Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Almost Perfect...But Not Quite

Bonus points if you know the reference behind the title of this post!

Warning: this post contains a highly concentrated amount of sunshine and rainbows which may be damaging to optimism-sensitive readers. Read at your own risk.

Life in Dreamland continues. As I'm getting used to my new schedule, I'm realizing just how much my new commute has transformed every aspect my life. Everyday I feel like I'm discovering new ways that life is more amazing without a 5 hour commute.

For example, I used to loath the fact that we don't have a dishwasher. Every time I stepped up to the sink (usually at 10:30pm after a long, exhausting day), my heart scowled at the large tub full of disgusting, dirty dishes and I wished many plagues on all the previous owners who were too lazy (or poor) to install one. And I'd vow to eat hotdogs on paper plates for the rest of the month (a horror I wouldn't normally wish on anyone, much less my entire family).

But now that I have 5 extra hours in my day and have the luxury of coming home at 5:15pm and taking a 30 minute nap (like I did today!), suddenly washing every piece of silverware by hand (every single tong of every single fork) has lost it's heinousness. In fact, I put on my favorite playlist and sing to the spaghetti-caked dishware (boy are THEY lucky) as if I am in my favorite bar on karaoke night. (Sidenote: someday, I'm actually going to figure out a way to eat snacks while doing the dishes without having to comingle soapy, dirty hands with my Cheezits).

That is just one example of how my life seems brilliantly better now. I've always considered myself to be an optimistic, happy person. Now, with so much more time and less stress, I'm so happy that people are going to stop wanting to be my friend. For some odd reason, people do not like to be inundated with sunshine and rainbows on a chronic basis.

Obviously, things aren't perfect. Our schedules are still hectic. It's not easy getting the kids out the door at 7:00 every morning, there is usually a lot of whining and repeated requests for the kids to get ready. Then, by the time I pick them up in the afternoon (on my days), they are usually beyond tired and very crabby. Yesterday, I did not let Jacob have a smoothie because he was back-talking. The entire 15 minute drive home he was kicking his feet, flailing his arms, and scream-crying "I WANT A SMOOTHIE!" It sucked balls. Dude, I'm trying to help you not grow up to be a spoiled brat. A little more appreciation is in order! He should be thanking me for not letting him have a smoothie. Psssh, so ungrateful.

But that's the weird thing. When you have the benefit of a complete 180, the little imperfections are actually quaint and tolerable. I mean, nothing can be perfect. But things are pretty darn close. So close that it seems petty to complain about anything.

This is equally true for my job. I love my work. I love my benefits. I love my office. I love my commute. I love my clients. I love my community. But, there are always going to be some little things that keep it real.

For example, while people are very, very nice, not many people in my office are overly friendly. I can go most days without talking to anyone if I don't purposefully go out of my way to find people. This is mostly due to the way the office is configured and how we are all tucked away in private little corners. This can be a little lonely. (It doesn't help that I am the youngest person in the entire office).

I don't expect everyone to be my friend (although, that would be nice- I like people to like me), but I kind of hoped more people would put forth an effort on a personal level to get to know me (not just at the welcome pizza lunch we had last week). At first, I took it upon myself to reach out and make friends. But, I think I was trying a little TOO hard and mostly things were just awkward. Lesson learned: you cannot pursue friendship, you have to let them happen naturally.

I also have the most uncomfortable chair in the entire world. It's the opposite of ergonomic. It was designed to make people crippled from spinal pain. But I may only be here 6 months. Do I go out of my way to complain when I'm technically a temp? Do I bring in my own chair? Is that a little presumptuous?

When it comes down to the work itself, everything is awesome. It's the perfect mix of litigation and general counsel projects. Due to my trial preparation background, I'm assisting in a big case that is going to trial in December. I've been told that I'll actually get to participate and co-chair the trial! I've jumped right into this case, which is really fascinating and has become my life. I was asked to get started on opposing the other party's summary judgment motion. In two days, I cranked out a very tight  27 page opposition. The attorney I'm assisting (with 20+ years of trial experience) told me she could not have done better which made all my inane legal research and headaches and criss-crossed eyeball stares totally worth it!

In addition to this case, I'm been doing the legwork on an insurance coverage case. I have a weird love for insurance law. It's my passion. I drool when I get to discuss tender issues and indemnification and insurance bad faith. This kind of stuff is a drug to me. If I could take insurance case law and regulations and make them into something tangible, I'd inject that stuff right into my veins.

I also get to help on a lot of general counsel stuff. One of our clients is the local sheriff's office. I spent 10 hours last week researching state and federal gun control laws and how they interplay and overlap so that we can advise on the issuance of gun licenses. Last week, I knew nothing about gun control laws, aside from what I've heard on news radio. Now, I feel like I could lecture on this stuff.

I think my fellow lawyers will agree that this phenomenon is probably one of the best things about being a lawyer. You are constantly exposed to new issues and topics. And within the course of a week, you can go from blundering idiot to bona-fide expert on any given topic.

So, things are very good around here. Throw in the fact that the office has an automatic hot and cold water dispenser (unlimited tea- yay!), and things are....almost perfect :)