No Workaholics Here

I don’t know how this whole ‘workaholism’ thing got to be so popular. It seems like a weird rationalization of unhealthy and unhappy behavior to me, but what do I know? I have times (like now) where I am lucky enough to have sufficient work (note I said “work,” not paying clients – these are two very different things) and am actually at the point where I am going to have to start turning down work. I do not feel comfortable taking on any new clients right now because I think I do not have any additional time to grant to new matters.

Apparently, this is contrary to how most lawyers operate. I am informed that you never turn down work and that you just keep taking new clients, even if you don’t have time to actually talk to them. That seems absurd. I suppose the thinking is that you hire staff and associates to talk take over. I have no desire to do that. Also, it could also be a matter of what kind of work I do. Unlike most solos, I don’t do criminal, or personal injury, or domestic (anymore, that is another story), or social security, or anything like that, so I don’t really have to run with a large client base. In other words, I have a very low-drama practice and I like it that way.

Could I keep taking clients and make a shit-ton of money? Probably. But there is no way in hell I want to do that. I already did the billable hour robot associate gig at several different firms and it is just not for me. I don’t know. Call me lazy, but I just don’t like being that busy or stressed. I am not a “workaholic.” And I personally don’t see the virtue in that. I mean, if you are a workaholic, more power to you, live long and prosper and whatnot, but don’t expect me to do the same. When I am spread too thin, it makes me anxious and I don’t enjoy ANYthing. And I don’t do a good job at anything.

So, in light of that, I am taking the day off to get caught up on family and house shit. Laundry, painting, mowing, raking, cooking, baking, etc.  God I am giddy with delight…

And for those of you who are working today, here is a little food pR0n to ease the pain:

Mile High Lemon MeringueWhat kind of pie is this, you ask?

IMG01143

Mile High Lemon Meringue

Why, it’s lemon meringue!

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The Art of Argument, Part 1

I was just thinking how moving back south has really changed the way I analyze and put together an argument and that it actually may have changed how I argue and discuss issues more than law school and lawyering have.  Before I moved back here, I was always in fairly liberal settings, and never had to think about my argument’s structure from A to Z.  “X” was right and good and true and correct because I and everyone around me *knew* it to be so. However, since moving back here (well, and becoming a lawyer, which is really just trying to become a highly skilled arguer), I have had to learn how to discuss and explain and prove what, to me, just seems like obvious universal truths.

Why is it good to help out other people? Why is it bad to allow corporate profit to trump individual well-being? How can I believe that racism still exists when everyone says they are not racist? How can I say that christian ethics are not the most important quality in a candidate? Why do I think the military and military actions profit corporations at the cost of the middle and lower classes? Etc etc.

I also have to remember to always try to discuss my feelings and opinions in a neutral and civil tone, since most people around here and certainly most of my family are very conservative and very vocal in their opposition to everything I believe. I take great care to stick to the issues and facts, never say derogative things about a person, characterize my assertions in the most general terms possible, and talk ONLY about facts that I personally have verified. I also take care to ALWAYS find something to agree about, praise the person I am talking to for having a thoughtful opinion, and actually listen to what they are saying. I never jump on them when they throw out radically erroneous facts and I never demand they defend their assertions.

Though I am beginning to wonder why I bother, since (a) no one on the other side of these discussions ever notices and doesn’t appear to even be listening and (b) it certainly isn’t reciprocated.

At any given chance, these people will say utterly outrageous and just awful things about me, “liberals,” and the people I respect, support, admire, and work with/for.   Ad hominem stuff, things about their family. To my face, to me, as if this appropriate. If an issue comes up in conversation, and I, after carefully examining my words, voice an opinion, they will jump my shit, attack ME and deride my thinking and my sources and claim that I am attacking them, and that all (my “group”) just clearly hate (America, christianity, hardworking Americans, etc.).

None of these people ever take the time to think about how disrespectful or rude or unfair or ridiculous this is. Not once have they noticed the care and respect I show them and their opinions.  I NEVER would say such things to them about the people and issues they support and I NEVER criticize them personally, or deride their thoughts, or accuse them of being a part of a group/engaging in mind-think/being closeminded, etc. EVER. And I certainly would NEVER instigate a fight about politics with my parents right before they went in for a colonoscopy (yes, for real). And it just saddens me that they don’t even notice this.

And these are usually the same people that get deeply personally offended if I simply state an opinion on an issue with which they disagree. For example, relative X goes on and on about how terrible Michelle Obama is and how she has 22 personal servants while Laura Bush has 1 and Michelle Obama is costing us money and much money she spends on clothes and how she is pimping out her daughters to Gap and what an awful mother she is and is so fake and a bad American.

I then pointed out – correctly – that Laura Bush had between 15 and 19 members in her personal staff and that all First Ladies have had roughly the same number, the differences being dependent on how active the First Lady was AND whether or not there were minor children in the WH. For real, that is more or less verbatim what I said.

Relative X then jumps my shit for accusing Laura Bush of not doing anything and how dare I and how awful I and all the liberals are because we were always making fun of the Bush twins and talking about LB’s car accident and how disrespectful and how we are all about the First Amendment until someone says something we don’t like and at least LB was a “real” American.  And so forth. And somehow I was the bad actor in this “discussion.”

And like I said earlier, I am about to the point where I am DONE being the only one abiding by basic rules of decency and respect. Why should I worry so much about offending people that clearly don’t give a shit about my opinions and don’t even think twice about offending me?  I just don’t know how much more I can bite my tongue.  That is one of the reasons I started this blog, so I could work through some of my frustrations with this and perhaps let off some steam that I cannot vent around the people I love.

But for now, I think I am just going to have to leave the room the next time someone brings up politics.  Because if this doesn’t stop, I am going to have to leave the state.

Motivational Pasties

Yeah, yeah, I know.  I have not been keeping up with my shit lately.  But you know what? I have been pretty damn swamped with the lawyerin’ lately. Which is a good thing, considering I have a family to co-support and a bad thing, considering that the lawyerin’ sometimes most of the time makes me feel spiritually void and occasionally physically ill.  However, in the last couple of weeks I have got to do some of the lawyery stuff that I really like – namely, estate planning, appellate work, and pro bono stuff for people who really really need it.  So that part was good, but of course was mixed with a very heaping helping of crazy shit and the useless time-sucking procedural and handling crap that constitutes about 87% of what I do.  Specifically, straightening out other people’s fuck-ups because they didn’t listen to me and tried to do shit on their own, talking down hysterical and overly-emotional clients, and trying to figure out exactly how in the HELL I am supposed to draft/file/move for yet another novel thing in a yet another court I haven’t been in before.  As for the bad shit, I can’t force people to listen to me, other than dumping them as clients when they fuck shit up beyond repair and do things I have specifically told them NOT TO EVER DO. On the handling issue, I could avoid most of this if I would just quit giving clients my cell phone number. But I can’t realistically do that.  Likewise the procedural crap.  Sigh.  So anyhow…

It is could as hell outside – not your typical MegaChurch gays and liberals hell, but your old school, 9th Circle kind of hell. And I really really need to do some yardwork, or at least get rid of the scary looking tomato plants that finally succumbed to blight and creepy nasty bugs. So, I am thinking that I will bribe myself into getting off my ass and getting some shit done with the promise of some comfort food for dinner. SO, I believe I will be making pasties, possibly with lamb and gruyere, and some skillet potatoes for dinner.  That should get me (and possibly some able-bodied family members) up and moving.

tatos

tatos

Kitchen Time Desperately Needed…

Okay, so I have been extremely busy with the lawyerin’ of late, which is good as the SLF household needs the money. [Side note? Not all lawyers are wealthy. I think people would be shocked to know what your average associate makes in these parts.  Partners make a lot of money – in my experience, anywhere between 3 and 8 times what the associates are making. And in my world, I collect roughly one billed hour for every 8 or 9 worked. I am not complaining, just trying to correct the myth that all lawyers are evil, bloodsucking, and rolling in dough.]  I will reserve the tirade on clients that do not pay for another post; suffice it to say, I am beyond sick of it at this point.  So, between the working and being sick for the last week, I am in severe need of some kitchen time.    Tonight I plan to rectify that with a nice, homey dinner:  roast beef with dijon-caper sauce, fingerling potatoes with brussels sprouts, mini thyme popovers, and maybe some brownies or something for dessert.  Until then, feast your eyes on my lovely tomatoes:

 

Mmmmmm...homegrown tomatoes rule!

Mmmmmm...homegrown tomatoes rule!