Yesterday was my semi-annual trip to the wilds of western Merlin. I got to visit a sweetheart of a client – actually four sweethearts – in some beautiful locations. And I hope the beauty of their placements and the lovely people who are caring for them help to ease the pain of being so far away from family and the loss of having a parent who can be there for them. That’s about as succinctly as I can put it without violating privacy.
As I was just about 10 miles east of Cumberland, I got a call from Nancy. It about killed me, LOL – what a beautiful day it was here! And in the hills/mountains of Western Merlin, it was about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than at home! The sky was a sparkling azure and it felt like the wind was at my back. But obviously a walk was not to be. Work before pleasure. But I don’t mean to sound as if visiting my clients was work in the strictest sense.
I’ve been very blessed to have work as an organic part of the whole of my life. My schedule is flexible, but I still have to do what’s necessary for the work at hand, so sometimes whole days are spent visiting clients and/or sitting in a courtroom or treatment team meeting. A good thing about my work is I also can take a day where I otherwise have no pressing responsibilities and, to put it in Nancy’s words “fritter the day away.” That doesn’t mean I don’t return calls or that I don’t have to be instantly available to the office or colleagues. But it does mean that I can be there for a friend and they can be there for me.
That being said, there are days that I get totally immersed in the work – spending days and sometimes weeks with colleagues, prepping cases, paperwork, writing and researching, visiting and consulting (when/wherever possible) with clients and constantly on the phone. That’s part of what I do – as do many people. But too long with that and I’m dying to hang out with friends and get away from all of it. I’m too much of a wild woman – people person to quietly sit at home and knit (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).
This blog is replete with references to friends – Nancy, Diane, Donna and Sally from church/choir, and “lawyermd” and other colleagues from work. I think the craziest times I have are with Nancy and Diane and Donna and Sally. I suppose it’s because we all have to (at least try) to behave, so when it comes time to break out and have some fun, we totally forget about behaving. Oh don’t get me wrong, we don’t do anything really bad or illegal, but we can dream can’t we? Just kidding!
One example is cracking really stupid juvenile jokes (OK, I’m the one who does that – they just laugh) and watching Vicar of Dibley DVDs and silly stuff like that. The rest I plead the fifth on, LOL. It’s the kind of silliness one would do back in the olden days when I was twelve. Today, kids are far more sophisticated than I am even now, so I can’t even compare it to today’s twelve-year-old, LOL!
Anyway, I am sorry that I didn’t have an opportunity to walk with Nancy this week – not just because it’s good for me, and, if we go fast enough – for her – but also because it’s so damn fun! Well, here’s hoping we can walk after church this Sunday with Donna, Sally and maybe Tom, Donna’s husband – That group is hysterical:)!
To return to my travelogue…Well, after my first set of visits yesterday I drove to Cumberland and had lunch and walked around for a bit. Yes, I did go to the yarn shop and drooled, but I was good. Then it was on the road to Hagerstown for a second visit that lasted a couple of hours, grabbed some fast-food (yech) dinner, then home.
By the time I got back home it was already after 7 pm. I barely had time to make a “pit stop,” freshen up, grab my music and hit the road again – this time just down the road to “kwar” practice. The rehearsals for the Lauridsen have been very intense and gratifying. Nancy’s analysis of the music – translated to the language of the amateurs we are – is really fascinating and makes the performance all the more three-dimensional. I need to practice more at home if only to learn the notes well, since there is a lot of dissonance in the piece, however beautiful, that requires attention:) Next week, Nancy is having the Dr. Dale K from College Park come and conduct us. Then she’s off on vacation with her hubby and we will have to wait for September to continue rehearsals. And really – this is summer, so she deserves a good solid break! Most church music programs don’t continue this far into the summer and although it’s terrific for those of us who love to sing, it’s real work for her.
Today I had one very brief hearing, but really focused the day on two committee meetings having to do with various topics that impact the various participants in our cases: DSS, childrens counsel, the court, parents’ counsel. It was good to be able to air our concerns. In both cases, we came up with at least some possible solutions to problems and that’s always a good thing. One thing I really admire about my boss is that although she can be a staunch advocate and doesn’t take any crap off of anyone (as they say) she is always looking for a way to work out issues with her opponents and other participants in the process. That’s been my philosophy for as long as I’ve been practicing family law and even in the domestic violence arena. You might think that as attorneys we are always at loggerheads. While that can often be the case, more often than not, we really do play well together with others:) Of course we are going to represent the client in the best way we can, but that doesn’t mean that we are uncivil or rude or attack each other. Don’t get me wrong: there are a$$holes in every field of human endeavor, but in general, most attorneys really save the hardcore fighting for the courtroom/litigation.
I’ll give you an example: there’s an attorney who represents parents in another county. She will fight like cats and dogs with you in the courtroom. Then, when the morning docket is over, she’s the first one to say – wanna do lunch? And to lunch we go, laughing and cracking jokes like we’ve just come home from the church picnic! Crazy? Not at all. We both know the other is doing her job – and if there is anything we can do to avoid fighting we will, but it’s not a personal fight against her – it’s advocating as best I can for my client as she is doing for hers.
Keep in mind, there are horrible situations in the cases I have and certainly none of us want to make light of that. We have to keep in mind first and foremost the safety and health – both mental and physical – of our clients. However, the vast majority of our cases are about parents with drug or alcohol addictions or mental health or poverty issues. In the 25 percent of cases that involve physical abuse, it’s a situation where a parent is genuinely remorseful. The five percent (or more) where it’s serious abuse, it’s even MORE important to have civility. We mean business, and yes we disagree. And yes, I’m going to do my job, but that doesn’t mean I hold the parent’s attorney personally responsible for what his/her client has done. I expect them to do their job.
Well, I do ramble on! Sorry about that. I suppose I really should write a blog on practicing law and some of the interesting things that happen there, but like the rest of my life, I feel this blog should be an organic whole – we compartmentalize so much in our society, I just want to swim against the stream a bit:)
There was some hope of doing a walk today, but I didn’t hear from Nancy and assume she was too busy, so maybe Sunday and/or next week! In the meantime, I have been working on that Chinese lace pullover and am really enjoying that. Tomorrow morning the grandgirls are arriving for a little daycare fun. Since John’s working overnight tonight, I have the a.m. shift and then will do visits in the afternoon. He’s getting the afternoon shift, LOL – he loves his grandkids (and I love his grandkids, too)!
I’ll have more pics of knitting next post – promise!