May
30

Memorial Day Musing

For many years I took one month off each year. That month plus, I should add, Christmas day. I worked seven days a week, eleven months a year. The weekends were half days. I'd work nine to five, sleeping in and getting home early enough to play. Come July, I would hunker down with my family on the Cape, bringing a few boxes of work along to stoke the work demon's demands.

A few years back it struck me that this was a too demanding schedule. My wife likes to have me around the house, or so she says. We now live in a rural area on land with always too much to do. So I started taking Saturdays off. This sabbath, a wholly secular event, begins on Friday evening and extends until I head into the office on Sunday morning.
Clients seem surprised that I work Sunday. I wonder how trial lawyers avoid working weekends. If you are in court all week, you need a day on the weekend to sort through the mail, read new decisions, prepare for the week to come. I'm getting long in the tooth; I refuse to work late into the night any longer. Twelve hour days are my limit. Gone are the days when I would boast of long days and little sleep.
So why this post on Memorial Day? It's Sunday, and I took yesterday off to stay at home and work with my wife in our garden. (We're now eating home grown lettuce, rhubarb and asparagus. Soon we will have peas. The garden thrives this year, thank you.) So it's Sunday, and although my wife and I linger over breakfast and the New York Times, come 9 a.m. my feet get itchy. Time to go punch the time clock.
Or is it? What would happen if I took an entire weekend off? I savor the thought like a dieter's contemplation of a rich chocolate cake. So long as I am contemplating reckless pleasure, why not take Monday off, too? How about a three-day weekend? The thought unnerves me.
But it delights my wife. She skips around the house acting as though it were already time to head for the Cape. She knows better than to encourage my directly. I am an old ass. Push me to the right, and the left looks appealing. But I watch the look on her face and once again ask: What did I do to deserve her? I've rambled and rumbled so recklessly through life that I marvel at her gentle enjoyment of me. She sees something in me I am reluctant to acknowledge.
So a three-day weekend? Perhaps. Although I made a quick trip to the office yesterday to meet with folks in crisis. But that was a brief meeting, lasting only a couple of hours. Emergencies happen. It doesn't really count.
The Sun shines today. The dogs bound about happy that all members of the pack are home. My wife glows with a silent contentment. Today's law work can wait a day or so. No deadlines loom. Summer dawns today, and I am going to stay home and enjoy it.
"Objection," the cranky workaholic in me cries.
"Overruled," I reply. I think I will head out to the garden to do some more planting. It's time for new growth.

Comments (5)
Posted on May 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm by mirriam
We women with good men like to have them around. ...
We women with good men like to have them around. It's just how it is. Thank you for making your wife happy. My man is sitting here uploading our DC pictures to facebook while I thank you. It's a good life when you take time to notice it.

Posted on May 30, 2010 at 8:18 am by Anonymous
beautiful post. We in the midwest are starting ou...
beautiful post. We in the midwest are starting our gardens. Baby lettuces are coming up and the rhubarb is wonderful. Need to wait for the beets, the beans and snap peas, the squashes, the baby eggplant, the tomatoes.

Our weekends thrill us, but doubtless would bore the crud out of many. We like to grocery shop together, work in the yard, play with the dogs. I don't identify with those of my friends who seem to cultivate chaos. It is a pleasure to read about those who just like being around each other. Thanks, Beth K.

Posted on May 30, 2010 at 8:06 am by Norm Pattis
J
You do. I read it
N
J
You do. I read it

N

Posted on May 30, 2010 at 7:51 am by Jamison
If only I could write like this.
If only I could write like this.

Posted on May 30, 2010 at 7:10 am by Rick Horowitz
I had to send this to my wife and a couple friends...
I had to send this to my wife and a couple friends. Sometimes I worry that they think my saying I have to work like this because I'm in court all week is an excuse to avoid being home for yardwork or housework on weekends. Most weekends, I'd gladly trade the drudgery of catching up on filing for the drudgery of fixing a fence, mowing a yard, or vacuuming the house.

As usual, thanks for a great read.
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis

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