Friday, June 08, 2007

To Iowa and Back

I just got back from the bland Midwestern capital-ok, it was Des Moines. I have to say I really like it there. It is a charming city--very clean with just the right amount of open space to building ratio. I also love the rolling hills covered in prairie grass-stunningly beautiful!

I also love litigating. I am definitely better at the writing piece, but the oral argumenting is pretty cool too. I can’t begin to explain how hellishly nervous I was all day Wednesday. We (my colleague and I) arrived in Des Moines and met the lawyer we’ve been working with there in his office. This guy was awesome! He’s about 60 and from Iowa and all Iowaish. He says things like, “well, he doesn’t know sh*t from shinola” and things like that! Anyway, after we spent some time chit-chatting he said to me, “Ok kiddo, why don’t you give us a read through.” Gulp. Ok.

Now, keep in mind that up to this point the most I had done was read a written out script from the paper. Oh, I like to write out a script first and then this gives me a baseline to work with. I ultimately don’t use the script—maybe bullet points, but that’s it. It’s always really scary the first time you don’t use the script!

Anyway, I was nervous as heck, even though it was just the three of us in the office, but I just sucked it up and gave it a whirl. I’ll admit it. It sucked! I could just tell they were politely stifling the cringing. They both gave me a little advice. Try not to say, “As you may know” so much. Watch the hand-wringing (heh). Ok. Let me try again. I tried again. It still sucked, but not quite as bad. More feedback—I don’t remember what they said. We talked about some other stuff for a while. But, again Iowa guy said, “do you want to try again?” “Ok,” I said, “but this time I should try it standing up.” I didn’t want to stand up. I felt stupid enough sitting down, but I figured I better do it in case the judge required it of me. So, I stood up and did it. It was 900 million times better! I was more relaxed. I moved around. I had a little fun with it. Much better! It was actually more comfortable for me standing than seated. Cool!

After this last run through. We headed out in Iowa guy’s beamer. Normally, I am not into flashy cars but I liked Iowa guy and his flashy car—a nice balance. He drove us to his country club in West Des Moines. I am also not into country clubs, but again, same balance principle holds true in Iowa guy’s case. It was so cheesy and country clubbish. There was a guy playing a baby grand in the corner, and a bunch of upper middle aged dudes eating steak and drinking manhattans while their wives drank chardonnay with cardigans around their shoulders. Too funny. Afterwards, Iowa guy decided he’d show us around town and proceeded to show off the finest McMansions Des Moines (and probably the entire state of Iowa) has to offer. Meanwhile, it’s already my bedtime in the Eastern Time Zone and I want to get back to the hotel (which was the Holiday Inn by the Airport, complete with a Holidome—I even had the pleasure of having a Holidome room in which I could hear the kids screeching in the pool until 10PM—because we couldn’t get a room downtown because the pork expo was in town. I kid you not).

Finally, finally, Iowa Guy took us back to our rooms. After saying goodnight to sweet mrp who helped me relax by reminding me of fuzzy bunnies*, I locked myself in the bathroom where I couldn't hear the holidome activities and did a couple of run throughs of the argument. Then I completed my stretching routine, tucked myself under the stiff polyester bedding, and watched the Sopranos before finally forcing myself to admit the hearing was imminent and to go to sleep!

I woke up around 5:45. I made some coffee and did a run through. I got my suit together and showered and all that and headed downstairs to meet my colleague for breakfast. At this point, just like a race, there’s no use training now. Just relax and trust it will workout. We headed out to the front of the hotel to wait for Iowa guy’s beamer to pull up. We hop in and head over to the courthouse.

I am a nervous wreck. It really is just like standing at the starting line. Finally the other side’s attorney enters. Then the judge. She cuts to the chase. Here I go!

“May it please the court. Good morning your honor…” I began. “Wait! You’re going to have to slow down!” The judge said with a smile. “Ok.” I said, “Let’s try this again.” So I started again and was reminded to slow down every time I saw the pained look on the court reporter’s face. Finally, I was done. I made it through the hard part. Now I had to take notes and get ready for the rebuttal!

The other side did their schtick and I came up with some doozies. By now, I was all warmed-up and fired up to refute everything the other side said. When it was my turn again I got up and fired back—tactfully, but with some emotion. Afterwards, my colleague and Iowa guy said I did well on the opening but really nailed the rebuttal. Of course, I was no Johnny Cochran, yet, but for my first time I think I did pretty well and I feel good about it. Whether we win or not is a different story!

After the hearing we had some time before we had to head to the airport so I suited up and headed out. I ran around Des Moines. I passed a rottweiler who ran after me, but luckily was on a long chain. Then I ran by the zoo. Then up a big hill—in Iowa! And then down a long hilly dirt road where I was chased by another dog, but just a little Benji dog who was curious to meet me. I ran about 7 miles. I ran back in my room and hurriedly got dressed and we headed across the street to the airport.

Now may I talk about what I hate? O'Hare freakin' airport! I HATE that place. Oh GOD! It sucks. It sucks so bad I don't even feel like typing all the crazy sh*t I had to go through to get home last night! UGH! Let's just say I was supposed to arrive in O’Hare from Des Moines at 3:00 and connect to a flight out of O’Hare around 3:45. I ended up flying out of Midway at 9:15 PM. I rolled into my driveway around 12:30 am and made into bed finally sometime after 1:00 am! I was wrecked. I just wanted to decompress after a couple of VERY stressful days and what do I get? More stress! And tons of it--and I had to experience on my feet in heels the whole time! UGH!

Let's just say my workout this morning in 87 degree heat, 20 mph winds, blazing sun, and high humidity didn't go so swell. Ok, I'll tell you a little about it. I was supposed to do a 2 mile w/u including 5 x 200 @ 5k pace. Then 3 x 1600 meters at 6:37. Then 6 x 200 @ 43. Then a 2 mile c/d. Well. I was ok through the warm-up. Then mile 1 was a bit fast in 6:24, especially considering I was running on blacktop in that heat and sun. Then during mile number two, all I remember is starting it in the shade and then I came around the corner and could see the shade ending and the sun shining on the road and before I knew it I was just standing there--my legs just stopped. I had only gone 400 meters! I didn't know what to do. I stopped the garmin and stood there in disbelief. Then I turned around and started running back into the shade. My pace was picking up and I thought I might salvage the workout and I looked down and realized I never restarted the garmin. I hit the button and pushed on for 900 more meters. Close enough! Then, I got on the bridle path for the last one to try to get out of the heat. I totally just wanted to quit especially when I came to 800 meters in 3:27 or something awful like that. Whatever. I made myself finish it. 6:47! AWFUL! I was also going to bag the 200's but instead, I made myself do them. I didn't look at the time, just the distance. I did 200 hard and 100 easy 6 times. Then I took off the garmin, erased the workout, stuffed the watch in my pocket, and commenced the slowest most pathetic 2 mile cool down of my life. The end.

*Last fall mrp was getting stiches--well, a stitch--and as he was anticipating the ickiness of the needle I said, "picture fuzzy bunnies." Rrrrrrrrt. The record stopped. The doctor turned and looked at me. Mrp, sat up and looked at me. "Wha...?" I don't know. When I have to get a shot or have blood drawn I think of fuzzy bunnies munching on grass in a field, ok?


Robert said...

Did you actually go anywhere? I thought Idaho, Iowa and Ohio were all the same place. :P

Quinto Sol said...

Cool litigation report... I thought I was reading Grisham :o)

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Great job on the--Litigation--is what you called it! It's always fun to run in new places too!

Jim said...

Heat sucks, that's for sure. On Friday the "official" high here was 96, but on the hot, paved roads driving home my thermometer registerd 103! Luckily it was down to 90 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday. Felt like Spring again! Great job on the litigation. Sounds slike you had fun with it.

DaisyDuc said...

Glad to hear all went well. It is good to be out of the comfort zone every now and then!

Travel issues are the worst!!!

GP said...

I thoroughly enjoy the correlative experience of oral argument and a big race.

Congrats on a great job -- most attorneys I know get few if any chances to do oral arguments, better yet good ones!

Christina said...

Hey, I was supposed to be on that flight out of O'Hare, too! After it got cancelled, I didn't feel like dealing with another airport, so I just rented a car and drove back.

Cool blog by the way, and great job with all your racing. I live in Cleveland too, so maybe we'll cross paths one of these days.