Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving: The One Where I Lose It

It got worse. P spent Wednesday afternoon making the mashed potatoes. Wednesday night, we put Harry to bed in the car and drove to my brother's house and transferred Harry to the pack and play. The three of us then each took a item and prepped the beans, which I then cooked. Thursday, we headed to my dad's. My stepfamily showed up in the early afternoon, and my stepbrothers immediately planted themselves in front of the TV, where they proceeded to spend the entire day.

While P attempted (unsuccessfully) to get Harry to take a nap, I began working on stuffing and sweet potato casserole. My brother helped by washing things when I finished working with them. The stepbrothers would occasionally wander in to get a new beer but never offered to help. It was a long day in the kitchen. The only contribution either of them made was that my dad explicitly asked one of them to stir the gravy, which he did, but he didn't look happy about it. They did manage to contribute very large appetites, eating an enormous amount of food. Possibly because they were rather stoned.

The following morning, my dad asked if anyone was particularly committed to having turkey leftovers. We said we'd take some if it wasn't a hassle but we weren't especially committed. It turned out that he was hoping to re-roast the half of the bird that was not yet carved some night when my brother was over for dinner. His wife stated that she and her boys wanted leftovers. Seriously? You contribute essentially nothing and you insist on leftovers?

They also insisted on pie. My dad divided up what remained of the pie, putting some in a box for him, some in a box for the boys and some in a box for us. When we were getting ready to leave, I asked my dad for our pie. He pointed to an empty spot on the counter, then realized that the boys had taken not only their pie but also ours.

Fuck that. Really? You contribute nothing, you insist on having leftover turkey even though it's inconvenient for the person who prepared it, and then you steal the leftover pie of the people who made 90% of the food? FUCK YOU!! Yeah, I was and am pissed. I called my stepmother to tell her to stop wherever they were and surrender the pie (they had only left ten minutes earlier), but her phone was off. One stepbrother seems to be surgically attached to his iPhone, so I emailed him, but he didn't respond. So we got no pie. And I decided that I will never again have Thanksgiving with them unless there is an arrangement made in advance regarding what each person will be contributing -- one which prohibits freeloaders -- and some sort of lockbox for my damn leftovers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: The one where Harry likes cranberry

My stepmother's contribution to Thanksgiving was a cranberry dish involving cranberries, orange, and who knows what else. When she suggested that would be her contribution, I had to laugh a little, since I know that my dad, my brother, P and I do not eat generally cranberry concoction at Thanksgiving. So the only contribution she and her boys would be making was something that only they would eat.

When we sat down to eat, the cranberry was in front of Harry. He immediately started pointing at it. He ate his mixed veggies and some mashed potatoes and some stuffing and some sweet potato casserole. He rejected his turkey, as expected. But throughout, he kept pointing at the cranberry. My stepmother kept telling him he wouldn't like it, that it was tart. But he kept pointing.

Finally, we gave in. We put a few bites on his tray and let him try it. He made a face, one that clearly noted the tartness. And then he grabbed another handful. And another. He made that face each time, but he kept on eating, like it was the best food he'd ever tasted. We kept scooping more onto the tray, and he kept eating it. Apparently, Harry likes tart things, including cranberry.

Needlesstosay, we ended up with half of the leftover cranberry.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving: The One Where We Do All The Work

In the almost ten years we've been together, P and I have spent Thanksgiving with his family. Until last year, my dad and brother joined us. His mom is a good cook and does a good job of assigning people things to bring so that she doesn't get overwhelmed. And the added bonus is that his mom's house is only ten minutes from us. Maybe fifteen. So, aside from last year when we went to his aunt's vacation house three and a half hours away, we spent Thanksgiving at his mom's. But my dad got remarried last year, increasing the size of my family and making it difficult/impossible to join the families together. It started to feel like we were supposed to trade off, so we agreed to head to my dad's this year.

So we're heading to RI. But my dad doesn't usually host Thanksgiving, or hasn't in a long while. Which means he doesn't really know how to do this. He is a firm adherent to the philosophy that holidays are about family/people rather than food or presents and therefore thinks effort should be minimized with respect to the latter two categories. Consequently, he is providing turkey, baked potatoes, peas, and a pie, and anyone who wants anything else is responsible for bringing it. Which means that P and I are responsible for mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, stuffing, and a second pie. Because my dad's wife and her (adult) sons are incapable of contributing anything. This pisses me off to no end. Thankfully my brother is going to help us prep when he can (keeping in mind that he has to work Thanksgiving morning, so I'm genuinely thankful that he's going to help at all).

I sent an email listing the menu (basically, what my dad would provide) and asking what people were bringing. My dad's wife offered to bring cranberry. No one else said a single fucking word, until one of her boys said he hoped the second pie would be pumpkin or pecan, but didn't offer to, say, bring it himself. Leaving the rest to me and P -- you know, the pregnant woman and her husband and their toddler. And my brother, who actually has work to do that day. Ugh. Not that I'm bitter or anything ;) With P's mom, everyone gets assigned one or two things, and we only have to drive 10 minutes. So, yeah, next year, we're back to going there. And we may not do the alternation thing. Because let's be real -- Thanksgiving is kind of about the food. But if I'm going to have to make it all, I'm not going to travel with my bags of food.

Edited to add: Later this afternoon, my dad sent an email asking what people wanted for beer. He noted that he has Michelob and Coors Light. My goddamn stepbrother wrote back to say he'd like Sierra Nevada or Heineken. Really, you self-centered son of a bitch? I got pissed. P decided to respond to the email, suggesting that perhaps anyone who wasn't okay with Coors Light or Michelob could bring their own to save my dad from having to go buy a bunch of six-packs for anyone who wanted something different. What is wrong with these people?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not fired

Are you as shocked as I was? Because I was shocked. I did get a "pick up your hours or you may get an 'exit' message in the spring" but it was, surprisingly, accompanied by an acknowledgement that some of the responsibility for the lack of hours lies with the firm/the department for not giving me enough work.

I feel like I had been putting on a brave face for a while, acting as though it was a done deal and therefore I just didn't care. But, as I mentioned yesterday, I did/do. Before my review, I went to talk to a friend/colleague and completely fell apart. I brought a tissue to my review in case I couldn't hold the tears back in front of these two men I'd never met before.

I had been told by friends who were fired in the spring that their reviews had all began with their reviewer looking all dour and saying "It's not good news." When I walked in, there were no dour faces, and no one said anything about news. They actually had my review file out, which I took as a decent sign, since I heard they didn't even bring them to the bad reviews in the spring. My reviewer began by asking how I felt things had been going since I came back from leave. I took this as my opening to say my piece, and I'm glad I did. I laid it all out there -- my frustration, my disappointment, my feelings of uselessness. I left out the anger, figuring I'd save that for if I was in fact fired.

My reviewer then commented that I had pretty much covered the first half of the review -- I didn't have enough work, making it tough to keep pace with my peers, which is the expectation of associates at the firm. He said he was impressed with my maturity in both recognizing the problem and being willing and able to acknowledge it, that usually the "getting the associate to recognize the problem" part is the hardest part of this type of review. He then spoke for a bit about how the firm makes very few hiring mistakes, and it expects that those are rectified quickly, so if I made it to this point, I was clearly a good attorney and that the comments in my reviews clearly reflected that. He then did the actual review, summarizing my comments and reading some to me. They were overwhelmingly quite positive. The one negative that wasn't related to the fact that I don't have enough work was insufficiently specific for me to even know what the partner was talking about, and the partner, in writing it, stated that he could have been misremembering, or it could have been a fluke.

We then had a discussion about what to do to fix the not enough work problem. The head of my department offered to make some calls to find me some work. And both he and my reviewer told me to check in if things continued to be slow for me. Here's hoping this plan works. Honestly, even if it doesn't, I have now ensured my continued employment until late May. And that's pretty much what I was hoping for.

All in all, as good as was possible under the circumstances. And 1000 times better than I actually expected.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


My annual review is tomorrow. The thought makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry.

If you asked me at the end of the summer, I would have said I thought the odds of me losing my job at this review were around 80%. As the fall wore on, I felt a little better about things, though I'm not entirely sure why. In part, I realized one of the partners I was working with just wasn't focused on our case, rather than being pissed at me for some indeterminable reason. In part, I think I was just feeling a bit more optimistic about life. But I probably would have brought the odds down to 65% or so.

Reviews began last week. Rumor has it that there has been a bit of a bloodbath among the junior associate ranks, but it's been rumor with no real proof. I don't know of any people at my level who have been affected. But I also know that everyone else in my class in my department has been busy, but I have had little to no work. And I think this bodes very badly. Last night I had a nightmare about my review. My reviewer fired me, then called me an idiot and mocked me. I tried to defend myself, which only made things worse. And none of my friends seemed to care that I had just lost my job, which made me angry. When I woke up, I was crying, tears streaming down my face. I've been trying to act like I just don't care, or like I'm so prepared for it that it won't matter, but it will. In case anyone is wondering, the blase is an act, albeit one that I myself have bought into. I'd probably put the odds of me getting fired around 95% now. And that scares the crap out of me.

Obviously, there's the financial issue. How will we possibly support ourselves? Then there's the timing issue. How can I look for a job while pregnant? If I wait, that leaves me unemployed (and income-less) for an awfully long time. But if I barrel ahead, I will be looking for a job while pregnant and needing to take leave within six months of starting, which doesn't seem to be the right message to send to a new employer. Plus, I doubt I'd get much leave wherever I landed. And then there's the self-worth issue. Who the hell am I if it turns out I am someone who gets fired?

So I'm scared. But I'm also pissed. I feel like some of the blame for the situation I find myself in is definitely mine -- I didn't ask for work in the weeks following my miscarriage, and I didn't push for work even when I started asking again. But even when I did push for work, I didn't get any, or at least not much. And then I went on leave, and when I came back, getting work was even harder. Other people in my department have been busy. People in my class year. But I haven't. I knew I needed to hit the ground running when I came back in March, and I felt like I did everything I could to do so. I begged for work from anyone and everyone. And I got some. But it wasn't enough. And I got almost nothing through the central assignment system, through which we are supposed to get the bulk of our work. And eventually I gave up. At some point it became obvious that there was nothing I could do to save my job. I felt as though the deck was stacked against me, and now here I am. And I am far from the only woman in my department who has had a child or multiple children and found themselves in this position. All the women in my department who seemed to successfully balance work and family have been fired in the past year.

So I'm scared and angry and anxious and frustrated. And uncertain how to handle the moment. Act tough? Show my anger? Burst into tears? Rage against the system? I suspect I will just react, most likely with tears. There will be a lot I will want to say, but I suspect I'll be so afraid of making no sense that I won't say much. And then I'll have to add regretful to my list.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Uneventful NT Scan

We had our NT scan today. It was rather uneventful. The measurement was right on target -- 1.6, I believe. They had some trouble getting any other measurements but seemed satisfied by the end. We got a few pictures, including a 3D one, to take home. All in all, uneventful but in a good way.

As a random note, Harry was pretty active at that point but this baby put him to shame, moving all over the place. We may be in trouble.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween: Franken-Monkey

Harry was supposed to be Bam-Bam for Halloween. But we live in New England, and I was worried that it would be too cold to have him out in a cloth diaper and little else in late October. So we decided that he would be a monkey, wearing a generic costume we found at BRU. Of course, it ended up being unseasonably warm, and he was sweating in his monkey suit.

Regardless, my dad and stepmother and Ps mom and her husband came over that evening to see him all dressed up and stayed at our house distributing candy while we took Harry around the neighborhood. We figured he didn't need to collect any candy, but we loaded him up in his wagon along with a tiny pail that could fit 6 or so candies in it and brought him around the neighborhood anyway, mainly just to wish folks a Happy Halloween. Despite the fact that it was Saturday and the weather was warm, there were very few kids out, so a lot of people insisted we take candy even if Harry wasn't going to eat it. And some of the other kids in the neighborhood thought it would be cute to share their candy with him, so kids put candy in the wagon with him. Despite our efforts, I think we ended the evening with more candy in our house than we started with.

On an unrelated note, as you can see from the photo, Harry has gotten pretty stable on his feet. But he still does the Franken-walk for stability. He'll grow out of that, right?