Diego’s eating his normal dog food for the first time in a week. I guess the fact that he isn’t expecting more ham, or roast beef, or quiche, or bacon, or some other buttery/greasy food to ‘accidentally’ fall in front of him shows his acceptance of a return to the status quo.
It was a great holiday season, incredibly busy this year, but I’m happy things have slowed back down. I’ve got things I need to get done, and really need to take a look at the practice and make some changes for an economy that looks bleaker and bleaker by the day. Too many projects became involuntary pro bono this year. Sorry folks, but I decide where I volunteer my time, not you.
At least it will be a short work week as I ease back into some kind of a pattern. Spinner goes back to work on the fifth, so I won’t get much done until then, except maybe a little mental health roadtrip. And, weather permitting, our local little
Being Stalked By Weather
Happily back in San Diego after a couple of days up the coast in Ventura. The little roadtrip was planned back in September as a pre-Christmas shopping trip scheduled around a billable court appearance but ended up just being a rain-drenched driving nightmare sandwiching an otherwise successful little hearing.
There was some anxiety about the scheduled trial, because the judge at our September settlement conference seemed skeptical of some of our legal arguments. Even more anxiety when I showed up at the courthouse and found there were fifteen cases on our particular judge’s calendar for that afternoon, and began to worry if I had enough clean socks and undies to deal with a continuance. Then when checking in the clerk let me know that because of the scheduling crunch we were being transferred to a different department down the hall. The new judge, my new most favorite judge, loved our legal arguments, and the hearing was a breeze. And easily the best part of the trip.
The rest of the trip was simply a rain-soaked disaster. Most Californians simply can’t drive safely in the rain, and despite a major storm with high winds most Angelenos still seemed to be trying to navigate the highways with a cell phone in one hand and a latte in the other. The 170 mile trip took 4 1/2 hours to make. I lost count of the number of totalled cars on the sides of the highways, but loved the semi on the 5 in Los Angeles that managed to block all four southbound lanes after it hit the center divider. Too bad the camera was in the trunk. Fortunately his debris only blocked one of the northbound lanes I was using.
Even walking around Ventura this morning there was snow visible on the nearby hillsides and I almost killed myself sliding on the frozen timbers of the Ventura Pier.
This isn’t the way a trip up the California coast is supposed to go, even in December. This wasn’t even Central California. This is the weather I abandoned in DC and Idaho, and now it’s followed me here. Maybe I should have tried for a restraining order while I was at the courthouse.
Wind and pouring rain in SoCal are turning Monday morning into a horrendous commute for many. Spinner just called from the northbound 15 to let me know the southbound was at a standstill. Not me though. Putting on the metaphorical fuzzy slippers to go from the bedroom to the office, via the kitchen coffee pot, is still the extent of my commuting effort most mornings.
Wednesday will be rougher though – 170 miles north by northwest for a trial in Ventura. Probably in the second half of this same storm, which will nearly double the drive time. And if that weren’t bad enough, there’s that whole putting-on-pants thing, which always tends to ruin the morning ambiance. I kinda wish there was a way to teleappear for this thing, but I like Ventura too much.
Planning On A Good Month
Back to enjoying life now that the first of the month and the accompanying Business/bookkeeping obligations are complete for the month. I have twenty-something days to do what I like to do, with the added advantage of it being a holiday month. There’s a little trial up the coast at mid-month, hopefully with a little accompanying surf time. Christmas is looking good, as is New Years with the Penguin Plunge and maybe a mini roadtrip around the same time. I have an appointment with a personal trainer on Friday, and am thinking more and more about getting into some kind of organized swim program after the first of the year. Solo practice rocks, but I need to get out of the house more. Not just the sanity, but I need to be shaking hands if I want to stay in solo practice. As much as I grumble here sometimes, there are many less pleasant possibilities.
The decorations might be up, but not feeling completely festive. Nice to see that the government is finally confirming what everyone everywhere knew months ago: we’re in a recession. I’m still busy, but spending much more time than I used to away from practice. The unbillable time suck of Accounts Receivable is getting bigger by the month. Today is beautiful with a high surf advisory, but instead I’m at my desk getting bills out. The process isn’t as bad as when I used to stuff envelopes by hand, but is still not the reason I went to law school. More and more recently it also involves getting depressed about what’s still pending from prior months. And getting pissed again at the ass who likes to call himself a “friend” but walked away from his legal bills this fall stinging me for a couple months rent. I’ll get paid, but would certainly rather not lose the time involved in the process.
That’s the sounds of business skidding to a halt for the holidays. It happens every year, but I’m beginning to suspect this year will be a bit deeper than the last few. Business transactions that weren’t complete can wait until after the first of the year. New ventures will wait and see where the economy’s at after the first of the year. And family law clients will all have emergencies, but few will pay until after the first of the year. Junior’s X-box always gets priority over the lawyer’s X-box.
Time to revamp some websites and shake some hands. Be the social
marketer butterfly. See if that yoga’s paid off and I can keep from bouncing too hard off the walls.
Interesting article in the North County Times on the San Diego courts’ efforts to deal with reduced funding at a time when the need for the courts’ services is greater than ever. Sure, reducing staff through attrition is on the list, as is reduced window hours. More importantly though is what’s not on the list: e-filing, electronic files, and a decent online calendar and docket system being at the top of my list. I regularly use the online systems in other counties, Ventura and Riverside in particular, for my current caseload. Both counties provide much more information without the need for a clerk’s time or effort, though neither yet come close to the federal court system of storing all filed documents electronically. Unfortunately my guess though is that the local courts won’t be able to pull together the start-up capital for any decent move forward until times are good again, and then they won’t have the incentive to do so.
I should be writing, but instead I just keep pushing the refresh button trying to find out where FedEx is hiding my new wetsuit. My schedule is packed between now and Tuesday, mostly with election stuff, but come Wednesday I want to be comfy and warm and not at my desk.
I’ve been doing more yoga lately, both to stretch out various tight spots and do help detach from the annoying Business of Law issues that seem to be coming with the new economy. When I do it at home, with guidance from the dulcet voice on the DVD, Diego normally just sleeps right through it. Today was different. He seemed to be challenging me on every posture. Trying to outstretch me on downward-facing dog. Testing my balance on tree pose by curling up on the one grounded foot. Then, while laying down in the final relaxation pose he starts licking my face, then does his quick little check to see if maybe, finally, he’s loosened my nose to the point where it will come off. A quick snap back to reality and thirty minutes of zen abruptly ends with a nip from the big dog wannabe. Such is life.
Another Successful Weekend
I wasted most of my Sunday coding on the sites, and now I’m just vegging on the couch watching Futurama while Spinner makes some pancit for dinner. Life is good.
Despite the slacking, there was a good swim and steam yesterday, and the coding means that comments are back on the photo gallery. This will be an ugly Business of Law week, but at least I’m going into it well rested, and fairly content.