20 March 2011

happy Saint Birthday.

the wreck. by Luna Soledad
the wreck. a photo by Luna Soledad on Flickr.
Kevin is a Saint Patrick's day baby and as is customary, we must have his birthday lunch at an Irish pub, so we closed the office for a leisurely couple of hours to try out a new spot that had just opened near by just in time for the mad Irish rush...

Ballymor Irish Pub sounded great, mouth-watering even, on the web and I suppose to be fair, I'll have to visit another day when they're offering more than their holiday menu of three whole items served in fine paper Chinet with plastic cutlery before completely dissin' them.

En route back to the office on Six Forks Road, traffic had come to a complete halt... I was just beginning to wonder if there was a wreck up ahead when I heard the screeching of tires seconds before being slammed into the driver's seat in front of me. Holy hell... there goes my back again.

Poor Partner Esq. (previously known as The Associate Esq.) -- we always make him drive when we go out as he is childless at present and therefore has the cleanest and roomiest vehicle. And apparently also the safer of the two vehicles involved in the rear-end collision as the car which struck us was pretty much totaled while the Explorer maintained its dignity with only some bumper scuffing and the dislodging of the spare tire beneath the rear end.

The other younger fellow was shaken up of course but very nice and apologetic. We all waited together while Raleigh's finest did their thing and the wrecker arrived hauling off the other vehicle. The fellow began chatting casually with the guys asking where we worked...

The Husband, Esq. gave a little chuckle and simply replied, "Just right down the street."

"What do you do?" he inquired.

The Husband, Esq. and The Partner, Esq. exchanged comical glances before The Husband, Esq. said, "We're attorneys."

"Oh nice," the now carless driver says, "I just hit two lawyers."

The look on his face was priceless. (No one bothered to tell him that it was The Husband, Esq.'s birthday too and The Partner, Esq. was now running late for court...)

An hour or so later, my back is already on fire and seizing up on me so I dip into my emergency stash of pain relief while trying to score a last minute chiropractic appointment. As a result, The Husband, Esq. is charged with picking up Liam from daycare... only to phone me 20 minutes later to inform me that he had gotten a ticket for expired inspection. Oh yay.

I asked him if he mentioned to the cop that he'd already been involved in an accident. No, he said, but he did ask the officer why he hadn't wished him a happy birthday... the cop smiled sheepishly and told him he hoped his day got better.

So probably NOT Kevin's happiest birthday, but definitely one of his most memorable. Love you anyway babe!

Such is life...

"The return of my birthday, if I remember it, fills me with thoughts which it seems to be the general care of humanity to escape."

...Samuel Johnson

14 March 2011

life is an autobahn.

This weekend was supposed to be my desperately needed Girl's Weekend, though not only is 'Law a jealous mistress,' she's also a trifling bitch who stacked this week's calendar for The Husband, Esq. with, among other festivities, a 2-day trial and 2-day mediation which meant either I gave up my Girl's Weekend or find myself a new job and a new place to live (read = hide) 'cause when The Husband, Esq. shifts into Trial Mode, well -- remember the Incredible Hulk Series when, in just about every episode, somebody would start some shit and David Banner would say, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." -- he doesn't turn green or anything, but my usually easy-going, joke-cracking, wise-guy hubby turns into a hyper-focused, ultra-competitive Pitt bull who is anything but fun to be around... SO, I packed up the offspring and headed to Virginia to play single-mom with my sister and left the hubs at the mercy of his Mistress...

His famous last words to me: "Don't get in trouble and if you do, make sure it's in North Carolina so it won't cost me as much." Doh, JINX!

Fast forward to Sunday's return trip back to Raleighwood...

On the NC border, Virginia State Route 85 is a nice easy stretch of divided highway cutting through miles of beautiful woods and farmland; not a bad drive at all really. Except for the numerous "Official Use Only" cut-thru / turn-arounds spaced every mile or two or three that just kind-of sneak up on you when you're barreling ass down the road. Sometimes with a car parked up in there. Sometimes the car parked up in there has little lights up on top, blue ones... like the one that pulled me over in Dinwiddie.

Once upon a time as a Criminal Justice student at WTCC, I incidentally discovered that having a stash of Criminal Law books in the front seat was a helpful gimmick for avoiding traffic tickets. Especially since, back then, most any badge carrying law enforcement professional in the greater North Carolina triangle area had studied under the much beloved Bob Decatsye and Mickey Williamson at one time or another. One peek in my window would strike a conversation about school on to, "How's ole Deke?" and end with a quick lecture on slowing it down and wishing me luck. Hell, it worked so well that long after I had left my studies to provide for myself, I kept a text book or two in the car for just such occasions... ahhh, those were the days...

As soon as I saw the Virginia State Police Officer sitting there in that little turn as I whizzed right on by in the bright red Jeep, I knew he had me so I went ahead and eased into the right lane and waited for him to catch up. Dammit! I thought. Great, I'm never gonna hear the end of it. I thought. Oh shit! What's the gun law in Virginia? I thought.

I dug my .38 out and placed it in plain view on the front passenger's seat in between my purse, camera, scratched CD's, miscellaneous junk, and kiddie provisions and prepared for the worst.

Hands on the steering wheel squarely at 10 and 2, I announced as the officer reached the driver's window, "I have a loaded pistol in the car."

"Is it registered to you?" he inquired without batting an eye.

"Yes sir."

"Not a problem," he said, "but ma'am, you were going 85 mph, and that's a problem."

He peeked in the car at the kids in the back seat at Isabel who smiled and waved and Liam, completely passed out, drooling on his seat belt. Too bad, he would have been much more excited about the encounter than I was.

The officer returned handing me my driver's license and the traffic citation for 85 in a 70 zone and proceeded to give me the court spiel and share with me tales of his last stop of two guys doing 90 mph who wanted to argue with him on the side of the highway, "I told him, 'Man I am not the person you need to be arguing with because you're gonna lose.'" --Yeah, I could tell that about him.

"Well," I said, "I know better, my husband is an attorney. Unfortunately, not licensed to practice in the state of Virginia though."

"I bet he's got some friends up here who can help you out," he offered.

"If he doesn't, he's about to be making one."

"A successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman."

...Robert Frost

02 March 2011


attack., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.

1. professional character, spirit, or methods.
2. the standing, practice, or methods of a professional, as distinguished from an amateur.
So recently, The Husband, Esq., had a Equitable Distribution mediation in yet another tedious, though not exceptionally complex, domestic matter... or at least it shouldn't have been all that complicated as The Husband, Esq. had figured on settling the remaining issues in around 3 hours considering that a threesome of experienced, heavy-hitter legal professionals were allegedly working toward a common goal: getting the parties to agree on stuff within the confines of the law.

A mediation, for those who don't know, is a costly process whereby the two parties involved in the matter come together with their attorneys in a common location (though in separate rooms) and a neutral third party attorney 'mediates' (between the parties' rooms) through their respective counsels in attempts to reach an agreement in what is basically a last ditch effort to avoid an even more costly court trial.

The specifics of the matter are mute in this story even if I could tell it; what is important to know is that there's a certain amount of ethics that go into how attorney's behave themselves and rules of conduct and such, like not directly speaking to nor contacting the Opposing Party who you know to be represented by counsel absent of the courtroom and only while they are on the stand. (For Pro Se parties, that is another matter entirely because then you are your own counsel... and we've all heard the phrase, "...fool for a client.") And of course, it goes without saying that as a professional, one is expected to conduct oneself as a professional, play nice, use good manners, and all the other life lessons learned in preschool.

The anticipated 3 hour mediation began around 9-ish... and ended approximately NINE hours later. Hardly a record, but, well, you can imagine the frustration and irritation after spending an entire day arguing with no real break to speak of, not to mention, the heightened emotional state of the parties.

It was near this time of day that the Opposing Counsel was inexplicably compelled to stick her head into The Husband, Esq.'s conference room to fuel the fire and verbally slight The Husband, Esq.'s client. WTF? (Anyone who knows The Husband, Esq. should know that challenge and confrontation doesn't end well.) After a brief exchange, The Husband, Esq. tells her to GET OUT.

Not one to be told what to do, the Opposing Counsel appears yet again in the conference room of The Husband, Esq. with more copies of more last minute changes and revisions that had not been on the table for discussion and commences to pass them out between The Husband, Esq. and his client. Words are exchanged loudly and she is told again to GET OUT.

(Here's the good part...)

At this point, having nothing left in her professional arsenal of assault, this 50-ish Doctor of Jurisprudence / Opposing Counsel resorts to hunching over and waiving her arms and hands wildly about in a creepy spell-casting fashion, not dissimilar to a 12 year old bully mimicking the legendary boogie-man, and in a juvenile taunt exclaims, "Oooooh, Keviiin's getttinnng maaaad!" while backing out of the room like a lunatic... leaving The Husband, Esq. sitting there with his mouth hanging open, utterly dumbfounded and speechless. --A rarity indeed.

Again, W.T.F.? Really???

The good news is that in spite of the antics, the parties somehow managed to settle and The Husband, Esq. had a jolly good time reenacting the episode for his darling wife that evening and his staff the next day.

Of course, my personal fun in all this was coming up with a list of appropriate come-backs:

  1. "I know I am but what are you?" (submitted by Alvin)
  2. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me."
  3. In a Jack Nicholson impression from the classic movie, 'A Few Good Men,' "You can't handle the truth!"
  4. "I'm tellin'." (again, Alvin) ...and when all else fails there's always,
  5. Placing one's thumbs in each ear while waving fingers and sticking out one's tongue.

Just another fun-filled adventure from your friendly neighborhood law office! ;-)

"No letters after your name are ever going to be a total guarantee of competence any more than they are a guarantee against fraud. Improving competence involves continuing professional development ... That is the really crucial thing, not just passing an examination."

...Colette Bowe