Monday, September 26, 2011


Last week was rough. I worked a lot, under a lot of pressure and with tight deadlines (and on no sleep) and by Friday morning I was on my 4th day of a constant headache, with a bonus side of a numb, tingling right hand that was Freaking Me Out. I have a hard time admitting to stress. Mostly because I very rarely feel stressed- sure I was working so much even my dreams were overrun with legal research and arguments and I had one 6-hour stretch at my desk where I couldn't even let myself get up to go to the bathroom or refill my water, but I'm pretty confident in my writing and I wasn't stressed about the drafts I was turning. I was still joking with co-workers and soliciting votes on whether or not I could wear my new moccasins out of the office. I wasn't short on patience, I never snapped at JP or the kids. We went on walks, had family dinners, and tickled and read before bed. But on my third day of eating almost nothing because my stomach kept turning and getting dizzy when I stood up and then losing the feeling in my hand... well, perhaps it was time for a little relief.

On Friday at 5:00 I submitted my final, ready-to-file Daubert motion and all its exhibits to the paralegal to file along with the others. Two minutes later, JP and the kids were in front of my office for Landon's Big Brother Night Out. (One of the many, many times I'm quite grateful for the blackberry I have handcuffed to my wrist; I could never have left the office with a filing due that night, but I knew everyone else was busy with finishing touches on their own motions and I could disappear for 2 hours without anyone even noticing.) This night had been planned since August when Landon's soccer team secured discount tickets to the UT women's NCAA soccer game that night, and JP and I wanted to take Landon out for a special night with just us. Except the plan changed when Landon looked horrified when we told him Claire was going to stay home, so we got to save some money and bring the Biscuit along. We ate at a yummy Italian restaurant downtown and then watched the soccer game while the sun set just behind the skyline view. It was lovely, even if I had to check my blackberry a lot, and even though I ended up working from 8-12 after the kids went to bed.

But on Saturday I didn't work at all. After Landon's soccer game we drove to San Antonio to visit my four grandparents at their swanky army retirement community. It was wonderful to see them, as always, and the kids had a big time running down their long hallways and opening the impromptu presents that always pop up on a visit to the great-grands. On Saturday night JP and I watched Thor, which was as complex a plot as we could handle at the time (and even then I had to wikipedia the story because of a "wait, what? who is the bad guy here? moment" near the end).

And then came Sunday, my very favorite day- the day that makes the whole previous week worthwhile and the whole next week possible. We went on a long family walk and then took a group field trip to the grocery store. By 3:00 I had a 4 lb. pot roast in the oven, braising in a magic mixture of red wine, beef broth, roasted sweet onions and carrots, and fresh rosemary and thyme. I had little tupperware containers of fresh cut fruit, diced rotisserie chicken, and cubed cheese, all labeled and dated and lined up in neat rows in the fridge, alongside the similarly labeled little yogurts, bags of baby carrots, and dinosaur shaped PBJs. The radio was on. JP was mowing. Both kids (and dogs) were sleeping. I made chocolate chip cookie dough, and then, upon realizing the oven was occupied for the next 3 hours for my pot roast, ate the dough with a spoon, standing by myself in the kitchen.  I felt blissfully domestic and happy.  After a delicious dinner, I headed out to use up a massage JP had purchased for me for Christmas. The therapist spend the entire time on my neck, jaw, shoulders, and upper chest, and kept saying "ooh, you've got a lot going on there..." I feel so much better today. No tingling, no numbness, and no morning headache. I really need to do more massages. Well, it would probably be better if I got into a routine of stretching or working out or meditating or Something, but since I know I won't do that, massages are the next best option.

My other bit of relief is a full four months away, but I'm so, so excited about it. At 2 a.m. last Sunday I booked our first family ski trip for January 2012! We haven't taken a family vacation since August 2010 when I was on maternity leave, and skiing is JP and my favorite thing in the whole world, so we're really excited to take the kids along this time. I used all the airline miles I earned through my business travel in August to book 3 tickets (free!), negotiated an awesome rate for a vrbo 2 bed/2 bath ski in-ski out condo, got my sister to book us a family discount rental car, found a 34% off discount code for lift tickets, and now I'm bidding on kids ski clothes on ebay. Claire will go to kidscamp (complete with adorable ice-block slide), Landon goes to ski school (part-day, combined with kidscamp), and JP and I get to SKI (well, snowboard for him). At night we'll cook dinner in the condo and play games and watch movies... I'm pretty sure it's going to be the best 5 days of the whole previous year. We need this, a lot, and I'm going to repeat that to myself every time I feel like I should direct those funds to our student loan money pit. I describe my life as a balance, and it usually is, but that balance is not achieved on an hourly, daily, or even weekly basis. Sometimes it's a week off after a few months of stress and I Can't Wait. I may just hang a shingle in a ski town and never come back.


  1. I could suggest a ski town for you to move to... RIGHT BY MY HOUSE!!!

  2. I am feeling stressed out for you! I am so glad you stuck to your plans and got in your family time, and yay for the ski trip! I just got told by one of my closest friends at my firm that she is quitting because of burn out. No fallback plan, just plain quitting. She is the second associate in two months in my practice group to straight up quit. The first one moved to Paris. So what I am saying is, keep your sanity, and don't feel guilty.

  3. Honestly, I can't recommend scheduling weekly or fortnightly massages too highly - it's what gets me through stressful times.

    Your body is worth it! And you're going to need your body to keep on earning and taking care of your kids.

    I'm the same in the meditation or prayer or yoga don't happen unless I'm scheduled to do it! It's really worth it as an investment - like tuning up your car.

  4. What site did you use to purchase your discount lift tickets?

  5. Massage, massage, massage ... it can be a lifesaver. And I would highly recommend you get it on at least a semi-regular basis now before you find yourself developing body issues as you get older. They say women are very prone to carry our stress in our shoulders and neck and I do believe, based on my own experience, that is the truth. And that doesn't even take into account what all that time spent researching and on a computer does to your posture. Besidess ... it feels so good!

  6. Hope you're feeling a bit better now ... though I'm sure the prospect of your ski trip has perked you up considerably! :-)

  7. i feel inspired by this post!

    re the massage thing, i went through something similar when i came back from my tokyo office assignment (with complementary scare the ish out your earthquake and nuclear disaster experience) unable to turn or move my head. it's downright necessary every once and a while.

  8. when u are too much stressed try works for me...

  9. Glad things are manageable now LL. Exciting even!

    If you can stand the pressure, Shiatsu is great. For bony parts like backs and shoulders, your therapist may be able to use a hot towel to ease the pressure--and it feels extra delicious.