Anyway. This is a great Talk Thursday topic because it perfectly describes the last month of my life. At work, at least, I've been positively slammed. I've had eight sets of discovery responses due this month. For you non-legal people, sets of discovery means that both parties have asked the other side in the case a set of formal questions, which need to be answered in Proper Legal Language according to a strict set of rules (the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, in case you're curious). Discovery sets usually come in threes, which means three documents to which to respond. Each response can take upward of a couple of hours by the time you sit down with the client, get their answers to the questions, go over the questions themselves, object to anything that might be objectionable, turn the client's answers into Proper Legal Language, and then take the whole deal to the attorney for review. (After which, of course, it comes back with lots of changes, which can then take another x number of hours.) One set of discovery can pretty much knock down your timetable for the week. Two sets of discovery can pretty much become your week. Eight sets of discovery--well, that's two sets a week for four weeks in a row, folks. That's--that's just insane.
Now, here's the rub. While the sets of discovery are getting done, nothing else is. And it's not like everything else understands that there's discovery due and politely waits in the background for its proper turn. Oh no. Life and the law firm moves on. There are still motions to write, chronologies to create, records to order, filings to file, letters to crank out, depositions to schedule. In your copious spare time, of course. Because discovery trumps all. Miss a deadline for a set of discovery and you've "waived all your objections," which means, in short, that you've totally screwed up your case and are probably looking at a malpractice lawsuit. Miss one of those other deadlines, though, and you're at least in big trouble, and maybe fired.
So it's been an interesting month. I've tried to refrain from running around like a headless chicken trying to do everything at once, but hey, I get manic as hell sometimes, so it does happen. And then right in the middle of all this, when I was wrapping up Set of Discovery No. 8, I got The Call.
Okay, it was actually The Email, but The Call sounds ever so much more religious, doesn't it? And this being a religious blog and all, I couldn't help it. The Email was from a literary agent, asking for a partial on Mindbender. And everything came to a screeching halt for about five minutes while I stared at this email and said something that contained numerous swear words. Hard to say what this felt like, but I guess the best analogy is that I went fishing, fell asleep on the dock, and woke up to find that I had a bite on my line, only to discover I had forgotten my net, my cooler and some other vital piece of equipment fishermen need for when they actually catch something (the last time I went fishing, I was fifteen, so please pardon me for not having a clue). In short, I was utterly emotionally unprepared. I was off in discovery-land, remember? I mean, I'm not complaining here, but it was the apotheosis of bad timing. Five minutes after I stepped off an airplane in Thule, Greenland, without my laptop and miles from electricity would have been a better time. For serious. I think they have electricity in Thule, though.
And so a mad scramble ensued. First, I had to evict Scaley, the T-Rex of Anxiety, and his adopted older brother Fang, the Velociraptor of Sudden Panic, from my kitchen so that I could at least try to get some work done. Then I had to tell Joan I loved her every five minutes so that she wouldn't strangle me for muttering ceaselessly about how sucky this narrative was and how a reasonably well-trained chimpanzee could have written it and that obviously it wasn't worth mailing to an illiterate troll living under a bridge in Zaire, never mind a literary agent in New York. Then I had to figure out how to number the pages (curse you, Word 2010) after the first attempt left this fine-line border around each and every page (nice, kind of decorative, even, but, no. Just no.) Then I had to get myself and my pages to Office Depot to pick up a couple of big envelopes, get myself and my envelopes to the Post Office, and get back to the office before my lunch hour expired so I could get back to the discovery before I blew my deadline. And, oh yeah, get something to eat. I think I scored an apple and some string cheese.
Pant. Pant. Gasp. Whew.
So that's how I spent Tuesday and Wednesday. Some fun time, huh? But, pleased to announce, the package got mailed, the world did not crack asunder, Scaley and Fang are afraid of Ativan and today at four P.M., the last of the eight sets of discovery left the building. Which means I can relax and, uh, concentrate on that huge pile of mail that's about to fall on me. You know, from all the other cases.
October will be easier. I keep telling myself that.