Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Adios Jorge, Hello Lisa

I decided to get my legs waxed today, given that I am attending a formal gala on Saturday. There is a place near my job that charges the same as my normal waxer, Jorge, does. With a twinge of guilt, I decided to give this new place a shot--and Lisa did a fantastic job.

I loved going to Jorge though, because it was so fun. His mannerisms mimick a traditionally effeminate gay male, so he is very entertaining. However, the best part was his 'bedside' manner. Normally salons are super concerned about creating a calming, serene environment--but not Jorge.

Usually the waxer will gently explain that she will leave the room while you remove your pants/skirt and lie down on the table and cover up with a towel if you'd like--then the waxer will knock and wait for permission to enter. Jorge instead just says "take off your pants/skirt and then 'up on the table'" as he pats the table and stays in the room. I guess it's sort of weird, but I find it hilarious. He has a great location and could make a killing if he could lure the surrounding Lakeview yuppies into his salon, but that won't happen with his current manner.

Lisa did a very good job, but the experience was far more relaxing than entertaining. There were several funny moments when she noticed some other 'problems' and tried to sell me other services. She made slight gasping noises when she saw my hands and feet and immediately suggested a pedicure and manicure, and seemed shocked when I declined. I think she was appalled that a woman would voluntarily walk around with nails in my condition--but I really can't care about it.

Anyway, given how close it is to work, and how good of a job she did--I probably won't see Jorge again.

The rest of my afternoon was weird because my boss got in one of his crazy funks. Basically every attorney had to deal with him being a dick on at least one of their cases. He hit two of my files and was pretty hard on me and EM by making ridiculous demands. About a half an hour later (after he had dinner) he came into my office, nice as can be, so we could go over the file again--but this time he was reasonable and seemed almost apologetic. To be 'helpful', he decided that tomorrow we should work together for several hours on this file. This will really suck, but he seems to think I should be grateful and excited for this opportunity. blech--the other attorneys will owe me for getting him out of their hair for those hours.

I wonder what would happen if we slipped him some Ritalin or Prozack....

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Life: An Update

The Den of Awkwardness apartment is empty, clean and awaiting its next unsuspecting victims. It's actually a great place when it is clean--Isaac, Gabe and I mourned the loss of potential on Sunday as we got rid of the last bit of stuff.

I still can't bring myself to completely unpack at my new place, but I am definitely settling in here. Tuesday night I will host my first friend for dinner--hopefully an occurance that will be repeated many times with many people.

On or before April 15, 2005 I will sign over $20,000 and become a partner in the Handlebar, Chicago's bikey bar and restaurant. This is very exciting and scary for me. My first goal as an owner will be to improve brunch--they are in a neighborhood that attracts a strong brunch crowd, and I want the Hbar to tap into it.

This weekend is a crazy bikey weekend. Friday I work a booth at the Bike Show for CBF and Cycling Sisters and then Saturday night is CBF's 20th Anniversary Gala. I am ridiculously excited about this.

I've decided to convert a bike into a fixie, and hope to head down to working bikes on Saturday to pick up an old roadbike. It's fun to think that hours after scrounging around through reams of dirty old bikes I will be at a frou frou formal event.

Life is good.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Boil Order

Tonight I returned to the Den of Awkwardness to pick up my phone/answering machine. My last two weeks of no phone are coming to an end--not being able to be reached is pretty fun.

Taped on the door of the building was a sign from the City which read"......some customers have water pressure, but remain on a BOIL ORDER until samples pass......"

Too bad I missed that--apparently it started on Monday. Boiling drinking water--what a joy.

The Den of Awkwardness now sucks even more than it did before. This weekend is the final clean-up, and it won't be fun. The place is a hell-pit. The alley scavengers will be quite happy on Saturday night, though. I think there is a chance that we will toss out beer.

On a better note, my boss is leaving for New York tomorrow morning, and the other partner will be gone at mid-day, too. The screwing around will be non-stop. Plus, it's the last Friday of the month--so Good Friday = Happy Friday! March Critical Mass!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I missed my chance

Why wasn't I invited to this contest?

I found my Sketcher sandal/sneakers while moving and got excited about Spring to come so I can bust them out again. Currently their stench is basically dormant, but once it gets warm and humid out--I know they will rear back to life.

The shoes have lived with me for three summers and everyone who knows them loathes them:

2002--Frick kept pouring baking soda in them
2003--my housemates threatened to burn, throw them away, or buy me new shoes
2004--my housemates hated them even more and my boyfriend marched me into the bathroom to wash off my feet when I wore the shoes to his place

The shoes are just too damn comfortable to ever give up (although they do start to feel slimy on some days). They reek though--often I smell them when I wear them. Other people do too. Way too many times at the co-op someone would be commenting about something smelling rotten, assuming that a refrigerator needed to be cleaned out, when we realized that my shoes were the culprit. They know how to work a room. I know my housemate Dee was completely appalled by them and was disgusted that I continued to wear these stinkbombs on my feet.

But....they slip on an off without any effort, they are cushy like athletic shoes, they are great walking, biking shoes (I wore them in the triathlon...tehehe). I don't see the point in getting a new pair, since they will stench up quickly, too. Maybe I'll submit them next year in the contest.

Another Bike Misfortune

My anti-Midas touch struck again! Heading to federal court I wheeled the Hardrock onto Wells St. and pushed off when the light turned green. I rolled slightly into the intersection and the cranks wouldn’t turn. Hopping off the bike I wheeled it towards the sidewalk to investigate. Problem the chain was wrapped around the crank – twice, and kinked up oddly.. This was so bizarre it made last week’s tube/cassette co-mingling seem reasonable. Luckily it was pretty easy to fix–I pushed in the rear derailleur to give slack the chain, wiggled it off of the crank and then reset it on the chainring. I even made it to court on time. Woo hoo!

I don’t think this was operator error or stubbornness [you were right last time, though Frick]. I suspect that my bike is getting messed with. This is and two times in one week that I rode in on a functional bike and unlock a bike that doesn’t work before it crosses Randolph St. Not cool. Maybe I will have to start paying the regular panhandler to guard my bike.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

14 Hours Lost

On Monday I was at work for almost 14 hours working on an outline and attachments/exhibits for a deposition scheduled for 8:15 this morning. Almost all of my boss’s craziness was on display: he kept giving long ‘emergency’ assignments to my paralegal (so she couldn’t get my work done), at 6:00 he completely changed his mind about the organization and made me redo everything, then he became super-OCD about the most trivial details that don’t matter at all (I prefer yellow highlighting, this binder is too big, I don’t like the font on this label). Normally his micro-managing rolls off me pretty easily, but at 9:30pm when I am sleep deficient from a long weekend and have skipped both lunch and dinner to work on the project....well, it didn’t please me too much.

He had the gall to complain about why this simple project was taking too long. Everyone in the firm knows that most projects take too long because we spend too much time molding our work to fit his crazy, ever-changing expectations. More galling is the fact that this type of project usually takes between 20-30 hours and I was pumping it out in record time. My paralegal looked ready to bitch-slap him, so I had to try to keep both of them in check at the same time. She takes his craziness personally and I shield her from it as much as possible–this has earned me her loyalty and is the reason she was voluntarily there at 9:30, when she can leave at 5:00 without a care in the world.

Anyway, I finally, groggily, shuffled out of the building and couldn’t wait to crawl into bed. This would have been a great plan, but the hamsters had long since called it quits, and I was on auto pilot. I don’t think I have felt this bone-tired since high school. Stupidly, I biked back to my old neighborhood, instead of my new apartment. The time/distance isn’t a big deal, but I tried to cover up my spaciness by doing some grocery shopping and making the trip somewhat productive. I wandered around the Jewel for almost an hour–nearly everything I wanted was out of stock. Everything was mesmerizing–somehow I even found myself staring in confusion at stuff in the cosmetics aisle. That place is weird–so many colors to smear on women’s faces–it was as repulsively irresistible as a train wreck.

This morning I had to come in early for final preparation for the interview–and my boss had ramped up his craziness in the interim. moreMoreMORE! Hilariously, in the initial moments of the interview, I learned that there was a stipulation that we could only discuss a very specific topic. My boss belated remembered that he agreed to it over the phone, forgot to tell me and then completely forgot about it. Basically everything that I prepared yesterday and this morning was irrelevant. Too fucking funny. He is totally sheepish around me because he knows that he royally messed up. One of his big things is ‘information transfer’ between attorneys and he constantly harps about writing memos so everyone is ‘on the same page’ and nothing gets forgotten. So I am pretty much digging the situation and the quick turn of the table.

The interview closed and the opposing attorney mentioned that he needed to quickly run to court on a related case that I usually monitor. My boss directed me to attend even though I protested that it was a confidential mediation session and that I could not participate in it. He directed me to go ‘just in case’. Crazy. I trotted back to my office, grabbed my ID and helmet and wheeled on over to the federal building fast as I could.

This was a completely scandalous ride because the suit I wore today is not a good biking suit–especially with the straight top bar of the Hardrock. I think riding in some skirts requires the same principle of tightrope-walking – don’t ever look down. Just ignore how high the skirt is hitched up and keep moving. Other than the constant flashing, it was a pretty fun trip, and I got to wander around the federal courts in all-out lawyer garb while carrying a helmet and bike seat. The guards chuckled at me, dug around in my bag and gave me a full metal detector wanding, too. As expected I couldn’t attend the mediation session, so I turned right around and came back to the office. Heading to make the left turn from Dearborn onto Randolph I wound up being part of a bike train with two messengers. Too bad I had to head back into the office, though because riding was too fun this morning.

This lawyer gig is weird.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

SAT style

Which one of these items doesn't match the rest of the group:

A. Celery stalks
B. Wine bottles
C. Burritos
D. Documents





Answer: C, burritos

Category: things to transport successfully in a water bottle cage.

At first my riding-home-from-a-bar-after-not-eating-dinner veggie burrito fit great in my water bottle cage, but it eventually fell on the road. Twice.

Yes, I still ate it. yum.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Tank the Crank

The Tank is acting out. The stress of being swapped for other bikes, getting stabled in new places and brought to his new home apparently are too much for him, and yesterday he snapped. He rode into work just fine, but when I started riding south to the CBF office to trade him in for the Hardrock and trailer, I discovered that he had defiantly flatted. Running late already, I just decided to ride on the rims for the mile to the office. The Tank balked and dug in his wheels to create the weirdest, jumbled mess I have seen from a flat tire.

Somehow the tube wiggled out of the tire and became hopelessly, tightly entangled in the cassette–plus a brakepad had somehow poked its way through the tube and was stuck inside of it. Everything was tight and basically fused together, preventing the rear wheel from spinning. On the corner of Washington and LaSalle I found myself with an immobile bike. The only option I considered was carrying the tank to the CBF office (why didn’t I just trot there myself, grab the trailer and go back to transport the wounded Tank to the office like a hurt man on a stretcher?). I crouched down, snugged my shoulder under his seat and hoisted Tank up for the mile walk to the office.

Damn–Tank certainly earned his name–that bike needs to go on a diet. My shoulder is still red from carrying him on this little trek, and feels sort of smushy this morning–I have a feeling that it is going to bruise quite uglily in the next couple of days. Tank’s hard seat bottom awkwardly rocking against my shoulder bone was none to comfortable. I’m sure this tender shoulder will make my final moving experience even more pleasant.

Anyway, I got to the office and a bike cop stopped to ask if I needed a pump or something. I told him that I would fix it upstairs, and that what was needed was a razor blade. He looked down to see what I meant and was quite perplexed by the ball of gears and tube. Upstairs we cut the tube out in about 8 pieces–there were also random tube chunks hanging out in wheel–just torn to shreds. I don’t really understand what happened–but it was a friggin’ mess. We should have taken a picture.

So now the Tank is hamstrung, and hanging with the other CBF bikes as punishment for his shenanigans. It seems like every bike I touch just starts to fall apart. The Hardrock is quivering in fear of what damage I will do to him in the next couple of days. Even on the ride to the Hbar last night he began fearfully squealing his brakes when he realized that I was taking him for another weekend.

Hopefully the Hardrock will stay in one piece long enough to finish the bike move tomorrow. The really big things are already moved, so I won’t have to wrestle too much with furniture, because my shoulder doesn’t feel up for that. I want to get everything moved on Saturday and then drop the trailer/bike rig off at CBF on Sunday after biking Gwen and Spencer to the bus station and sending her back to Minneapolis. I’ll be able to give Tank some TLC and explain why he couldn’t come along to Milwaukee for the FSC, why he couldn’t help us move, why he didn’t get to ride in the parade last weekend and argue the merits of our new apartment. I hope he will understand and make friends with some of John’s bikes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Sucker Fools

On Sunday night I placed the old queen-size box spring out on our third floor back porch, expecting to later clump it down the steps and haul out for an alley-scrounger to grab. Surprisingly, last night I discovered that the boxspring was gone. Neither John nor Gilby moved it. Apparently some creature of the alley spied the irresistible old boxspring and couldn’t resist its nasty charms. I’m mostly delighted by this development, because frankly I am sick of lugging stuff up and down steps, and the thief saved me a lot of effort. Sucker fools. However, this is also sort of disturbing–apparently stuff on this porch has an implied "free to haul" sign on it. Grrrr.

I hope it isn’t too much like leaving food out for a stray cat, but the mattress was put out on the porch this morning, and I am excited to see how long it lasts. I don’t have any problem with dumpster-diving, but c’mon–taking shit from porches is just not cool. I want to keep my favorite plants out there when it gets warmer, but I can’t bear to have them stolen. Time for developing a creative ‘plant-locking’ system.

Anyway, last night was another nice evening. First I rode home with a friend–the Tank has been cooped up too long and was happy to spin his wheels. When I got upstairs John and Gilby were having dinner, so I joined them and busted open a bottle of wine. I am loving how social and cozy my new place feels.

Then I actually did a little bit of unpacking–books and some clothes mostly. My room is still a disasterland of boxes, though. I am really dragging my feet and somehow expect that my stuff will magically unpack itself. Additionally, my hatred of laundry is really getting out of control. For the last two nights I washed underpants in the sink for the next day. Obviously, I am wasting more effort by NOT doing my laundry than I would expend by just bucking up and doing it. Damn laziness. Damn laundry.

On a positive note, I finally got the internet connection/wireless card on my laptop to work. Jake had fiddled around with it the other night and deemed it ‘hopeless’ but I gave it a shot anyways. I wish I could say that I figured it out, but somehow while messing with the internet settings on John’s laptop, mine just miraculously logged on. I wasn’t really doing anything at the time to warrant this, but it’s pretty cool that I have internet access at home. Now I can do work at home–oh goody!

I’m totally digging the new place. It has a much better vibe than the den of awkwardness did and my energy level is higher already. Since moving there I got to work almost an hour earlier each day because I don’t dawdle as much in the mornings. Yippee!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Motherfucker Shit Motherfucker

Motherfucker shit motherfucker shit shit fuck. Ho bitch she’s a ho bitch ho ho nigger ho bitch. Motherfucker shit shit nigger motherfucker fuck fuck fuck. Ho bitch ho she’s a ho bitch nigger.......repeat.....

This was what I heard some incredibly charming boy sing-songing at a youth facility today, while I was visiting a ward of the state who was arrested earlier. I think the boy was probably around 7-9 years old--approximately 8 gallons–I’m not good at appraising kids. Although I surmised pretty quickly that this kid needs to learn some manners and should get his punk-ass punished. There were about five staff members around and most of them ignored the child and one smiled and said "I’m disappointed in you" in the tone I use when trying to woo a cat. Our tax dollars at work.

Easily 3/4 of the words out of this kid’s mouth were curse words. No one so much as blinked at this behavior. The kid didn’t look dim or turettsy or anything–he was just an undisciplined brat looking for attention. I also realized that when I was out of sight, but not earshot, his stream of curse words didn’t include ‘bitch’ or ‘ho.’ Nice.

Part of me understood that the kid was looking for attention, and that acknowledging him would be encouraging this behavior as a useful way to get attention. However, can’t the kid learn that this type of behavior gets punishment? The workers didn’t acknowledge us at first–but we were obviously two ‘suits.’ For all they knew we were inspectors from DCFS, and still it didn’t bother them at all that a very young child was loudly cursing as if this was normal. This child must be a holy terror in the classroom–this behavior was in front of seven adults and no other kids to impress.

No wonder these kids end up constantly fucked up and in trouble. They have many strikes against them, but on top of that they don’t seem to get any discipline besides when the staff call the police on them. Grrr........I really hate some liberal policies.

Stubbornness, My Greatest Friend and Enemy

Bullheadness, perseverance, stubbornness–whatever it’s called, it is a huge part of my life and personality. This weekend it reared its head twice.

Most notably was my silly decision to move all of my stuff by myself because it felt somehow empowering. So I didn’t take up the glut of offers to help me move and decided to do it all alone. This is a third floor to third floor move. So Sunday morning I dragged and pulled my box spring, mattress and dresser down the steps–making a huge racket. The dogs in the building were all set off and barking–tehehe. I biked the box spring/mattress over first. (From the whoops and "I love you"s that I got from men on the street there is apparently nothing hotter in the world than a girl biking with a bed on a sunny Sunday morning–did they perhaps think I was a mobile hooker service???)

Getting the mattress and box spring through the narrow fence gate was an exercise in hilarity. I had to stand them upright on the trailer and then try to pull bike and trailer through the narrow entrance without anything tipping over. Oh yeah–it was also slick with ice. I was a ball of giggles, laughing at the ridiculous scene I was creating, but being unable to stop it from continuing. Getting the mattress and box spring up the icy back steps was challenging, but I did it without too much craziness. The dresser was another story.

First while I was awkwardly loading the dresser onto the trailer, a group of three yuppies waiting on the corner, about ten feet away from me, took notice.
"Look that girl is moving by bike,"
"she looks like she’s having a hard time,"
"I’m taking pictures." Click. Click.

How fucking rude–I can hear you! I am not a TV show simply to entertain–Real life is interactive. My stubbornness made me decline most passerbys’ offers of assistance, and I would have declined theirs had they asked. However, I think it is incredibly rude to notice somebody struggling with something, comment on it, document it–but not even consider offering assistance. I always hold doors for deliverymen and offer to help people with packages if they seem to need it. Instead the yuppies just stood there staring and commenting until their ride showed up. Fucktards.

The dresser caused me a lot of grief on the way up–most of the stairs are now dented and splintered from me forcing that thing up the steps. Where the steps were too slippery to trust my footing I used my upper body more than my lower. I braced the dresser on my right shoulder, held the mirror support with my right hand lift it clear of the steps, grabbed the railing with my left hand and used that arm to winch the whole thing up another few steps. Each time I reached another landing I was out of breath, wobbly and giggling at my own irrational stubbornness. Luckily during the worst of the near "runaway dresser" incidents I still wore my bike helment, so I didn't sustain any head injuries. I wish there was a videotape made of my silliness.

The fallout today is pretty minor. My right shoulder is incredibly tender to the touch today and my right upper tricep and left bicep are trashed and weak. Plus unexpectedly, my calves and deep butt muscles are tired today. My arms, hipbone, shins, quads and especially my knees are all bruised up–my body looks like I was beaten. Weirdly my front teeth ache and my jaw muscles are sort of sore, too. My guess is that jaw-clenching and teeth gritting must have been part of my strategy to move my junk.

Why the hell am I so stupidly stubborn? Deciding to do the move myself is stubborn enough–but insisting on clumping the big stuff up the stairs without help is just ludicrous. I easily could have just left those three things into the backyard and waited for John or Gilby to help me with them–they would have been a snap with two people. Instead, being fully aware of my foolishness, I opted to do it the hard way.

The other pointless stubbornness occurred on Saturday at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade--I froze my ass off because I wouldn’t put on extra clothes while we were waiting for step-off. I was outside in freezing weather, close to the frigid lake winds for over five hours in a friggin’ skirt. I had a jacket, vest and snowpants in my bag–but for some stupid, irrational reason I wouldn’t wear them. My mood was dark and I was already highly irritable, and by letting myself freeze I descended even further into crankiness. Probably one level lower and I would have sunk to my "not fit to be around other human beings" point and would have needed to leave out of respect for other people. Thankfully, my friend Ethan helped handle difficult people and helped cheer me up and let me vent. Still, I ended up shirking a lot of my job responsibilities because of my foul mood–which was worsened by my foolish, prideful stubbornness.

What is even more crazy is that I have spent the last few years diligently working to control my stubbornness–and have actually done a fantastic job. This is my stubborn natured tamed, sedated and on its best behavior–what would it look like if I let it off of its tight leash? The manifestations of bullheadness that I acknowledged and worked to control in the past were those that effected other people and allowed me to hold grudges. Now I am much more forgiving and understanding of other people than I used to be. I guess I need to try to learn how to be forgiving and mellow towards myself instead of letting the intersection of pride and stubbornness be a dangerous place in my life.

At the same time, my stubbornness has often been my only companion through tough times. Like the Footprints story, my stubbornness always walks with me and sometimes carries me through life when otherwise I would have quit. I need to find a way to harness this great power, without letting it chart my path, and let my reason and common sense do the navigating and steering.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bike Move!

I slept in my new apartment last night: the bike move has begun. Too, too much fun. Normally moving is horrible, but so far this has been fun and I'm excited for the rest of the move.

I borrowed the CBF fresh air trailer and Hardrock bike and moved two loads after work last night. At John’s request, I brought over my pots and pans because he is having a dinner party tonight–I also emptied out most of my liquor cabinet. My bakeware and other random cooking implements still need to be packed and moved, but most of the weight of my cookware is moved.

After packing for a while I came upon a horrible realization: I am going to pack dirty clothes. Inside my head arguments raged about the merits of this choice ["you will be so pissed at having a mound of dirty laundry at your new place" "I can’t possibly be expected to move and launder simultaneously–it’s inhumane".....] I knew however, that once this dirty seed was planted it couldn’t be irradicated. Then, it started to make more sense–dirty clothes take less care to move, because I can cram them into pillowcases and tie them down onto the trailer without any concern about them getting dirty or wrinkled. Plus, I can just trot them downstairs into the basement laundry room and deal with them later. So now I have come full circle: moving dirty clothes is the best way to go! Whether or not this is just a defensive form of rationalization is yet to be determined.

My first night/morning at the new place went fine: I slept well, woke up early and scooted into work before 8:00 [reading newspapers, emailing......NOT working]. Tonight I’ll bring over at least two more loads and enjoy the dinner party. Already I feel energized and productive from this move–the Den of Awkwardness’ initials are too apt.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Too Much Work, Too Much Mess

This entry written from my work desk. Time: 9:00PM. Grrrrr.

Court was OK this morning. It lasted forever, and apparently a few members of the firm were somewhat concerned that I might be in jail for contempt when I didn't come back in a reasonable time. One of the partners went to court to check it out just as we were finishing. Hearing this made my morning. tehehe. Serves them right to have to sweat a bit.

When I got back to the office my office was in shambles because my new office furniture arrived and had been swapped out. Movers and my paralegal had moved all of my stuff around. This means that all of my unprofessional things were discovered: my drawer of bras/underthings, my box of tights and nylons, a whole drawer of toiletries, my 'hamper' of extra clothes/bike clothes and my under-the-desk shoe jungle. My paralegal was humorously disgusted by the whole affair, "I can't believe I had to touch your sweaty clothes and worse." I don't think she should complain--it was my dirty laundry that was aired and pawed through (literally).

I don't use my desk for files or papers, and really only store personal articles inside it. Files/papers/books.....are kept in a messy heap on top of the desk. Now that I have more furniture, I can store even more clothes and junk in my office. I am tempted to turn a file cabinet/table thingy into a dresser to keep all of my work clothes here. Maybe I could even make the messenger/gopher guy launder my work clothes every few weeks--that would be perfect!

My poor boss--I'm sure he thinks this stuff will make my office tidier, but I doubt it. I am a messy, messy person and the more horizontal surface I have--the more mess there will be. It's the goldfish syndrome--my mess will expand to fit any space it occupies. Oh well, at least now my 'hamper' is hidden from sight. I'm sure there will always be at least sweaters tossed about--I found a missing skirt under a chair the other day (I don't know how long it was there). My office is part workspace, part dressing room and all mess.

Time to head home and get some sleep. I need to be here early tomorrow to grind out a motion to dismiss that I haven't really started yet.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Crazy world of Litigation--Part II

Tomorrow I have to argue a motion. Once again, it isn't a case that I work on--I'm just filling in because the other attorneys on the file are busy. Fuckity fuc fuk fuck.

I hate courtrooms. I hate judges. I hate opposing counsel. I hate walking into an extremely complex case and having to confidently assert things that I haven't researched myself. Most of all--I really, really, really hate knowing that it is not just my ass that might suffer if screw this up, but that a client depends on me.

Co-worker EM and my partner are both clued into my biggest weakness in this situation: my irreverent flippant manner. After my past appearance when I was scolded by a judge and responded in a less than deferential manner, EM declared that I have the 'biggest balls in the firm' and that if I keep it up I will get slapped with a contempt of court charge. I just can't understand why I'm being sent in there so unprepared. As long as everyone sticks to the script I will be fine, but if I am thrown any unexpected question--I'm going to mentally go 'deer in headlights.' I simply can't get up to speed on three years of litigation, four parties, several conflicting statutes and mounds of motions, orders and case law. Plus, I'm not supposed to spend too much time preparing for this either, because it is a waste of money/time. Greeaat: "don't prepare but make sure you know what you are talking about."

So tomorrow is really going to suck, and the rest of the week won't be much better. I already know I will be super-wound-up after this appearance, regardless of how it turns out. However, I have an assload of work to do: I have another really stressful meeting in the afternoon, I have to research and write a motion to dismiss before Wednesday afternoon, I have to review an entire file to prepare for a Thursday meeting with a client and monitor another court proceeding. Most of this wasn't expected, and I still have all of the other work I need to finish. Basically I need to grind out a ton of work this week.

Oh yeah, plus I am supposed to plan/manage a parade float and start moving my apartment, too. I also feel the impending horror of laundry creeping up on me. At least having to wear suits most of the week will help stay laundry a little longer.

End rant.

On a more positive note, the weather was still gorgeous this morning, so I rode without a jacket and just my skirt, boots and shirt. I love feeling the air on my skin and it was a great way to start the work week. Plus I got to witness a total jackass van driver. He jackrabbited constantly and at almost every intersection pulled up to the right/turning lane to squeal his tires to jump ahead of the pack. Dumbass--I kept up with him for about two miles until we parted ways in downtown. I wonder if he realized that even with all of his jackass manueverings he still drove only as fast a girl on a bike. Probably not, but at least it was fun for me.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Warm Weather Friends

Saturday night was spent at Jill's new place celebrating Tana's 27th B-day. Jill only lives about a mile away--so that's pretty cool. Her new place is fantastic, and yet sort of creepy: she lives alone in a three story, three bath townhome in a pretty expensive neighborhood. She basically saddled herself to working at a big law firm with this purchase. It just seems too weird for a single person to have that much space--and I can't even imagine the mortgage payments. She is very happy with her place and the new neighborhood, and that is nice to see.

The party was quite nice, but towards the end I felt very much like an outsider. Room full of people, friends I have known for years and I felt out-of-place and lonely. So I went home. Mulling it over, I pretty much determined that I am right to let the natural drift between myself and most of these friends widen. With Tana especially, I just don't feel there is any connection between us.

This feeling was further intensified when I met John to sign our new lease today. It was absolutely gorgeous outside--skirt & tanktop weather for me without the slightest bit of chill. We decided to go for a ride afterwards to check out the former Meigs Field, an airport-turned-park on the lakeshore. We had a nice leisurely ride there and then talked on the rocks overlooking the water for a couple of hours before riding back through downtown. This makes me ever so excited about our upcoming roommate situation. I am keenly aware of this impending move and how my life will differ--even the slightly different jangle of my additional keys makes me excited about my new living situation.

When I lived in the co-op, almost any errand could turn into a group walk. Grocery shopping and errand running became a social event, and it was pretty easy to find someone to go for a walk for no reason at all. Isaac doesn't behave this way and is reluctanct to leave the house. Our morning-after-drinking trips to Filter for Hipster Hash are pretty much the only time we do anything outside of the apartment together. I miss the impromptu outings and meanderings of the co-op. Hopefully living with John will bring these small social activities back into my life.

I came back home and Isaac was sitting in the same chair he was when I left--he hadn't left the apartment at all on this beautiful day. So sad. The itch to get out of here grew even stronger. Then something weird happened. Tana called to ask us (Isaac) out for dinner. We met her and had a really great time. She was very nice to me and was shocked and excited about my probable upcoming purchase of the Hbar. I found it funny, because this has been discussed several times in her presence, but apparently she was too drunk to comprehend/remember it. Today was the first day that I have seen Tana when she wasn't drunk in about five months. She was very interested in hearing about my new place and other events in my life. We excitedly made some summer plans and she seems to want to spend more time together. I had forgotten how cool she can be when she is sober.

As excited as I am about the move, tonight made me feel yet another tug of regret about abandoning the den of awkwardness. I saw a gimmer of what could have been, and what should have been about this living situation. It still has the potential to be really fun and great--but I know that it won't be. Nervously, I wonder what will become of my law school friendships--will Tana and I follow through with our plans to spend more time with each other? Will she make the Hbar her new watering hole? Will I see more of her/Gabe/Jill when I move away than now when we live 2 blocks away? Or will the distance just make it that much easier to drift apart? geesh--so many possibilities.

Instead of just succombing to the drift, I think I will give these friendships a few more chances. I adore my new bikey friends, and definitely expect them to become my primary friend group in the future--I feel so comfortable and energized when I'm around them. However, I have a history with my law friends that is still valuable, and I enjoy having different types of friends. Just because we have drifted apart doesn't negate our friendships--it just means that I need to find a comfortable level for our friendships. This is all too confusing--I guess it will work itself out one way or the other. Whatever happens, I don't want to settle and I don't want to compromise my life away.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Trailer Trash & Balloon Animals

Today was float-building for next week’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Alex was gracious enough to lend us his West Town Bike workspace to build the float. The best part of the experience was biking with a fresh air trailer. The float was built on this trailer, but first I used it to pick up cardboard from a furniture store. Riding with a loaded trailer on the super-busy streets was fun. Since I was about as wide as a car, I took my lane without any problems–no honking or aggressive drivers. It felt like my size validated my right to the road and drivers gave me a wide berth. Cool–maybe I should always ride with a trailer in tow.

John, my future roommate, wants our apartment to get a fresh air trailer for hauling recyclables and kegs. Plus I’m planning on moving apartments by bicycle–so I definitely need to become comfortable riding with a trailer. These nifty creations are great for living car-free and pretty much everyone I know with a trailer adores it.

Float-building ended up working out quite well and I met a new person, Erik the Unicyclist. He seems really psyched about the parade. Jokingly I asked if he would juggle while he rides and he agreed. Crazy. Turns out he was involved with a ‘circus skills group’ and has multiple circus-y skills, including balloon animals. He promised to make me something special for the parade. Too fun. This is especially funny because Ethan and I had a long conversation on Friday about different types of clowning. Ethan went to clown college for ‘circus clowning’ and doesn’t know ‘party clown’ skills like making balloon animals. In my drunken state I was crushed that I couldn’t get a balloon animal from him–so imagine my delight when the very next day a promise of a balloon animal drops into my lap. Yes, I am 27 going on 5.

Including Erik, I now know three people who are skilled in ‘Circus Arts.’ Sometime I should invite Mitch, Ethan and Erik to a party and see if I can get them into a clown-off competition. I bet it would make me giggle for weeks.

I am getting excited about the parade now. Alex wants me to wear a tiara to symbolize my role as CBF Parade Princess (it sounds catchier than Parade Czar). He is the second person to suggest this, so I’m really considering it. Maybe I can make one out of a chain ring and other bike parts. OK, 27 going on 4.

Closing the Handlebar

Once again, my friend Ethan and I basically closed the Handlebar down for the night. This has been far too frequent of an activity lately. The bartender made this painfully apparent when he noted that we were already there when he started his shift. ouch. I don’t know if this a reason for or against me buying into the place. On the one hand–it might actually save me money in the long-run if I don’t have to pay full ticket price for food and drink. More realistically, I will probably spend even more time there than I already do. Thankfully it is smoke-free.

One undeniable benefit of buying into the Hbar is to get some fucking service at the joint. I swear I am invisible to the bartenders and waitstaff some nights. Signals that I want another drink are emanating in huge waves from my body: my glass is empty, I’m at the bar, I’m holding money, I’m waiving money, I’m staring, staring, glaring.....and then finally a bartender will actually make eye contact and seem startled by my presence. grrrr.....they’ll be singing a different tune if/when I buy into the place.

Anyway, after I tipsily biked home I expected to go right to bed, but we had company. My friend Jen was in town again for interviews and she extended her trip to include Friday night. Isaac was saintly and foraged outside for Flash Taco to sate my late night tamale craving. Because, really what is more sensible than eating tamales at 3:00 in morning–oh yeah, SLEEPING.

I’m really happy for Jen. She has several job interviews and is trying to step back a bit from working crazy hours. Currently her soul is owned and highly leveraged by a NY law firm. She considers getting home from work at 10:30pm ‘early’ and often starts working at 4:00am. Fuck that. She hopes to get a job in Chicago that will give her more free time, even if it means less $$$. Yeah for her. Hopefully more of my friends will start making this sort of choice in the near future, because I hate to see all of them so stressed and burning out.

So two Fridays in a row have been spent drinking too much at the Hbar, and then hanging out into the wee hours with Isaac. My Friday nights are basically devoted to bikey events: 1st Friday of the month-- CBF happy hour at the Hbar, 2nd Friday–CCM happy hour/party, last Friday–CCM. Fun stuff–but I need to learn how to get my butt to bed earlier.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Court Creeps

Goodness what a loong day at work. I’m actually getting stuff done, but it is taking forever for the day to end. The boss is gone so everyone is screwing around. Plus I think the office is on its fifth pot of coffee and we are all hopped up too much caffeine (or maybe it’s just me). I’ve given my secretary the files I want copied to work on for the weekend and have mentally cashed out for today. Unfortunately, I am expecting one more friggin’ call from my boss so I need to stick around, thumbs a’twiddlin’.

I feel like I have horns or a tail or something odd-looking going on today because lots of people seemed to be staring at me. I thought it was my imagination, but two people snapped pictures of me as I rode in this morning. These days happen every so often, but I’m always creeped out–I keep checking to make sure that I am not flashing people or wearing clothes inside-out/backwards. My clothes were my everyday biking clothes and the mirror didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary, so I think it is just one of those unsettling days. Grrrr.

Court was especially bad–a lot of the older male attorneys haven’t learned that women can see them too! I think this understanding is normally acquired by age six, but disappears in the court hallways and elevators. There are tons of men just brazenly ogling the women as they walk by or approach the judge’s bench. Knock it off, assholes! Too bad I’d lose my license if I’d ever act on my impulse to backhand some of these pricks. Maybe I’ll just start growling at them and baring my teeth.......jackasses.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Morning Madness

I waste tons of time every morning. Chicago Tribune, New York Times, emails....these are all things I feel completely entitled to do every morning. It seems uncivilized that I should go to work without these pleasures under my belt.

Unfortunately I often don't allocate enough time to fit everything in that I originally planned on doing. Somedays I cut out taking a shower--Hey, if it's good enough for camping, it's good enough for the office. Generally, some chore that I planned on doing before work just gets pushed back later. So even though recently I have been up and awake for at least two hours before work starts, my last ten minutes are a frantic rush.

Picking out clothes has been time-consuming lately and I don't quite know why. I still dress like a dork, but for some reason I put thought into the exact manifestation of dorkiness to sport each day. What an absolute waste of time.

This morning though I was even more ridiculous than usual. I was running late and rushing around, chiding myself for wasting time yet again. Searching for my sunglasses I glimpsed a temporary tattoo. Sure enough, moments later, when I should have been on the road, I was instead in the bathroom applying the tattoo. Obviously this was an extremely pressing matter that needed immediate attention. I mean, how could I expect to function at work knowing I passed up a fake tattoo?

If I was a teenager I think this sort of behavior would be considered a mild form of rebelling or acting out--it's at least counter-productive and slightly sabotaging to myself. Whatever it is, I don't like it and need to stop. If I was on the ball, I'd just wake up, get ready and go to work. Then during the day I could enjoy newspaper and email breaks, without the morning stress of being late.

I have to go straight to court tomorrow morning, so hopefully that will motivate me to get my ass in gear. Blech--court also means that I should at least be minimally respectable-looking. What a shame. It's a Friday and my boss said he won't be in for most of the day, and might not come in at all--I could have kicked around in the clothes I biked in. OK--scratch that, it's probably best that I have to go in to court because I don't need to lower my professionalism even worse than it already is. I aspire to be in court on time, clean and presentable.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Crazy World of Litigation

Another case that I worked on has settled favorably. I wrote the motion that pushed the plaintiff happily into settlement talks.

Last week an insurance company caved and after fighting for months, decided to take accept responsibility for an accident that they are under no contractual obligation to defend. It took me about two hours of research to determine that my client was screwed and didn’t have a leg to stand on. The partner directed me to do the best I could and see if we could bluff the insurance company into at least bending. Instead of bending they caved completely and are actually giving us more than we asked for. This is crazy. I haven’t even hit the five month point of working as an attorney. I could tear through the arguments I made with no problem. Why the hell aren’t the opposing attorneys doing their homework and properly representing their clients? I think this is pathetic.

Even worse is how much money is just lost to attorneys. The case that settled would have been successful in front of a jury. No question about it. Plaintiff sued for $100,000 and could have gotten a lot more. We settled for a third of that, and my firm is billing $25,000 for our representation. We were brought in later, after the in-house attorneys had a crack at it for about two years. Who knows how much money was already paid to litigate this issue before my firm came in. The client likely spent more to defend the suit than in the actual settlement pay-out. This doesn’t sit well with me.

Had my client offered a reasonable amount in the beginning to the plaintiff, both parties could emerged better-off than they ended up. Instead, lawyers are brought in and we are not cheap. So the clients pay more, the plaintiff gets less, the process takes years and only people who benefit from it our the attorneys. What a shameful system and profession.

Return of the Tank

My Tank came back to me! The road bike was a nice change–and indispensable for the long weekend ride, but I’m glad to have my own bike back. Especially nice was not having to wear my stupid bike gloves anymore. Less nice was lugging Tank up to the third floor.

I expected Tank to feel super-slow and heavy after riding the road bike for so many miles–but it didn’t. Tank actually felt pretty peppy and he handles like a dream. Since I am uncoordinated and a huge coward, I felt nervous turning to look behind me on the twitchy road bike, but Tank makes it easy. Best of all was that I didn’t feel obligated to avoid the potholes. Like his name suggests, Tank happily plows through them–I perversely road on the super-crappy parts of Milwaukee just because I could.

Strangely, my road bike lust has cooled off quite a bit–completely opposite of what I expected to happen after riding one again. I don’t think I would use a road bike as my regular commuting bike–because the ride just isn’t as fun. The road bike is just too easy to move. My commutes haven’t presented any real challenge–every bike I saw I passed without really any effort. Basically, the road bike felt like I was cheating.

Probably more importantly is the fact that riding Tank will keep me in better riding condition. Riding a heavier, slower bike will just make me faster and improve my endurance when I need a road bike. Besides, I’ve never really felt like Tank made me go too slowly–on the 50 mile Botanical Garden ride in November, Tank completely kept up with clipless road bikes. Sara (road bike) and I broke away from the rest of the group because we wanted to ride faster. Besides all-out races or really long rides, Tank does just fine.

So, I will probably postpone a road bike purchase until closer to bikepacking season. This will also delay my sure to be terrifying and humiliating introduction to clipless shoes. I foresee a ridiculous amount of whimpering and scaredy-cat actions when the inevitable clipless lesson finally arrives. But until then, I will be happy with my good ol’ Tank.

Potholes here we come!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

February Weather Stats

2005 Chicago Bike Winter Weather Update

************** Month ***************
Period: Feb. 1, 2005 - Feb. 28, 2005
------------------------------------
Days in period: 28
Max/Min/Avg Temperature: 55 11 33
Number of days +21F or warmer: 23 82%
Number of days temp. rose over +60F: 0 0%
Days with 1/10" or more of rain: 7
Total Rainfall (Inches): 2.2
Days with 1" or more of snow: 2
Total Snowfall (Inches): 2.7
Average wind speed (m.p.h.): 8.7

************ Cumulative ************
Period: Nov. 1, 2004 - Feb. 28, 2005
------------------------------------
Days in period: 120
Max/Min/Avg Temperature: 65 -2 33
Number of days +21F or warmer: 85 71%
Number of days temp. rose over +60F: 5 4%
Days with 1/10" or more of rain: 26
Total Rainfall (Inches): 11.6
Days with 1" or more of snow: 12
Total Snowfall (Inches): 35.4
Average wind speed (m.p.h.): 9.7

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