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Friday, February 20, 2015

Brainiac

I have a pregnancy book that tells me things I should know about being pregnant and also shows me helpful/terrifying illustrations of naked women with translucent skin, who should really get some clothes because you can totally see all of their lungs and kidneys and stuff.

This helpful book was, I believe, written by medical professionals. One of the pieces of information offered in this book is that there is no existing medical support for the phenomenon commonly referred to as "baby brain." "Baby brain" is traditionally described as a woman having difficulty with memory, concentration, reasoning, and other mental tasks during pregnancy. This is (at least apocryphally) attributed to the hormonal cocktail sloshing around in the pregnant woman's brain like so many vodka martinis, with similar results.

I sincerely hope that my pregnancy book is relying on outdated research or an otherwise incomplete survey of the medical literature.*  If not, then I have a serious problem because my brain function has just taken an unexpected nosedive for some reason unrelated to gestating another human being in my body. As an example, here are some of the things I did on one single workday this week:
  • Wrote a really heartfelt note in a Facebook message to the wrong person because they had similar names (not even the same name, just first names that started with some of the same letters).
  • Forgot what year it was
  • Forgot what month it was
  • Sent a calendar invite with an incorrect dial-in number. Then corrected it, but the correction was wrong. Got it right on the third try, but then when I actually tried to dial in, dialed in incorrectly 4 times such that I was two minutes late on the call because I couldn't get the number right on time. Note: the dial-in number that I was struggling with was not some random, arbitrary passcode or unfamiliar number.  It was MY OWN PHONE NUMBER.  The one I tell people to call me on.
  • Referred to a case involving a party named "Sickles" as the following: "that Shingles case," "the Spangles case," and "that case with Smacker in it." This was five minutes after looking at the case name printed on a piece of paper.
  • Got confused as to why it was so dark in my office during the daytime before realizing,15 minutes later, that the blinds were down.
If this isn't baby brain, then Houston, we have a... um... issue?


*So I just googled "baby brain," only to find the Mayo Clinic telling me it doesn't exist, and the website saying it does exist is... the Daily Mail.  This does not make me feel great.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Working Titles for my Pregnant Autobiography

Please imagine each of these with a colon after it saying “The True Story of the Life of a Pregnant Lawyer”.

Lint-Rolling My Belly

Can Yoga Pants Count as Work Clothes? They Are Black Pants, After All

If Someone Doesn’t Refill the Candy Jar in the Break Room, I Will Scream

Don’t You Dare Tell Me the Bathroom is Out of Order Temporarily

I’m Never Wearing These Heels Again

Ordering Cheezits Delivered to My Desk

Your Brief is So Bad, It Literally Made Me Throw Up, or Maybe It Was Morning Sickness, But Probably Your Brief

You Really Ordered Sushi for Our All-Office Lunch?

If I Can’t Drink Coffee, Don’t Expect This Memo to Be Good

Can’t Quite Reach My Keyboard

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Handy Man

Husband can fix anything.

Apparently as a child, he had a fondness for taking apart various electronics in his house and reassembling them.  His parents didn't always notice - though they caught him in the act of taking apart the phone one time. 

The slow progress of the Buick restoration notwithstanding, Husband is really incredible.  For example, there was awhile during law school when my car wouldn't start.  Husband went out and tried starting it a few times, came back in and read the Internet for fifteen minutes, went back outside, and I heard the car start.

Liz:  How did you do that?  What did you do?
Husband:  Well, the solenoid is getting jammed when the engine cools off and so you just need to knock on it a bit to get it to start.
Liz:  The what?  Where?

Husband showed me in the engine where to knock and gave me a screwdriver to knock it with until we could get it fixed.  So I had a week or two where I felt very cool and mechanically inclined; if I was going to drive someone and my car wouldn't start, I'd just casually remark, "Oh, it's probably just the solenoid, let me take care of that," grab the screwdriver, pop the hood, and handle it.  No one could ever see that I was literally just banging on a piece of the engine with the screwdriver, so I looked cool.
Aside:  I used to play the excellent video game The Sims* all of the time, and occasionally they would need to fix an item in their house, and the way they would do so would be to wham on the item with a hammer.  So you'd see the Sim sitting there, just banging the screen of her TV with a hammer for a few hours of her time, and then her TV would be fixed.  Based on this and my experience with the solenoid, the only way I know how to fix anything is to wham on it with some sort of blunt tool.  
A week later, Husband took the car into the shop.  He came back not very long later.

Liz:  Did they fix it?
Husband:  They wanted A THOUSAND DOLLARS to fix it.
Liz:  Is my car worth a thousand dollars?
Husband:  No.
Liz:  What are we going to do?
Husband:  I'm going to fix it.

Husband went on Amazon.com, bought a part for $45, and two days later spent twenty minutes installing it.  The car was fixed perfectly.

When we hired a monthly  housecleaner in our old house on a trial basis because we were living in squalor (in my defense, I was commuting for three hours a day) and she proceeded to yank our entire showerhead out of the wall in the process of cleaning the shower (?!?!????) and Husband found water literally leaking into the wall, he was able to fix the problem with the pipes until a plumber could get out the next day.  

In our new house, Husband installed a dimmer switch when I wanted one for the chandelier in the family room - a chandelier which he had wired in after I bought it on craigslist.  He installed the new oven.  He crawled under the house to figure out why a few boards in the dining room floor were squeaking  and reinforced the subfloor so they wouldn't.  He replaced the rain gutter on the front of the house (because the old one only went 30% of the way across the roof, and then stopped abruptly, creating a fountainous stream of water shooting out over the porch).  He installed a proper downspout.  

He also makes a mean pie.

Blackberry.  From scratch.  I know, too dreamy.

In short, Husband is entirely the functional adult I will probably never be, and I am so thankful that my best friend just happens to also be the most competent person I know.

*  The Sims was the first video game ever to sell more copies to women than to men.  It was also the best selling video game ever for a long time (until, I think, one of the Calls of Duty finally bumped it).  Not a coincidence.

Monday, July 14, 2014

We're okay, iPhone...

Like my fellow Millennials (bleh, that name), I'm quasi-apathetic when it comes to my privacy - I tried deleting my Facebook account once but brought it back to life within a few months.  But I got kind of horked off when I was making a list of movies I want to watch later in the "Notes" app.  I added 22 Jump Street because, whatever, take your foreign cinema and start a restaurant named after it.  When I closed out, I saw that the app had highlighted and underlined 22 Jump Street.  Are you kidding me?  You're going to turn a note I made into an ad for a movie?  Are you actually somehow giving Fandango access to my Notes app?

I clicked the link out of rage and just like I thought, my iphone opened up the app for...

maps.

It thought I was typing in an address and might need to find it.

Awww.

I can't stay mad at you, C3PO, when you do cute stuff like that.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

American Planes

Flying on a plane is always wonderful.

When we went to visit my cousin Bebop for his high school graduation last month, there was a man on the plane successfully executing the loudest snoring I had personally experienced being generated by a human being.  I could hear this guy snoring from several rows away over the roaring of the jet engines.  This was the kind of snoring that illuminates for you where the turn of phrase "sawing logs" came from.  And then you realize that the expression came from the days of manual saws, and in fact this is more like a "chainsaw" kind of log-sawing sound, or a "coordinated orchestra where all of the instruments have been replaced with buzzsaws" kind of sound, or perhaps an "entire paper mill processing a tree into pulp in under a minute" kind of sound.  That's the kind of loud snoring this guy was producing.

On the way home from that trip, out of revenge and a sense of wanting to enhance the suitability of the plane's name, I proceeded to conk out for the entire four hour flight back on the dreamliner (while Husband patiently tried to type on his laptop despite having me sprawled out into his seatspace).

Even knowing that no one could ever snore louder than the guy I heard on that one flight, the latest flight I took was destined to be terrible.  We flew last Thursday night - the night before the Day of Independence miraculously and wonderfully fell on a Friday.

like it specifies in Article III.
But that had its consequences, which were primarily consequences to the sanity of those waiting in line for security at the airport.

Specifically, the lines were insanely long and insanely unfair.  We had a moment where one of the TSA agents was going to shuffle us into either the teal line or the red line.  (Of course we couldn't go in the green line because that was the TSA pre-check line and of course I can't GET pre-check because the waiting time for an interview is currently, literally, five months.)  And though maybe I'm not illustrating this quite right, you can see that the teal line is three times as long as the red line.



It's not a great picture, but it's better than the rage-versions I drew on the back of a blank page of a brief while on the plane.

You can guess which line we ended up in.

Of course, the gray line hadn't even started when we got in line: they opened it up once we were a little bit into the red line and just stuck there.  In sum, we had plenty of time to ponder the gross unfairness of the line system.  It was both unjust and inefficient, which is like a double whammy to an attorney with an econ degree.

Once we were on the plane, Husband and I didn't get to sit together, which was meh but okay since I had some work to do.  I watched out the window a bit, half-listening to a small British child discussing with her mother the merits of buses while realizing I forgot my earplugs.  When we reached cruising altitude, I (with great resignation) pulled out my stack of papers to read and BAM -

the girl in front of me reclines DIRECTLY into my face.

Here is a public service announcement for the people of the earth: if you are not SLEEPING on the plane, don't recline!  Spare your posture and sit the heck up.  You will also be sparing yourself my undying loathing to the extent that interests you.

I am trying to work with the seat in front of me three inches from my face, realizing I can't look up any cases because airplane wifi is $19 and essentially worthless anyway, when the girl in front of me starts watching a movie.  Out loud.  With no earphones.



Which is, in more orderly societies, punishable by 18 months hard labor cleaning TSA rubbermaid bins with nothing but a toothbrush MOISTENED BY YOUR OWN SALIVA AND...

and then I saw the sunset throwing magenta light against a mountain glowing against a lavender twilight.  I glimpsed my own profile cast in sharp relief on the cabin wall by the orange sunset fire from the opposite window.

It was very instagrammable.



And I then noticed that the girl in front of me was taking a photo out the window too.  While her movie still played on out loud.  As she ignored it.


Sunset or no, it was lucky that we landed soon after.  Lucky for her, that is.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

So Expensive: Part 3

Part 3:  Install New Garage Doors

(read part 1 and part 2 of our adventures in expensive house fix-ups)

As is fairly established by now, Husband likes spending time in the garage taking a certain vehicle apart.  The new house has a stand-alone garage.  The old house had a connected garage, and the washer and dryer were in the garage, so I would go into the garage on occasion (and inevitably manage to bash my arm on a tailpipe suspended, improbably, four and a half feet in the air).  But the new one is all on its own and literally jammed to the brim with the Old Car.  I never go in there.

Haunted by rusty ghosts.  Really, just rust.
But Husband is in there all the time.  He shimmies around the edges in the narrow path he's made to get to whatever rusty part of the Old Car he is disassembling at any given moment and doesn't even look like he minds it.  When he isn't working, or sleeping or baking pies, or hanging out with me discussing plot inconsistencies in the Transformers franchise, he's out in the garage working on his car.

Husband:  I think we need a new garage door.
Liz:  Why?  What's wrong with the old one?
Husband:  The springs are really old, and the door is really heavy, and I'm worried the garage door is going to collapse on me and kill me.
Liz:  We're getting a new garage door.

He wasn't delusional: the old garage door had no automatic lift and was made out of solid wood, and every time Husband lifted it, it made a terrifying dying-badger sound.  It was just that a) I knew it would probably be a bunch of money and b) after the heinous floor experience, I didn't know if we were ready to deal with another upgrade.  But Husband's life was at stake this time, so it had to be done.

Miraculously, this time, finding a service provider was easy: Husband found a guy on Yelp and called some people, and one of them was remarkable:
  1. He actually replied
  2. He seemed reasonable on the phone
  3. He was willing to come out the very next day to give a quote...
  4. ...even though the next day was Sunday.
It was amazing.

He came out on Sunday and brought a brochure of doors we could pick from.  He showed us the one he suggested, which was one of the cheapest ones, and a very good door as well, because it's really just a garage door and who needs...

Liz:  I want that other one.
Garage Door Man:  Oh.  Well, that one is a fair amount more money... 
Liz:  I don't care.  I want that one.

The Garage Door Man seemed baffled that I was willing to spend more money to have a better-looking garage door.  Or maybe he was trying to be sensitive: on the weekends, I generally dress like a twelve-year-old and I'm not old enough looking that when I'm dressed like a twelve-year-old that people can see, ahem, another sixteen years past that.  
Aside:  One time, right after I had taken the bar exam, I sat on a plane next to a director at a company I really like and chatted very intelligently with him about the directions his industry was taking (as I'd done a 120-page paper on that industry my last term of law school).  Mr. Director kept doing double takes / expressing incredulity that I had a JD - because I was wearing jean shorts and an old t-shirt from a mock trial tournament.  Whatever!  It was summer!  I had just taken the bar exam.  I'm not some person insistent on throwing back to the 60s by dressing up to sit on a sweaty Southwest flight.   
Machine washable clothes save the world, too.  Down with dry cleaning.
So the Garage Door Man probably through we were stone cold broke and I was some sort of 18-year-old bride.  Instead of what I actually am, which is a stubborn lady who intends to buy new garage doors only once in the rest of her existence and is thus going to get attractive ones that look like carriage doors.

(Which Husband also wanted.  I'm not some kind of garage door tyrant wife.  Which is going to be the title of my next blog.)

The Garage Door Man nicely acquiesced, and began telling us about his nine (nine!) children and beloved wife while he went to inspect the current door.  Which was the best part, because our garage door was no regular garage door.  As you can see, within the door was another, regular-style door, complete with glass panes and a locking doorknob, though you have to step up over the ledge to enter through it.  Also, the garage door had in it a separate cat door.


This was part of the reason it was so heavy and why Husband and I were genuinely concerned he could get smushed under it.

Garage Door Man, admiringly:  You know, I've seen doors in a garage door before, but I've never seen a cat door in the garage door before.  Two doors within the door.  That's a first.

We were pretty proud to have a garage door unlike any the Garage Door Man had seen before.

We agreed on a price and signed the contract.  After he left, though:

Husband:  I'm sorry - I forgot to negotiate with him at ALL.
Liz:  Don't worry about that - he has like a million children to feed.  I don't want to negotiate with that guy.  

The very next day, Garage Door Man sent the oldest of his million children over to install the new garage door, which did require Husband to roll part of the disassembled Old Car out of the garage.


But other than that, the garage installation was easy and quick - the guy worked outside on it for half a day, and by 5 p.m. we had a brand-new garage door that went up and down by itself and had a nice keypad on the outside.  Just like regular people do.  No cat door.

  
Which is really a loss in case Husband ever trains a cat to help him put the Old Car back together.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Functional Adult Goes Running: A Second Time?

Amount of time spent generating really kickass playlist to inspire exercise times and uploading said playlist onto severely antiquated iPod shuffle:  28 minutes

Amount of time spend running / walking:  22 minutes, or, in other measurements, eternity.

After the 22 minutes I absolutely had to stop because I had to get inside and make Husband some chicken for dinner.  And by "to get inside and make Husband some chicken for dinner," I mean "a simultaneous side cramp and asthma attack, as well as ear coldness event, which meant I would have collapsed if I tried to go farther."

In unrelated news, my neighbors, who I do not know very well, have been looking at me funny this week.