Procrastination (But I Digress)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pie Night Or Solving the Unsolvable Problem

My friends from Toastmasters get together once a month for Pie Night at the local Marie Callendars. Now those of you who know me are asking yourself--Self, Kathy likes pie?? Don't be silly. Of course the answer is no, except that sometimes, rarely, once in a great while, I will eat french apple pie. If you put vanilla ice cream on it, which I love, then all the better. When I was on my two year diet, I went to a dinner meeting one night and they served french apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Having starved myself for two years, that dessert increased exponentially as the most wonderful thing on earth, so that when two years later someone said, we should meet once a month for pie at Marie Callendars, I immediately became the most enthusiastic participant. I might have even been the one to suggest it in the first place--that is how exponential, exponential is. Now that is not to say that I was totally unaware of the fact that I don't really like pie, but I reasoned that if it was only once a month--how bad could it be? We have been meeting now for about 16 months and I must say--I am pretty sick and tired of pie.

So yesterday (pie night) I spied a chocolate chip cookie. I ordered that large chocolate chip cookie and an order of vanilla ice cream (probably inspired by the chocolate chip cookie with ice cream that I saw at BJ's and turned down earlier in the day, since it was pie night and even though I'm not officially on a diet--I'm not totally without a monocure of control, but I digress).
The cookie, being large, was too big to eat and I left most of it on the plate. My pie mates were impressed with my will power; oh contrair mon frere I thought. I have no will power, I'm just done and the rest of the cookie was unappealing. Youreka (that's from a book "You on a Diet"--a play on the work eureka--get it--yes, very cheesy)! If I can find a way to make high caloric and bad processed food seem unappealing to me and make good for me foods like fruits and vegetibles seem appealing, I would be well on the road to healthy eating.

Sorry, I had to stop laughing from what I just wrote. Ok, I'm better now. Today is Friday as everyone knows and Friday is goodies day at the office, so I was humming coming up in the elevator--a little tiny Christmas morning every Friday--how cool is that. But alas, like all holidays, they never quite match up to your expectations. No chocolate chip cookies--no, there was a gorgeous krispy kreme donut on my desk. So great was my disappointment that there was no chocolate chip cookie, that I heard myself saying "I don't like donuts" and I put the donut back in the box. The true fact is that I like krispy kreme donuts. I like them a really really lot. But I don't want a donut. Donuts are the worst food on the planet--sugar and frying oil (just like those mcdonalds french fries--or is it freedom fries--I heard this thing, everyone is so mad at Iceland for the volcanic ashe that closed down all the airports, that they are calling Ice Cream, Freedom Cream, but I digress).

So I have no interest in that donut. Really, none. I am not protesting too much--honestly, I don't want that donut. For some odd reason, I am craving m&ms--makes no sense, because I have been eating them like crazy in the past week and they just don't taste very good, so my brain is very opposed to this craving. Where was I?

Oh yes, pie night. We really have a great time. We all have great stories and we talk over each other to vie to tell the best story. Leon is the elder statesman, an attorney with great seasoned stories and amazing insight. Pete is the friendliest (but of course, Leon you are very friendly too) and tells puns and jokes left and right. I've never met anyone so skilled at making people laugh. We really have a lot of fun at toastmasters and I am trying to remember if it was that much fun before Pete joined--I'm thinking, no. Anderson is the youngest. He's still in college and he always has very interesting perspectives. I think that Leon and I compete to talk the most--a little running battle of the attorneys in love with the sounds of their voices. Hey, maybe that's why I left most of the cookie--I was too busy talking. Youreka! I think we have a winning strategy now. (And by taking all this time to write this blog--I have not yet eaten that milky way that I allowed myself to buy to try to break my m&m addiction--ha).

Do you remember that show "West Wing"? There is a scene where Leo is depressed that there are no new solutions to the middle east crisis and no end in sight. At the end of the episode, the Rob Lowe character takes him aside and says, "you know that I'm not done trying to come up with a solution, right?" It gives you such hope to know that you are not done trying. Ah skinny jeans, I'm not done trying.

P.S. Your job, should you choose to accept it is to ask me about my cross stitching project. I cannot eat and cross stitch. (I can eat while I play the piano--very sad to learn that, I was.) I have a massive cross stitch project that I started when Jackson was a baby. I kind of stopped when I couldn't see anymore, but I have new glasses, so no more excuses. Size 8 or bust--wait that sounds funny--you know what I mean.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Real Life Police Story

So I ran into a police officer that I have met on several occasions and I asked her if she would come and speak to my ROP Legal Occupations Class. We are studying the constitution and several of the students shared their experiences of being stopped by the police and having their cars searched without a search warrent. Silly me, I heard all this negativity about police and thought that if they could only meet police officers in a non-threatening environment, that my students would love and respect them the way that I do. Well, anyhoo, Sue couldn't come to my class, so I asked if we could go to her and have a tour of the police station. She agreed.

To say that I was very excited at the prospect is an understatement. My students, maybe not so much. The time came and Sue first took us to the roll call room (she called it line up I think). She only had about 15 minutes, but she packed so much information into that 15 minutes that we were reeling. My students asked her very good questions and they were attentive and great (only 2 at this point, because one was very late). Then we were handed off to a volunteer officer to continue our tour (and my late kind of grumpy "I don't want to be here" student showed up).

Our tour progressed to forensics. It is not like television. It is incredibly not like television. The "lab" was a glorified kitchen looking room with very little actual equipment. They are expecting a grant to build a DNA lab, but the concern is that a DNA lab will take away a lot of space in the "lab" they have now. They have a dark room kind of area that is almost never used because now all the pictures are digital. They have a large photo copier to prepare exhibits for trial and they have one computer to help analyse fingerprints. They described that the computer gives them a number of possible matches and then they have to manually cull through all the possibles--not like tv where one match is spit out by the computer. We were asking the requirements to get a job in the police department and they said that there was no actual requirement for a college degree, but that the competition was so tough that the last three hires had post graduate masters degrees.

Next we went to the detective offices. It is not a bullpen design, like on tv--it was more cubicles. Then we went to communications. Now I am somewhat familiar with communications, because that's what Michelle does. She told me some wild stories about when she was training to become a 911 operator. Anyway, Glendale has a very nice communications department and a reserve officer gave us a very detailed description of his job and the requirements of the job. I was so impressed. Then we went by a wall of photos--Lief was in several of the photos and I recognized some of the cases, so our guide and I discussed them to try to impress on the students the scope and importance of police work. Even my yawning student asked a few questions. I was happy with the field trip and it could have ended there a complete success.

But then our tour guide took us past the Captians offices. Lief was in his office and since I know him from Kiwanis, he came out to speak with us. My students asked good questions and then Lief went into a speech of sorts as to why he became a police officer. It was so moving. He described the feeling about being called to a dangerous situation and saving someone--protecting someone. He said there is no greater feeling in the world than being so important to society and making such a difference in peoples lives. He described that many people cannot handle the pressure and risk of being a police officer and that it makes some people heavy handed to be in such a dangerous job, under so much stress. He told us that for every 100 candidates for the job of police officer, only 1 will successfully make it their career. I was blown away, but as I sneaked a peek at my students I realized we were losing their interest and I really wanted to get them out of there before they embarassed me.

So I was super impressed, but it didn't seem like my students were. Now I need to send a thank you present to Sue and Lief and the volunteer officer (whom I was so stupid not to write down his name), but Lief told us that it was unethical for the police to accept gifts. A civilian police force allows a free democracy to run and I'm sitting here trying to decide if I can send Sue and Lief a edible arrangement (you know one of those fruit bouquets that is cut friut to look like flowers). They are getting the fruit. If they are not allowed to accept it, then they will probably give it to their volunteers and that is all good.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Meet the Sheriff

This is the second time that I have participated in a lock out after an unlawful detainer. The first time, I represented a church and their tenant was a day care provider who had been arrested for fraud. They stopped paying the rent and the day care center was closed, but the church really wanted the space to be used by another day care provider, so even though they hated to kick someone out--it needed to be done. The sheriff said to be there at 6:30 a.m. (they like to surprise people so that they won't have their guns out). It was a place of business (day care center), but the renter was there with his bankruptcy petition to stop the lock out. It was quite an education.

This time, I had already spoken with the renter that I knew and he had already moved. But he had allowed a bunch of other people that I didn't know to live in the house and so we really needed the sheriff to get all these strangers out. The guy I knew was now afraid of the other people who moved in and had reported them to the police for harassment. Physical threats had been made and there was a rumor of drug dealing. (Sounds all hollywood, doesn't it?) So I was trying to be ready for anything. I got there early, because someone said that sometimes the sheriff just comes and puts a note on the door early to avoid having to do the lock out. If the representative is not there with a locksmith--the sheriff won't do the lock out--they just leave and you have to start the process all over again. So I was there early. As I was sitting in my car out front, it was clear that the house was empty, but two or three homeless people passed by while I was sitting there. That made me kind of nervous--were they the lookouts? At the appointed time, the locksmith showed up. He was a little old man who would not be any help in a fight, so my hollywood nervousness was not appeased.

And we waited. And waited. The sheriff's notice says that they can take up to an hour to get there and my locksmith was now on the clock so to speak in a case where we have no money (and we owe the locksmith money already, but that is a really long story). So the locksmith says that his office is just around the corner and I tell him to go ahead and leave and I'll call him back when the sheriff gets there--it will only take a few minutes for him to come back. Great plan.

Of course, you know what happened next. As the locksmith pulls away from the curb, I see the sheriff's car turn the opposite corner and they pull up to the house. The locksmith is gone just as the sheriff gets there. Sheriff guy is not sympathetic to the irony and stoicly informs me that he had up to an hour after the appointed time and it is my responsibility to have the locksmith waiting there. I hurriedly call the locksmith who hasn't even had time to get back to the shop to tell him to come back and now it will be twice as long as a few minutes since he has to get to the shop to learn that he has to come back.

Meanwhile, the sheriff guys in full bullet proof vests and guns portruding at their waists walk around the property. A back door is open, so one of the sheriff guys goes in the house and declares it to be "Clear". The not sympathetic sheriff guy stays out front fiddling with the front door lock (maybe to break it, so that the old tenant's key won't work--that would be really smart, but Sheriff Stoic wasn't sharing with me.) Anyway, the locksmith gets back, but the sheriff guys don't care anymore--sign here Mam. And they drove away. So it was just me and little old locksmith guy in a big dirty scary house.

There were five doors and four of the doors had a top and bottem lock and the locksmith rekeyed all of them. There were some pad locks on the gates, but one of the gates didn't have anything to pad lock, so we decided that since it wouldn't really be secure, why bother with the other ones. Then a white van drove slowly by. The tenant that I knew had said that one of the people had left a white van on the property, but it wasn't there when the sheriff was there. The white van didn't come again while I was there, but I'm sure it will try later. Little old locksmith guy and I were there about an hour changing all the locks and making sure all the windows were locked (steping over really disgusting stuff--yuck).

So no gunfight--no hollywood drama--and, whew, no bankruptcy petition--just a really dirty house with brand new locks. Thanks, sheriff guys.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You Meet the Nicest People

I went to a funeral today for a client of mine. I have only known her for a few years, but she was just a great gal and we got along really well right from the first day we met. She was introduced to our firm by her realtor--another great guy, whom I also liked right away when I met him. She had a lot of legal problems and we steadily worked through them all. When we were finished with her legal case, she brought me her personal estate planning to look at. I gave her some advice, but she made up her own mind about things. Hearing the story of her life today at her funeral had me nodding my head--yes, independent and stubborn--that describes her very well (and she had a great laugh too).

When I first met her, she told me about a lady she hired to conduct an estate sale--that was Keri, whom I met and liked alot and ultimately hired to handle my Aunt's estate sale. I have since recommended Keri to two other estates and have had glowing reviews, such that I am always grateful that my client made that introduction.

My client knew that she was dying--she was basically given two months to live by her doctor (and she took four), so she set up her funeral arrangements herself. She personally met with and arranged the pastor who would conduct the service.

The priest has a thick irish accent and told jokes all through the service. He told us a story that he told my client before she died about a near death experience that he had. One day in 2006, he had a pain in his shoulder when he woke up. He had had brocitis in that shoulder years ago, so he figured it was coming back with a vengence. Then he had the pain in both shoulders and he felt a heavy weight on his chest. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his assistance pastor and a Saint nun who had started the order of nuns who taught him through grade school. Now for a priest to see another pastor and a nun is not a big story, except, he knew them both to be dead and yet there they were big and real as life. So he joked with them and said, "Is this the big one?" the way Stanford always did on "Stanford & Son". He said the assistant pastor just smiled, but the nun said, go and take two aspirins and cough. So he's no fool, says he, and he goes and takes two aspirins and coughs. Then like any person having a heartattack, he gets in his car and drives himself to the hospital. As he is approaching the hospital, he remembers that it is almost impossible to get a parking space and he's not sure how far he can walk, so he says a little prayer asking if it might be possible to get a parking space. Sure enough there is a spot right next to the door, and he staggers in stating that he's having chest pain and the emergency room flies into action wisking him away to surgery in no time at all.

Later his doctor asks him, how did you know to cough? What's he supposed to say--the nun from the pictures all over his grade school told him too? It turns out several months later, that it became reccomended that patients having a heartattack be advised to cough, because that stops the heart from defribrulating.

The moral of his story was that we don't ever really die. He told us that the word cemetary was invented by the Catholics--it means place of rest--our bodies are just asleep waiting for the resurrection. After death we will all meet again waiting for the next phase that God has intended for us.

This explanation feels comfortable to me. I've always felt that Mom and Karl and Matthew and Mary, Urs and Bea are all somewhere hanging out--that this life is just a stepping stone to the next life. This priest is a kindred spirit and I'm so glad that my client introduced us. She was really great that way.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Oh, Baby

Last week was the week before Marisa was taking the twins to visit their Great Grandma in Minnisota for two weeks. So I tried to be available for baby watch when ever they were home because we aren't going to see them for a while. At first only Matthew wanted to come to me, but after a few days, they both did and Matthew got quite loud and grumpy when I left the room.

Anyway I drove Ris and the babies to the airport on Sunday night. We got a great parking space next to the elevators, but we had to go all the way down to the street to get into the terminal and then wait in line to get an elevator back up to the ticket counter to check her bag. The elevators are kind of off to the side in a no mans land, so that it wasn't obvious where we were supposed to go at the ticket counters. We went to one that said "Special Services"--sounded good to me, One mom and two babies sounds like special services are required. Well that was the international ticket counter so we were in the wrong place, but Ris already had her boarding passes, so they said they would check the bag there. Then we asked them for a gate pass so that I could help Ris with the babies while she waited for the plane and they hesitated for just a moment and then they gave it to us.

We went to a security check point that was off the next elevator that we were directed to and it was a special line for families. All the families in line were helpful to each other and even though we needed a lot of bins and the stroller wouldn't fit in the X-ray, we made it through pretty well (I think that Ris has putting the stroller up and down while holding a baby down to a science because that was all done before I even looked in her direction to offer to help.)

We were three hours early for the flight. So I got Matthew out of the stroller to walk him around and let him loose on the floor. He immediately crawled (very very fast) under the line of chairs where I couldn't reach him. So I spent the next hour or so following him and herding him around in the general area of our gate. Another little boy at the airport (named Adam) who was probably four years old did some high kicks where Madilyn could see him and she just laughed like crazy every time he kicked. Well her laughter absolutely delighted him, so he spent the next couple of hours doing everything he could think of to make her laugh again. He'd get closer and closer to her and then his dad would call him back to their seats and then he'd inch closer and closer to the stroller and his dad would call him back to their seats.

After a while, I took Matthew on a walk to see if I could find a diet coke. Nope. When I came back I took Madilyn for the same walk. I don't want to show favorites. They both really liked the moving billboards along the way. About a hour before the flight was supposed to leave the babies were pretty fussy, so we set about getting them to sleep. Ris took Matthew on a long stroller ride and I held Madilyn singing lullaby over and over and over until I bored her to sleep. The guy across the isle looked at me a few times as if to say, really, you are singing that song again. What's it been, about 100 times?

Just as both babies were asleep, they changed our gate. So we packed up the stroller, sleeping babies, two car seats, two carry ons, sweaters, coats and purses and moved to the other gate. Luckily there were three seats in a row open so that we could sit. Ris went to stand in line to get the tags to gate check the stroller and to see if there were any open seats so that she could use both car seats. She was in line a really long time and they were already boarding zone 1 before she came back. They did not offer to allow passengers with infants to board first. She was in zone 4. After they were loading zone 2, a different airline person came on our side of the gate check in and we asked if I could go down the ramp with Ris, so that she could go and set up the car seat and then come back for the babies. The airline lady didn't say anything, she just looked at us really annoyed and then concerned and then she took Ris's boarding passes (two--one for her and one for the baby in the car seat) and said you can board now. So I went with them down the breeseway ramp to the door of the airplane. Ris went in with one car seat and I stayed with the babies. The airline workers came and said they wanted the stroller, but I pointed out that they couldn't have the stroller until we took the babies out, so they really would need to wait.

Finally after a long time, Ris came back and said that there was a really nice man sitting next to them and she thought he would agree to move if there were any extra seats. I told her to wait there until everyone was on the plane so that we would know if there were any extra seats, because otherwise they would gate check her extra car seat. So we both waited by the door for the last passenger to board.

We asked if there were any extra seats and were told tersely that there were no extra seats. So Ris took a baby and I took a baby while she singlehandedly collapsed the stroller (and another stroller sitting there that the baggage guy didn't know how to work). She was ready to take both babies, but I asked, can't I just go on and hand her the second sleeping baby when she's in her seat. I don't specifically remember anyone saying yes, but I know we were at least nodded through, because I went on the plane and kept yelling back to the door, don't close that door until I get off. [I know I was yelling and not a single person was listening in the least.] So Ris got Matthew in his seat and got in her seat and buckled her seat belt and took Madilyn and I ran back to the front of the plane to get off.

WHO ARE YOU? A better dressed airline guy said. "Oh, I was just helping my niece with the twin babies get to their seat." WHAT? YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE PLANE, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO THE GATE. WHO LET YOU IN HERE? "I have a gate pass" and I gave it to him. YOU ARE GOING TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN JAIL FOR GETTING ON THIS PLANE. THIS IS A SERIOUS BREACH OF SECURITY. The guy really wanted to know who let me near the plane. I looked at the lady who had been at the gate and who nodded me onto the plane, but she obviously did not want to be exposed, so I said whoever was at the door and I described where she had been standing. I also told him that we had two tickets, two adults and two babies so maybe they thought I had a ticket, but that I had clearly asked for permission to help my niece with the babies. Anyway, he wasn't happy about it, but he let me go after telling me that I should never have been given a gate pass because the babies were not unaccompanied and that the airline staff would have helped her. HA I wanted to say to him. Not a single person at the airport (except other passengers) had offered to help us in the least. They all gave you that labored sigh and avoided eye contact so that they wouldn't have to help.

After Ris arrived at her grandmothers, she sent a picture by twitter of two sleeping babies. They arrived just fine. I hope they are having a good time, but that's not to say that I wouldn't crack a little smile if Matthew and Madilyn are just a little extra fussy in the mornings because they are missing saying good morning to their great Aunt Kathy.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Yes, those expensive shoes that are touted to give you a work out just by walking in them. Sounds like a real scam--work out by walking? I saw a woman at the gym with these shoes and I asked her about them--do they work? She said that she liked them a lot, but that they were really, really expensive. How much I asked, not shy at all. $100. Ouch.

But weight watchers was a bust, so I'm looking for miracles. I got a yoga ball. One of the guys at the office replaced his desk chair with a yoga ball, so I thought I would replace my piano bench with the yoga ball. Not so much. At first it was really too low, so I was going to go out and buy the next size up, but Pete told me, no you have to put more air in it--even if you think the darn thing will pop--put more air in it. I did again and again and again. It is now at a comfortable height, but still just slightly too low for the piano. Besides I don't want Caitlyn to try to sit on it, her little body would be flung across the room. Anyhoo, I sit on the ball to watch tv sometimes. It makes my stomach hurt. Normally that would be a bad thing, things that make my stomach hurt, but I'm thinking it is probably working my stomach muscle (novel idea to be sure) and so, probably a good thing. Counter intuitive, but good. Sad and demented, but good (wasn't that a line in the Breakfast Club, but I digress.)

So the same day that I forked out $27 for the ball and I decided to go all in and I stopped at the Lady Footlocker store. I walked right up to the skecher display and picked up the one closest to me and then looked for someone to help me. We're in a recession, right? Shouldn't they WANT to sell me something? There were two people working there. One had the whole wall of product down and was redoing the display. She was up on a ladder. There were two other customers in the place. The other guy was helping one of the other customers, so I waited. That's reasonable. I listened in. The customer was asking him a question. He walked away without answering her as though he wasn't listening. He didn't walk away to help the other customer or me, he just walked away and was behind the counter. Maybe he knew the customer he walked away from, because she didn't seem to mind in the least and she kept looking.

While I was trying to process all of this I thought heck, no one gets on the bus unless they push their way on (a lesson learned on Vernor highway in my high school days). I went up to the guy and showed him the shoe that I wanted and said, I need this in 71/2 wide. He rudely (yes that is the only way to describe his attitude) said, they don't come in wide. Fine, may I please have this in a 7 1/2. He said, you know those are $100? I told you he was rude. Yes, I said. He signed loudly and went into the back. He came out with about six boxes and gave them all to the other two customers. Now I really didn't understand the dynamics--he wasn't even listening to them, but he brought them out shoes to try on. He left again and I contemplated leaving and going to a different shoe store. This was insane. Then he came out and handed me a box and then turned around and went back to the counter to play on his computer. The shoe didn't fit in size 7 1/2, so I stated loudly from my spot to him behind the counter that I would need it in size 8. He came back as though I were killing him, took the box and went back into the stock room. He came out with a new box and then turned to help the other customers. I tried on the size 8 and they fit.

But they didn't just fit. They made me feel like I was floating. My feet hurt all the time, but they were so comfy in those shoes. They didn't hurt. I had to have these shoes, for it is money I have and comfy I lack. Now I just had to make that sales person take my money before I killed him. It is funny that my mind never went to stealing them as an option--just murder.

[As a side note, Dad got a card in the mail--a real plastic substantial card with his name engraved on it from the NRA. Dad usually throws that kind of junk mail stuff away, but for some reason opened that one. He is an NRA card carrying person. Those people have no idea what they are playing with. If I ever had a real gun, no one would be safe. It boggles my mind, but I digress.]

I took out my credit card and stood at the counter with my shoes in a box. It took several minutes, but the sales person finally walked the other customer up to the counter and took her money. When she was all done, he sighed and resigned himself to take my money too. Psychicly I could feel him looking for an excuse not to help me, but he didn't have any excuse. My brain was screaming "grab your credit card (I wish it was gold for just this occasion) and tell him, you work on commission, big mistake, huge, I have to go shopping" and leave. But I didn't. I signed my name and walked out with my new shoes.

So it has been a few weeks of wearing these shoes. The first day was kind of scary--the shoes are not straight on the bottom. You kind of feel off balanced wearing them. I started scrunching up my toes because I was afraid I was going to fall. Then after a few more days of wearing them, my thighs hurt--a lot. Of course, my first thought was cancer, but then I realized it was the old thigh muscles getting a work out. Walking on the shoes (that's what it feels like, walking on them, not in them) is like walking on sand. And they are heavy. But they are soft and cushie too. I wear them to walk from my car to piano class--a long walk up hill--now that is a work out.

Don't get me wrong--it's not a miricle--I'm still fat, but its one small (comfy) step for health.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Going to Court

That's my job and I do it well. We had a speaker at Toastmasters who gave a speech about a book on successful people and one of the tenets of the book was that you had to do something for 10,000 hours to be an expert. So Leon looked over at me and asked me if I had 10,000 hours in as being a lawyer yet. Gee when you do the math (and that is much easier as an attorney since we are paid by the hour) it is a ton--way more than 10,000, but I digress.

So a few days ago, my staff showed me a form prepared in our office by them that they have been using for eight years that I have never seen before. The form was titled Judgment. There is no place on the form for the Judge to sign it. Now this is law 101--nay even more basic than that. Look up Judgment in the dictionary (ok, maybe Black's Law dictionary)--a judgment has to be signed by the Judge! So I get really bent out of shape calling into question every judgment we've done in the past eight years--panicking as to how I could be so stupid as to trust my staff. Then we found a form done by another attorney (not our office, me or my staff) and there was no place for the Judge's signature. I'm living in the twightlight zone was all I could think of. Apparently there is a rule that allows the clerk to sign certian types of judgments and this type is one of them. I knew that there were types of judgments that the clerk could sign, but it is a very narrow area, so my initial panic was not completely unfounded. Perhaps being an expert is not all that, but I digress.

So I was going to court this morning. I wanted to walk through a Writ. The clerks never let you walk through a writ. Never. But you always think that your unique set of circumstances should be the exception to the rule. My writ initially was put through in the normal manner--sent down with a process server. It used to be that you had to have a convoluted Application to do a Writ, but that requirement was done away with years ago, since the Application really just repeats the information in the Judgment that is already signed by the court, but I digress. My writ request was rejected because I did not have an application and I did not name one of the defendents on the writ. HUH? I do a quick search of local, local forms and sure enough, there is an old Application form that this particular courthouse is still using. As for the unnamed defendant--why does the clerk care that I am not enforcing my judgment against one of the defendants? It is a micky mouse reason to reject the writ, but I digress.

So I went to court this morning. I am running out of time and I need this writ quickly. My writ was rejected for (really bad epithets) reasons. Now I wasn't really going to "Court" in front of a judge or anything--I was just going to the clerk's office. But I dressed in a suit. Ok, it's not my best suit or even very formal--it's probably the most casual a look that might be termed a "suit". So when I say I was going to court, maybe you wouldn't have known it to look at me.

So I'm standing in line at the clerk's office. There's a guy at the counter with a big pile of papers. He's obviously a process server with a pile of things to be filed. They work in volume. There was no clerk at the window--probably off looking for something for this guy. So we are waiting and waiting. Soon there are three or four other people in line behind me. We are all waiting and waiting. There is a clerk at the criminal window with no line, but she doesn't call any of us over to her line. So we wait.

Then a guy in a really good looking suit comes in. This guy is an attorney--it is written all over him, from his shiny shoes to his $400 haircut and the smirk on his face. He goes to the clerk at the criminal window and announces loudly that he has an ex parte for civil, can he get priority and go to the head of the line. She nicely tells him that he's at the wrong window and that he'll have to ask the civil clerk when she returns. He siddles up to the guy already at the window ahead of all of us in line. One of the people behind me says, hey, get at the back of the line. And he says, Attorneys get priority--let's see what the clerk says. Me, I was grinning. If attorneys get priority, then I'm ahead of him. But he looked right through me. No $400 hair cut on me--no shiny shoes and my suit--nope. No one would mistake me for the attorney.

Luckily (or unluckily actually) the clerk tells him to go to the back of the line. He was like a large child who stomped off ready to throw a tantrum. However, my tiny victory of not being displaced in line was short lived because when I did get to the clerk, she categorically refused to allow me to walk through my writ. I could drop it off and wait and see if it was accepted in the normal course--two to three business (nope--court) days. Oh well. Two more hours of experience. Did I mention that attorneys count travel time as billable hours. The five freeway is really slow all the time (and there is that Ruby's along the way that serves 50-50 shakes--50% ice cream and 50% orange juice--yes I am quite the expert at going to court.)