On On Doing Everything Right and Still Making the Wrong Decision

This is exactly how I felt about the house I owned. It was a beautiful, charming bungalow in the town I grew up in, and I poured a great deal of money, time, sweat, tears, and frustrating into it. I did legal work as payment for the contractor who tiled my bathroom, I owned my own very expensive pipe snake, my orkin man and I were on a first name basis. Moths ate all of my wool and cashmere clothing,despite my best efforts. It was all worth it until I lost a job I didn't like, and I was offered the job of my dreams in a better city three hours away. I rented the house for less than I was paying on my mortgage, I paid rent in the new more expensive city at about the same rate as my mortgage payment. I ate cereal for dinner and didn't make new friends in my new city because I couldn't afford to go out. BUT! I eventually sold the house, after about a year of serious struggle. I'm sure I lost money in the entire experience, probably a whole lot of money, but I walked away from the closing with a small sum of money, just enough to sooth my soul after a year of bitter austerity measures. And the house gave me something to focus on when my career wasn't going like I wanted it to, it was a tremendous learning experience. But now all my friends are buying houses in new city and that is a desire I no longer possess. It will all work out, I'm sure of it. Y'all will get out from under the house, and move somewhere amazing, and you will have a new appreciation in the future for what's actually important and necessary for you to be happy. You definitely did nothing wrong.

Posted on March 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm 3

On Stenographer Fired For Not Stenographing in The Best Way Possible

If I was the lawyer for any of those cases, I would be irate. It actually makes me a little irate anyway. He should go to jail for jeopardizing those convictions and wasting tons of taxpayers money and squandering the time and energy of law enforcement, the bar, and the bench. I do think it's weird that the proceedings weren't also recorded. Most stenographers keep a recording that they can go back and listen to when they are proofing. And most court rooms keep an audio recording going during session. This went on for more than two years? It sounds more likely that he was being paid off to screw up important criminial trials that his brain just short circuited.

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 8:10 am 0

On The Up Series, or The Latest Thing I Am Obsessed With That is Available on Netflix

I watched most of them in college, and I'm not embarrassed to say that I went to see 56-up by myself at 2 pm on a Saturday during the yearly film festival at my local art cinema. Well, I'm a little embarrassed. But I wasn't really by myself, I had a solo cup full of wine, so there's that.

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 10:19 am 0

On The Nightmare of Being a Virtual Assistant

This is how I felt about actually practicing law. As a lawyer, you are paid to deal with other people's problems and responsibilities. A lot of lawyers suck at dealing with their own problems and responsibilites, and it takes a certain personality to not let other people's problems crush your soul into tiny pieces. It's a really brutal way to make money. Also, clients lie to their attorneys. I would do a full day of work for a client who I was pretty sure could not afford me, only to have them call me and tell me some key detail that changed everything, and made the work I had done useless. I know that debt collection is important to society, but someone else can garnish the wages of single mothers, it doesn't have to be me. Foreclosures make me sad. But bankruptcy can be fascinating. I never really felt that bad telling someone they had to either pay back their creditors in full or get rid of their harley. Life is full of tough choices, but if you can't pay your mortgage, you can't keep your boat. Bankruptcy felt a lot more like a solution than the other areas of law I practiced.

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 11:22 am 0

On What Would You Do With a $20,000 Windfall?

This is so interesting. Due to a family issue, I ended up with some extra tax liability this year. At first it was a scary amount, like $10k, but then it ended up being more like $3K. Either way, it is due on October 15, and because I am a federal employee, my Friday paycheck was about $1,000 less than usual and I have no idea when I'm going to get another paycheck. Most of my savings are in two brokerage accounts, one that I've never messed with, and one that is an IRA that I've rolled over 401Ks into, and that I've messed with off and on for things like college and a down payment on a house. I was under the impression the account that I've never messed with was also an IRA, and that I couldn't or shouldn't mess with it because of tax penalties.(My dad started both accounts when I worked for him in high school, and I got control of them in college) Welp, since my paycheck is being held hostage by Congress, and taxes have to be paid, I decided I was going to sell something, tax penalties be damned. Then I discovered that this second account is not an IRA, and I can sell it, and the taxes would be capital gains and not additional income with a penalty. And the account was worth about $18k. So, I sold some of it, to pay these taxes and to be sure I can pay my rent and car payment next month (and to pay off most of my modest credit card debt, you know, why not raid it just a tiny bit), but just knowing it is there, and that I can sell the rest of it if I want to, and go on a trip around the world, and I have a cushion if something happens, is so breathtakingly freeing. It also makes me feel irresponsible for being unaware of my assets, but that's a guilt trip that's going to be buried along side the raiding of my investment account. Congress isn't being responsible and I'm being negatively impacted, maybe a new pair of boots would make me feel better. And I'm going to continue dreaming about going to Michael Franti's yoga retreat in Bali, but since I've taken care of the credit cards, as soon as Congress gets it together, I'm going to save money to go to Bali, and swear to myself not to mess with this account again any time soon.

Posted on October 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm 0

On Talking About Jealousy of the Professional Variety

My person mantra is from Alfred, Lord Tennyson - "Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt." And my personal trick of confidence - before I go into a room, whether it is an interview, or a cocktail party, or anywhere that confidence is necessary, I take a deep breath and tell myself that everyone in that room wants to talk to me and is happy to see me. And I've found that if you assume people want to talk to you and are happy to see you, you approach them with more enthusiasm and less initial doubt, and this is somehow universally attractive. Most of the time you have no idea whether someone likes you or not, so you might as well assume they do. If I assume someone likes me, I like them more, and vis versa. When people don't respond well to my friendliness, I assume they had a bad day and it has nothing to do with me. So cleave to the sunnier side. It takes a little extra energy, and obviously social boundaries still apply, but it is generally a good policy.

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm 0

On How's That $148,000 Law Degree Working Out for You

Is this like that piece that Edith did where she said that chamber pots are all the hipster rage in Brooklyn? http://thehairpin.com/2012/12/chamberpots-a-resurgence This is a parady, right?

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm 0

On A Person With $100K in a Trust Fund

You might not need a prenup - the trust wouldn't be considered marital property in most states. If your husband isn't the beneficiary of the trust, he isn't the beneficiary of the trust. Now, if you cashed out the trust and it was sitting in your checking account, that might be different. And depending on the legalese of the trust and the kind of trust, your grandmother might not have the power to change the terms of the trust. That's the beauty of the trust. You should get an attorney to look over the trust for you and determine what the rules are. Or call the attorney who set the trust up and see if they will explain it to you, which they would probably do for free and are possibly ethically obligated to do.

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm 0

On But What Kind of Spinach

I eat a ton of the green giant frozen spinach and the frozen broccoli packs. You just put them in the microwave for like five minutes. I put it in everything from pizza to pasta. Sometimes I just cook a pack, and throw in whatever happens to be lying around my house. Chicken, or whatever sort of protein I have, tomatoes, black beans, throw in some salt and pepper. It's lazy and cheap and doesn't involve any real clean up.

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 10:45 am 0

On Debt Just Another Reason I'll Never Be a Spy

When I worked for the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy trustee, the FBI stopped by regularly to look into the bankruptcies of people with security clearances working for contractors at the military base and the nucular power plant. It hadn't occurred to me before that, but I guess it makes sense. The guy with the sick wife and the inherited houses is a really terrible story, that sucks. DO NOT PROBATE THAT WILL. Try not to administer that estate. Let it go in a tax sale, let the bank foreclose.

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm 0