the nicest guys I’d met in a long time.  Smart, funny, and so not full of himself.   He was really down to earth, quite unlike many of my fellow law students.   I used to love the way he smiled when talking about his wife.  We didn’t hang out at night or anything.   There was never anything inappropriate about our friendship.  But I admit now that I was secretly holding the married lady’s crush on him.

Lucy always had a crush on Schroeder

A few years after law school,  I ran into him in an office building where I was working.   So we decided to have lunch, as lawyers do, just to catch up, see what our specialties were, if we could refer business . . . etc.    He was always so attentive to my real love, music, as his father was also a musician, still gigging,  even at his  advanced age.    LawBoy and I  were both still married at this meeting, and now we had kids to talk about.  It was quite an enjoyable lunch.

I don’t do alumni events, or lawyerly functions, and I haven’t worked downtown in a while — since all the madness (literally).   So I hadn’t seen or heard from him since that lunch, years ago.

But when I accepted that woman’s friend request  and viewed her page — there was LawBoy, on Facebook, a friend of a “friend.”  He looked pretty much the same, still had that nice boyish smile.  Now he’s a partner in a law firm.  Not too shabby.  More importantly,  his relationship status is  listed as . . .  SEPARATED. 

Whoa.

This time I sent the Friend Request.   No message attached.

He accepted my request, immediately (she adds with a grin) and messaged that he was glad to reconnect, asked about my music and said that he hoped he could see me play sometime.

(Shhh. Don’t tell anybody, but I smiled and giggled  a bit.)

LawBoy remembered me . . . and my music.  Aw.  

I responded in kind, telling him I’d let him know when things came up.  (smiling still)

I perused (stalked) his profile a bit and saw that he seemed very active and well-rounded.  He does go to the law related networking events that I avoid like the plague (but he’d have to,  still being  in practice and all)  and is outdoorsy.   Although I love to be outside, I’m not the rafting, hiking, marathoning, camping type.  (But we can work that out . . .  I digress . . . )

I have no plans or fantasizes of hooking up with my law school crush (well, maybe a few fantasizes, but no concrete plans).  On paper, we are as different as night and day.  I’m not even sure how comfortable he’d be dating outside of his race and religion.

Former Episcopalian Princess Charlotte at her Jewish Wedding, Sex and The City

But I could pull a Charlotte from Sex and the City . . . (“I’m  Jew now” . . . ) yes?   Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.   A little. Whatever.  It could happen.

Oh well.  Odds are  this will not be a fulfillment of a long-lost and unstated love between two law school buddies  — like in the book and movie, “Something Borrowed.”   No,  romantic stories like that and me? — well, no.

“Something Borrowed “

Still, that  one word on his profile, “Separated,”  haunts me.   I don’t state my relationship status on Facebook.  It’s a personal policy of mine.  And I doubt that he would have heard of my change in status from others since we don’t travel in the same circles,  but . . .  I’m not married anymore —- if anyone’s interested . . .

Regardless, I gotta say, it is nice to feel free, feel a crush and not be married this time, even if I never, ever do a thing about it.

Just Me With . . . my freedom, and still with a little crush on LawBoy, who is now separated.   And, FYI, if he ever found this post, I would be completely mortified.

See also: Another Embarrassing Moment, Another Crush

How I Found Out That My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married

We started dating in the tenth grade. See My High School Self, My Vampire Boyfriend. We married after I finished college (he didn’t finish). We eventually had five children, two at a time. We separated years ago, suddenly; it was not mutual, nor my choice.  A nasty and prolonged divorce became final in February. So, after more years than I care to mention, my high school sweetheart and I were finally, legally, broken up.

So, it’s Just Me With . . . my five kids in our little fixer (Ex-Hoarders) home. See Piss, Puke, and Porn. I keep a land line there because I have children, not all of whom have cell phones, and it is important to me to have another number, not affected by minutes or power outages or charging status, that I know will work. Like many people, though, my cell phone is the best way to contact me. Just in the last week or so I had told my ex-husband to please call my cell, rather than the house phone, because I don’t always get the messages right away or get up to answer it.

Two nights ago, I got a voicemail on my house phone from my ex-husband asking me to give him a call about dresses for the girls for his “marriage” in June.

Huh, what?

Let’s review, shall we?

My ex-husband had had the kids for an overnight over Mother’s Day weekend. We arranged for him to bring them back early Sunday so that I could spend Mother’s Day with my children. By my standards, Mother’s Day Sunday was a successful day. The kids did not fight much. They even played together outside and took videos of each other spinning on a swing. No tears, no drama.

Monday evening my ex-husband took the kids for his scheduled dinner time visit. Afterward, he dropped them off as usual. We settled in for watching a little Dancing With the Stars.

The landline rang. We let it ring. My cell phone did not ring. 

I remembered hours later that I had gotten a call and checked messages. I’d received a message from the diving coach. Oops need to return that call, I thought. Next, I heard the message from my Ex-husband, which bears repeating:

“Could you give me a call when you get a chance so we can talk about dresses for the girls for my marriage [in June ]?”

huh (Weird that he didn’t say “wedding” . . . but I digress . . . )

This was Monday night after their Saturday night visit and the redundant Monday dinner.   Since the kids had said nothing, I assumed that they did not know, and this was his way of telling me.

I was wrong.

When I returned his call the next day, he told me that he and his girlfriend told the kids on Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. He added that he was surprised that THEY didn’t tell me when they got home.  Let the record reflect that the kids got home — on Mother’s Day.

hmm

So, to recap, summarize and conclude:

My ex-husband dropped the kids home on Mother’s Day assuming that they would inform me that he was getting married.  He thought that they would tell me this — ON MOTHER’S DAY!  This was his plan.   And when that plan failed, he left me a voicemail on a landline I don’t answer and that he had been requested not to use.

Happy Mother’s Day to me!

My wedding? (I don’t even remember how much that cost);

My divorce (oh around $35,000 and counting);

Announcement of the Ex’s Engagement? (PRICELESS!)

There’s really no good way to hear this news, but there are really bad ways to announce it, and this was one of them, well actually two: one failed attempt at getting the kids to tell me on Mother’s Day, and another stealth voice mail message about dresses on a phone I don’t answer.

But kudos to my kids who had enough sense not to rush in with this information on Mother’s Day. None of them said anything (and they don’t usually work well together) yet they must have sensed that Mother’s Day was not the day to tell me —  or perhaps they sensed correctly it was not their place to tell me.

Or maybe they thought I already knew?

Regardless, and putting my feelings about the marriage aside, I gotta give props to my kids. And hugs.

Just Me With . . . the best kids ever and a voice mail from my Ex — everything.

Oh, and by the way, he’ll be getting the dresses for the girls.

Postscript: Months later it was one of the kids who told me that the happy couple was expecting.

You know what they say about payback — see “Father’s Day Announcements To My Ex

For an earlier insensitive Mother’s Day celebration, see “Worst Mother’s Day Card Ever”

For a more uplifting Mother’s Day tribute, see “To My Best Friend On Mother’s Day

For a discussion on how I felt about the news, see “How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married”

Those Beautiful, Lousy, Good for Nothing Kids Clapped for Me!!!!

Last night I went to a jam session.  I took  my kids and one of their friends.   I have hopes that someday my kids will participate.  They take lessons,  they have some chops, but they don’t have the confidence or drive to get up there.  So last night they were there to listen.   Still, something beautiful happened.   They clapped . . .  for me.

I played multiple times,  I took solos, and after each, they clapped  . . . for me.   (In case you’re wondering, they weren’t the only ones.)   But  as I look back on it today, the fact that I got applause from “those people I made” is something I really needed.   They were there, in my element,  watching/listening and clapping at the appropriate times.   They showed genuine appreciation for the music, for me, and for the other musicians.  They may never get up there.    But they know their mom can, does and loves it.  They know I have credibility with other musicians — something which  has nothing to do with them or being their mom.

I’ve had a hard time with my particular situation,  the demands on me, my current place in life and the journey that brought me here.  I’d been feeling  a bit beat-down lately.  Periodically, or sometimes consistently, leaving  the  “me” behind to meet the needs of my children and be there for them  had been taking a toll.   I’m a sensitive person, but you gotta have a thick skin to raise people, and sometimes, it’s well . . . hard.     But last night, things were different, so different things were almost upside down.  I wasn’t one of the many supportive parents taking pictures and cheering my kids on at a school performance or sporting event.  They were there watching, clapping for and taking pictures of — me.  And it was good —  to play music, it was good to have a respectful audience, it was good to  back burner the  “mom” nameplate yet still have the children with me.   In short, it was good to be Just Me.

After a while it was getting late,  and they were ready to go, as was I.   As we got up to leave I was asked to play one more set.  The kids didn’t seem to mind that much. I played.  They clapped.  No complaints.  At the end of he night  I thanked them for coming.  (Mind you they did get some food out of the deal.)  But the lack of eye-rolling, whining, fighting and squirming — and their applause . . . they don’t even know how much I needed that.

Sometimes a girl just needs a little applause.   I may call my mom and just clap for her.

Just Me With  . . . my music and my  kids . . . . just being me.