Friday, April 18, 2014


I took my son to the Boy Scouts' "Camporee" last weekend.

It was so much fun!  And so hard, too...  I am *not* a natural camper.  This was a real effort for me.  I love my warm soft bed, flush toilet, and daily shower.  Camping involves none of these things and so I don't do it often.  I love the outdoors, but usually only if I know I can sleep in my own bed at night.

We left Friday after my son got out of school.  Arrived in Pine, AZ, at Camp Geronimo, around 6 p.m.  Selected our campsite and hauled our stuff up from the car.  Set up the tent in the dark (not fun!  Thank goodness the troop leader and his wife helped out!).  Drove the car back down to the parking lot and hiked the mile back up to the campsite.  Had some fried chicken we'd brought along for dinner.  Went to the scout ceremony/ meeting and sat in the increasing chilly-ness.  Slept on the rather uncomfortable camping pads and woke up cold at 4 a.m., added extra blankets and woke up at 5:30 a.m. with the sun...

And then the actual fun started.  Breakfast in the cold-but-warming beautiful morning with birds singing, scout flag ceremony, dressed in the "Class A" uniforms for the "inspection," and then more scout ceremonies...  all done by probably 8 a.m.  Then some scout activities/challenges for the kids --  involving problem-solving, teamwork, and fun.  The theme was "Zombies," so several of the events required completing them within a time limit before the "Zombies" were released.  There was a fellow applying Zombie make-up to anyone who wanted it...  although most of us adults looked like zombies even without the makeup, after a night spent setting up a campsite and sleeping, very little, in the cold!

Then we had lunch, and then there was hiking, crawfish-catching, and lots of unstructured, kid-led games like Zombie tag, "infected," capture-the-flag, pinecone wars, something resembling lord of the flies and pinecone-throwing, and random explorations of the gorgeous, huge wooded camping area.  Meanwhile, the adults supervised some and hung out a lot, getting to know each other and enjoying the birds and the blue sky with pretty little clouds and the trees and the lack of biting insects and the sound of the wind in the trees.  It was awesome.

Later that evening, after dinner, there was another flag ceremony at sunset, and then a camp-wide meeting at which my scout's Webelos den and my scout's host-boy-scout troop tied for first place for the campsite cleanliness and uniform inspection prize -- both groups scored a perfect 100%!  Each group won large portable grill, to be used for future campouts!  Very exciting!

I met a fellow who is the grandfather of one of the Webelos.  I had met the Webelo's mom before, and she is really nice, too.  He lives down the street and around the corner from us, and works in a building two blocks from where I work.  Such a small world we live in...  He loaned me a jacket, because I forgot to bring my warm toasty one.  He is a soft-spoken, kind-hearted, handsome, smart, sweet man about 15 years older than me.  I have to admit to having a small crush on him.  If I weren't married, I'd have been flirting with him...  As it was, we enjoyed looking at all the stars that can't be seen from the Valley of the Sun because of the light pollution and talking about our jobs and kids/grandkids.

Then we had a great big campfire and roasted marshmallows and made s'mores (yes, the boy scouts love them as much as the girl scouts who invented them), cleaned up a bit, put out the fire, and then slept in our tents in the cold again on the hard ground softened only somewhat by thin camping sleep-pads and bags, woke up at 5:00 a.m. with the sun listening to the birds sing, had another flag ceremony, broke down the camp, and headed back to civilization with a new appreciation for our warm comfortable homes, soft beds, heated bathrooms, and showers. 

Life is good.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Got A New Job...

... And I am so very happy!

For the past few years, I had been applying for jobs whenever I found something I thought I would enjoy doing.  I did not apply for jobs that did not pay well.  I did not apply for jobs that I thought I would hate once I started.  I already had a job (running my own law firm) that I wasn't thrilled with (well, the boss was nice...) and that didn't pay well enough (mostly because I am a much better lawyer than business-person, and did not focus enough on billing and collections) and that featured a never-ending parade of obnoxious opposing attorneys and occasional difficult and/or deadbeat clients and that often resulted in me sitting alone in my office for hours at a time working, with no human interaction at all.  No, I did not apply for anything similar to what I already had...

I applied only for interesting, well-paying jobs in law firms or agencies where I would work regular hours for regular pay and have nice people to talk to each day.

I am now handling appeals in child welfare cases, and I couldn't be happier.  My research and writing skills are put to good use.  I rarely have to interact with obnoxious persons.  The cases are a little sad, but I feel like I am doing some good in this all-too-difficult world, helping kids move on to better lives.  I don't have to deal with billing and collections.  The hours are fairly regular, 40 to maybe 50 per week.

My co-workers are helpful and kind and fun, but not too chatty or intrusive.  We all have work to do so we spend most of the day doing it, which is good.  But there is a sense of camaraderie and fun, too.  We had an NCAA pool.  Two to four of us go for fifteen minute walks almost every day to chat and enjoy the day (that will end soon, though, once it gets hot here in the Valley of the Sun...).  We go to lunch once a month or so.

And one of my co-workers is a secretary!  And she is so smart and knows so much about this area of the law, and she pays attention to details and is enthusiastic and nice, and I enjoy talking with her, and she is always doing things--without being asked--that really help to make my job easier and more pleasant! And someone else pays her salary!  For those of you out there who are the excellent secretaries and paralegals, thank you for all that you do!  You are wonderful.  For those of you who haven't thanked your secretary or paralegal this week, go do it *now*!  You just don't know how lucky you are to have a good assistant, until you don't have one.

And I get a regular paycheck, directly deposited into my checking account every two weeks!  And I never have to spend my weekend sending out bills, or spend a Monday morning making calls to clients to ask when they are planning to pay their bills, or make several trips to the bank each week to deposit checks.  And I am making more than I was making before (although probably not as much as I could make if I were better at running a business, or more dedicated to working 80+ hours a week as a lawyer).

And, perhaps best of all, there is an IT department, so when I have computer problems (rarely, now that folks who know what they are doing are in charge of the computers...), someone besides me is in charge of fixing them!  My goodness, people, if you haven't thanked your IT guy this week, go do it *now*!!  They are a godsend!

Our computer system at work crashed last week, and I got to go take a walk and then do some reading while I waited for it to be fixed.  Everyone else was complaining about the "wasted" time.  I was relishing the fact that I didn't have to stress out about how to fix it, and *then* stress out about how to get my work done.  I could relax and just wait for the computer to work, and *then* stress out--but only if needed!--to meet my deadline.  It was such a relief!!  For those of you out there who are the IT guys at work, thank you for doing such a wonderful job.  People should appreciate you more than they do.

My former work computer, which is now the home computer, is dying a slow and painful death right now, and I am just so very happy that my income and professional well-being do not depend on my fixing or replacing it by tomorrow.  Instead, I can wait until this weekend or next weekend or the weekend after that and shop the sales to get a good deal on a new one.  And I can use the laptop to surf the 'net while I wait for a new desktop computer, without worrying about the fact that the laptop doesn't have all the software I need to enter my time, do my billing, etc.

And, I get paid vacations!

And paid sick leave!

And paid holidays!

And a retirement account!

Work just doesn't get much better than this! 

I am glad I was patient and waited for the right job for me.  I have not been happier at work since I was a bus-driver in college.  :)


Next on the list....  a better marital relationship.  I am not sure whether that means fixing the existing one, or getting a new one, but something has got to give...