Saturday, September 05, 2009

my week in summary

The trial is finally over. Today, we had closing statements - and then - we held our breath while the jury went to deliberate. Less than an hour later, the verdict was returned. It was a unanimous decision. Twelve to Zero. My side won.

After the jury read their verdict, each side had an opportunity to talk with the jurors to find out what compelled them to vote the way that they did. They all had their reasons, but ultimately, they were convinced that the facts of the case were so clear cut, it was easy to reach a decision.

All of the jurors agreed that the most exciting part of the trial was when I had to be cross-examined by the Plaintiff's attorney. Up until that point they thought that the trial was rather boring. But when I was on the stand, they said that watching the attorney tear in to me was like something from a movie. They all nodded in agreement that they were on the edge of their seats.

Oddly enough, my counsel specifically told me, before I took the stand, that it was highly unlikely that the Plaintiff's attorney would get ugly with me because I was a 'pretty young girl'. I'm not sure if they told me that to keep me from getting nervous, or because they really believed it. But man, those gloves came off fast when they had me in the witness box.

To the opposing counsel, I wasn't a pretty young girl. I was the environmental engineer for one of the world's largest oil companies (who they erroneously kept referring to as a gross contaminator of the environment) and all the troubles that his client were facing were because of me. They went after everything.

My character.

My experience.

My credibility.

During the interview this afternoon, one of the woman jurors just shook her head and said, "If anyone ever went after me like that, I would have been in tears. How did you maintain your composure?"

Although I didn't tell her this - as I was driving home from Los Angeles this afternoon, I couldn't help but think that being the mother of triplets has probably given me a tremendous amount of confidence in my ability.

I've got little people demanding things of me constantly. They are yelling at me and around me, all day long. Children are falling in toilets, smuggling bugs in to the house, ambushing my secret chocolate supply and challenging my EVERY decision. I've got to keep my eye on the prize and get my job done. Without crying. Without yelling. Without crashing like a house of cards. I need to maintain peace in the storm, while remaining honest - firm - confident - and calm under pressure.

I certainly never would have guessed that my role as a mother would have prepared me more for this trial than my almost 20-years of experience, education and professional registrations, combined.

I'm so glad it's over. So, so, so, so, so very glad.

(So. So very.)


I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Charlie and I lived together before we were married. In hindsight, I'm not sure that I would have done the same thing. But at the time, it seemed logical. We were completely in love - we spent every waking moment together - and we were college students paying for two rents.

Within my files, is the letter that my mother sent me in September of 1992. In that letter, among other things, my mother wrote that she was concerned and/or disappointed that we were living together before we were married. Her exact words were, "I do not like to see you enjoying the fruits of marriage without a license." She went on to write that she was afraid that, "if we weren't careful, we'd be hearing the pitter patter of little feet. And I don't mean mice."

Oh, how those words stung me when I was 21-years old.

But oh, how those words have made me laugh, ever since.

When my mom and Jim began spending time together a few years ago, and moved in together, shortly thereafter, I wrote a letter to my mother telling her that I hoped that she wasn't enjoying the fruits of marriage without a license and that they were being careful, because otherwise, they might soon hear the pitter patter of little feet. And I don't mean mice.

Charlie sent me a text message this morning, seconds before I stepped in to the courtroom. His message simply said, "CALL YOUR MOTHER IMMEDIATELY. Every thing is OK but you are going to FLIP OUT. As a hint: you and I did this on August 6, 1994."




Our wedding anniversary is August 6. So all during the trial and closing arguments, I was totally distracted. But I was somehow able to hold it together and during our first break, I called my husband and learned that my mother and Jim eloped.

That's right: My mother and Jim got hitched.

They were married yesterday afternoon at Graceland - my Aunt Grace and Uncle Bill's home in South Carolina. My Aunt Grace, a Notary, officiated the ceremony. Here's a blog post, written by my cousin Lisa, that shows more of the pictures from this monumental day.

My mother is 76-years old. Jim is 86-years old. And they are in love.

I am thrilled that not only do they have each other, but they are now finally able to enjoy the fruits of marriage.

With a license.


Oh! I almost forgot ... last, but not least - how cool is this?

Why is it that the most humorous situations in my life, surround events occurring in or around the bathroom?

What? You think I'm kidding?

Just wait until I tell you about the birthday party our kids attended last weekend...


  1. You look alot like your mother. Congrats on everything!

    -Lindsey U.

  2. Great news about the trial. I guess having the trips has prepared you well for whatever life throws at you. Isn't that a comforting thought? I think your counsel lied to you, my experience with trials is that it doesn't matter how pretty, young or old...they are out for themselves and their client, which is how I guess it should be.
    How wonderful it is that Jim and your mom got married. They look so happy in the pictures. It is a shame they didn't do that while you were visiting...that would have made your vacation that much more special.
    Can't wait to read about the new bathroom "adventure".

  3. Congratulations. And congratulations!!!

    I mean, of course, both the case and the licensing of a man who sounds like an extraordinary stepfather. :)

  4. When Jim and Mary came in carying gifts, food and huge baloons, we were so surprised. Uncle Bill has not been doing well, and I thought this was her attempt to cheer him up. Boy, was I right. Ater my son in law left, she asked if Bill and I would do her a favor. She pulled out the licience and said "you said you are a notary, and could preform a wedding." So it was just Mary, the bride, Jim the groom, Bill the best man and me the officiate and maid of honor. It was the most special wedding Bill and I ever attended. What a gift from my best friend to me. Uncle Bill came out and as you can see, he looked great.

  5. OH my GOSH! Congratulaations Mom and Jim that is so AWESOME! I am SOOOOOOOOO happy for them. Great blog post.

  6. CONGRATS to your mom and Jim! So cool!

  7. Congratulations from Croatia to your Mum and Jim :) That is sooo lovely :)

  8. I don't know what to love most, your grace under fire on the stand or your grace in sharing your/your mom's living together/marriage stories.

    Congratulations to you, and to your mom and Jim!

    Love this post!!!

  9. Just like your Mom -- after a very tough couple of weeks here in the south -- to cheer us all up.

    Your Mom looks so happy! Beautiful blushing bride! And she made my Mother and Father Very Happy - Oh and Jim too!!!!!! (He's such a nice guy!) Marg.

  10. Congrats on the trial being over...and for winning! And congrats to mom & Jim for tying the knot!

  11. Yea MOM and JIM!!!!! About darn time:)

  12. What a great post full of wonderful news! So happy your time away for the trial was worth it (hopefully you will be handsomely compensated!!) and I'm thrilled for your Mother and Jim! Congratulations all around!!

  13. Congrats to your Mom!
    I'm very happy your trial is over and glad you made it through so successfully.
    Litigators are their own breed of attorneys. They are like trained attack dogs. I could totally see you sitting there answering questions like a pro with a very professional "bite me" attitude. : )

  14. Congratulations on your side winning.
    DH had a small court case recently -he was defendant in aridiculous claim and we won was a relief !
    So very glad indeed you can be back with your awesome fouresome and Charlie.
    The restroom post was hilarious...haven't laughed so hard in ages.Don't know how you do it with 4 at once in a public toilet.

  15. Ps Congratulations to your mum too ...very cute and I loved the pitter patter bit !