September 08, 2005

This one is for me

Hell, I may not even publish it. I'll wait and see. If I do, I warn you, this a really long, disorganized, extended look into my head at the moment. I am not writing it for you, whoever you are, but for me, as a chance to try to figure some things out.

Still here? The rest is in extended entry below:

* * * * *

There is a coiled sensation along my jaw line and up behind my ears, a suggestion of shallow breathing, a pre-adrenaline feeling. Can't really describe it better than that, I suppose. It is a feeling like something is about to happen, like we are poised for a great change. There could be several reasons.

First, after only being with us for not quite 90 days, the new nanny may be resigning her position. This is not ideal. The timing is unfortunate. The reasons, while not relevant, are lame. I think that she has an all too human tendency to shade the truth in her favor, to color things in a way that I dislike, so that's why I think her reasons are not relevant -- they can't be totally trusted. So, again, timing not great but not broken up to see her go.

Second, in the middle of all this, I have received a job interview. It would be a cool job, but it is in a state far, far away. They are calling in eight people to be interviewed. If I get it, I cannot imagine turning it down. I also cannot quite imagine taking it. I am waiting to hear about other job possibilities, other interviews, other situations.

All I can really say with any certainty at this point in time, and I firmly believe certainty about life is a temporal thing, related completely to circumstances as they exist and as you hope they may exist in the near future, and even then Life has a way of making all of your little plans, all of your careful machinations, totally useless. Sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah, I have pretty much decided that I do not want to stay at the firm I am at, that I do not want to be a partner, that I don't really even want to continue practicing law in a private lawfirm. Although, I have mouths to feed and mortgage to pay, so I will do what I have to in order to meet my obligations. That said, I think that I will look at three options: in house; in government; or in a totally new and different field, a career change.

I expect to receive at least a couple more interviews and only one of them will be for a position in this area. In other words, the way things are at the moment, I may actually be in a position where I put my family back onto a moving truck just a short while after taking them off a moving truck. So, I face the thought of moving with no small reluctance.

And I have roots here. They get deeper all the time. I have civic involvements and friends, community ties and family, personal inclinations and historical connections. They get deeper, as I said. We had orientation last night for the kids' new pre-school and we walked away with a very good feeling. Especially for the Boy Child. He is going to love it and his teacher is the absolute best kind of kook. I love her already. She had no problem with the fact that a large portion of the Boy Child's vocabulary was in Norwegian and even asked us to write out, phonetically, several words and phrases so she could learn them. How cool is that? I already feel a strong aversion to taking him out of her class room and they haven't even started yet!

What happens to roots if you pull them up? I suppose they die. They certainly change and that can be indistinguishable from death. I'm not saying, exactly, that change is death and yet, I suppose, there are similarities. As things morph and become unrecognizable, isn’t that a kind of death?

But there is a feeling of adventure, a feeling like taking a job and running half way across the country would satisfy a need for adventure. The tension I alluded to elsewhere comes, maybe, from a feeling like I might be being pushed into the adventure instead of jumping into it. But, at the end of the day, does it matter much how you ended up in mid-air, jumped or pushed? You’re still in mid-air and you have to start concentrating on the landing as opposed to the take off, right?

So, landings. Maybe I should stop thinking about the take off, assume that I am already in play, already in mid-air, and start instead thinking about how to land. Well, that sounds good, a little bit overly simple, maybe, but still like there’s a lesson in there I can extract. I’m not sure what it is, mind you, but it is in there.

September and October look to be terribly busy. I’m certainly feeling the pressure from that. Black tie events at least three or four times in the next 30 days. Often enough that I have to think about buying another shirt to wear, just in case the cleaners can’t get my other one back fast enough. Engagements, meetings, interviews, appointments, up to my ears, and now perhaps having to find a new nanny. All of a sudden, it is as if the schedule turned around and swallowed me up.

I spent the weekend either by myself for some hours at a stretch or with my family. We hit the beach each day. It was a glorious weekend, weather wise. The ocean was terribly strong on Monday and the children and I spent time jumping in the waves. The Boy Child was especially enthusiastic after he first felt the power of the waves slapping him back to the beach. He was positively gleeful. We held hands and jumped up and down as each wave hit. They hit us hard enough that he would be pushed back, as if on a pivot attached to my hand, his whole body pushed back to the shore. He laughed, shaking the salt water from his face, spluttering, “more, Pappa, more”. Indefatigable. The Girl Child and I had already had our fill of playing farther out and eventually we opted to move from the Atlantic to the more pacific waters of the big kids’ pool.

Basically, I delight in the company of my children. I love them and I love being with them, teaching them, learning from them. I already hate that the Boy Child is headed off to school, even if it is only two days a week.

I think that my conflict is that on the one hand, I want to stay home and take care of them. I want to be the primary caregiver. On the other hand, I am fiercely competitive. A little burnt out on the practice of law at the moment, but still ready to heed the call of the bugle and charge back in if appropriately motivated. So, I want it all, both things at the same time. The total wonderfulness of raising my kids while still getting the fulfillment of being able to do complex litigation. The thing is, I can’t. No one can. It ain’t possible to practice litigation part time. It is a tension. Wanting what you can’t have.

I have no solutions. Nothing. All I do is sit here and plan and ponder and consider. And make my morning workouts progressively harder in an attempt to deal with the stress. 50 minutes cardiovascular this morning with an average heartbeat in the high 130's will certainly get your blood moving, won’t it? At best, it is a temporary cure.

Part of the weekend was spent with our first house guest. One of my uncles, who I love dearly. He was in from California to attend a meeting regarding my grandfather who is not getting better in this rehab facility. My uncle thinks the care given there has been negligent at best. He’s a practicing doctor so I give great weight to that opinion. I think that without his intervention at other stages, my grandfather would have died and the rehab facility would have lived up to its name by facilitating that process. The bastards. My uncle wants to get him out of there. It isn’t an easy proposition. I’ve offered to let him come live with me but my house isn’t really wheel chair appropriate and I don’t think they will take me up on it. Besides, he has a wife, my grandfather, and he ought to be living with her. Although I gather that there are serious strains in that marriage. A hell of a time for them to appear, no? We chatted about all of this well past our bedtime as my uncle and I drank the remainder of a 1985 St. Emillion which we had opened with dinner.

Again, people, life is too short to drink bad wine and if you hold on to it too long, waiting for an occasion, you will find that the wine, much like life, has moved past its prime while you were waiting for something excellent to happen.

I have no idea where this post was going or where it got to, but I think I feel a little better for writing it.

What you make of it, this post of 1600 words, I have no idea. But this one was for me, anyway, I suppose.

Posted by Random Penseur at September 8, 2005 01:07 PM | TrackBack

That is one full life you're living, pal. My recommendation: uncork a bottle of good wine because you're right, life's too short not to.

Posted by: Amy at September 8, 2005 02:42 PM

Take care of yourself, sweetheart. It'll all sort itself out.

Posted by: Kathy at September 8, 2005 03:12 PM

and the random babbly ones..

are always my favorites.

Posted by: sn at September 8, 2005 05:01 PM

I'm with SN; I love your rambling ones very much; ramble away. :-) And try not to stress out. Let the decisions happen as they come and do not try to anticipate them. You cannot know before it happens. When it is time, you'll know it.

And you'll know what's right.

As far as drinking aged wine goes...preach it, brother! Amen! From your lips to my customers, fo shizzle. *grins*

Posted by: Amber at September 8, 2005 07:46 PM

For being uninspired, you were definitely inspired enough to create this big-ass post!

Wow, I think, sometimes, that my life is complicated, then I read about yours RP and I tip my hat to you good sir. You have bested me, yes sir!

Moving can definitely be stressful, I hope things even out for you soon.

Posted by: Oorgo at September 8, 2005 08:01 PM

My, oh my. That is so much more to deal with than I could ever hope to deal with. I was an adventurer in younger years, now I've got roots set down deeper than any geologists have ever seen. But one thing I know. Happiness is not where you look for it. You can't search for it, compete for it, or create it. It can't be found. It comes to you wherever you are when you are content, fixed, happy in the present. Now I feel so foolish. That was certainly a mouthfull of meaningless blather but still I felt compelled to write it, so like your post -- I just wrote it. For both of us.

Posted by: Roberta S at September 8, 2005 09:13 PM

You didn't say what was so great about the job half-way across the country was. But I've always heard it said that if you're making a major career decision based on the money, it'll usually be the wrong decision. But, if the job is great because it is challenging and what you'd just love love love to be doing everyday, then you do have a hard choice choice what with having just moved into your new house. With wild strawberries, I might add.

Great to read that the Boy Child will be in great hands in his first school experience! You also didn't say where the potential new job is located, but I'd just urge you to keep in mind what's best for your family. Would the Boy Child be happier at the beach with them strong waves, or in some more pastoral inland town with a stream that runs through it? I dunno. But, I think, being a provider goes way beyond cashflow and deep into the way that a hometown's character, sites of interest and a neighborhood offer/provide fun times and food for thought. You know, of course, that your first career is as a father/husband and you're moonlighting as a lawyer in order to facilitate being the best father/husband you can be. Well, that and because you like practicing law, of course.

Anywho, I'm not not the only one who's sure that you'll make the best judgement that can be made. I mean, your grandfather put you in charge of his estate, di'nt he?

Posted by: Tuning Spork at September 8, 2005 09:39 PM

So much to say, but first, we're sending you happy thoughts (as usual). Second, the strongest image I am left with is the ripping up roots bit. When you transplant, RP, it's often only the least healthy bits that wither or die back. If they return, they often come back stronger and healthier, and able to withstand the jigglings and joggings that come their way afterwards. The bigger roots that are more established may lose some of the hairs that help supply them with water and stuff, but they grow back, and you can always fortify with supplements from which you removed them.

Posted by: Mandalei at September 9, 2005 06:45 AM

That's the best part of blogging-you can do it for yourself sometimes.

Love ya', babe.

Posted by: Helen at September 9, 2005 10:16 AM

I think Tuning Spork's comments are very insightful! Good luck, and listen to your friends, RP!

Posted by: GrammarQueen at September 9, 2005 01:30 PM

Speaking wholly as a military wife:

You said -
"What happens to roots if you pull them up? I suppose they die."

No, sir. They simply reach out - seeking a new place to flourish.

I don't envy you your convergence of "stuff," but I have no doubt whatsoever that you shall come through this stronger, better, faster (like Steve Austin!).

With love,

Posted by: Margi at September 9, 2005 02:08 PM

I shared your post with my soon to be ex-sister in law, whom I watched go through what you're going through now.

After taking stock of her life and giving it much forethought, she made dramatic changes. She decided to start her own law firm after doing some government consultation work. She now handles complex litigation (some of it internationally) part time, however, its taken her 5 years to get to that point. The important thing for her is that she is now able to have the positive and incredible relationship she wanted with my son and the vibrant and challenging career she wanted all along.

She says that knowing what you want is half the battle, being willing to make the sacrifices and the change to have the life you seek is the other half.

As for me, I've chosen to take detours in my career for now in order to be available as much as I possibly can for my son. True it means that I can't choose to buy designer clothes, but every day as we play after dinner and have fun, I'm reminded what a precious opportunity I have that many others don't.

You too will get there. Her advice to you is keep looking, consulting for the govenment and positions within that area she says will give you the greatest lattitude to spend time with family. Patience is the key while you wait for the opportunity to come. She insists it will present itself, and then the sacrifices you make for your family (whether it be another move or not) will pay off for all both in short and long run. That's been her experience and it's been worth it she says.

Posted by: Michele at September 9, 2005 02:16 PM

I'm a bit fuzzly right now so bear with me...

Part-time law: Damn straight you can. Same way we have part-time programmers and are considering both a part-time business analyst and a part-time QA specialist. You go for a restricted work load. If you're running 5 cases at a full workload, take 2 instead. If 1 major case is a full time job you take a minor case instead.

Wine: I'm partial to it at this particular moment. Hehe.

Roots: I've lived me count...9 states growing up and 5 since then. Roots come in two varieties. There are the cores that support and the branches that supplement. The cores come with you. By necessity they get replanted. The branches grow back.

Changing careers: Abso-fucking-lutely. Change is scary. Hella scary. It's also the only way to grow. If you're feeling stifled in law then go where you can breathe. Remember that career does not equal work. Work is what you do to live. A career is what you do to enjoy working.

And most importantly - No matter what you do, it will not damage anything that is essential to your life. Because you won't let it, that's the kind of guy you are.

Posted by: Jim at September 10, 2005 12:42 AM

Work = play and play = work for me. It took me a while to get to this point and I do love it so. If you enjoy complex litigation, then I wonder if you will be happy outside of the law. Remember the law, she be a jealous mistress!!! Have you considered teaching law and would that schedule permit more time with your kids??
Can your wife pick up and move anywhere with your job?
I totally understand how your Grandfather and Grandmother's marriage could be undergoing stress and strains. I saw my parents' do exactly that for at least 15+ years prior to my Father's death. Embrace and appreciate them both with your love while you have them.
I heartily endorse your "stream of consciousness" posts. More fun!!

Posted by: Azalea at September 15, 2005 04:30 PM
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