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Jury Duty

A few weeks ago, this showed up in my mailbox:

Woo. Hoo.

Woo. Hoo.

I was called for jury duty about 5 years ago. I was never picked to be on an actual case and I credited that to the fact that I was a newspaper reporter at the time and my dad works in law enforcement. Today, I work in PR and my dad is retired, so this time, I actually was on a case.

It’s over now so I can talk about it. No, the process wasn’t awesome. It wasn’t fascinating. It wasn’t like Law and Order. It was depressing. Kind of boring. Emotionally draining. Three full days in a federal court room. I lost sleep over it. As we were deliberating in the jury room (for 2 and a half hours), my throat started to hurt and the next day I was full-blown sick. This took a toll on me.

Here’s the scoop.

It was an armed robbery case by a 4-time convicted felon. However, the evidence was purely circumstantial. No fingerprints. No DNA. None of the victims possessions found in his pockets. It was  hard case to decide. There was testimony from the defendant’s lifelong best friend, who took a plea deal to testify against his friend.

The victim cried. The defendant cried. The jurors cried. It was horrible.

When it was turned over to us, the jury, we were exactly split: 6 voted guilty, 6 voted not guilty. Then we all started talking. I was one of the staunchest not-guilty jurors. I felt it was all circumstantial. Maybe it was another tall, well-spoken black man who committed the robbery, not this one. Maybe he really didn’t do it. But the more we talked about it, one by one, all the not guilty jurors changed their votes to guilty. We convicted a 23-year old man.

Once we were all in agreement, the reality of the situation set in. The woman sitting next to me just muttered, “Oh my God” under her breath. Another juror started to cry, head in her hands. It was an intense experience.

And then we had to go into the court room.

The defendant stood when we walked in, wearing a sport coat that was too big for him, and puffy eyes from crying. I couldn’t even look at him. The verdict was read. Guilty.

The air was thick in the court room and I felt like I couldn’t even breathe. I definitely couldn’t lift my head. And then in the silence of the court room, sobbing. I don’t know that I’ll be able to forget the sound the defendant made when we realized he was going to jail for a long, long time. He sobbed. He kept muttering, “this is my life, this is my life.”

I just kept thinking, I hope we made the right decision.

The judge came back to talk to us afterwards. He was able to give us a few nuggets of information that made sense and made me feel better about our verdict. We walked out of the jury room and into the hallway, to go wait for the elevator.

There was a ruckus behind us and one of the jurors whispered, “That’s the guy’s family.”

I looked around and there we stood. Alone. No bailiff. No security. We quickly shuffled on to the elevator and dropped five floors below.

When the elevator doors opened, we filed out. Suddenly, right there, was the defendant’s mother. Yelling at us for convicting her son when he “didn’t do nothing.” She was yelling at us. Asking us how we could do that. Someone grabbed her and pulled her away from us.

It was awful. We felt bad enough in that moment. We didn’t need a mother yelling at us. Maybe she should have yelled at her son more when he was growing up and he wouldn’t have been a 5 time convicted felon by age 23.

Since the case is over, I’ve been able to look up the defendant’s record and learn more about this case and this man. He is not a good man. I’ve come to terms with our verdict. We made the right decision. Having this guy off the streets will undoubtedly save other individuals and families from  heartache.

I’m going to enjoy these next four years knowing I can’t be called for jury duty again.


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A Half Day Doctor’s Visit

Tuesday was a rough day.

Let me back up for a minute. When I was pregnant with Riley, a regular ultrasound showed us that his kidneys were two different sizes. No biggie, we thought. But doctors thought otherwise. Long story short – he’s fine. More than fine, he’s perfectly healthy and brilliant and beyond adorable. Ok, I may be a little biased.

So every two years or so we take him to Children’s Hospital for an ultrasound of his kidneys and bladder and then up a few floors to see a pediatric urologist. I believe Tuesday was the fourth time we’ve done this in Riley’s life.

Derek and I took a half day off of work so we could make it to the 8:30 ultrasound and 9:00 doctor visit. We happily decided to go out for brunch afterwards. Riley was promised bacon.

It was pretty hectic getting all four of us up, ready and out the door by 8 a.m., but we did it and made it to the ultrasound appointment on time. But barely.

In the waiting room. Riley was very proud of his hospital bracelet. Which made my heart hurt.

In the waiting room. Riley was very proud of his hospital bracelet. Which made my heart hurt. Yes, those crayons are in a kidney-shaped puke bowl.

I can’t describe how proud I was of Riley when we got in the darkened room for his ultrasound. The last time we were here he wasn’t even two yet. He has no recollection of it, but he happily climbed up on the table without even being asked to, laid down and stared at the monitor. He was ready.

Children's Hospital is great. They project the solar system on the ceiling. Riley thought it w

Children’s Hospital is great. They project the solar system on the ceiling. Riley thought it was rad. 

But he thought the ultrasound was even cooler.

But he thought the ultrasound was even cooler.

So the tech finished up. Riley cracked her up the whole time. He’s so funny and clever. Again, I’m biased. Oh and here’s a funny thing. When I told him that morning that he was having pictures of the inside of his tummy taken, he asked what kind of camera it was. I told him it was an ultrasound. He said, “Like when we saw Charlotte in your tummy?” I can’t believe he remembers the 20-week ultrasound of our 6-month old baby. Like I said, he doesn’t miss much.

So up we went to the fourth floor to await our 9 a.m. appointment. We got there right on time, checked in and took a seat.

And waited.

And waited.

I realized it was 9:40 and thought, hmmmm, we’ve been waiting a while.

Then it was 10:00.

Then it was 10:15

Then it was 10:30.

Riley started to get antsy. Charlotte fell asleep. I started to get pissed. Derek too.

“Our appointment was an hour and a half ago,” I half whispered to Derek.

“What’s the point of making an appointment if we’re going to wait for an hour and a half?” he asked.

So I carried my sleeping baby up to the receptionist and asked how much longer it was going to be. I didn’t bother telling her that our appointment was supposed to happen an hour and a half ago. But I probably should have.

She went in the back to ask the nurse I guess and came back to report that there was one person ahead of us and then it would be our turn. What time was that person’s appointment, I wondered, 8:30? How early did this guy start seeing patients if he was already an hour and a half behind for a 9 a.m. appointment?

We took another seat and Riley started to get really antsy. The people in the waiting room annoyed me. (Ugh, I hate when parents show off their “parenting” skills by repeatedly and fakely saying their child’s name over and over. Shut up and go over and get your kid! He’s not supposed to be running behind the receptionist desk. DUH!)

Needless to say, our whole family was not pleased.

They called another person back. I vowed that if Riley wasn’t called next I was going to start yelling. And I’m not typically a yeller. Unless I’m in childbirth with no pain meds, but that’s another story.

Finally, the frazzled nurse called our name. It was 11:00. A full TWO HOURS we had been waiting. Under my breath I muttered, “it’s a miracle…” and again, my boy didn’t miss a beat.

“It’s a miracle!” he yelled as we walked through the waiting room. “A miracle finally happened!” He was giddy. Or delirious. Or both. We all were.

We walk through the door and the nurse says, “I’ll need to get her weight.”

Um? Did I hear that right? Derek told Riley to step on the scale.

“Did she have her ultrasound this morning?” the nurse asked.

I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was about to erupt. Scroll up and look at the outfit Riley was wearing. DID HE LOOK LIKE A GIRL???

“Um….HE?” I prompted her. She looked up at us for the first time since we’d gotten there TWO HOURS EARLIER.

“He. Sorry.”

Oblivious, Riley complimented her on the “cool” stickers she had on rolls by the scale. She thanked him but didn’t offer him one. Isn’t this a pediatric office? Give the poor kid a sticker!

We went into the exam room FINALLY and she entered some info into the computer. They didn’t have a pharmacy on file for us so she asked us where we’d want a prescription sent. I knew we weren’t going to need a prescription but told her our pharmacy anyway. The computer couldn’t locate WALGREENS. I know, such an obscure pharmacy. She asked us for the zip code of the store we frequent and neither of us knew. Um…duh. So she CALLED Walgreens and asked them their zip code. The hell? Ten minutes later she was done on the computer. Growl.

She said the doctor was with another patient and she’d let us know when it would be close to the time that he’d see us. Not a good sign.

She brought in a bunch of toys for Riley. An even worse sign.

By this time it was more than TWO HOURS after our appointment time. We’d been given no reason for the delay. No one even acknowledged it.

We waited. 11:10, 11:15, 11:25.

“Are we in a science experiment,” I deliriously pondered. No way we were going for brunch. I’d be lucky to make it back to work for my 1:00 client call. I couldn’t believe I was wasting PTO on this. “Can we just leave? Are we being punked?”

“If we are, I’m punching Ashton Kutcher right in his pretty face,” Derek replied.

Finally at 11:30 the nurse came in to say the doctor would be in soon.

“What is soon? Ten minutes?”

“I don’t know. I can’t even guess,” she replied. GEE THANKS.

At 11:36 the doctor came in. I checked my watch to see. At 11:41 he was gone. Riley’s kidneys are growing He’s fine.

We waited two and a half hours for that? And we are probably paying several hundred dollars out of pocket for this.

And the worst part of the whole wait two and a half hours for a 6 minute appointment? Drumroll please….

…..the doctor never apologized for keeping us waiting.


I’m dumbfounded. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but really. Now I’m going to get a fatty bill for this? Lovely.

I don’t really know what to do about this at this point. I’m thinking of waiting to see the bill and then calling to complain. Any other suggestions?




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Thinking of the Parents of Newtown

I saw this on Facebook and it made me feel slightly better about everything.

Screen shot 2012-12-15 at 7.36.44 PMThe world needs to change. We need to more carefully monitor those with mental health problems. Listen to our guts. Have uncomfortable conversations. We need to get rid of all these damn guns. A brick wall has fallen on all of us. It’s got our attention. It’s time to do something. #nomoregunviolence


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Why Preschool Sucks

First off, yes, there are good things, even GREAT things about Riley being in school. The adorable artwork he comes home with every day. The fun he has when he’s there. The fact that he’s learning independence. He’s happy there.

But here are the things  I hate about the fact that my child is in school and not home every day:

– The illnesses. The constant cold that he has had since starting school. He’s the typical snot-nosed daycare kid now. And he coughs a lot. I am grateful that so far he’s only gotten colds from school and no crazy hoof and mouth disease or whatever you hear about other kids getting at school. And I’ve been sick twice in three weeks thanks to the germs he’s brought home. No, I’m not bitter. At all.

– He’s loud. Ever since starting school he’s become noticeably louder. Like, talking at decibels the deaf could hear. I think it’s because he’s in a room with a bunch of 3-year olds and the louder they talk, the more others pay attention.

– He says the darndest things. Scratch that, he says horrible things. The other day when I was getting ready for work, he nonchalantly said, “I’m going to kill you.” Um…WHAT? Excuse me? What did my sweet, innocent little cherub just say? Lovely. And here’s the thing, he didn’t say it in an angry or mean way. He said it as if he was telling me what he wants for lunch. Which makes me feel a little better because he obviously has no idea what that means. But yikes. It’s still shocking to hear.

– He’s gotten more testosterony. That’s the only way I can think of to describe it. He pretends to hit us. He says, “I’m gonna fight you.” Typical boy stuff. But it’s new to our boy. And I don’t like it.

– UPDATE: For the second time in his entire life, Riley threw up. Lovely. And he has a fever. No school for him tomorrow! Besides washing his hands the instant he comes home from school and changing his clothes that he wore at school, what else can we do to ensure the germs stay out of our house? Put him in a bubble?

I know I’m just complaining and school is the right place for him to be. But it’s hard to let go, to deal with the constant illnesses, and the things that other kids teach him. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make sure our couch doesn’t smell like puke anymore.

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This is why everyone hates dentists

Generally, I like my teeth. I had braces, retainers, rubber bands to correct an overbite and all sorts of things, but they’ve left me with nice, straight teeth. Since I’ve spent so much time with dentists, I’m not one of those who are afraid of dentists or dread going. No, I’m fine with it.

After getting married and getting new insurance, Derek and I decided we should go to the same dentist. I decided to start going to the dentist he had been going to for a few years. Everything seemed fine until recently.

Last summer, I was eating hard candy at my parents’ house and ewwww, I cracked a tooth. It was a really gross sound. So I made a dentist appointment, even though I had just been there 2 weeks prior for a cleaning. I went in and they said I’d need a crown. Took some x-rays. Then the dentist took a look and his face lit up.

“I don’t think we need to do a crown, just an overlay,” he said. “There’s a lot of good tooth left.”

He told me about a Cerac crown. I got the impression that he was excited to use this new machine. I hemmed and hawed number 1 about the price. He had the receptionist call my insurance company and run the numbers. It was a few hundred dollars more after insurance, but he reassured me by telling me that Cerac are the “Cadillac of crowns” and that if he were the one needing one, he’d spring for one for himself. Trusting him, I reluctantly agreed.

I don’t remember much about the procedure. They took a mold of my tooth and then a noisy machine in the next room, etched out the overlay to perfectly fit my tooth.


I remember that I kept telling him that it didn’t fit. That my teeth no longer matched up when I bit down. He probably adjusted it 5-10 more times until it seemed ok. Honestly, since that day I could tell something wasn’t right.

Last fall, I went back for my cleaning. Again, got a clean bill of health.

Since starting a new job with new insurance, I had to find a new dentist. Thank god for that.

The hygienist immediately started asking questions about the Cerac as she was taking x-rays. I told her what I knew about it.

“How do you floss up there?” she asked.

“It’s not too bad,” I said, not knowing what she was getting at.

The dentist came in and looked at my x-rays. “You’re kidding me,” she muttered under her breath. That’s NEVER good.

Here’s the gist, apparently, the last dentist put this Cerac in completely wrong. It doesn’t fit, there are huge gaps on both sides of my molar. And here’s the REALLY bad part. Because of these huge gaps, there are pockets in my gums where food likes to hide. I can’t get it out by brushing or flossing, which means that in the past 12 months that I had this implanted, I now have ….


Because some stupid ass fucking dentist performed a procedure incorrectly.

I was told that I’d be dealing with this the rest of my life. Trying to undo what this douchebag did in a 3 hour appointment. Oh, and also? I paid HUNDREDS of dollars out of pocket for this asshole to give me GUM DISEASE!

So my options are few. Call the dentist and ask him to fix it for free. I am not a fan of this option because, obviously, I don’t want this guy anywhere near my teeth ever again. My current dentist said if she can remove a few fillings around the overlay she can fix the gap a bit and get me a few more years out of this overlay before it needs replacing, wherein insurance would pay for it. The option I’m hoping for is that I can call up this dentist, bitch him out, get him to give my money back, have him thank me for not suing his stupid ass, and have my new dentist fix it the best way she can. And try to undo the damage to my gums. I’ll report back…

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The Last Oprah

Like just about everyone on Earth, I’ve been watching Oprah for as long as I can remember. While I enjoyed my post-elementary school bowl of cereal, I’d watch Oprah. When I was in middle school, I did my own talk show for a school project, wearing one of my mom’s business suits and walking into my “studio” (the living room) to Oprah’s theme song. That I taped on my pink boom box, old school cassette-style. I remember watching Oprah with my dad while he made the family dinner and it sparking surprisingly deep conversations. In high school, while listening to punk music and sporting hot pink hair, I still watched Oprah. Just two short years ago, I regularly came home from work and happily nursed my little squirmy baby while watching a DVR’d episode of the day’s Oprah.

When it comes to Oprah, I’m a lifer. And I know everyone feels this way, but I feel like she’s inspired my career path and the attitude I try to put forth.

She was raised in Milwaukee, like me. She’s a journalist, like me. Sometimes, when people piss me off, I think WWOD. Really, what would Oprah do? She would probably not flip over this table or kick that person in the crotch, even if they deserve it.

While I may have started watching Oprah when I was just a kid, I stopped watching Oprah as an adult. Hardcore. I had to wait to watch the final episode until I put Riley to sleep. So while I watched the last episode, I stuffed my son’s cloth diapers while he yammered away in his crib.

Like everyone else, I feel grateful towards Oprah for all the aha moments and lessons learned. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a sentence, “Like Oprah says…”  while everyone around me rolls their eyes.

So thank you Oprah for being awesome. But now back to me, what am I going to watch at 4:00 every day?

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Remember that one time that I lost my dream job? And I was devastated more than I’ve ever been in my life? And I felt the world’s worst feelings of betrayal and anger towards my boss who basically threw me under the bus to save herself?

Well, karma came back in a most glorious way.

On Monday afternoon, some former co-workers and friends forwarded me a corporate email that was released about her. It said she had resigned. She was going to do freelance work. Stay on for a few weeks so they could find a replacement.

At first I was like, “Wha? They didn’t fire her?!?!” I wanted her to feel humiliated and broken like she made me feel. But then I read between the lines. She has no family or friends and lives for this job. There is no way she would resign on her own accord. Especially when she doesn’t have another job lined up. She was forced out. They gave her the option – resign on your own and keep dignity from the company where you’ve worked for 10 years, or we will fire you.

I felt really happy, relieved and vindicated. That night I celebrated with a beer and toasted karma, glorious karma. I feel no sadness towards the fact that she now lost her dream job. The same way she forced me to lose my dream job, didn’t have the guts to tell me to my face that I was “laid off” and then never once contacted me again. She went on vacation like everything was fine and let HR do the dirty work. I never saw her again.

I am the type of person who believes in karma. I truly feel that what you put out into the universe will come back to you. The way you are treated is a direct reflection of how you treat others. And this week, 7 months after she did that to me, it was done to her. And life is good.

These are odd feelings for me, though, as I have never been one to relish in another’s misery. But I’m hopeful that just this once, I can feel happiness that she got what she deserved, and hope that karma understands and nothing bad happens to me in return. Fingers crossed!

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