March 2007


Law school spring break used to be two weeks. Two weeks felt like the right amount- it gave you a couple days to decompress from exams, do all those errands you’ve been putting off, then blow town for a week, sunning yourself somewhere, forgetting everything you ever learned about torts and strict scrutiny and reasonable suspicion, with a couple days on the back end to get over your sunburn.

Then this year, spring break was shortened to one week, and I am annoyed. (Those of you who work at real jobs are doubtless thinking “bitch is complaining about getting a week off? Please.” To which I say: you have a point, but kindly shut up. I was used to those two weeks.)

So after only one week off, which was just enough time to go quickly to California for the weekend only to be screwed by American Airlines and the Orange County Airport- good times!- I am back at school. This last chunk of law school seems, for me, to be defined mostly by malaise. Some of my classmates are starting to feel nostalgic, wanting to spend a lot of time with friends who are going to be leaving soon to jobs in New York, D.C., L.A. I feel no such nostalgia, and instead want to take classes that demand as little work as humanly possible, then get out of law school as fast as I can. I have yet to (a) purchase any books, (b) do any assignments or (c) actually pick at least one more class to ensure that I have enough units to graduate.

To celebrate this newly-discovered slackerness, this afternoon I will be driving to Naperville, picking up a 30-foot RV, driving it back to school, picking up 6 friends, and driving through the night to Virginia to attend a weekend softball tournament. I plan to play a lot of flip cup, and to drive through West Virginia, thus completing my quest to visit all 50 states before I’m 30. We will then drive all through the night on Sunday to get home in time for Monday class, which I plan to be too tired to attend. It is shaping up to be an excellent trip.

Even though my husband already owns “barnoculars,” (don’t you wish you lived with someone who so truly takes the Boy Scout motto to heart?) I just might have to buy him these  so he can be fully prepared for any Jimmy Buffet concerts and trips to the beach, too.

If I were more cool, spring break might be filled with tales of doing tequila shots out of someone’s belly button, but this spring break so far has been remarkably free of interesting things to blog about, unless you really want to hear about (1) homeowner’s insurance, (2) carpet pricing or (3) BarBri sign up information.

Mostly, though, I have nothing interesting to report because I have wasted an embarrassing amount of time in the past few days trying to beat Family Feud on virtual NES.  So far, I have not even been able to make it to the fast money round.  This is because I have to play against a computer family called the Kennedys, a group of 1991-era GENIUSES, who get every single answer right and always steal my money.  Every single time.

Case in point:   One question asked “how much does a new tv cost?”  I correctly guessed $500, $600, $400, $450, $300, $700, $350, $800, $650 and $750 before I reached my three strikes.  There was one answer left on the board.  The Kennedys had a chance to steal.  The remaining answer was $395.  The Kennedys guessed it.  Bastards.

Another example:  “Name a foreign hat.”  I guessed beret, fez, sombrero and panama hat before striking out.  What one answer did I miss?  Turban.  Damned non-politically correct questions!

My personal favorite:  “Name something that you have been bitten by.”  I got all the basics- dog, mosquito, etc.  What did I miss?  Parrot.  PARROT.  Who gets bitten by a parrot?  How is that one of the top 6 answers on the board?  What?  The Kennedys, of course, knew that.  Jerks.

Let this be a warming:  if you are hoping to be productive, do NOT go to virtualNES. com.  You could waste your whole spring break that way.

I have sort of a “penny wise pound foolish” problem here at Casa de Pseudo from time to time, such that I might say “oh my god the nice soft toilet paper costs like thirty cents more than the stuff that feels like wiping your ass with recycled newsprint, we are definitely not getting it” on the same day that I say “eight dollars seems a totally reasonable amount to pay for the to-die-for mushroom salad at Southport Grocery.” I recognize that this is a problem, and thus I do a lot of buyers remorse-ing, particularly of major purchases. In particular, I am famous (notorious?) for buying beautiful shoes that I love love love and then deciding they were too too too expensive and returning them a day later. John thinks this is one of my most charming traits.

So because I don’t trust myself at all in this arena, I ask you, internet: how much is too much to pay for a pair of boots that are beautiful, well-made, knee-high, flat soled (good for walking!) and did I mention beautiful?

If it would help you make a decision, you should know that I am considering purchasing them as a little “holy crap I finally made it through exams and it is now spring break wheeeeeeee” present for myself after having very responsibly decided not to take a spring break trip to Mexico with my friends.

So? How much?

note: the boots pictured above are NOT the boots in question. But wouldn’t it be awesome if they were?

Our mortgage application forms came through, and as John and I were signing our life away on approximately 432 documents, I happened to glance down at the one called “asset summary,” which said:

Borrower one assumed monthly salary (John): [redacted]

Borrower two assumed monthly salary (Pseudo): $1

Well, geez, I knew public interest work isn’t lucrative, but a dollar a month? So glad to see the bank has so much faith in my ability to contribute financially to this marriage.

Today the following memo was slid under our door:

To: Residents of [our address]

From: Building manager

Date: 3/6/2007

Re: SECURITY ADVISORY AND REMINDER- PLEASE READ

 

Earlier today a stranger gained unauthorized entry into the building and began knocking on unit doors in an attempt to gain access from whoever would open the door. Fortunately the staff were able to detain the suspect in the lobby until the Chicago Police Department arrived to arrest him.

As you are well aware, [our address] is a safe building. To continue to safeguard our building, management needs your assistance and would like to remind you of the following:

1. please make sure to close the building and garage doors behind you. If you see a door open, CLOSE IT.

2. When possible, do not allow vehicles to follow you into the garage. Allow them the opportunity to use their key fob to enter the garage.

3. When possible, do not allow unfamiliar people to follow behind you once you have opened an entry door. Allow them to [sic] opportunity to use their key fob to open the door.

4. Be aware of your surroundings. Take note of the people around you as you enter the building, especially the garage.

5. Always make sure to lock your unit door even if you are at home. Do not open your door if you are not familiar with the person on the other side of it.

6. Be mindful of suspicious activities, which may appear to be out of the ordinary. This might include suspicious vehicles, visitors, or noise. Please immediately report any suspicious activity to the management officer or the front desk.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in helping make [our address] a wonderful and safe place to live!

 

My thoughts when I read this ran something like this (in rough chronological order.)

1. Oh good grief. This building is all about the drama. This is just like that time they sent a flyer around saying “call your alderman and let her know that you do NOT support the construction of a soup kitchen three blocks from here! It will lower our property values!”

2. Well, actually, this is not quite like that. It’s kind of nice that they let us know that this incident happened, instead of letting it travel through the building rumor mill. Is there even a building rumor mill? I’m certainly not privy to it.

3. What is up with the whole stranger-danger tone of this letter? “Be aware of your surroundings?” “Be mindful of suspicious activities?” Isn’t that just part of living in the city?

4. It would be easier to use our key fobs and close all the doors behind us if THEY EVER WORKED. Stupid key fob thingies never freaking working properly.

5. How exactly am I supposed to prevent someone from following me into the garage? The fob, when it works, opens the door for like 45 seconds. I can’t make it close any faster.

6. Man, I am looking forward to moving into our new condo.

(Did you see how I just snuck that in there? “Our new condo”? YAY!)

I did the laziest thing I have ever done in my whole life today. 

Today, I received my graduation audit, which tells me which requirements I’ve fulfilled, which ones I haven’t, and how many units I need to graduate.  The audit told me that I need six units to graduate.  Which- great!  Six units is very few!  Only two classes!  Very very few!  So few, in fact, that it is not enough to keep me registered as a full time student.  Full-time studentness requires nine units.  Full-time studentness is also a pesky graduation requirement.  So somehow, through my overzealous taking of classes over the past eight quarters, I am poised to graduate with three extra units. 

But! Wait!  I have a paper for an old class that is still outstanding.  (In law school, nothing is ever really “due,” so much as it is in a state of “perpetual extension.”)  Old class is worth….3 units.  Units I will not receive if I don’t write the paper.

You can see where this is going, yes?  I emailed the professor of old class and asked if he would mind terribly if I, um, withdrew.  Ex post.  Waaaaay ex post.  “You see,” I wrote, “I have kind of a lot of things to wrap up before graduation [lies!  Damned lies!  I have nothing to do but watch all of Season 2 of Lost on DVD!  Which to *me* is important, but I doubt you’d be convinced!] and I’m pretty sure that if I did write the paper the quality would end up being pretty low [truth!  Total truth!  I would be phoning it in on this one!  It would be crap!] so I was thinking that, with your permission, it would be prudent [because lawyers love using the word “prudent”] for me to withdraw rather than submit a sub-par paper.”

“Sure,” he replied.  Which I think translates to “you mean I don’t have to grade your 35 page paper that is now over a year overdue?  Sweet!”

So I withdrew from a class.  A year later.  To avoid writing a paper.  Anal-retentive high-achieving high school me would be horrified, but lazy adult me is elated.  My spring break prospects just got a whole lot brighter.

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