Monday, January 31, 2005

Georgetown II

Well, I had an amazing time up in Washington. Georgetown was really an impressive school, and gave a great presentation. They also gave me a Georgetown Law baseball cap, a silver thermal mug with their emblam embossed on it, and an exceptionally phallic looking chocolate gavel. Nice intangibles. NYU is going to have to give me an apartment to compete. I'll also accept a large envelope stuffed with cash.

One thing I am going to have to get used to is that law teachers are referred to as "Professor," not "Dr." After undergrad you just get to used to identifying everyone as Dr. This and Dr. That. I must have called half the people I met up there "Dr." Still, I'm sure they'll forgive me if I upgrade their degree a little every now and then.

It occurs to me that I have never given my official law school formula for figuring out where I will attend school. It's a tough decision, and I don't trust myself to just pick without a method. (I'm a very cautious person). So here it is, the Christiansen method of selecting a school!

[(total budget {b} / total scholarship {s}) + (rank {r} x 50)]
------------------------(divided by)-------------------------------------
[1000 + (intangibles x 10)]

The lowest score wins. If no scholarship is offered, s will be 1 and angry marks will be placed beside the computation. Intangibles shall include all things such as location, gut feelings, and free things given away at receptions. Tobey is also permitted to declare an intangible by choosing a school viewbook as her favorite chew toy.

For a real-life example, Notre Dame is ranked (r) 21st, and the total budget (b) for attending is $42,000, and they offered a $20,000 scholarship (s), what is their placement number assuming they can claim two intangibles: they are a Christian school and they get lots of snow?

[(42000/20000) + (21x50)]
1000 + 20

= 1.03

There ya go. Now, Georgetown has not offered me a scholarship (but they wrote today to tell me I was being considered for one), so they are considerably behind. Still, the hunt is young. Notre Dame is the only school to put money where their mouth is. (This explains why they are ahead of guys like Columbia in the official standings, though Columbia is by most accounts the superior school). So things will shift. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Tomorrow morning I am off to D.C. for my first law school visit. (Technically, I went to Northwestern in Chicago back in December, but since I was also interviewing for admission and only there for 5 hours after the semester had ended, I didn't get to check out classes and ask questions of professors and get a guided tour.) Anyway, Georgetown's Early Admitted Students Reception is Thursday and Friday, and Patrick and I will be there with bells on. Patrick has friends in D.C., so that takes care of housing. Georgetown is decidedly taking care of food, as they are providing dinner and cocktails Thursday night and breakfast and lunch on Friday. I will also take a tour of campus, sit in on a class, get a "taste of the D.C. nightlife," and a couple of other law-school related activities. The attorneys here at work tell me that these receptions are just great, and to try to go to as many as possible. Apparently, these things are designed to wine and dine you, and thus convince you that this particular school is worthy of your precious student loans. I will certainly try to make as many as possible, but I haven't got a ton of money laying around for flights and hotel rooms, so I will have to go about this process strategically.

In thinly related news, I certainly need this break from routine. I am in the process of becoming very angry with a coworker, and it's time to take a weekend away from him. I blame him for the splitting headache I have had all day today. (Well, Tobey gets partial credit for keeping me up all night biting my toes). At any rate, I think I'll go home, draw a bath, take a nap, finish packing and go to bed early so I can greet my first trip to Washington well-rested and energized.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Terrible Twos

My little girl is two years old, and boy do I feel every bit of it. Well, technically she is just over 5 months old, but according to the people who decide these kinds of things, cats age at a rate of five to six years for every one human year. Thus, what should be my adorable 6 month old is actually my hellacious 2-3 year old. I have never been particularly fond of human children at any age, and if Tobey (the kitty in question) is any indication of what motherhood is like, I stand by my convictions.

It seems that Tobey passed through her cuddly kitten stage about two weeks after I adopted her from an animal shelter. Apparently, all she needed was food, shelter, and love to really bring out the psychotic cat that was buried within. Tobey leaps about, claws unsheathed, literally swinging from one up-right upholstered surface to another by her razor-blade nails. (Think curtains to bed skirt, or pants leg to chair back... She also makes sure to take a swing past anything silk or satin should it dare to show itself in the room). I bought her a scratching post. She ignores the scratching post and scratches the stucco wall.

Besides being able to climb surfaces with her little kitten claws, Tobey likes to play a little game called, "I peed in the corner for no apparent reason. Again." Tobey has a litter box that she uses regularly. From day one, she had no problem adapting to it. There was not an accident for weeks until BAM! one day, she just pees on the carpet, four feet from her litter box. I scolded her firmly but gently, cleaned it up with carpet cleaner, put her in her box and scratched her paws around while lovingly reinforcing her (basic training for box use + a little child psychology). She indicated she understood. After two days of model litter box behavior, she does it again. Same spot. No remorse. I go to my sister for help.

Beth, a veteran mother of twins (chocolate point Siamese cats), waved it off with the air of superiority that all veteran mothers have when we new moms cry for help. "You have to use a cleaner that neutralizes the odors," she explains, "or else kitty can still smell the urine and thinks it's an acceptable potty spot. The same thing happened with Dixon when he was that age..." I buy Resolve Pet Stain and odor Remover (free plug for Resolve!). I thoroughly clean the area. Tobey uses her box. A few nights later, I wake up to the sound of kitty nails on carpet. I walk into the bathroom and there is Tobey, trying to cover up a new urine stain in the exact same cleaned-with-Resolve-Pet-Stain-and-odor-Remover-spot! She looks up guiltily. I admonish her more firmly. It's 3 o'clock in the morning and I don't feel like following the scolding with a hug and reassurance that she is not a bad kitty, but she has done something bad. I do so anyway. I clean the stain with the Resolve. I go back to bed.

A week went by and the corner remained clean. Yesterday morning I was rushing around, getting ready for work, and just as I was about to kiss her goodbye, she runs into the bathroom and pees in the corner. "Why, Tobey?!" I exclaim. "WHY?!" I clean up the spot with the Resolve. I scold Tobey. I am 5 minutes late for work. I go back to Beth. She looks slightly amused. Regaining her professionalism, she waves her hand around again and says "Tobey thinks that is HER spot. You need to put something there." "What if she just chooses somewhere else to make "her spot?" I ask. Beth chuckles. When I return from work that evening, I put a large shoe box over "her spot." She sniffed it and walked away. I went about my business. I did the laundry. I checked the shoe box, no problems so far. I went to Jujitsu. When I returned, the shoe box lay unmolested. No problems. I walked into my bedroom and stopped short. She had peed on my bed.

Beth laughed for a full five minutes. I have yet to see the humor.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Maxing the Mailbox Joy

Yesterday, UVA called to congratulate me on being admitted to their law school. The woman continue on about how the official acceptance letter and offer had been mailed that day and I should expect it in 3 to 10 business days. The letter enclosed covers the most frequently asked questions, but should I have any others do not hesitate to call blah blah blah...

The entire time, I was thinking about how I would have preferred if they had just let me get the letter, and then call 3 to 10 business days later to congratulate me in person and ask if I had any additional questions. Don't they know that I live to open my mailbox each evening after work? I feel a little robbed of the excitement. Now I know that in 3 to 10 business days I'm going to have a letter. What fun is that? You know, Georgetown really did it correctly- they sent me a letter, and then a few days later they sent me an invitation to an admitted students reception, and then a few days after that, they emailed me to see if I had any further questions. Well played, Georgetown. Props to NYU and W&L, too. Way to max out the mailbox excitement.

Today my Jujitsu Sensai (yeah, bet you didn't see that one coming) is in my law firm for depostions. By day, my Sensai is the executive chef for an area hospital. The hospital is being sued because a patient became ill one day and claims it was the food. (I suppose I should say she became more ill; she was in a hospital, after all). He and I happened to be discussing the case last night after practice, and he mentioned he would be downtown for a deposition today. I told him to give me a call if he got free for lunch. Lo and behold, today he walked into my firm. It seems we represent the hospital, and by extension, him. (Thank goodness, I signed an evil lawyer-to-be contract swearing to consume in fire anyone who was not on our side). It's a weird mixing of worlds. I am involved in a ton of different things, but usually they are so diverse that there is no danger of a figure from one showing up in the context of another. Here we have a bizarre exception, and I think we both felt the effects. I've never seen him in a suit, he's never seen me not dripping in sweat. I think we both felt a little a little silly seeing each other play dress-up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Ha! My beloved mailbox came through for me once again- Washington and Lee offered me admission, and NYU invited me to an admitted students reception. I will be satisfied for at least three days. Only 8 more schools to hear from...

In unrelated news, it amazes me how quickly I have become "old" upon entering this permi-real world. The other night a friend called me at midnight to catch up, and I remember waking up thinking, "Good grief! What TIME is it?! Don't people realize that it's a work night?" And to think I just graduated in early December! It's stunning how quickly an 8-5 job can turn you into your parents. Luckily for me, this "real world" stuff will only last another 6.5 months, and then I will be tucked back where I belong: in school.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mail-Checkers Anonymous

Hi, my name is S., and it's been 10 days since I got into a law school.

Chorus: "Hi, S!"

I know I shouldn't be such a compulsive mailbox-checker, but God help me, I am. Ever since I got into NYU on December 7, I have been a non-stop mailbox fanatic. I am now officially invited to attend four schools, but I applied to 13. (13 sounds a bit extreme, I know, but if you gain nothing else from me, know that I live for options. One is certainly MY lonliest number).

I wish schools would all send out their acceptance/rejection letters on the same day, so one evening, I would open my mailbox and find it stuffed with letters. Instead, I open my mailbox every day; some days to success, most to nothing. (Note: "Nothing" does not include the amazing coupons I once got to Kentucky Fried Chicken, which turned out to be a misprint, but because they had issued the coupons, they had to give me what they promised. I'm talking 10-pieces with 2 mashed potatos, 2 cole slaws and 6 biscuits for $4.99. I ate like royalty for three days off of one coupon. You should have seen the face of the guy behind the cash register when he rang it all up. But really, that's a post for another time).

It's nearing five and my work day is completing. Only 15 minutes until I am home and able to check the mailbox.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Two Roads Diverged...

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
--I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

--Robert Frost