Watch Me Take The Bar
Watch Me Take The Bar
This blog, originally started as a chronicle of my taking the bar, is now a look into the mind of an attorney in solo practice in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Friday, September 30, 2005

Hometown Proud

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you might have noticed I have a thing or two to say about domestic violence.

I wrote about a seminar in May.

I wrote about how the justice system frequently is part of the problem.

I wrote about how the Supreme Court completely missed the boat on this issue in June.

And, I wrote about the effects of a person who is in a system who is clueless as to what domestic violence is and in fact endorsed the ideas of "Disneyland Dads."

But, despite all these people wandering about making the situation worse, a police chief in my own county has to take the cake for domestic vilence insensitivity. He has hurtled himeslf to the front of the list, ahead of seven justices of the Supreme Court and a lawyer most everyone agrees is clueless.

As discussed in the linked article above, our county sheriff, Bob Bratton, had to file a report with the Carroll Township Trustees about their police chief, Lionel Mason. This was after two major incidents:

Let's start with what happened on September 21. A man by the name of Robert Solly attacked a woman with a ladder -- in fact, the news article says, she was severely beaten.

I would think one could do a lot of damage with a ladder, whether it was a large one or (more likely) a little stepladder. Ouch!

Somehow, this woman got out of Solly's clutches and called the police. Thinking, "OK, a bad thing has just happened to me. The police are there to stop bad things. I'll report the bad thing, and as a result, the person who did this bad thing to me will be punished."

So, she called Chief Mason from a payphone. He met with her, took her to have her injuries photographed, and then sent her on her way.

And did nothing.

He didn't bother to go get a warrant, so when a Carroll Township police officer went to arrest Solly five hours (!) later, when Solly refused to let the officer in, the officer couldn't go in.

The next day, employees at the Ottawa County Municipal Court called Sheriff Bratton, asking for help, and Bratton called Mason, who made what we will call Mason's Miserably Memorable Quote #1:

"My big question is what's all this big deal about a warrant?"

Golly, Chief, I don't know. A warrant is what you get to catch the bad guys. You didn't catch that, like, during your initial training?

Well, by now, the police go back to the house, where the victim is again. (Before we judge too harshly, let's remember she probably had nowhere to go, and probably had the expectation that Solly would, you knw, be arrested?)

Well, she wouldn't let them in because Solly had threatened her after finding out she talked to the police.

(He needn't have. Apparently, it didn't do anything.)

Now, Solly is at large, and the woman has advised that she regretted calling the police and won't do it again.

This is not surprising. All too often, victims of crime feel that the system that should punish those who do bad things to them actually ends up revictimizing them.

But, no, really, the system cares if you've been beaten with a ladder.

Or, if you have a child who needs to be put in protective custody.

That's another strike against Mason.

Last Thusday morning, the Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services needed to remove a child from a home in Carroll Township (Mason's jurisdiction.) Mason's basic response to the sheriff's office was, "No, I can't go. I'm not going. I've got things to do."

Gee, Chief, do you want to make your department's motto, "To protect and serve, unless we've got things to do."?

The sheriff's office stepped in and did what Chief Mason should have.

But, here's the pithiest thing yet from the article. It also may explain why Chief Mason reacted the way he did.

In a telephone conversation with Bratton, Mason spoke about victim's advocates. Victim's advocates are people who deal with victims of crime and help explain the system and opportunities and outlets available to them.

Here's what Mason thinks of them, as recorded on Sheriff's office tape: "I don't think much of victim's advocates. I think they're nosy witches."

Wow. What a great attitude, eh?

As a matter of fact, victim's advocates are a godsend for prosecutors and victims frequently. They explain the system, mediate between the two, and encourage victims to think in terms of their safety. They bring an experienced and sympathetic ear.

Sometimes, when dealing with a hardened and jaundiced view of the system, they encourage people to do their job.

What do you want to bet that was the context of their dealing with Chief Mason?

I think Carroll Township needs a new police chief.

Not that I like puns, but, failing that, I think this Mason needs to get the third degree. Or else it's time for this Lionel to be retrained.

And the really bad part is, this is where I live. This is what I'm supposed to be proud of.

Of course, it's not surprising, when you have a county where guardians ad litem proudly declare that "Disneyland Dads" are a good thing.

*shakes head sady*

Just so we're all clear on this

Four weeks from now, I'll know my results. Eeeeegh.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Tomorrow, I will wake up around 6 AM in Toledo, Ohio. Less than twelve hours after waking up, I will be 1,268 miles south, in Jupiter, Florida. I'm sorry, but I still find it pretty miraculous this can be achieved.


It could have been achieved even faster if I could have gotten a direct flight, but then again, for $59, who can complain?


I got my $59 flight with Independence Air. I am also booked with Independence Air for my Christmastime trip to New York, which created some concern today when I received a message that Independence Air has stopped flying from Cleveland and to JFK airport. This was especially alarming because I am supposed to fly from Cleveland and to JFK.

Well, called them and, not to worry, they can fly me from Detroit and to LaGuardia airport. (New York has, I believe, three airports.) So, we're set!


Another miraculous thing. I am going to see my grandfather. Four years ago, I went to see this same grandfather in Florida because I wanted to spend some quality time with him, because all the doctors said he had two months left.

He showed them. They can't find his cancer anywhere.


Reading Big Trouble right now, by J. Anthony Lukas. Really good. But for some reason, I'm never on some thin little paperback when I take a plane ride.


In response to the question from a commenter: No, Ohio does not release their results early. Calm down. The day draws ever nearer.


I assume I'll have some access to the Internet, but what it will be I know not. So, I'll talk to you from the South! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Too Priceless For Words

Headline: "Bush urges nation to forgo unneeded trips."
Subheadline: "Bush plans 7th visit to inspect hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Sunday Prize for Right-Wing Ridiculousness Goes to...

FreeRepublic member msnimje, whose user profile rather appropriately indicates she is "Looking for enlightenment in all the wrong places."

I will get to this person's quote in just a moment, but I have to tell you a thing or two about FreeRepublic. It is a website organized for conservatives to discuss and comment on the latest issues of the day. These are not Republicans, these are conservatives, for whom Dubya is only acceptable about two days out of four. Their biggest problem with Abu Gharib is that it didn't go far enough. These are people who are upset that Democrats can attack "our President," but had no such compunction spending eight years accusing Bill Clinton of everything from murder to tearing tags off of mattresses. (If only that's what he'd been doing on mattresses.)

It's sort of like this. I get up in the morning and I read the Bible; then I check out FreeRepublic to see what the other side is doing.

Anywho, I go over there not just to rescue my blood pressure when it's dangerously low but also because the perspective is interesting and, as happens whenever you have a lot of people in one place, you can sometimes learn something. Despite harboring conservatives, there are a lot of people who are otherwise intelligent. If I engage in discussions, I generally try to stay away from anything that's going to get me in a fight.

In any case, the idea is they comment on news articles, and they are commenting on one in Time suggesting, basically, that the Congressional Black Caucus should create an Antipoverty Caucus, and work to basing preferences on economic need rather than race. (Frankly, I think this is an idea that hasn't been explored nearly enough. Realize that if Oprah Winfrey had children going to college, they could very well get preferences over poor, white A students for assistance to get in.)

OK, anyway, poverty. Conservatives. What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing. We have a solution, courtesy of our friend msnimje, who states the following:

I can save everybody a lot of time and money.

If you don't want to be poor, get a job.

Of course! Let me run downtown to the inner cities and let the poor folks know that! I bet they never considered that!

Yes, of course. Get a job! I remember when you could do that. Back in the bad old days of the nineties, before Our President was in office and that low-level, no-good, Arkansansan slick willy weasel was running around, everyone could get a job! (We were also not at war at that time.) Yes, I remember the nineties. It was a primitive time, back when we didn't have a budget deficit, et cetera.

Get a job. Yes, what a great solution. Ever heard of working poor? Apparently not. Because, while you, presumably (and I) are making pretty decent money, there's a ton of folks out there who are working a job, or two, or maybe even three, and they're still poor. That's not surprising in a country where we haven't had a raise in minimum wage SINCE SEPTEMBER 1, 1997.

1997. Think of that. Eight years ago. Michael Jordan was playing basketball. Few of us had email. None of us had heard of Monica Lewinsky. I was a senior in high school.

Beyond that, please remember that, while jobs are easier to find than weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it's only slightly so. We opened a new business this year and had about 220 openings. I would guestimate 500 people applied, easily. You do the math and figure out how many got a job. If we take out the people who were coming to us from the company that was in our stores before and just consider everyone else, I would guess that 40% of them had left their previous jobs because of "layoffs" or their employer going out of business.

There's another problem to this, btw. What's one thing employers look for? Job stability. So, all this moving around in jobs because of the bad economy has made it more difficult for people to get good jobs, in a tangential way.

In any case, msnimje, yes, getting a job is a great idea. If you can find one. Which is tough, because of the economy Our President has presided over. And, please, let's not make the elitist snob decision that simply getting a job means a good living. You have to have a job in which you can actually make a living.

Yes, msnimje, you are looking for enlightenment in all the wrong places. Try leaving Free Republic and checking in with the real world.

*end rant of someone sick of living in a right-wing driven theocracy*

But, Michael, We Thought You Got Those Stores Open Already

You may have noticed a pattern to my blog.

I was gone for a long while and then there was a brief semi-resurgence in my posting.

Where have I gone again?

Back to the grocery store.

You see, I think I mentioned before, I am doing the HR for the two Toledo stores, which is supposed to be part-time. (I've translated that to two days a week.)

Ultimately, I imagine it will be, but as we get up and running, leaving the stores for three days straight is not a wise choice. Or even an option.

Sharp-eyed readers will recall we opened on the 12th of September. After that, I did not go back until the 16th, a Friday. Then, last Monday I went in at 9 and ended up there until seven.

OK, so, I thought, everything's set 'til Friday. Well, as it turned out, everything wasn't going to be set 'til Friday. For one thing, one of our departments desperately needed more people. So, I thought I'd go in for a few minutes on Thursday and line up interviews for when I was there on Friday. Then I got a call to come help them set up the paycheck system.

Which took most of the day Thursday, and most of the day Friday. Unfortunately, I wasn't done, so that spilled over into Saturday. "No worries," I said cheerfully, "OSU doesn't play till 3:30, so I'll be out of there by then." As it turned out, they played at 1, so I wasn't quite so upset when I ended up staying until 6:15.

The plan is to not go in today, but I suspect that will change. I do have to go in at 10:30 this evening for a few minutes to get the first batch of people to swipe their timecards into the system. (We have done a pilot program the past two days, now we are trying to use the whole store, both stores this time. But they will keep their paper timecards for this week!!)

Hopefully, I'll be back here by 11 so I can go to bed to be up to be in Perrysburg by 8.

So, perhaps tomorrow I could play catch up, you say? No, tomorrow, I will be lucky if I don't find myself falling further behind. I'm to the point where I've had to schedule most every minute of my Monday. Orientation. Interviews. Shirts. More interviews.

Meanwhile, back at Michael's desk, a mound of applications grew. Hungry job-seekers wondered why they hadn't heard from anyone, and why when they called, all they got was a slightly frantic-sounding voice saying, "It's the new zoo review here! I haven't gotten to it yet! You don't need a job till, say, Christmas, right?"

So, ok, Tuesday, perhaps I can get half caught up and Wednesday I can get the other half caught up. Then Thursday, I leave for six days.

No, I don't want to think of what life will be like when I get back. Let's not go there. Oh, and we're also doing our grand opening the week after that. More sales. More volume. More people.

I'm actually not complaining, just letting you know why my updates have been sort of few and far between. I like what I do. I think (and am hearing) that I do a decent job at it. I like the compensation. I like the saving program I'm on, where I'm at work all the time, so I never get to spend it.

It's also cool because it is allowing me to consider pursuing a private practice as a lawyer (assuming I don't -- oh, God! -- not pass the bar), something that would be really scary if I didn't have some source of income or savings racked up.

This HR job will quiet down, I think, but it will be a while, which will be okay, because any law practice I might have will pick up, I think, but it will be a while.

Sign me, slightly confused but pretty satisfied


Friday, September 23, 2005

Gas Gouging? (I know...hard to imagine)

So, last night, I stopped at the BP station at Route 25 and Eckel Junction in Perrysburg. Was beginning to tap the button for "regular" when the attendant was standing there, trying to tape a sign over it saying, "We're out of regular." She said, "Hit the button quickly, you're the last one!"

Now, they were claiming they were out. But they had enough gas to give me $33 worth.

I asked if there was a shortage. No, she said, people were panicking.

And yet they had enough gas for me. And I think one other guy also got in.

Were they really short on gas? Or did they just want people buying midgrade and premium?

Just asking.


TSC Girl, thanks for warning me about the West Wing switch. I would have missed it otherwise...and the promo says that one of the plots is Donna trying to get a job with Josh. Seriously, the two of them better get together soon or my irritation level will be too high to even talk about. (Or else Janel Moloney will have to come out here and explain it, personally, to me. Which, I guess I could live with.)

The Geena Davis show appears to be on on looks like the first episode was this past Wednesday. I missed it, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Return of the Countdown

As I recall, it was 36 days out from the bar when I started posting a countdown, which was B-such and such a day.

We are now 36 days from results. So, we are at R-36. Hence, the countdown begins today.

I know, it can be a little maddening.

36 isn't bad. What is bad is when I realized that, in two weeks, when I come back from Florida, we'll be just over three weeks away.

And yes, those of you who are smart will (or may have already) figured out the day.

You all aren't who I'm worried about knowing.

So long as you don't call me on my cel phone and beg me to tell you before I know, or am ready to tell you.

And, don't do it to be cute, either.

I assure you, I will have no sense of humor about that. None.

Information Overload

So, y'know that whole drama with the Jet Blue airplane yesterday that was on national TV?

It would appear that not only were many of us here on the ground were glued to the set, but also the folks in the air, on the plane.

Was that really a good idea, you think?

I mean, with all those talking heads, can't you just imagine the reaction when they came on and said, "Oh, geez, Ted, these people don't have a chance. The plane's gonna ignite on touchdown and they're all goners. That's the best case scenario."

I'm just saying, if I'm ever on a plane that's in some jeopardy, I don't know that watching the news will be a great thing. Although I do give credit to the crew for allowing them to be that informed.


In other TV news, I happened to turn on the Martha Stewart "Apprentice" show last night. Now, understand, I am not generally a fan of reality TV. I mean, isn't there enough drama in life? But this show moved quickly, wasn't horribly "dramatic," and best of all, the guy I thought needed to get booted got booted. Not a bad show.

Now, would someone please direct me to "The West Wing" and its season premiere?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Slowly but Surely...aarghh...The Date Approacheth

first of all, the quote of the day, from my friend Laura in Lynchburg:

"I don't trust men for anything, especially not something like quadratic function equations!"


Is anyone other than me noticing that, slowly but surely, the date of bar exam results being announced is creeping up on us?

What I was told would happen has happened. I did not care a whit about my bar results in August. Not one bit. Around Labor Day, I started to think about them just a little bit. Very, very slowly, my thinking about it has increased a little bit at a time.

I'm not sure about anyone else, but I am being a bit neurotic about HOW I discover whether I pass the bar. One of the scariest things for me about it is the runup to the actual event. You know, the night before (the publish the results between 7 and 7:30 AM), what sort of sleep will you get? How many times will I have to hit CTRL-R on the computer before "Bar Exam Results" pop up? When they finally do, what will be the brief but unbearable time between when I click on the link and actually find my name or (ugh) where my name shuold be.

So, how am I dealing with this? First of all, I have been nonspecific with everyone except for my friend Anonymous as to when the results will be published. Everyone else is getting, "BeginningofNovember." My mother attempted to get it out of me, but the closest I came was mumbling something approximating the date.

Secondly, I will learn my results at a time and place of my choosing, namely, standing in my friend Anonymous' living room. Why? Because Anonymous is incredibly good in a crisis, and, I can assure you, if the results are not what I hope for, this WILL have all the markings of a crisis. On the other hand, if the results ARE what I hope for, Anonymous has been an incredibly good friend through the three years of law school and is also a person who has given me great perspective on the law as I head into practicing, and would certainly be someone I'd want to share good news with right away.

I don't want to be around anyone else. I don't want my phone ringing with people saying, "Did you pass? Did you pass?" After all, if they call and I didn't pass, what exactly am I going to reply. "No, and you're ugly?" Probably, and I don't want to do that.

So, when it happens, if you have my cel phone number, don't call me. I'll email you or post on here or call you or whatever.

(And, as for you all, you WILL know as the date approaches, not only because I will be talking about it and the runup to it, but also because the infamous countdown will return to the title of the blog very shortly.)

It approacheth.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Wow, that was nice

on the 2, we almost got pushed back to lose the first down, but we got it.

Then, we manage to fumble the ball as we push forward for a touchdown.

Projectiles in my apartment should be concerned at this point.

BP down a bit now

touchdown, Ohio State.


PS: Yeah, I guess I didn't mention, my one big sports obsession is OSU football. For those who haven't figured it out.


"Yes, that's good. Go BACKWARDS! That way, you can get tackled FOR A LOSS! We wouldn't want to move the ball forward, today, would we?"

-- Me, two minutes ago.


To: The Buckeyes
From: Me

With 11:21 left in the first quarter.

Please remember the team you are playing HAS LOST BOTH GAMES. You have only lost, barely, to the #2 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY.

Oh, good. Draw an unnecessary roughness call. Good idea!

*shakes head hostilely, grimaces*


left in the first, and San Diego is up 6-0.

If the OSU situation doesn't improve QUICKLY, Michael will start throwing things.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

for all you Ohioans out there

just so we know, we have quietly passed the halfway mark between TAKING the bar and learning whether we PASSED the bar.

In other words, the amount of time to when we find out is shorter than the amount of time since we took the test.

And, yes, I admit it, I am thinking about it every now and then slightly more often.

Dammit, pretty soon I'll have to start a countdown.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Something Settled, Something to be Grateful For & Some Soup

Something Settled: OK, first thing's first: My friend did NOT go to jail. A somewhat, kind of, sort of reasonably equitable settlement of paying the guardian's fees was worked out.


Something to be Grateful For: I haven't been able to find any news stories about this, but Linds reports that people who took the bar in Louisiana may be forced to retake it, "as the building that houses their bar exams [handwritten essays]...was apparently underwater for a few days."

Dr. Kevorkian, you have a call on Line 1, Line 2, Lines 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16. And your inbox is full.

Having read this, I had to visit the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions to see what they said. Because it's written by lawyers, I'm providing a helpful translation of their "NOTICE TO ALL JULY BAR EXAMINEES":

The Committee on Bar Admissions has temporarily relocated its offices to 4000 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd., Suite 607, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816.

No, really. There is a S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. What do you mean, you can't find it on the map? Sure you can! You took the bar. It's ridiculous to think we would go hide out from you folks. What would we have to be afraid of?

We anticipate having a new telephone number by September 15th.

In the meantime, we suggest Dial-A-Prayer.

While we will update this notice with that number, we ask that you please refrain from calling into the Committee offices so that we can concentrate our efforts on completing the July bar examination grading process.

We can only take twenty people calling in and moaning desperately, "PLeeeeeease tell me you found my bar exam, don't make me go through this again!" an hour.

We are having great success in tracking all bar examination papers

Some, we have tracked as being still in the building. Some were tracked floating down through French Quarter. But at least we know what we have and don't have!

and will be presenting a report to the Louisiana Supreme Court shortly.

You'd think that, since they seem to suggest in the first part of that sentence that they "are having great success in tracking all bar examination papers," no report would be necessary beyond, "Found 'em all!" A report indicates that different charts and graphs will be used to show that this many exams were found intact, this many were completely destroyed, and this many were found partially intact. You can hope that we lost that Commercial Paper question you had no clue on, but kept the Contracts question you aced. But things never work out that way, do they now?

While some examination papers were likely lost to Hurricane Katrina, our efforts reveal that the overwhelming majority are secure and grading is ongoing.

By "overwhelming majority," we mean the same thing as George W. Bush did when he said he had a mandate after the election last year.

The Court will determine how best to address any circumstances created by lost or destroyed examination papers.

Of course, that shouldn't be necessary based on our previous representations to you, unless our previous representations were in fact misrepresentations of representations we were representing.

Didn't understand it? Good!

We will continue to update you on our website and provide you with the most accurate and up to date information regarding bar admission issues.

No, we will NOT give you our home phone numbers.

One more thing to be grateful about: I didn't take the bar in Louisiana.


Some Soup: Last night, almost immediately on walking out of our newly-opened store, my immune system received a command that it could stop defending me, and I started on a cold/sore throat/lowgrade fever. (I realized today I seem to get these frequently in September, although it's best when it has the courtesy to wait around until the baseball playoffs start, so I can happily sniffle away as I click my TV from baseball game to baseball game...only time I watch baseball is during the playoffs and Series.)

Anyway, I woke up at 3 AM and emailed my friend who was going to court today she might prefer I stay home and keep my germs to myself. She replied at 5:30 that me with my germs would be better than me not being there, which was good for the ego, if nothing else.

So, while we were waiting for decisions to be made, she looked at me and very sympathetically asked if there was anything she could do for me. I had just been thinking about chicken noodle soup, which she, fortunately, has a great recipe for. So, I had it for lunch and will probably have it for dinner as well. It was about the only food I can think of eating.

Seriously, I think I just need a bunch of rest, today, tomorrow and Thursday I am basically off, so I am going to be a bit of a bump on a log and do very little, I hope. Anyway, hope everyone else is having a good day.

Monday, September 12, 2005

What I'll Be Doing Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I'll be in court.

Now, doon't anyone worry on my account. I'm not going to attempt to practice law without a license.

And, no, I'm not in any personal danger.

On the other hand, if the case I'll be watching is any indication, we're all in danger. Because, if an alien showed up to review this case, they might very well conclude our family court system is a miserable failure, where good behavior is ignored, bad behavior is rewarded, common sense is out the window, logic is turned on its head, and justice is banished to Outer Slobbovia.

I have a dear friend who is in the process of getting divorced. To give you an idea of how long this has been going on, it was filed the first week I was in law school. (That's three years ago, folks.)

There's plenty -- plenty! -- to talk about in this case, and believe you me, at an appropriate time, it needs to be talked about. But I'm going to try to surgically focus in on the only reason for tomorrow.

It might surprise you to know this court appearance has nothing to do with my friend getting divorced.

Rather, it has to do with a lawyer who needs money.

Custody was contested in my friend's divorce case, and a guardian ad litem by the name of Jill Hayes was appointed. A guardian ad litem is a person who is appointed to "advocate for the best interests of the children."

Kind of. Sort of. Maybe. See, the guardian ad litem system is fraught with flaws and ethical pratfalls at every turn, and one of the most obvious is that it is often difficult to identify what a guardian ad litem's job is.

Frankly, after watching this woman's performance in my friend's case, I was moved to write a sixty-page paper for my writing credits on the guardian ad litem system and the problems therein. And, I can safely report that, in the casino of GAL problems, Jill Hayes was a one-woman jackpot.

She passed information about what an abused woman was saying on to the abuser.

She completely failed to understand the full scope of domestic violence -- that it can include words said, funds withheld, actions taken.

She minimized important events.

She seemed to be unable to hold more than two facts in her head at once.

She ignored evidence that didn't support the position she wanted to take.

She admitted in court that, after two years on the case, she had never realized my friend was a good mother.

Said -- on the record (want page numbers? want line numbers? I can give 'em to you) that, until the divorce started, the father "didn't spend much time with the children. He didn't. They were starved for his attention. And they seem to have it now. And they want it. They're just like little sponges sucking up that, that attention and that love that they're feeling from him. And they've gotten a father.

"And sometimes that happens in divorce proceedings, where you have one parent that was an absent parent during most of the marriage, and then once a divorce starts, they spend time with their children and the children tend to drift towards that and want that because they've never had it before. They've always had a mom, but they never had a dad. Now they have both. "

You silly guardian. Tricks are for kids, and Disneyland dads who use money and show up just as divorce papers are being filed to "spend time with their children" so that "the children tend to drift towards that and want that because they've never had it before."

Jill, Jill, Jill. Back here in reality, we refer to that as alienation.

You get an idea what my friend was up against. (No, actually, you don't. You get the tip of the iceberg. But, I swear to God, more of that iceberg needs to -- and will be -- revealed.)

Oops. I got off track.

Frequently, GALs are attorneys, as Jill Hayes is. And, when attorneys serve as guardians ad litem, what do they like? The same thing ALL attorneys be paid!

So, when a GAL gets appointed to your case, both parents have to put down a thousand dollar deposit to be drawn against as the guardian (hopefully) performs his or her investigation. The guardian then bills and slowly reduces the deposit, which is then replenished by demands from the guardian for further deposits.

Sounds equitable, doesn't it?

Yeah, except when, as in my friend's case, Dad makes twenty times as much as mom.

And, Dad sends daily emails to the guardian. (Actually, Jill Hayes admitted in court that she based her findings on having had 90% of her information coming from Dad. Wow, surprising that she sided with Dad, wasn't it?)

So, at the end of my friend's custody trial last year, Jill pointed out that she needed more money. My friend's attorney objected on the grounds that, well, my friend's husband (can't call him an ex yet, can we, since they're not divorced) makes TWENTY TIMES AS MUCH AS HER.

The judge said they had just distributed the property and my friend got most of the property.

Apparently, he didn't factor in that almost all of the property had liens on it.

Well, as I mentioned before, the divorce isn't finalized in any way, shape, form, manner or means. No property has changed hands. In fact, the order giving custody of my friend's kids to their dad (after all, only one in four of his emails to my friend were abusive, and anyway, when you say "I'm going to kill you," that's okay so long as it's family. Why do people take this out of context?) is still only temporary, and hence unappealable. In effect, my friend has been dropped down a black hole from which she cannot get out. Her life is on hold.

But, according to Jill's logic, no reason for her to be. Jill Hayes wants her money!

My friend has politely declined, thus far, to pay the thousand dollars, waiting for the property distribution that has yet to come.

Jill Hayes, by contrast, is far less patient. And she has more weapons than my friend, who must wait for a magistrate to sign papers.

Jill has filed a motion to have my friend held in contempt of court for not paying her her money yet.

Take a memo, Jill. My friend hasn't gotten hers, either.

Oh, and Jill would like my friend to do thirty days in jail for having the temerity to not pay her the thousand dollars my friend doesn't have.

Now, understand, the odds of my friend going to jail are between slim and none. It ain't happening. (Although, if you'd seen what I'd seen in this case, you'd understand why it wouldn't seem completely out of the realm of possibility.)

I'm going tomorrow because what has been perpetrated is nothing short of a travesty, owing in very large part to Jill Hayes' mishandling of the case.

I'm going to the courthouse tomorrow in search of justice. It would be nice if some showed up; it hasn't been evident yet in this case.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Scenes from a grocery store + responses to correspondents

Every now and then, you run into someone who makes you stop and say, "What the hell are you complaining about, anyway?"

One of those people showed up last night.

It was 7:45. Understand that by now, I'd done 20 interviews (literally.) My last had finished around 7:20, and I had stepped into my office to call Anonymous, who I hadn't talked to in quite a while. I'd briefly been on the phone with her, when Barb, the greeter, stepped into my office. Knowing I'd been doing this ALL DAY, she said, "This is your last one!" I told Anonymous I'd have to go.

Well, apparently, we saved the most inspiring for last. This girl is recently relocated to the area from Mississippi.

You see where this is going.

Everything's gone.

Her house.

Her car.

Anything she didn't pack for a two-night stay in a hotel.

I asked her if she had people she hadn't heard from. Lots.

She was to be a freshman this year. She wants to be a paralegal, and then a lawyer. (Don't worry, fellow baristas, at some point, I'll try to explain to her she's suffered enough.)

The University of Toledo gave her a full ride.

Now, I would have hired this girl anyway. She was pleasant, well-turned-out, friendly. The kind of person we want at Bassett's Market.

As it turns out, we've hired all our cashiers. She's going to be a day carryout for us, with a recommendation -- a strong recommendation -- that as soon as we need another cashier, she gets the bump.

And here's the thing.

She wasn't complaining.

She didn't want self-pity.

She wants to come and work and then get a paycheck from us.

That's all.

She was on Channel 13 last night, I was told, with UT.

Anyway, it was pretty inspiring.


I've been printing nametags, and I'm sorry, there is no sweeter word in the grocery business to me than "Carryout."

Now, this is a little worrisome. I admit to growing slightly obsessed with whether our customers are walking their own bags a few yards to their cars or we have someone else doing it, but I think it's indicative of the kind of service we want to provide.

It's also worrisome because "Carryout" isn't, strictly speaking, a word. And yet, it's so awesome. How many people have a job title that is actually a verb? I mean, we have corruptions of verbs (a waiter waits on you/a driver drives/a bell hop...well, I never quite got that one.) But we don't have "carryouters." That's because it's simple. Just "carryout."

(Hey, if you'd spent the summer obsessed over "constructive conditions of exchange," "bank statement rule," and other such nonsense, carryouts would be a good thing to be thinking about.)


Some answers to commentors

Tracy: I try to be easy on kids who haven't had a job before, but they could at least meet me, perhaps, a quarter of the way? Like, look me in the eye? Smile? I get some great ones, but I get some who need to get with an interviewing coach. (This does not just apply to high school kids, but everyone.)

TSC Girl: Your description of grocery shopping in New Jersey does not make me eager to visit.
Laura: Yeah, yeah, I know. This week is kinda hellish. Next week's going to be slightly, and I mean, slightly, better.

Michelle: Yeah, it occurred to me various times I need to finish the conversation with you again. But both you and Laura are assuming you WANT to talk to me in that state. I'm not sure that's accurate.

Anonymous, commenting on my Ohio State post: Ohhhhhhhhhm, we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan! whole state of Michigan! whole state of Michigan! We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan. We're from O-hi-o.

We're from O-hi-o.

O! H!

We're from O-hi-o.

I! Ohhhhhhhh....we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan. We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan. We're from Ohio.

(And, we WILL mess with Texas this evening.)

Tracy (in reference to your question about "who bags" with carryouts): I hire really special carryouts...namely, carryouts who also bag groceries. :)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Call me a one-man HR department

hey all.

incredibly busy...would like to update more, but...

* yesterday worked from 9-8:15. The lady who's our head HR person had a convention Thursday-Sunday of this week. We open Monday. Fortunately, our payroll lady came from PC and is helping me.

* I am hiring carryouts. Lots of HS kids who've never had a job. I could write a book for them on how to -- and how not to -- interview.

* tonight I work until about 9:30. Tomorrow, after work, I'm going to Columbus to see Texas get beat by Ohio State. Back to work on Sunday. We open Monday.

* I will tell you more about what I'm doing Tuesday in a later entry.

* I need to get ready for work.

* I had other things to say, but I need to go.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bits 'n' Pieces

I have the day off today. Now, that may not mean much to you, but it would if it were your first day off in 20 days. I kid you not.


RIP, C.J. Rehnquist. There was a fascinating article a few weeks ago in the Atlantic Monthly about how Rehnquist has really run a pretty tight ship as Chief Justice, both in decorum as well as making sure the Court didn't overreach. Although I had many, many philosophical differences with Rehnquist, it was a fascinating article and the conclusion it came to, that he might be one of the greatest Chief Justices ever, was rather fascinating.


The Army Corps of Engineers' funding for the New Orleans area was cut the past three years in a row. Some folks worried this might make it more difficult to deal with a flood or a hurricane.


Elections matter.


I only got to catch the fourth quarter of the Ohio State game during my lunch break yesterday. What I saw, I didn't like, as we were 0-14 for the time we watched (even though we ended up winning, 34-14.) I hope we play more like we did the first three quarters, and can do it even when I am watching. Texas will not be a pushover next week.


Will this be the year TCU finally gets some respect?


I finished reading the biography of Norman Rockwell on Wednesday. I was actually on the last page on Tuesday night, but was so tired I couldn't even focus on the page and kept falling asleep. It was rather ridiculous. I'm now onto The Survivor, about Bill Clinton. Flashing back to being in seventh grade and knowing that starting off straightaway with gays in the military was a dumb idea.


Work is going well. We are in our second store of two we've acquired and getting ready to open that. The Perrysburg store is awesome and doing great! If you haven't been yet, stop out sometime and do some shopping!


The iPod may be the greatest invention ever. OK, the car and the electric light were pretty cool.


The Ohio Bar Exam results get published next month. Now, they ARE at the end of the month, I realize, so it's still like almost two months, but that is getting closer.

I'm less nervous about the results than the finding out.


I'll be really ticked if I have to call this place Watch Me Take The Bar (Again.)


I enjoy working in HR. I like interviewing people, finding out about them, figuring out where they fit into an organization.


Later on today, I may post my rankings of the college football teams, at least, the top 25 probably. I have a little program that ranks them based on methods of my choosing. I prefer this to the polls because it looks at actual performance rather than, "Oh, they will win 12 games this year," and then whomever they are don't. (I say this so you don't freak when you see East Carolina in my Top 25.)


I think there is a cash-cow waiting to happen in making non-cheesy training videos. The problem is how to give instructions without sounding preachy, and how to avoid sounding preachy without being corny.


Rumors of my death because of the nonupdating of this blog are greatly exaggerated.


I don't know if I've mentioned it here, so I will now. I'm starting to think I might have some clue as to what I'm going to do to continue to eat. While I'm not big on the whole working-for-someone-else idea, the idea of hanging out my own shingle has scared the **** out of me. However, that is now less scary in that I am going to do part-time work for the grocery store, doing HR for the Perrysburg and Sylvania stores (probably two days a week.) This will allow me to get my law practice off the ground.


Of course, first I need to find out I passed the bar.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Amidst the Stress of Store Openings & Storms, We Should Not Forget A Bit of Frivolity...

...actually, very serious frivolity...


More specifically -- and far more exciting...


And what, truly, could be better? Not much. Other than the feeling of victory we will get when we humiliate the Wolverines in their house.

Oh, and passing the bar. Which, btw, results come back next month. At the very END of next month, admittedly, but still at the end of next month.

Just mentioning it.

Still not nervous.

Let's hope I stay that way.

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