Friday, July 27, 2012

No BMW's, Just TMI on Human Cremains

Lawyers rarely mean well, so it’s quite comical when a wave good intent overtakes us.  We hardly know what to do. 

That’s why it’s particularly funny when a fresh faced law school intern starts a rotation at the courthouse or a glassy-eyed tagalong comes in with visions of BMW’s, Aspen ski vacations and fancy suits dancing in their heads.  We form an orderly line in our desperate attempts to scare the little lamb straight:

·         “Save yourself!  Run! Run and don’t look back!”

·         “See this twitch in my eye?  I’d only been practicing law for a couple of weeks when I got it and now I’ll have it for the rest of my life.”

·         “All 4 of my ex-wives cite my profession as the main reason that they couldn’t live with me and they hate my profession even more now because it means that I can’t afford to pay them alimony.”

·         “Wal-Mart greeters have meaningful lives.  I mean, yeah, they have to wear those funky-assed vests, but they know the names of their children.”

·         “I’m less than half a day’s pay away from having to ride a mule to work.”

I’ve officially been practicing long enough for younger attorneys to come up to me and say, “I remember you telling me not to go to law school and I wish I’d listened!”  I also get the folks who bellyache and conveniently forget that I tried to steer them from their stubborn course and that is one of the many reasons why I make written record of the freaky shit that I have to do as an attorney.  Evidence, you see. 

I’ve had to watch hours of porn on fast forward, I’ve had to wrestle cats, I’ve been chased by ducks, I’ve had a dog try to hump my leg during a deposition, I’ve had a man bring a Glock 22 to a deposition, I’ve had a lady snorting cocaine during a deposition, I’ve had clients come to court drunk as skunks, I’ve been peripherally pepper sprayed, I’ve had to break up fights between people whose knees I came up to...the list could go on for days, but here’s today’s example, boys and belles:

It started out as the textbook case of why I went to law school.  A distraught older man came into the office on an otherwise quiet Friday morning and I could hear in my office from the waiting room that he’d been to several law offices that morning and no lawyers would see him.  His problem was that someone was holding the ashes of his dead wife hostage.

I was going to see the man even before he brought up the thing about his dead wife.  No one (determinably sane) is going to stand in the waiting room of my firm that upset and that maltreated by my profession.  (See above in re craptacular professional reputation.)  Of course, I’m not going to lie and say that the possible kidnapping of cremains didn’t push my curiosity right on over the edge.

I invited the man into my office and to say that he was in a dither is to say that Michael Jackson was a bit quirky. 

Apparently, his wife’s sister—in what at first appeared to be an effort to help clean up after the funeral service—took the urn containing her sister’s ashes home with her and failed to give said remains back to her sister’s husband (my client) in spite of his repeated requests.  At the point the gentleman had come to see me, the funeral service had been over for a year—there wasn’t much room for equivocation as to her intent by then.

My heart broke for the elderly gentleman as he sat there in my office crying and telling me he’d tried to honor his wife by working with the bitch sister from hell, but he wanted the love of his life back with him and it was time to hire another bitch.  Seriously, this was one of those cases that I went to law school for.

I wrote a nice letter.  Nothing.  I wrote a letter in her native bitch language.  Nothing.  I sued her ass.  I won.  Ha.

The Clerk ordered that the sister was to deliver her sister’s ashes to my office the next morning.

I was still in the courtroom riding high on my victory when the clerk who held the hearing came up and said, “Mrs. Council, a word of caution.  I have seen more of these cases than you would imagine and I caution you to verify that human remains—and more importantly the ashes of your client’s wife—are in the urn.  You would be amazed at what people try to substitute for human ashes.”  Then she just walked away, leaving me standing there like a deer in headlights.

Excuse the hell out of me?

They most certainly did not teach that in law school.  Believe me, if I had the stomach for stuff such as that, I would have gone to medical school and I would be writing this blog from my vacation home in Aruba.

I got on the internet and discovered that teeth don’t burn like the rest of the body, so it is possible to verify that ashes are, in fact, human remains. (Your science lesson for the day, boys and belles.  You’re welcome.)  As to how I was supposed to determine whether or not said ashes were my client’s wife, I had no clue whatsoever.  I didn’t really think she was going to get up and introduce herself and, if she did, I wouldn’t survive the heart attack to attest to the identity.

The next morning came a lot sooner than I would have liked.  Actually, the next morning came a lot sooner than the entire office would have liked.  I go by the rule that, if I suffer, all must follow.  The senior partner was conveniently out of the office for the day.

I brought a pair of my scientist hubby’s lab gloves and showed up to work only to meet the sister’s designated “Bringer of the Remains” standing in the middle of my waiting room holding the urn.  I still don’t know if he wouldn’t hand them over to anyone but me or if everyone in my office was too chicken to take them from him.

I liberated the urn from his grasp and took the old gal back to the conference room.  The conference room is right next to the desk of one of the most fabulous paralegals you will ever meet and that is one of the many reasons I chose that particular location for my inspection.  If I bitched loud enough, she would eventually come in and help me.

I put on my nifty gloves and stared at the urn for a bit.  There was no getting around it; I had to open the damned thing.  I started to unscrew the top and it wouldn’t come off!  It was at that point when I started grumbling and mumbling about not being able to open the urn.  Fabulous Paralegal (FP) ignored me. 

I continued to genuinely try to unscrew the lid and stayed on good and tight.  I started to cuss and FP started giving me pointers from the other room:  “Try turning it the other way!”  “Take off your gloves!”

Then I just engaged in full on whining:  FPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!  I can’t get it!  It won’t open!  I don’t know what to dooooooooooo!

I heard a little huff and then her chair rolled back from her desk.  Heeheehee!

She came into the conference room and, rather than turning the top like I had been doing for the last 5 minutes, she pulled it off and it popped right off releasing a CLOUD.  OF.  ASH.

Would you like to know how to inspect human cremains, boys and belles?

You run around your conference table flapping like a chicken screeching, “OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!!!  I think I've got dead people in my eyes!  I  may have just snorted my client’s wife!  Holy shitshitshitshit!  Water!  No, spit!  I don’t want to drink her!  Is it sacriligious to spit her?  I can’t help it!  Thpppt, thpppt, thpppt.

Fun fact:  When someone is cremated, the funeral home puts them in a plastic bag with a zip lock and a medallion with their seal and verification of the remains.  They are apparently just a little sloppy about it—thus the extra ash.

To top it all off, the one thing I most looked forward to doing was to return my client’s believed wife to him.  He had been so distraught throughout the whole thing and I felt like I finally had one of those rare reassurances in my profession that lawyers can help people.  When he came into the office, I handed him the urn, he snatched it from my hands, turned around and walked out of my office without so much as a kiss my ass.

I’d like to tender this exhibit to the Court.   

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rabid Possums: The Bane of Full Time Motherhood

I want to make it perfectly clear that I love my children more that life itself.  My dad always says that having children is like wearing your heart on your sleeve and he couldn’t be more right.  My Baby Belles are beautiful, brilliant and loving angels...unless you are with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Part of our new situation in Clayton means that the girls and I get to spend the summer together.  I was really excited about the notion of me and the Baby Bells hanging out all summer.  We were going to have idyllic picnics and fun-but-educational museum explorations and fantastic day trips to the beach.

Sweet.  Baby.  Jesus.

They fight like rabid possums.

I was not prepared for this animosity.  My brother and I got along swimmingly.  I don’t know what to do.

I’ve tried rationalizing and I don’t know why.  One of my biggest pet peeves is those mothers who talk to their screaming children in those voices like they’re trying to diffuse a hostage situation.  We've all seen it:  Precious is gnashing and flailing and screaming and is so past DEFCON 1 that the nukes are already in flight, still mother thinks that she can somehow reason with her Bob Ross “Happy Little Trees” voice.  Take Precious out of the damn building and let everyone else enjoy a little sanity.  I don’t give a crap if or how you discipline her when you get her out there—it’s not about her—it’s about being respectful to others.

Nonetheless, I’ve found myself employing the Happy Little Trees from time to time during one clash of the Belles or another.  I certainly don’t do it in public because I am well bred and respectful, but there are times when I am fool enough to think that I see teaching opportunities at home:  “Belle 2, your sister just wants a little bit of alone time.  You know how sometimes you get grouchy and you don’t really want to be around anyone?  What?  Belle 1, I didn’t necessarily mean that you were grouchy, I was just using an example that Belle 2 could relate to—Belle 2, there was no reason in this world for you to hit your sister over the head—Belle 1, just because she did it doesn’t mean that you can punch—EVERYBODY IN TIME OUT!  PICK A CORNER!  OH GREAT, GO FIGURE YOU WOULD BOTH PICK THE SAME CORNER AND FIGHT OVER IT!  MOTHER—MM—PFF—WW—TRUCKER!!!”

I can also completely forget about concentrating on a particular task for more that 5 seconds at a time because the little boogers will tattle like nothing you have ever seen.  I sometimes wonder if they are practicing for the Witness Protection Program.

The other day I was staring in abject mystification at my damn Dyson vacuum cleaner (full time mommyhood also means the loss of the cleaning lady) and I was wondering if I was supposed to clean my floors with the damned thing or if it became a Transformer.  As I was hunting in earnest for the “Start” button, Baby Belle 2 came up and said, “Mamaaaaaa, Baby Belle 1’s not letting me look at the movie she’s watching on Daddy’s iPad.”

Still looking for the Start button, “Tell her I said to let you watch it, too.”

Baby Belle 1 comes up, “Mamaaaaaa, I can’t watch the movie in peace and quiet.  Baby Belle 2 keeps asking all of these questions about what’s going on in the movie.”

Shouldn’t a fucking start button say “Start?”  Did the sadistic bastards hide it somewhere?  “Well, just answer her questions unless it’s an inappropriate movie and if it is inappropriate movie, switch it because it probably isn’t something that you should be watching either.”


“Cut me some slack, Gremlin!  I’m 39 years old, I have a graduate’s degree and I can’t start a vacuum cleaner!”

She reaches right over and touches this thing that doesn’t look like any sort of a button I’ve ever seen before and the confounding Rubik’s Cube of domesticity cranks right up.  “I appreciate that, but it won’t cut you any slack.  You and your sister quit ratting each other out.  I won’t be able to hear you over the vacuum anyway.  Oh, but before you go, how do you make that bottom part go down on the floor so you can—ah, thanks.”

Naturally—being a lawyer and all—I’m not above a little bribery.  There are days that are so rotten in the sibling department that I have no choice but to throw a little enticement into the arena if I have any hope of sparing what little sanity I have left.  You know, the whole “If You’re Good, Mama Will Let You” thing.  The part that really sucks is that you have to be able to follow through if the little buzzards don’t comply.  Sure, you really wanted to see that movie, but Baby Belle 2 wouldn’t quit pointing her butt at Baby Belle 1’s face...

Of course, the most daring bit of sibling rivalry management I have ever heard of comes from—hands down—the best mother I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  It just goes to show, it doesn’t matter how wonderful a parent you are, kids are still kids and brothers and sisters are going to fight.

My friend also happens to have 2 girls about the age of my Baby Belles, but her girls are 2 years apart while mine are 4.  She was getting ready for her youngest child’s birthday party at her house and the kids were going at it non-stop.  The kids were tattling and nit-picking and it didn’t matter what my friend said or did, it was only getting worse and worse. 

Finally, my friend reached her boiling point.  She took the girls and put them in the middle of the kitchen and said, “Okay, you have one minute.  Punch it out.  No face shots.  Go!”

Well, once the girls got over the shock of their mother telling them to duke it out, they did just that.  (It bears repeating that her husband was right outside on the porch and heard what was going on, but he was afraid to go inside.)

When their minute was up, the spent sisters were forced to sit across from each other on the floor of the den and take turns telling each other things they loved about their sister for one whole hour. 

My only fear is that, if I tried that approach, there would be nothing left for the second portion of the program.  Bless my sweet little things.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crimlympics 24/7

Here come the Summer Olympics.  Time to give myself the speech:  “Ashley, you’re all about world peace and shit.  The Olympics are the only time that countries come together and put up any sort of front in the way of global unity (in a nice way—not when they’ve all decided to get together and bomb the snot out of one particular country).  Yes, the games are as boring and confounding as your Jurisprudence class in law school, but you should at least make an effort and watch them”

Crap almighty.

Maybe it’s bad television coverage, but it’s just such a mishmash of stuff.  I always seem to come in on the middle of whatever is going on and I rarely know what in the hell I’m looking at—particularly if it involves track and field.  I find myself getting pissed at what they call the “Cinderella Stories” because they always pick some well fed American kid whose town sold donuts to support his training and buy him the ticket to London while ignoring the Namibian kid whose parents were mauled by lions and whose one remaining sibling sold his left kidney on the black market to get him to the games.

I also fantasize about beating the poo out of the parents who let their daughters become irretrievably malformed for a few good years of gymnastics while conveniently forgetting that their kids have to live the rest of their lives like...that.

Let’s not forget that overblown Olympics theme music played at every possible moment by NBC.  It only takes about one commercial break and I am ready to stab my ears with forks.

If I’m being honest, the aforementioned reasons are all perfectly valid, but the main reason that the Olympics don’t really crank my tractor is that I have all that and more in living color right outside my office window.  Thanks to the criminal activity spurred by the malt beverages sold at the Mount Olive Deli and Grocery (although he thankfully doesn’t operate a deli as the sign suggests) and the adjoining Bicentennial Park where such malt beverages and every other mind altering substance known to man is consumed, I have the Crimlympics 24 hours a day, 365 days a year right outside the window of my office.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Of course, Track and Field is a given.  I’ve always said that there is no point whatsoever in running unless there is an axe murderer behind you...or are being chased by a gang member or a drug dealer.  You thought I was going to say the police didn’t you?  Nope.  Never, everevereverever run from a cop.  They hate it when you make them work for it and it guarantees that your lawyer extraordinaire won’t be able to get them on board for a deal when it comes down to a plea in court.

Actually, the cops are more or less bound by law not to completely render your body impossible for identification purposes.  Those little Olympic dudes all decked out in their too-short shorts as they line up nice and pretty on a track field got nuthin’ on someone running from a gang or a dealer.  If one of those guys catches you, squirrels will be storing your teeth with their acorn stashes. 

The Olympian runners can’t really help it; there’s nothing more inspiring than an all-out sprint for dear life.  I have seen such sprints in bare feet, sprints with one shoe off and one shoe on, sprints in high heels (interestingly worn by a man), clothed, half clothed...the list goes on...

What next?  Well the best example I’ve ever seen is a combination event:  Shot put and gymnastics.  This couple was adorable and I call them George and Tammy (after George Jones and Tammy Wynette—and if you don’t get the connection Google away).

George apparently loved the hooch and Tammy had him on a tight leash.  I don’t know if Tammy had to leave for a bit or if she wasn’t paying attention, but George got out.  Where did George go?  Straight to the closest malt beverage emporium:  The Mount Olive Deli and Grocery.  I like to think that he saw it bathed in a heavenly light while being serenaded by a chorus of angels.  George shuffled right on in for a fix.

In the meantime, Tammy discovered that her man left the building.  Through her amazing powers of deduction, Tammy also figured out where George went to get his groceries because lo and behold, when George came out with his nice tall can of King Cobra, Tammy was waiting for him on the sidewalk impatiently tapping her pretty pink bedroom slippers with her arms crossed. 

George was in deep poo.  The man had been caught red handed, but like all addicted individuals, he was still going to do his damndest to bluff his way out of the situation.  Accordingly George and Tammy had a fine argument that resulted in a lot of arm flailing for Tammy and a lot of protective beer cradling for George.  Unfortunately, George was not protective enough because Tammy got hold of the hooch.  I guess she figured that it would take too long to crack it open and pour it out (George might get to it and salvage the remains), so she took that 24 ounce can and hurled it slap onto the roof of the grocery store.  Tammy was a little bitty thing and her performance beat the tar our of any shot put mess I’ve seen ever on the Olympics.

Of course, George wasn’t going to go down without a swallow.  I’m guessing that he spent all the money he had on the can that went sailing onto the roof or he would have just gone back inside and bought another while dragging Tammy as she clung to his legs.  Instead, George performed an amazing feat of gymnastics that I can only liken to a combination vault/uneven bars.  There is a fence on the side of the store that is about 6 feet high and I would guess that it stands about 2 or 3 feet from the side of the store.  Good ‘ol George—in sandals and with the D.T.’s no less—got up to a running start, vaulted onto the fence and propelled himself to the roof of the store.  I never would have thought he had it in him.  George sat up there and drank his beer unmolested by Tammy and tuned her out until someone else eventually got fed up and called the police on her for disturbing the peace.

No, I do not know how George got off the roof.

Finally, boys and belles, we come to the closing ceremonies of the Crimplypics:  Diving.  No, Bicentennial Park doesn’t have a pool or a fountain or anything like that, but it’s the lack of a water source that makes the diving so spectacular. 

Alas and alack, our fair athlete was running from the police.  Really, I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but KNOCK IT OFF, YOU DUMBASSES!!!  Anyway, I could tell that something was going on because the police cars started circling the block like sharks.  They don’t normally make appearances in our neck of the woods unless something has actually happened.  Suddenly, the shark circling got a little more restless. 

I saw the Olympian running down the street at Mach 2 with about 2 or 3 cops in foot pursuit.  Before I could seriously contemplate going out on the front porch to yell at the man for the fallacy of his resisting arrest, the man took off as smoothly as if on wings, kept his form as straight as an arrow and dove slap into the dumpster being used futilely for park cleanup.  It was the most graceful and proud dumpster dive that I have ever seen in my entire life (and I am sad to say that I have seen more than my fair share).

Sadly, the police apprehended the Bicentennial Park Diver—I can only surmise that the Diver believed he had more of a lead on the cops than he actually did and thought that he could hang out in the dumpster until they ran past.  I’d like to think that Greg Louganis himself would have been so impressed with the man’s obvious talent that he would have lent one of his own gold medals to the occasion, alas all our diver had to show for his effort was clinging Slim Jim wrappers and the unmistakable odor of Mad Dog 20/20.   

So there you have it, boys and belles.  Gasp!  I’ve just come to a possibly unpleasant realization about myself!  Maybe the real Olympics are too squeaky clean!  Do I need guns, drugs, cops and domestic disputes if my attention is going to fixate on something for more than 1 minute?  Oh look, my minute’s up...

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Not My Fault That Everyone's an Asshole

I do so try to be good.  Really.

Alas and alack, there are two rather invincible forces working against any hopes of angel promotion:  I am a lawyer and I am a Culbreth.  We take no prisoners and we are damned cunning about it.

First with the cunning:  We were doing just fine until they started to actually enforce that stupid-assed tardy policy at Baby Belle 1’s school.  For kindergarten and first grade, a parent had prayers, the Pledge and a grace period in between to drop their kid off without penalty.  Actually, no penalty of any sort was ever addressed. 

So imagine a parent’s dismay when, lo and behold in their child’s second grade year, they started getting all uptight about getting your kid to school before lunchtime.  Once a period was put to the “liberty and justice for all” in the Pledge, your ass was grass in the tardy department.  What was the penalty?  Three tardies in a quarter warranted a silent lunch.
I vaguely recall silent lunches from my elementary school days and I don’t remember them as being particularly horrible, but I’m an introvert so a silent lunch wouldn’t be all that daunting.  Of course, for a straight arrow and social butterfly such as my daughter, it presented hell on earth. 

Then came the inevitable day when the alarm clock was accidentally set for PM instead of AM, Baby Belle 2 was being particularly uncooperative, the damn Chihuahua decided to make a break for the border, [insert crisis here] and it seemed that the Devil himself was just doing what he could to keep us away from that little Catholic school downtown.  Baby Belle 1 started to seriously freak out about being late and I was suddenly struck with some less than divine inspiration.

I looked at my firstborn and told her that she should never, ever do what her mama was about to do and that it wouldn’t do her any favors to tell others about it either.  I got on the phone, called the school office and told them that I forgot about Baby Belle 1’s dentist appointment and that she was going to be a little late to school.  Excused tardy.

On a couple of occasions throughout the year, Baby Belle 1 had various “appointments” when the need arose and I even bought some of those stickers that they hand out at the doctor and the dentist.  When things started to go south as we rushed around in the mornings, Baby Belle would look over at me and say, “Mama, am I going to have a doctor appointment this morning?”

Now for the evil:  Neighbors.  Oy vey.  When you get good neighbors, it is something more precious than gold.  When you get crap start to get that whole thing between the Hatfields and the McKoys.  We’ve had good luck and we’ve had really, really shitty luck. 

The thing is, as the years go on, I am less and less willing to let things go with my crappy neighbors.  We’ve had neighbors whose kids hid their pot stash under the hedges of our bedroom window, we’ve had “clothing challenged” individuals who gave their boats X-rated names and parked them prominently in the driveway that we shared, we’ve had cheapskates, we’ve had Grizzly Adams survivalists...I could go on for days.

When I was pregnant with Baby Belle 2, a new family moved in behind us.  They were a couple about our age with two young children and another on the way who was due at about the same time as I was.  Scott and I saw them walking on the street one day and we stopped to introduce ourselves. 

I tried. 

Granted, I don’t do the whole “meeting new people” thing well, but I thought, “Here’s a remarkable opportunity!  I can bond with this woman!  We are pregnant at the same time for God’s sake!”

I put myself out there, “So, when are you due?”

Eye roll and very put upon tone of voice, “Can’t be soon enough.”

Conspiratorial laugh, “I know exactly what you mean.  Well, your son and daughter are adorable.”

“I know.”

Okaaaaay, “Well, I only have one kid and I can’t imagine having two at this point.  You look wonderful.”

“Yes, yes.  Honey, the kids are getting restless because we've stopped.”

Fuck you, bitch.  “Bye now!”

That was about three years ago and I haven’t laid eyes on the cow or her progeny since.  I would like to say that I haven’t laid eyes on her mate either, but alas and alack (again).

I get migraines and there are several triggers:  Stress, light and smell.  I will flat vomit in the Yankee Candle Company.  When we did our stint beside Grizzly Adams, he was nice enough, but I swear that he was a total pyro.  He burned everything and he burned it right up next to the property line he shared with us.  Total migraine city for Ashley.

One of the many reasons for Ashley’s Happy Dance when we moved into the city limits was that I was no longer subjected to burning yard trash.  Nope, everybody had to pay unfair amounts of tax money to get their crap hauled off to God knew where.

Now take a moment to imagine Ashley’s deep dismay when I was sitting in my breakfast room (well inside the city limits) and the unmistakable smell of burning yard crapola wafted by my nostrils. 

Oh hell no.

The smell was coming from a burning pile in the yard of our back yard neighbors.

Oh hellllllllllll no.

Scott paid a friendly public service call to said neighbor’s back yard and gently reminded said neighbor that it was illegal to burn trash in the city.  Scott mentioned that the only reason he was saying anything was because his wife got migraines and his daughter had asthma problems.  The neighbor replied (in fluent Asshole) that he was just having a little fire with his son and that Scott could just go home and mind his own business.

Guess what?  The next weekend, Neighbor Extraordinaire had a bigger and badder illegal fire and I decided that it was time to fight fire with bitch. 

I called 911.

“Oh my God!!!  My neighbor’s back yard IS ON FIRE!!!!!”

Those nice firemen sprayed that nifty foam all over his back yard.  I think there's a fine for doing that sort of thing, too.  Ouch.    

Maybe it’s not me.  Maybe I could be a better person but for all of the rules and the assholes.  I guess we’ll never find out.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Holy Crap, Here We Go!!!

It’s been a long time, boys and belles.  I would love to blame all-consuming family needs, ridiculous work demands and the other pressing and various inescapable requirements that it takes to simply cope with living and functioning in the twenty-first century—so I will.

First let me say that I don’t do well with change.  One of my amazing and fabulous sister-in-law’s job requirements is to administer that Carl Jungian monster of a personality test to corporate employees.  I refuse to take it for her because I was forced to take it when I began college for roommate compatibility and I got so insanely bored with the redundant and never-ending questions that I started making patterns with the bubble answer sheet.  Nonetheless, her years of expertise still have me blowing the roof off in the temperament normally reserved for those in the ranks of the military.  Guess what?  Colin Powell and I get pissy when our routines are messed with.

So, bear the aforementioned in mind as I tell you that my darling dear husband was terribly, horribly, unbearably (get out your thesaurus and find as many adjectives as you can) miserable at his job. 

  1. “Tough Shit!” you say, “He should be on his knees and grateful that he has a job in this economy!”

A.    First off, I admit that the atmosphere at that place was toxic. It was as bad as a reality show as to who was going to get fired for no particular reason next.  Inexplicably insane.  They were also working him to death for pennies and no appreciation. 

Secondly, I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  Well, that goes double for daddies.  The man brought it home with him so bad that it got to the point, when I heard the Suburban pull up in the driveway, I would say a little prayer in my head: 

“Dear Lord, please guide your servant, Ashley.  Please help her to continue to use those big ‘ol heavy cooking pans for their intended purpose of cooking and not for the deep, deep, deeeeeeeep satisfaction of knocking him upside the head with one as he finds something to criticize the second he walks through the door.  Please restrain her hands his food with pharmaceuticals so that he will just go on and go to sleep.  Please help her to remember that, somewhere in there is the man she married, but she can’t find him by physically reaching down his throat to pull him out.  Amen.

  1. “Fine,” you say, “your husband has a crappy job.  Find another one.”

A.    Sha-ha!  I wish! I followed my mother’s advice to the letter: “Ashley, it’s perfectly fine to go to Chapel Hill, but when it comes to finding a husband, you need to hang around the libraries at State and Duke.  Get you a State Engineer or a Duke Doctor so you end up with someone who can earn a living.”

Like I could possibly live with anyone who went to Duke. 

My beloved has a degree in mechanical engineering from N.C. State.  Let’s go over Wilmington employment opportunities for a moment, shall we?

                  *Food Servers
                  *The Aspiring (unpaid) Movie Extra
                  *Hotel Management
                  *Hotel Janitorial Services
                  *Hotel Recreation Specialists (Hookers)
                  *Pot Dealers

Things came to an intolerable boil and my love felt he had no choice but to look outside of the Wilmington area for employment.  Seeing as those damn frying pans were looking better and better every night, I agreed.

The man went to some really scary places.  His first interview was in Indiana and I told him that would be a bitch of a commute because I wasn’t stepping out of the Great State of North Carolina.  There was one in Charlotte (which I don’t particularly count as North Carolina, but debate if you must) and I have never been to Charlotte when I haven’t gotten lost and ended up in some seriously scary “gritty police drama set locations.”

Then the man got an excellent job offer with a company he really liked near Clayton, North Carolina.  We were familiar with the area and we had dear friends and family close by as well.  We had a really big decision on our plate. 

AND THEN CAME THE FATEFUL CONVERSATION IN THE KITCHEN.  It was after work and I hadn’t had a particularly stellar day.  We’d rehashed and done the pro and con list to death about the job offer and Darling Dear picked it up again while I was in the kitchen trying to get the Baby Belle’s dinner put together.  He was earnestly listing the good and bad points and I was pretty much grunting in response.  He finally asked me, “Ashley, what do you want?”

Well, that did it.  My frustration with my bad day and my frustration with...well...everything came up and I turned around and held forth:  “Scott, it doesn’t matter!  I can be miserable here and I can be miserable in Clayton!  It doesn’t particularly matter one way or the other to me!”

Rather than come back with a zinger, Scott just leaned forward and said, “Yes it does.  What do you want.”

I figured I might as well go for it:  “I want to write.”

Scott replied, “Okay.”

Well that just took the wind right out of my sails.  I had a good thirty to forty-five minutes of fight locked and loaded. 

So, boys and belles, here I sit in Clayton, North Carolina.  Don’t fret, I’m still an attorney.  I’ve wanted to be an attorney since the pacifier came out and I could argue.  I still come to Wilmington and practice, but my husband afforded me the gift of indulging in my passion and I intend to take advantage big time.

I’ve actually written two books in what will be a three book series of humorous fiction entitled The Chronicles of Beatrice Beaufort:  Rogue Southern Belle.  I’m also thinking about publishing this blog with new material.

Maybe I can handle change after all.  We’ll see...