The two collide often - every day it seems.
Trial attorneys are hardened, used to disaster, tears, emergencies - as long as they are not our own.
We are composed, professional, and efficient - even with nervous clients who need their hands held.
The tears of a witness on the stand are something to be controlled and contained so as not to unduly impact a jury. Unless they are the tears of our witness, and in that case, they should be encouraged.
Simply put, we have heard it all, three times over.
So why today at a deposition, when I asked the man who was suing my client if he had any scars from his many injuries, which I knew he indeed had, and he did not answer me and stared off into space and and murmured to himself and the pause grew too long and the interpreter and I and his attorney exchanged glances, and as I was about to repeat the question, his face grew red and his eyes full, and he covered his face with one hand and tapped his chest with the other, and I said,
"Do you mean your abdomen, the scar from your abdominal surgery?"
and he shook his head and tapped his chest again and choked out the words,
"A mi corazón, a mi corazón,"
why today did I leave the court reporter's and want to kick someone, maybe myself for the job I have to do and have to do well?
No, not the creeping crud, tho we all have had it in various varieties over the last two weeks.
No, I'm referring to my strange behavior this spring. I think the dogs have sucked all my energy out of my brain. They have used up every last bit of energy I have for anything other than showing up at my desk on time each day.
Don't get me wrong, I love their little furry faces, like right now as one is drooling on the keyboard trying to wrap herself around my neck like a chinchilla and the other is trying to wrap himself around my neck to get at the napkin on the table next to me.
These new critters have entirely engulfed us, and though Mr. Pom seems to have retained his need to buy multiple pots of plants every weekend, I am still in March mode, i.e., looking mournfully at the garden through the window and sighing.
I can't seem to get my vim and vigor in the direction of the dirt.
So Monday morning, luxuriating in no work, a quiet house, and temps warm enough to sit on the side porch with a cup of coffee, I am hard at work at writing my next essay for Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Mr. Pom comes downstairs and puts on the TV since the dogs have woken him up, too, and I shut the porch doors to let the peace and quiet continue. Must concentrate! Must write!
What if I move the wicker loveseat and the two chairs onto the front lawn.
And mulch out an area directly in front of the little strip between the yard and the driveway.
Use the left over paving bricks from the walk to outline the area.
Pull the bottom of the strip around to the front and plant some shade tolerant flowering bushes.
That grow tall and can give a little Secret Gardennoodthenwe'llhaveprivacyfromthestreetandIcan
we'll be bankrupt.
What was I doing?
Oh, right. Writing my next essay.......
One minute, you are leaving your son off at nursery school and he's crying for you to come back.
(Okay, he never cried for me to come back.)
And the next, you are sitting on a field with 2400 other parents, watching your son receive his degree.
The weather has not exactly been conducive to gardening, but in between the raindrops, we've managed to get the front garden cleaned out and ready for spring.
No matter how many plants you stick in the ground and nurture all season, winter is greedy and has its way with them and there are many empty space where once was thriving perennials.
So what's a girl to do? The Poms decided that despite a grey, chilly, damp day, it was time for the first trip to the nursery.
A week of celebrating for the Pomegranate Family:
It was a gorgeous, clear, sunny Mother's Day. The Empress, Sister #2, The Teen, and I drove into Manhattan to go to Lady Mendl's Tea Salon at the Inn at Irving Place, in the heart of Gramercy Park. The inn, two adjoining townhouses built in 1834, is across the street from Washington Irving's home and down the block from Union Square.
The townhouse is very discrete, with no signage except a very small plaque for the tea salon, which I was glad to see to confirm that we weren't about to stumble into someone's private home. After the massive oak doors shut behind you and you are taken into the orchid-filled parlor lit with fragrant candles, it's easy to forget that you are in Manhattan in the twenty first century. I felt my own usual rushing-to-get-into-the-city-mood lower dramatically as we relaxed in slipper chairs while we waited for the seating and looked around the parlor filled with carved screens, mirrors, and lovely groups of women of different generations chatting.
The rooms have very high ceilings, ornately carved moldings, antique light fixtures, huge ornamental mantels, massive Chinese blue and white porcelainware planted with leggy white orchids, lamps with beaded fringe, tiny powder rooms with vintage marble sinks tucked under the stairs, chinoiserie piled with more ceramics, and beautifully laid tables surrounded by divans upholstered in silk.
Sumptuous! We felt very Edith Wharton all afternoon.
The tea is six courses, with champagne and pots of tea -
Somewhere along here were the finger sandwiches...
By course 4, the finger sandwiches, we were stuffed. Still to come was the mille-feuille cake above - a dozen whisper thin crepes layered with chantilly cream and raspberry sauce, and a plate of cookies and huge strawberries dipped in chocolate.
The last surprise was a teapot cookie and a bag of tea to bring home.
It was the perfect place for women to visit and enjoy each other. The two rooms were very calm and serene and the atmosphere was very warm and not stuffy or haughty. The tables are far enough apart that you are only aware of murmurs of conversation and laughter. We were never rushed, never felt like we were waiting for the next course, and never had to look for a server when we needed anything. We felt like we were at home - a very luxurious home - and it was the perfect ambiance for everyone to relax and the generations to be together.
Over many cups of tea - which we each got to select from about 15 kinds - we laughed a lot, talked about Sicily and the family, caught up on various family comings and goings, and tried to figure out how to stuff all the extra food into an empty envelope in my sister's purse.
We didn't want to leave the cake, but we were stuffed. And the the little silver cachepot of crystallized ginger - yum! A certain teen, who was so pleasant all afternoon despite her heavy cold and being the only person under 25 there, was seen stuffing the sugar cubes decorated with rosebuds into a jeans jacket pocket.
And after a long drive home, stuck in traffic around Columbus Circle after giving The Empress a little driving tour of the city, we arrived home to Mr. Pom's grilled steaks and roasted asparagus.
I may never eat again.
But it was worth every, single bite of this beautiful day!
Ain't spring grand!
The Teen is still sick!
What a treat!
I get to be home another day!
Seriously, good moms should not be happy when their kid is sick and they have to stay home with them. Ergo, I am a bad mom.
If only I had thought of that moniker sooner, I, too, could be on book tour like Ayelat Waldman. I'm always a day late and a dollar short.
The Teen's flulike/streplike symptoms (high fever, achey, earaches, sore throat, congestion) tested negative for the above and we are left with a run-of-the-mill REALLY BAD cold.
That's what the official diagnosis was by the ped: "A REALLY BAD cold". (Yes, she talks in capital letters.) But, she said that usually when they come on as quickly and badly as this, they leave just as quickly. We are very relieved it wasn't the flu (of any kind) and today The Teen has no fever but is just generally crudded up and wanted me home one more day.
I told her not to worry, of course, I'd stay home, I'd just miss seeing them on all Christmas Day. (Oh, come on, I'm Italian and need to dish out the guilt otherwise it backs up on me and I eat my weight in cannoli.)
Now if the DD (Damn Darling Dogs) didn't get up at 5:30, I could be in my pj's all day, watching Regis, Ellen, Martha, and writing blog posts and Twittering all day.
Instead, I already put out three fires at work, went to CVS where I gave them my passport, birth cert, marriage cert, and law school license in order to buy REAL suphedrine, and took the DD's to the dog park, and it's only 9:00.
And don't tell ANYONE, but I forgot the poop bags.
That's Mr. Pom's job, y'know. He always has the poop bags. All I had was a tissue, so it was muddy enough from the rain that I covered it up. If you tell anyone, I'll be drummed out of the park and then I'll have the Cucciolo chewing ALL the moldings in the hallway and my house will fall down.
Today the sun is actually shining. Maybe it will dry up the mushroom covering my lawn and house. Sister #4 is deathly afraid of mushrooms-on-the-lawn. I must remind her not to come over r she will get skeeved out. She is celebrating a Very Big Birthday on May 12th as is Niece #1, her daughter.
Sister's #4's BB is the BIG 50 - but I can honestly tell you that she does not look A Day Over 40 and is just adorable and we wish her 50 more years of love and happiness!
Luck affects everything; let your hook always be cast. In the stream where you least expect it, there will be fish.
Mother's Day is this Sunday and we have planned a rather sweet day with The Empress. Tea is involved at a special place in the city and I am sure you will read about it and see pics later on.
I am home today with a sick kid, being a mom. It's easy to not feel like a mom when the two bigger kids are out of the house and the youngest recently got wheels and doesn't need her mom too much during the week.
I recall with ease being a young mom with little kids during rainy, wintry days and kids with sniffles and temps. I remember juggling work and raising them, working part time as a lawyer, enjoying my two days a week at home when I would have time to bake and cook, to have playgroup over, and to spend an afternoon making Play-Do pies.
I was extremely lucky in those days. I had a mother in law who put aside her work work to watch the older ones and later on, a beloved next door neighbor who made them pasta with ricotta for lunch and took them to the mall on rainy days.
Just through serendipity, I was hired by a lawyer who needed someone part time and gave me an office and the freedom to work the days I wanted to and to see my own clients. I even took off a month each summer to just hang out at the lake with the kids.
When the brood increased to three, I was supremely lucky to take a 7 year child care leave and be at home with them everyday and volunteer for all those things that moms do.
Those days are long gone, but I still love being a mom and the challenge of learning to be a mother to adult, almost-independent children who don't need their noses wiped, but still need Mommy and Daddy when things get tough.
So much of life is a question of luck. And commitment. And perseverance. And hard work. And sheer, dumb luck.
How lucky am I to have a job where I was not scheduled for court today so I can stay home today on a moment's notice with a sick teen who requests her mom?
Even more, to have bosses who understand family needs and a company who provides the ability to work from home so I don't go back to a disaster tomorrow?
How lucky, also to have a teenager who still wants her mom around when she has a temp and a sore throat and feels generally icky? And what about the luck of a husband who gallantly takes 2 walks - in the rain - with the dogs so I don't have to worry about it?
And speaking of luck, how about adopting a big, dark as night mama dog who likes nothing better than sick days when she can spend the entire day sleeping with the invalid, waking up only to get a drink or get her tummy rubbed?
Staying in on a rainy day, serving up cinnamon toast and tea and watching silly daytime TV.
A little slice of a lucky life in the middle of a busy week.
A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown —
Who ponders this tremendous scene —
This whole Experiment of Green —
As if it were his own!
The rain came in on Sunday and reminded us that the summerlike weather of last week was just an aberration. Tonight, the lamps are lit at 6:00 and the fire is laid to take the chill off. The screened porch got its delivery of new furniture, but it is too cold and wet to even take it out of the packing boxes.
But I cannot be fooled into thinking that it is any month but May, not when my lawn is covered with petals tossed like William Blake's pearls.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
Saturday has been a day of contrasts: cold and misty this morning as Mr. Pom and I walked the dogs in the woods. The trails had a new layer of dark brown mulch which looked like a velvet path laid through the tender green of the new leaves.
I am a big crab some weekend mornings, especially when there are two dogs raring to go out before 7:00 a.m. into the rain. Wouldn't it be better to walk them later? No, is the emphatic response from the dogs and the husband.
Of course, my mood lifts once I am in the thick of the woods and it is quiet and mossy and the dogs are sniffing every spot and running just far enough ahead to make that pleasant noise of paws thundering on the ground like hooves when we call them back.
My impatience returns on the ride back to the house. We have to leave off the dogs, pick up the Times, and drive all the way cross town to get to breakfast. But to tell the truth, it's not breakfast at all that I am after. I am fixated on my first cup of coffee, a rich latte made with Italian coffee that tastes like no other that I have ever had. I have learned to drink it slowly, accompanied by two soya rolls, mini baguettes with a sourdough taste, a thick crust and a dust of cornmeal. Some days, if very hungry or tired, I will order a fruit crepe accompanied by yogurt and Mr. Pom may have round Belgian waffles with chocolate syrup and cinnamon - the sybarite!
But always, the coffee is the center of it, the coffee and the quiet, and the papers and both of us lost in our thoughts, occasionally looking up to read a tidbit, though more than a few words are frowned upon by the other who is pulled without permission away from the crossword or the sports page. This is our jewel of the week, a time that is spent summer or winter together, a private time that restores our equilibrium before we rush off to cleaners, groceries, yard work, cleaning.
So it was with great trepidation that I encouraged The Teen to follow through on her desire to get her first after school job there. We love the owners and have become regulars greeted by name. It is a family affair and the ambiance is friendly and warm. But I worked at enough after school jobs to know that the relationship between part timers and management is not always an easy one. What if she didn't like it? What if they don't like her? What if I can't go there anymore because of it??
All right, I know, I can't put my need for my weekend morning routine to surpass my need to support my child's desire to work and I should be encouraging her independence and self confidence. And I am. And I do. But now my easy going relationship with the cafe is complicated with worrying about her getting there on time, paying attention, not screwing up, and getting enough time off to study. And what if they are rude or mean or she finds out that they drop the food on the floor and then serve it to the customers?
I decide that I cannot insert myself in her new relationship. Certainly my parents never knew more about my part times jobs than where it was located. I cannot be a helicopter parent. I still make sure her smock and little kerchief is washed and ironed and she's up on time. I obsess about what they will say when they find out she's going away for four weeks for a precollege art program this summer. I remind her too often to get enough sleep and learn to shut my mouth before she snaps.
This is her second weekend and so far, it's worked out. We all pretty much ignore each other when we're there. We're low maintenance customers and rarely approach the counter once we sit down. She's busy making sandwiches and pulling cappuccinos and clearing off tables. She's not thrilled when I bring friends in or her own pop in, not with the Breton headscarf and the green smock. But I was waiting to speak to her one afternoon and proud of the way she sweetly helped an older woman get more cream and made sure the woman could carry it to her table. She's got a great sense of humor and is very outgoing and is not afraid to be herself and she is so much more self-assured than I ever was (or ever will be).
Thus far, we're she's doing a good job. We worry a little about her stories of her screw ups and hope that her boss is understanding. We are concerned about how tired she will be and when she'll do her weekend homework She is concerned about how she will fit her skim boarding in and go to the beach with us and Cape Cod and to the city on weekends. We tell her this is what growing up and having a job is - and then we secretly worry about it, too.
You think you know somebody.
You let them into your life. You love them. You give them everything you have. You give and you give and you give.
when you have nothing left to give.
I never, ever thought I'd ever be writing this. I never thought in a million years that this day would come, but the worst I can imagine has happened in the Pomegranate household.
After months of tender loving care, negotiation, supplication, treats, walks, and kibble galore - - - - -
the dogs have hired a lawyer.*
All I have to say is:
*See comments section to yesterday's post