Long time, no rant

27 May

So, yeah, I haven’t blogged in longer than I care to mention. Sorry. The same old things were happening at work, and yet it quieted down quite a bit because I distanced myself from the Toxic Drama Queens. Lo and behold, all of the TDQ’s have exited the firm, including the paralegal who used to drive me batshit crazy. Ding dong, the witch is dead!

Meanwhile, we’ve struggled with some things with my son. It turned out that the private school we chose for him for kindergarten was not at all a good fit for his personality and our philosophy on learning. It makes absolutely no sense to hold a kid back in learning when you acknowledge that he’s bored in class and acting out because, “then what will he learn next year?” Oh, I don’t know – maybe he could… Just. Keep. Going. It’s a novel concept, apparently.

His health has been another issue. He was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease after nearly a year of consulting with a pediatric gastroenterologist. We were shocked as he did not have any of the typical symptoms of Celiac. Yet when we learned about the, like, 300 different symptoms that can be associated with Celiac, he did have many of them.

The lack of knowledge about Celiac Disease in this country and even by doctors is astounding. I’m not saying I know more than the average doctor, but I question their knowledge of this auto-immune hereditary disease when I mention my son’s new diagnosis to my doctor and testing me doesn’t seem to pop up on her radar at all. There’s a 1 in 10 chance that direct relatives, like me, can develop Celiac Disease.

While information about the gluten free diet is more widespread these days, the fact that there are some people who can’t have even a speck of gluten or else they are in excruciating pain seems to have escaped the general public. Yes, some people are idiots who choose to be gluten-free (or at least say they are) because they think it will somehow magically make them shed pounds like crazy, and they have no idea what it even is. Those people screw it up for the people who have serious reactions to even minute amounts of gluten. People like me who research the crap out of every aspect of my son’s diet, stand for hours in the store looking up foods on my smart phone to make sure it’s safe, who have to think twice about any piece of candy they haven’t researched before, or plan incessantly for school parties, field trips, and even visits to relatives. I can’t just pick up an allergy medication off the shelf without analyzing and researching it to make sure it doesn’t contain gluten. That shit is in everything!

Type 1 diabetes is also an auto-immune disease. People would never consider giving a diabetic child a sugary snack. Wait staff in restaurants wouldn’t roll their eyes if a mother asked about whether a food was cooked in peanut oil because their child is allergic to peanuts. Why should gluten be any different? No, my child is not going to swell up and have an anaphylactic reaction like a peanut allergy. He won’t go into a coma like a child with type 1 diabetes. But Celiacs can have bad reactions if you cut their gluten free grilled chicken on the same surface where you cut up breaded chicken. You can’t fry his food in the same fryer that’s used for onion rings or other breaded items.

Celiacs can’t take a drug or insulin to feel better. There is no medication. So just saying something is gluten free or providing GF bread or pizza as an option isn’t enough. Cutting my son’s pizza on the wrong part of the counter will mean that he may have intense stomach pains that disrupt his life for the next week. For the next several days, he could feel nauseous, act out behaviorally, be so fatigued he doesn’t want to play, and cry because his knees hurt. Not adhering to a gluten free diet means he has an increased risk of other autoimmune disorders and even colon cancer. Not to mention the heartbreak when you tell him he can’t have cupcakes like all the other kids. He can’t eat whatever candy he finds on the Easter egg hunt or the Lucky Charms that the teachers think is so cute to give to kids on St. Patrick’s Day.

I can appreciate being annoyed with people who are too stupid to know what gluten is, yet proclaim they eat a gluten free diet. I think they’re morons, too. Then spend a week in our shoes, having to scrutinize everything my son puts in his mouth, and deal with the backlash of that one speck of gluten before you joke that people like my son are just sooo annoying.

So I found something new to rant about. (Trust me, I’d rather just have work to rant about.) And yes, I do appreciate that there are many people with diseases that would love to be able to “cure” themselves with diet alone. I am appreciative that it could be so much worse. There are many things he can eat that are good for him, and I am thankful for that.

Anyway, we’ll return to our normal programming next time. Because, let’s be real, there’s always SOMETHING going on in a litigation firm.

A few ramblings for the day…

2 Nov

1)For the love of God, didn’t anyone in this office bring in any leftover Halloween candy?  There’s no explanation other than my co-workers have all turned into non-candy-eating zombies.  Or likely aliens.  I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure even zombies would eat chocolate.  I image they would stumble around mumbling, “Braaaaiiiinnnns……mmm, I could go for a Kit Kat…….. and braaaaiiiiiinnnnns…”    But I digress.   There are major breaches of the after Halloween office candy protocol going on here, people.  It’s unnatural.

2)I have to have a simple outpatient procedure done in my lady region in the near future.  No scalpels or incisions involved.  Not a big deal.  I got a call from the hospital today to get my insurance information and they informed me that they would like 10% of the estimated cost upfront, which was not a small number.   I refrained from telling them that for that much they should plate it in gold while they’re in there.  I think I paid them less to help me produce a human being.

3)No matter how much I try to prioritize my work, with little to no input from my attorneys about what they are working on getting scheduled, something always sneaks up and bites me in the ass.   I even review the files and calendars regularly to see what’s been added.  I’ve been working on other files and letting file “F” (short for “F– you”) sit.  The next thing I know, there are depos on the calendar – for next week – in File F!  Without saying too much about the case, take my word for it that this case jumped a couple of steps in the usual course of things and kicked me square in the taco.   Yay.  Now I get to pay hurry-up and catch-up with this file, while juggling the other things that I already had in the works.     Thank you, File F.  And thank you, attorney, who acts surprised when I don’t have things ready to go at the drop of a hat.

With all that said, I think I will grab some caffeine and see what kind of chocolate I can scrounge up before someone gets hurt.

Dear Lying Plaintiff

14 Oct

Hi there.  As the paralegal who has been working on the other side of your craptastic case for the last year, I think you should know that I’ve totally known you were lying since the beginning.  It’s pretty damn obvious.  I thought you could use some tips on what NOT to do when you bring a lawsuit and proceed to lie your ass off.

1)    For the love of God, don’t make up lies or exaggerate things that have absolutely no impact on your case.  We don’t care if you went to college or not.  However, we will attempt to follow-up on your claims of having a college degree if you fill out government forms that state the opposite.  It’s also not helpful if you pick a college that has an alumni database online that is open to the public to search.  Telling us you lost your degree or any papers identifying you as a student of that college is also not inspiring a lot of confidence in your claims.

2)    Especially don’t tell irrelevant lies if it involves exaggerations and outright fabrications that are potentially punishable by law.  I’m talking about those really impressive claims about your top-secret military past and medals.  The fact that you refuse to give us details and can’t prove any of it doesn’t help. You should know that your military history (or lack thereof) can be obtained from the government.  It’s really hard to believe that the military completely expunged ALL proof of your employment with the military and that you don’t have one single document to prove you were ever there.

3)    Do not produce fake certificates you bought on the internet to bolster your wild-ass crazy lies.    I believed you were a massive jackass from the second I read your eyeroll-inducing deposition testimony and made it my personal mission to prove it.  I love nothing more than busting an egotistical liar, and I’ve got the time and the resources to do it.  Hell, I get paid for this.  I can and WILL devote hours, if I have to, to discrediting those certificates.  Thankfully, you made it a lot easier by buying them all from one source on the internet, which I located within 20 minutes of receiving the copies you produced.

4)    Also, if you are going to purchase fake certificates, you might want to make sure that the information contained in those certificates is historically accurate.  Imagine my delight when I researched the information contained in those certificates and found that the agency that supposedly issued your certificate did not exist in the year it was purportedly signed.  That was just the candle on top of the delicious icing on the cake for me.  It was such a gift!  You really shouldn’t have.

5)    Don’t be such an egotistical idiot that it induces people like me to investigate you further.  Your case is not helped by the fact that you contradict things which your spouse testified about, or the fact that you seemed more concerned with the fact that pretty female nurses saw you puking than the fact that you were puking in the first place.  Being smug and arrogant only makes people want to bust you more.

Maybe I should, in fact, be sending you a present or at least a thank you card.  People like you are what make my job entertaining and far more satisfying than cases involving normal, rational people.  (Not that I see a lot of those.)  I do suspect that this will make trying your case a bit harder on your attorneys; that is, if they keep you as a client.  I started to feel bad for them, but then again, they seemed to have bought the whole story – hook, line and sinker.  Really, if they didn’t suspect you were a fraud, then they should have.  So good luck with this whole “make a bundle off a malpractice claim when you refused to follow the doctor’s order” thing.  Thank you for the entertainment.  I haven’t laughed out loud while doing research at my desk in a long time.

Enjoying this immensely,

Momalegal

I’m back again!

12 Oct

Obviously, keeping up with my blog hasn’t been my strong suit this summer.  Or spring, really.  It’s kind of been a roller coaster of a year so far and instead of it slowing down, I think I’m just getting used to it.  Hubby has been working out-of-town a lot, leaving me with the Hellion, who has decided since this spring to really live up to that name.  Seriously, it’s at the point where his teacher & I are discussing plans to address his behavioral issues.   Every time someone gushes over how cute he is, I tell them that God made him extra cute just so I wouldn’t kill him. 

I’ve also decided that I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to blog too seriously, if that makes sense.  To always come up with something educational or helpful in some way.  But that’s not why I started blogging.  Blogging was more of a cathartic process for me in the beginning, and if I entertained someone or helped them feel not so alone in the crazy world of paralegaling or being a working mom, then that’s super cool.  I started getting all serious about it, and of course I started to overanalyze everything which is always my downfall.   Blogging seems easiest for me when I just sit down and start typing without a complicated agenda or anything more than a sentence or two or a general idea in my head.   And that’s what I’m going to try to get back to doing.  So, I apologize now if sometimes it’s just a bunch of bitching or drivel.  It’s me and it’s what I do! 

So I hope to be back to blogging again on a more consistent basis.  I’ve definitely got my feet back under me at work and somehow my “give a shit” has started working again.  It’s nothing short of miraculous.  My fall trial was canceled, giving me some temporary breathing room, thanks in part to one of the biggest lying plaintiffs I’ve ever had the displeasure to run across.  I totally felt like a rock star providing the ammunition to bust them.  But that’s a story for another post!   Now I’m off to bed so I can get some rest and hopefully stave off the cold that my adorable little preschooler has kindly shared with me.  It’s a good thing I love him so much.

Summer? What summer?

30 Aug

As usual, it seems that you turn around and a month has flown by.  Except this time it was a whole season.  Where the hell did it go?  All summer I was gleefully anticipating our vacation at the end of July, which sped by in a blur.  And now it’s frickin’ September?  By the way, someone should study why time goes by exponentially faster when you’re on vacation.  That’s some kinda weird sci-fi thing, right there. 

Now the kids are back in school and even though it’s not officially fall, there is no more summer to speak of.  This weekend is Labor Day weekend, which is traditionally the last big hurrah of the season.  But I have a feeling I won’t be doing much hurrah-ing this weekend.   The Hellion’s 4th birthday party is this weekend, and thank God I’ll have an extra day off to recuperate from surviving a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds jacked up on birthday cake and the sheer excitement of it all.  

We are also gearing up for trial in a little over a month, which means the normal level of litigation chaos has stepped up to Def-Con 3.  Actually, this summer was rather peaceful.  I dared not mention it, since I’ve totally jinxed myself by using the “Q” word before.   Of course, it never lasts and it’s suddenly a different story.  Then again, that’s life as a paralegal.  As usual, the main thorn in my side is Attorney B.  All of the sudden, it’s like, “Yeah, you know that case that I haven’t bothered to look at, or mention, or do anything about for the past 3 months?  Well, I have a list of stuff that needs to be done, um, tomorrow.”   He finally decided to pull his head out of his butt and decided to look around.  FABULOUS. 

Attorney A, the one who is less likely to give me nightmares, has been working his ass off all summer and creating a ton of depos for me to summarize.  Since I’m working with him on 2 big cases coming up for trial, one in the fall and another a couple of months later, he told Attorney B not to give me the newest case that came in because I had my hands full at the moment.  Attorney B’s response to me?  “What’s your deal?  Are you just swamped or are you behind?”  Really?  Nice of you to put me on the defensive right away.  After Attorney A (we were in his office discussing trial prep when Attorney B came in) and I explained I had a lot of stuff to do for the fall trial, Attorney B starts interrogating me on whether I’ve recruited help from any other paralegals.  Yeah, because they don’t have their own cases keeping them busy.  And honestly?  I’ve got over a month before trial.  This is not panic-and-get-everybody-involved time for me.  Yet.  Maybe I’m just optimistic, but I felt like even though I had a lot of stuff to do, I had it under control.  Silly me.

It’s not like I have been sitting around twiddling my thumbs all summer.  I’ve been slowly coming out of my burnout misery and returning to the realm of “I kinda give a shit.”   I’m sure I could have done more summarizing and less twittering.  But it’s a slow recovery, people.  I couldn’t risk going too fast and doing a complete crash and burn, could I?  Of course not. 

After Attorney B backtracked and said that his “suggestion” to get help wasn’t a knock on me, it was decided Attorney A would send an email to the other paralegals asking them to help me on some things for trial so that we were better prepared for the inevitable last minute projects that come up at trial time.  The thought of being able to avoid last minute trial prep projects makes me laugh.  Seriously.  There will never, ever, EVER be enough time for attorneys to do everything they want to do before trial.  There will always be something else they want to research, or another exhibit to make, or some last minute project they’ll come up with.  But they’re the bosses, and this is their delusion, so whatever.  

Thankfully, I didn’t get too much flack from the other paralegals.  One knew it wasn’t my idea and understood this was typical knee-jerk reactionism we’ve come to expect.  EV (Emotional Vampire) on the other hand decided to pout that the attorneys “had my back” and she didn’t get the same treatment when she had trials scheduled.  I wanted to tell her that this whole thing came about because Attorney B felt too much stuff wasn’t done until the last minute during his last trial, which was her case, but I held my tongue.   It’s just not worth going there with some people.

So I’m mourning the end of the always too short summer.  While I’m whining about it, I’ll mention the fact that my husband has worked out of town every week since June.  I have a new respect for single parents.  At least he’s home 2 or 3 days for the weekends.  I have no idea how single parents do it day in and day out without some relief in sight.  

But watch out, I’m getting my feet back under me and getting ready to kick some ass at trial prep and beyond!  Perhaps this rush was what I needed to get my mojo back.

Catching up

20 Jul

Super lame. That is how I have been feeling about my blog (or lack thereof) lately. In an effort to try to curtail my rampant “I don’t give a rat’s ass” attitude, I’ve been trying to get/stay focused at work. Well, at least since the Casey Anthony trial has been over. Since I’m trying to make work something I actually DO instead of whine about, whenever something to blog about comes to mind, I say, “Oh, I’ll just remember that and write it this evening after the Hellion goes to bed.” Go ahead. Laugh all you want. Because we all know that NEVER happens. Most of the time I completely forget what it was I was going to blog about, or even the fact that I have a blog, amidst the craziness that is the 2 hours (maybe) between the time I get home and the Hellion is tucked in.

As if being a working mom wasn’t chaotic and exhausting enough, Hubby has been working out of town during the week for the past several weeks. I get all the fun of being a single mom during the week, with the added joy of doing the laundry for everyone on the weekend. By the time I get to that blessed quiet time after T has gone to bed, all I can usually manage is doing a little laundry or dishes and a half hour on the couch – tops – before I fall out. I might last as long as an hour if I’m catching up on True Blood or something else I really love to watch.

So that’s my lame excuse for my blog being super lame lately. I’m counting down the hours until I go on vacation. I’m hoping the time away will do my fried, burnt out brain some good. Any bets on how long that will last when I get back to my office, with its vanilla colored walls and stacks of depos and medical records? Or how many depo summaries in a row one person can do before they flip the flip out? (I might be nearing that number in the very near future.)

My current level of burnt-out-ness requires a deeper level of therapy than the occasional “mental health day”. This level requires a week of beach, pool, sun, and large amounts of adult beverages. A super cute cabana boy to wait on me hand and foot wouldn’t hurt, but I don’t suppose Hubby would be down with that. Instead I’ll be playing with my son in the sand, teaching him how to play putt-putt and seeing my husband for more than one day in a row before one of us has to dash off for some reason. Hopefully I will be a refreshed and ready to kick ass Momalegal when I get back!

Searches that found my blog

22 Jun

I have always enjoyed other blogs that post about the weird and often hilarious searches that brought people to their blog. Finally, I have some of those WTF search results myself.

1. Paralegal blobs – That sounds like a really bad B movie from the 50’s. “Look out! They’re headed to the courthouse!”

2. How to stay sane as a paralegal – Beats the hell outta me. I recommend bitching on blogs and the Purgatory board at Paralegal Hell. If you figure something else out, drop me a note, will ya?

3. Damn paralegals – Okay, this must have been an attorney. Who else is going to complain about paralegals and has enough time to google it?

4. Why are lawyers so quiet – God, don’t I wish I had this problem. Clearly I’ve been around the wrong lawyers all my life.

5. Soul sucker training – Really? People need training for this? And here I thought it was just a natural talent some people are born with.

6. Stinky paralegal – Um, I don’t know what to say about this one. Hope you get some help for it, if it’s you, or hope you find a really good air freshener.

7. What the hell am I going to get my mother for her birthday – I don’t know, but I’m guessing she doesn’t want a paralegal blog. So why are you looking at my blog instead of shopping? Shouldn’t you be on Amazon or something?

8. Paralegal with big egos – Plural? Maybe this paralegal has multiple personalities. In that case, I recommend medication. Lots of it.

9. Paralegal in hell – Yes, we generally are. The first step is admitting it. Welcome to the club.

10. Who is Paralegal Hell and Who is behind Paralegal Hell Blog – These searches have shown up several times and it always cracks me up. PH – they’re trying to figure you out! But they’ll never get anything out of me! Muhahahaha!

Happy Hump Day

22 Jun

I can’t help but smile when I see this video, so I thought I’d post it for anyone else needing a smile today! I heart the Muppets, but especially Animal in this one…

Burnout?

17 May

Show me a paralegal who has been in the business for more than 7 years and NOT experienced burnout, and I’ll guarantee you they are a total liar.

Recent personal crises aside, I feel like lately I have totally been phoning it in. Stack of depos to be summarized a foot and a half high? Meh. I’ll get to it. Need to follow up on those records requests that went out ages ago? Maybe tomorrow. Yeah, I’m not bragging or proud of my current state of mind. I just … don’t care. A fellow paralegal in my department has been at this much longer than I have and she has all kinds of spunk and vigor for her job. Granted, she has been at this firm for a whole lot less time than I have. She gets all fired up and works overtime when she has a deadline looming and a butt load of work. Me? My attitude is that I’ll get done what I can, when I can, and that will have to do. Oh look, new stuff on my twitter feed!

I defend myself a bit by saying I have a 3 year old child that must be picked up from daycare by 6:00 or else my checking account will be siphoned and I’ll have to tell child protective services why I was 5 minutes late. In all honesty, I just don’t have the energy to really worry about it. I start to wonder if this is a product of just doing the same type of law for the past 15 years or so, or if it’s this firm.

Part of the reason my new colleague is fired up about her work is that she still feels the need to prove herself to the attorneys. Maybe I’m too comfortable where I am? When I am working, I know I do a damn good job and my attorneys know this, too. My last review was about 20 seconds long and consisted of being told that if I ever left, my husband would be collecting boo koo bucks in life insurance. But not in those exact words. It was actually more graphic. It’s a good thing I share a dark sense of humor with Attorney B. I’m comfortable knowing that I’m awesome at what I do and I am not likely to get fired or disciplined unless I seriously screw up. And let’s face it, the odds of unintentionally screwing up are growing given my current lack of caring.

Not that my firm does a lot to inspire it’s workers to really reach for the gold or even improve morale. Perhaps that is part of the problem. The only incentive I have to kick ass (other than my own satisfaction) is that I won’t get yelled at. Even that doesn’t motivate me anymore because on any given day, I could be thrown under the bus by an attorney for something that wasn’t my responsibility or I had no control over. Or the fact that there is an ever increasing amount of work to do and it’s still expected to be accomplished in the same amount of time. And keep the overtime in check, will ya?

Besides the growing stack of work to be done and my indifference to it, I got to thinking about this because I was listening to a speaker at a recent conference and he mentioned some different areas of law during his presentation. The thought of doing something different drifted through my head, which sparked intrigue and a little wiggle of excitement that I hadn’t had in a while. For the life of me, I can’t even remember what area of law it was that created that moment. And it probably doesn’t even matter. Just the idea of doing something different was the spark.

The thought of learning something different than what I’ve been doing the last 10+ years is flat out scary. Besides, I mostly like what I do and it’s a good fit for my abilities and interests. Give me some medical issue to research, and I’ll run it down like a frickin’ blood hound. Want some dirt on someone? I’ll turn over any stone I can get my hands on, and some I can’t. I can tell you how to perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy and the indications for converting it to an open surgery. (Gallbladder surgery for those non-medical people.) I can tell you what the signs and symptoms are for abdominal sepsis. And why you should tell your doctor about that nagging pain.

Maybe I just need a vacation. Or some new interest. Maybe I should look into completing my Bachelors degree. I’ve made it to where I always wanted to be. Now what the hell do I do?

Life goes on, even when the past sucks

6 May

Warning: This post isn’t warm and fuzzy; nor is it related to being a paralegal.  We’ll return to the regularly scheduled office snark and mommy talk that I normally provide momentarily. This post talks about child abuse, and if that bothers you, please skip it and tune in next time.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Life is supposed to go on.  I’m supposed to go to work and be productive.  Earn my pay.  I’m supposed to make dinner.  Be a caring and responsible mother.  Feed the cat and pack lunches.  Make holiday plans to see family.  Smile and pretend that I don’t mind being there. 

And I can do it, mostly.  I go to work, but being productive is another story.  Being efficient flew out the bloody window already.  I make dinner most of the time.  I am always a caring and responsible mother.  Even when I just feel like running away and hiding for a while.  I’m still caring and responsible because that wasn’t something that I had as a child.  The pretending that I don’t mind being with family sometimes is getting harder to do.

I’m sitting here staring at records for an emergency room visit for a car accident case.  I should be typing a compelling account of the accident and the client’s injuries for the demand letter.  I just can’t get my head into it.  All I can think about is the crap from the past that has been bouncing around my head for days.  For weeks, really. 

I’m nearly 40 years old.  Why am I letting the trauma and unfairness of my life from 30 years ago unravel me today?  I wrote a post for Band Back Together.  A post that really makes me feel proud.  I wrote it months ago.  Before I knew that I was ready to travel the road back to the past.  Before I knew that I could unpack the burden of that past and leave it there.  Seeing my words, edited and ready for publishing on someone else’s blog, makes it all seem so real.  I’m putting it out there.  I’m taking it out of my head and placing it into the real world.  Into the world where it is tangible and visible.   I’m still using my pseudonym.  Maintaining my anonymity.  It still makes me feel exposed.  Like carrying a big banner that says, “Hi!  I had a fucked up childhood!” 

Putting it out there, even being anonymous and as vague about it as I have, makes it real.  I’m putting it out there because I don’t want it anymore.  I should not feel ashamed of the crap that happened to me.  It’s not my shame to bear.  I am proud of myself.  Proud that I have accomplished as much as I have.  I’m proud that I’m the first person in my family to go to college and get a degree, even if it is an associate degree.  I don’t have a destructive home life. It maybe somewhat dysfunctional at times, but aren’t we all? I’m smart, funny, a caring friend, and I’m beautiful.  My son tells me so, all the time.  I’m proud of him.  And I’m proud that I’m strong and I’m a survivor.

None of us have it all together.  I have alluded in past posts that I have “issues.”  I’m a survivor of childhood trauma including sexual abuse and emotional abuse.  I’ve had postpartum depression and anxiety, which doesn’t understand that I’m way past postpartum and it should leave me the hell alone.  Even though I’m married to a wonderful guy, we have struggles in our marriage but we’re still fighting for our happily ever after.  

I am writing all of this because it helps me.  And it’s my blog, I can do what I want.  Maybe getting it out will stop all these thoughts that are bouncing around my head and keeping me from my life. But I also hope that by being honest and discussing the things that are affecting me I might help someone else.  Some sources say that one in three girls are sexually abused by the age of 18.  Is that not the most ridiculously screwed up thing you’ve ever heard?  It’s astounding, but I believe it.   Chances are that at least one of my readers has had a similar past.

No matter how old you are or how much time has passed, you are worth it to be happy and healthy.  You are worth forgiving yourself and not carrying around someone else’s shame.  You are worth it to be kind to yourself.  I AM WORTH IT.

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