Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gradations of graduation

Our syllabus came to an abrupt end following the last week of class. After that, we had two exams and an assignment due. Beyond that point ... there be graduation -- at some unspecified date.

Graduation. The goal of the Magnificent Seven ever since day one of MUPP. We had finished our last Contracts class with Contracts Guy. We'd met once more with our Skills Goddess to get final feedback on our client folders. A few of us went to "Paralegal a Go-Go," a continuing education event that merits its own chapter in this story. We jumped out of the online exam windows and endured free-fall until our grades were posted. And still the question we asked each other, in person and in emails, was, "Have you heard anything about graduation?"

Our Skills Goddess did her best to get the Powers That Be at MUPP to give us a graduation date. An approximate date. A hint at an approximate date. It took awhile, but we finally got one. It would be a luncheon in our collective honor, with our instructors and the program administrators. Then it was a dinner. A date was set. And then there was a surprise: No guests.

Here's the email I sent to the other 6/7ths of the class:

Hi guys.  
Was your reaction to X's email about no guests allowed at graduation "Say WHAT??!!?" (or your generational equivalent)?  Mine was. 
I realize that it's probably meant as a cost-reducing measure. But isn't it the point of graduation events to let graduates AND their families, significant others, friends, etc. celebrate their accomplishments?  
I myself would rather have our peeps in attendance than get a free meal. What do you all think?

The answers were primarily agreement. My favorite response was from LawBaby, who expressed his general ambivalence toward graduations per se, (having just had one), but added, "I always love a good riot ... I'm with ya." He also mentioned something about lobbing a television through a shop window or two.  (I knew I liked that kid.) Skills Goddess once again went to bat for us, and the next thing we knew, all of our loved ones were cordially invited to celebrate with us. Yay!

Family members - other than Spousie - being in short supply, I decided to invite the two un-indicted co-conspirators who got me into this mess - Cagney and Lacy - to join us at the party. Unfortunately, Cagney was out of the country and could not attend. (Rumors of cucumber smuggling and midnight flights to Manila are all patently untrue. Well, the parts about cucumbers and midnight, anyway.) Lacy was available. Not only did she drive me to the fancy-schmancy hotel, but she soothed my frazzled nerves, convinced me I didn't look like crap in my suit, and even drove a couple of laps around Downtown to kill time when we managed to arrive forty-five minutes early.

Frazzled nerves? You betcha. I had been named Valedictorian - a death sentence honor I snagged by a mere 1.3 grade points. Had I only missed two questions on the sundry exams I'd taken, I wouldn't have to Give A Speech. I don't Speak. At all. I have turned down job interviews on being told I'd need to "give a little presentation to the staff." I dropped out of an improv class that I was really enjoying when I realized they weren't kidding about us giving a show at the end of the eight weeks. To mangle Paul Stookey's lyrics, whenever three or more of you are gathered, there is no way in hell I'm going to be addressing said gathering. So I put my little valedictory brain to work. I had a feeling there was one among us who would want to Tell Her Story at graduation. I was right. She did. Her parents were thrilled. And I was off the hook. Bless you, Felonious Floozie; I owe you one.

You may be wondering what one gets - other than the opportunity to avoid giving a speech - if one is a Valedictorian. I thought it would be a plaque, or a trophy, or a nice little silver bowl suitable for using as a candy dish for my desk when I got that High Paying Job in the Exciting Field of Paralegal Work. Nope. I got a belt. An "Academic Champion" belt. Imagine a boxing or wrestling championship belt, shrunk down to half size, and decorated with scrolls and mortar boards and such. The valet who returned Spousie's car post-graduation asked me how many rounds I went to win it. (You can't make this stuff up...) It's too small to wear (unless I decide to get into extreme corseting or somesuch nonsense), but its acrylic display box is wider than my fireplace mantel, which makes display a little problematical. I was hoping it was one of those awards that your name is engraved on, and you keep it a year, and then you pass it on to the next lucky winner. Like the Stanley Cup. Nope. It's mine for keeps.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Twelve hours, ten chapters, and fourteen glazed eyeballs

Well, we’ve been hanging from this cliff for quite awhile now, haven’t we? Sorry about that. Here’s an up-to-the-minute, brief recap:

I survived contracts and graduated from MUPP. Yay; go, me.

But that statement, while correct and current, isn’t as much fun as me havering away and telling stories. (It isn’t as much fun for me anyway.) So, I’ll digress a bit and do some of that. Havering. (Google it. Then hear it in its natural habitat here. I love that song, BTW.)

Unlike my previous horrible experience with Contracts, this class was short, to the point, and cut down to the very basics. The instructor, who I’ll call Contracts Guy, didn’t have the time to play “hide the ball” so we got the essence of the Rules, plus lots of practice tips. We also got many opportunities to buy his car, which was a little unexpected.

That’s the thing about good legal instruction, IMHO: it uses clear and memorable examples. I will never forget the Long Arm Statute because my professor at WCSSL-SP taped a nattily-sleeved fake arm to the blackboard that reached across one chalked state border and into another. I’ll never forget the difference between assault and battery because another WCSSL-SP professor used an open bottle of water and a cooperative classmate to demonstrate the difference (battery gets you wet; assault does not). And in contracts, a lot of cogent points can be made with various offers to sell a car to a classmate.

Contracts Guy chose the baby of our class (the son of a lawyer and a law professor) for these examples. Maybe he thought LawBaby needed a car so he wouldn’t be consistently late to class; I don’t know. There must have been at least two dozen opportunities to purchase his Volvo. We learned about offers, counteroffers, puffery, fraud, misrepresentation, price quotes, and option contracts, all starring that car. And lovely man that he was, C.G. gave us each a Volvo for a graduation present. (Okay, so it was a picture of his car, but it’s the thought that counts, right?)

Contracts was the last of our substantive law classes. This was the home stretch. And stick a fork in the Magnificent Seven; we were passing medium-well on the way to charcoal. Four months of intense study of a strange topic like law was taking its toll. I felt sorry for C.G., facing fourteen glazed eyeballs and seven slack jaws for three hours of class. He was really a good sport about it.

What did we do in Contracts? The first thing we learned (after finding out how sellable a used Volvo was), was when an instructor says, “bring in some examples of [fill in thing you’re studying here]” be very careful what you choose. Odds are you’re going to be working with whatever they are for the rest of the class. We had to bring in three examples of contracts. I had a promissory note between Spousie and Cagney, Lacy gave me an old contract her boss used to rent out animals, and Cagney gave me her company’s rental agreement and terms and conditions. Our course assignment ended up being a memo to Contracts Guy about the three contracts, and drafts of the contracts to get rid of ambiguities and make improvements.

The memo I wrote was only okay. C.G. said we just needed to write, “here are the answers to your six silly questions, and by the way here are some contracts attached.” I took that to mean that it wasn’t supposed to be a formal memo memo. My bad. I got some points knocked off for not citing anything. Fair enough. I then considered My Three Contracts (Sorry - showing my age there.) C.G. had also said that, in view of the fact that some of our contracts were really long (Law Baby had brought in Apple’s T&Cs for the use of iTunes, for example) and others really short, he would leave it up to our own consciences as to how many of them we re-wrote.

Cagney’s contract from work was really well-written. It even had a choice of law clause, the importance of which C.G. had stressed in class. I didn’t see anything that needed rephrasing – of course, I wouldn’t spot any subtle changes to make because I was new to this. My conscience said, “Drop this one like a hot potato, baby, and just do the other two.” So I did. Moving on.

Spousie’s promissory note was the antithesis of the iTunes contract. It was about six lines long. “Spousie is borrowing X dollars from Cagney for this purpose and will pay it back in monthly payments of Y,” was pretty much the gist of it. I had learned that people don’t think of all the possibilities when they write contracts, and end up surprised when something not covered happens. So, I added a mediation clause in case of disputes, and a choice of law clause. C.G. suggested in his feedback that I didn’t show a good reason for choosing mediation, and that he would have gone for litigation instead. Well, yeah, he’s a lawyer; of course he would have wanted to litigate. But knowing Spousie and Cagney, I figured mediation fit them better.

Lacy’s animal contract was the perfect choice for the assignment. It was only a page long, but it covered more ground than the promissory note had. The best part was that it was so badly written, all that survived after I’d worked my magic was the letterhead and the signature blocks. I do not exaggerate. We had to turn in a redlined version along with a copy of the original contract, and only the very top and bottom of the page were not crossed out. C.G. was impressed. He thought I should have been more specific with some of the information, but I was trying not to add in facts that weren’t in the existing contract. If it didn’t constitute unauthorized practice of law (and Great State Bar is a real bastard when it comes to prosecuting UPL) I’d have given the new! improved! contract back to Lacy to give to her Animal Guy boss. Maybe I can give it to Animal Guy’s lawyer as a draft, and he can make a generic form out of it or something – it’s a shame for it to go to waste.

And that was Contracts. Twelve hours. Ten chapters. One assignment, one exam.

All done.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interlude: PKSD (Post-Kingsfield Stress Disorder)

"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" 
                -- Dr. Henry Jones, Jr.

Or in my case, Contracts.

The Magnificent Seven (yes, there are still seven of us, surprisingly) are rounding the corner into the home stretch of paralegal classes. All that's left are a few huge, galumphing assignments, a smattering of final exams, and we will be crowned, not with laurels, but with Certificates. Yay. Go, us. Having conquered  Torts and Texas Procedures, we next take keyboard in hand to slay the beast known as Contracts. And I'm having flashbacks.

Some of them are pleasant enough. Widgets, for example. In Contracts hypotheticals, if there is a product being bought or sold, it is generally widgets. I always imagined them as looking like wing nuts (hardware, not political). Shiny, silver-colored, and always purchased in great numbers. Something one might fish out of one's pocket and fidget with during a boring lecture.

In addition to the widgets, I'm seeing old friends in my Contracts textbook: the Zehmers, who thought it would be fun to write a "joke" sales contract for their farm on the back of a restaurant guest check. Fairmount Glass which couldn't tell the difference between a price quote and a contract. The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway, which needed to read offers from iron mills, not just answer them. Oldies but goodies, one and all.

But some of the flashbacks have been not so pleasant. My Contracts professor at Western California State School of Law at Swami's Point was a real pri- ahem -nce who said to me not once, but twice in the same meeting about my midterm exam, "This is Law School. I'm not going to spoon-feed you." Well, no risk of that with margin comments of "No," "Bad rule," and "Did you even read what you wrote?" in my bluebook. And that was, as they say, all he wrote. Those ten words. And more than that would have been "spoon-feeding?" I still can't decide whether he took a personal dislike to me, or was he merely continuing his contemptuous treatment of mere staff members. (I was one, and I had the temerity to try to rise above that lowly station and take law classes! Imagine!) Seriously, I tried to drag more information from him about "bad rule" by telling him that my review of my class notes, the textbook, my outline, and (horrors!) a purchased outline all agreed that that was indeed the rule. Clearly, I told him, if I was so far off, I must have a fundamental misunderstanding somewhere, and need help getting it corrected. That's when I was told he was not a delivery system for pablum.

Despite his best efforts, I did pass Contracts. With a nice, mediocre "C," but I passed. And when I dropped out of law school, I cheerfully threw away my Contracts notes. I neither peed on them nor wiped my ass with them, but either would not have been out of line with my feelings. And now giant, rusty, fanged widgets,  zombie Zehmers, and evil, smoke-belching 19th-century factories are all back. Laughing at me.

Is it just coincidence that the law school abbreviation for Contracts, "K," is the same as the baseball scorecard symbol for "strikeout?" I think not.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Small “e” epiphany

I can’t believe I’m halfway through my MUPP classes. Torts? Dead and buried. Likewise Texas Procedure. And all of volume one of the Essential Skills text: done.

Grade-wise, I maintain a nice, solid “A” average. I aced the recent Essential Skills exam, and received a 92 on my Texas Procedure assignment. I’m waiting on my grades on the Texas Procedure exam (I answered all of the T/F questions correctly; the rest has to be graded by an actual person), and my last Essential Skills assignments. 

Something strange happened to me when I was studying for that Essential Skills exam. I realized that I was reading questions and answering them not because I’d hammered particular factoids into my brain, but because I just knew what the answers were. The information was sitting there waiting for me, just like I know a plot summary goes in the 520 field of a MARC record without having to really think about it. And I could almost hear the realization of that level of knowing click into place. I bet if I’d looked into a mirror right then, I would have seen one of these expressions on my face.

I’m starting to know what the hell I’m doing.

Wow. Kind of scary.

The rest of our merry band of proto-paralegals is also doing well with grades in the low to upper 90’s, with one exception. We get to see a statistical summary of each exam – down to how many people chose which answer on the multiple choice questions – but not the names attached to the grades. I suspect I know who isn’t doing well. There’s a guy in the class who has had internet access issues, and if there’s one thing you need to do in order to do well on tests, it’s get into the program’s website. (I credit the practice quizzes and mock exams for my score on the Essential Skills exam.) He’s very quiet in class, and from what he’s said about some of the assignments, I don’t think he’s quite with the program. He’s no dummy – he’s got a wicked sense of humor, and I’ve heard him muttering some really funny comments under his breath in class just about the same time they occur to me. But … I worry he isn’t going to make it.

That’s another difference between paralegal school and my brief venture into Real Law School at WCSSL-SP: there’s not the same sense of cut-throat competition. I really do want all of The Magnificent Seven to do well (or at least graduate), and I think we all feel pretty much the same way. We’re not being graded on a curve. We don’t have to have somebody else tank in order for our grade to be better. There’s no Law Review to compete for; no limited number of summer associate positions pressuring each of us to be The Best or miss out. Don’t get me wrong: we don’t all hold hands and sing “Kumbayah” at the close of each class. One of my classmates confessed that she wasn’t happy with her class participation grade in Torts because, dammit, she wanted that 100%. (She’s a woman after my own heart!) But we do tend to look out for each other, and share tips on assignments. And I like that very much. Maybe proto-paralegals are just nicer people than proto-lawyers.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ketchup. Catsup. Whatever.

You know paralegal school has kept me busy because I haven’t been blogging.

I know paralegal school has kept me busy because I have a growing stack of Wednesday New York Times crossword puzzles that haven’t been solved.

I am a devout member of the Church of the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle in Ink, and have been for many years. Since my local newspaper sees fit to give us a “free” Wednesday paper along with our Sunday subscription, I’d started attending Wednesday choir practice at the Church as well. After dinner, I did the Wednesday puzzle before taking to my recliner and watching junk TV. Until, oh, about five weeks ago. Now I have a collection of puzzles on my transparent blue puzzle clipboard. Sunday services still go on (just barely), but the extra day of praise for Mr. Shortz has fallen by the wayside.

But I digress. And I blog, because I have a week off for Thanksgiving. Hooray! “How have things been going,” you might be asking. Well, let me catch you up.

Torts has (have?) come and gone. We have learned all there is to know – or at least, all MUPP thinks we need to know – on the topic in a mere four weeks. Twelve class hours. One assignment. One final exam. Done. Torts Guy did improve after the first class. I guess he realized there was no way he could make it through thirteen chapters in four class sessions unless he floored the accelerator, so he did so. Also a big help was a set of PowerPoint files, which apparently came from a sister program in Florida, guessing by the references to Florida statutes. A little odd, considering the program at the Mothership started a good six weeks ahead of us, so they would have already been through Torts, and they’re in the same state as we are, and it would have made more sense to use their PowerPoint files. But it all worked out in the end. Torts Guy managed to fit a course review into the last half hour of our last class, and just might have been reading over our exam as he reminded us of the topics on which to concentrate. Including mentioning a specific section of the state code that was particularly helpful. (And telling us it was named after Tony Dorsett, so that the sports fans among us would remember that it was section 33. Nice.)

How did I do in Torts? Ninety percent on the assignment, and a 96 on the exam. I was disappointed that Torts Guy hadn’t written any comments on my assignment along with the grade. Don’t get me wrong: I was pleased with my 90, but I’d like to know what I missed that would have gotten me the other ten percent. (Okay. I admit it: my inner grade whore wanted that bright, shiny 100. There. Satisfied?)

Meanwhile, back in Essential Skills, my assessment of our instructor (I need a nickname for her) seems to be correct: she’s energetic, informative, and is not going to let us slack off one bit. At the moment, we have, in addition to our reading assignments (updated the morning of class), three written assignments hanging over our heads: a demand letter, a “we sent a demand letter to the folks you’re suing” letter to our imaginary client, and an internal memo on a canned subject. We’ve had two sessions on citing cases and statutes, and now we should be able to put a cite together without using the Bluebook. We’ve watched a live Lexis demo wherein she showed us not only how to enter a search strategy, but also how to evaluate the results, and modify the search query based on them. She took us on a field trip to Large’s Major Private University’s Law School Library for a meet and greet with the Actual Paper versions of the resources we’d be searching in Lexis and Westlaw (or “Wexis” as they called it at WCSSL-SP).  And she’s no slacker, either. She re-vamped the syllabus for the second half of the course to make better sense of the order of topics, and does her own PowerPoints for class, which she e-mails us beforehand. I like her. A lot. (She deserves a nice nickname; not just “Skills Gal.” I must give this some thought.*)

A few last bits to get fully caught up: We haven’t lost any from our gallant band of seven. In fact, we are supposed to gain an eighth member pretty soon. I’m not sure how that will work, being as how she’s missed five weeks of class, but who am I to argue with the fine folks of MUPP? In our immediate future are double doses of Essential Skills until xmas break, followed by double doses of Civil Procedure for our next substantive class. Our last topic will be Contracts. I’m not sure how I feel about that subject. At WCSSL-SP I had the Contracts Professor From Hell, and hated every second of it. I hope I don’t find I have a mental block thanks to him.

I think that covers everything for now. I need to go put some sweet potato fries in the oven, and catch up on all the lecture note transcribing I didn’t do while I was studying for my Torts final. And then there are those letters and that memo to work on.

‘Scuse me while I get back to the salt mines.

*Ooh!  I’ve got it: “Skills Goddess.” Yeah. That’s the ticket.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week One: In which the Fellowship of the Certificate is formed.

(That's a bit dramatic, but we are, after all, a small group of strangers from different backgrounds thrown together to work toward the same goal, so it seemed apropos.)

The students
When I say we're a small group, I'm not kidding: there are seven of us. No wonder MUPP wanted to "allow more time for people to register." Many fewer and they wouldn't have covered our instructors' salaries. Since I don't want to get sued (and this would be the crowd that would do it), I'll not name names, but rather use generalities in describing our happy band. To wit:
Two of us are taking paralegal classes as "law school lite," and intend to go on to the real thing in the future.
Two of us have jobs in the legal profession or deal with lawyers daily and want to be Real Paralegals.
One of us is demon lawyer spawn on both sides.
Three of us are not (very) gainfully employed, and think being a paralegal beats the heck out of whatever we're doing right now.
Two of us are looking for a career change.
(The mathematically astute among you will notice that this adds up to nine, not seven. Very good. Some of my classmates fit into more than one of these categories. Told ya I'm trying not to get sued...)

The instructors
I don't want to go too far out on a limb as I've only have had one class with each instructor so far. Here are my initial impressions.
The Essential Skills instructor, who will be with us for the whole program, is bright, bubbly (in a non-annoying way), chock full of helpful real-life tips, and is going to challenge us to do our best. She's not adverse to keeping things light and having fun, but I can see her cracking the whip if we start getting behind schedule.
The Torts guy, who will be with us for four weeks -- what can I say without getting myself in trouble? He's had a long, successful career in litigation, and has some terrific war stories to tell. And he tells them entertainingly. Were I looking for a lawyer to handle my problems, I'd put him high on the list, because he obviously knows his stuff. As a teacher, though -- not so good. He didn't cover anywhere near the material we needed to get through the first night. What he did do with us was skim through some of it, and tell us where he disagreed with the textbook's author. I really hope he improves, or we're going to be in a world of hurt come test time.

The venue
As I mentioned before, the office building in which our classes take place is at the intersection of two very busy highways (one of which has just entered a five-year construction program), and within about a mile of a third one. Class starts at 6. Anybody else seeing a potential problem here? As somebody in class put it, "Obviously the person who chose this location doesn't live in the City of Large." No kidding. A wreck on that non-intersecting highway just before Tuesday rush hour tied up the other two highways, and all of the surrounding surface streets. It took Spousie nearly 45 minutes to get me from the train station to class - a trip that should take about 15.* So I'd say the location is a fail. A geographically centrally-located fail, but a fail nonetheless.
The classroom itself is fine. Comfy chairs. Lots of space for the Magnificent Seven. But it's in a suite of offices, the rest of which is Totally Off Limits. This means no vending machines, no sink, no microwave, and no restrooms. There are restrooms around the corner in the building's lobby, but that's the end of the amenities. And again, class starts at 6. Dinnertime. Oops.
Now this one has me baffled. The centerpiece of the program is a very-well-appointed, user-friendly, no-learning-resource-left-behind website exclusively for the use of the program's students (and there are lots, under the auspices of several Major Universities - yup, I'm in a franchised paralegal program). Seriously, the website sold me on attending. It's that good. It's not just an add-on, it's an integral part of the program.
And there is no wi-fi access in our classroom.
No, I'm not kidding.
I don't know how much an 8-user wi-fi hotspot would cost, but it seems to me that it would be worth the price. (I did a quick search and found an offer of $299 for setup and $29 a month for month-to-month service. That'd be $420 plus equipment, and surely a Major University would have a compatible wireless router kicking around somewhere. I'd kick in another $50 bucks to have wi-fi.)
Of course, an all-around better solution would be to hold classes at Large's satellite campus of Major University. I'm not sure why the Mothership couldn't get space for a little bitty class like ours. Hopefully, subsequent classes will get better accommodations.

So that's the way it is, as the few, the proud, the Proto-Paralegals launch their tiny boat into the dark, scary ocean that is The Law. Let's hope the Kraken stays asleep. 

*Did I mention there's been a logistical change? Instead of driving myself to class, I am leaving work, schlepping my school accouterments to the closest light rail station, and training it to the closest station to Spousie's place of employ. She leaves early, picks me up, carts me to class, drops me off, spends a less mentally exhausting three hours elsewhere, and then fetches me home again. This gives me a chance to snarf a sandwich in the car (or at the train station), to arrive less stressed-out, and doesn't put me and others on the road in danger of my driving home at night. (Trust me; this is a good thing.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On the road again for the first time

Having gotten no further “we need to allow more time for people to register” notices from MUPP, it looks like my classes will really, truly start next Tuesday. So today I decided to do a test drive from LPL to the class site at the time I’d actually be driving it.

I double-checked my route, which involves surface streets for about a third of the distance. I’m trying to avoid an area of road construction at the intersection of two major highways, which, coincidently, is right next to the building wherein my classes will be held. I went over the satellite views of critical intersections. I was ready.

As I packed up my stuff at the end of the day, I realized I was feeling queasy. Either the leftover noodle and pork dish I had for lunch was past its prime, or I was – nervous? What was up with that? This was a dry run. A fact-finding trip. If I ran into logistical problems, there was no harm. I wasn’t on a deadline. And yet I was sure I was going to woof my cookies at any second. I took deep breaths. I reminded myself that Everything Is Fine. And off I went.

I left my desk at 4:35. I expected it would take 30-40 minutes to make the approximately 15-mile drive. It took nearly an hour. Traffic was ugly, and that was without any accidents or construction delays. Two of the stoplights along the route are ridiculously long, and let very few cars through in the direction I travel. I was lucky I didn’t have to wait through them twice each. I did arrive a full half-hour before my scheduled class time, but I would still have to eat a quick dinner, glance over the evening’s assignments, and get settled into my desk. Thirty minutes sounds like a lot, but it would go by very quickly. And the penalty for being late is quite harsh. According to the PRCP (Paralegal Rules of Classroom Procedure):
“Just as a judge will not tolerate an attorney’s being late to court, tardiness in this class will be discouraged. Any student not counted present at the beginning of class will be considered absent for the entire class” unless s/he presents a written excuse from his/her physician or employer, or the instructor decides to approve of the tardiness “in the interest of justice.”
Eep. Notice the lack of provision for traffic delays. Or for the forgiveness of a good-hearted yet chronically chronologically-impaired student. (Does the ADA cover that handicap?) Call me paranoid (I heard that!), but I’ve got to have more of a time cushion built into my schedule. Which means I have to leave work earlier. Which means I have to get to work earlier. Which means I have to get up earlier. And “not a morning person” doesn’t even begin to describe me. And what if I’m out at some remote branch on the other side of town, packing up books? (Why, no, LPL won’t be hiring movers to empty a branch undergoing renovation; why do you ask?) Fortunately, my boss is fine with flexing schedules a bit when needed, because I have a feeling I’m gonna need it.

Meanwhile, back at the Big Office Building in the Groin of Two Highways, I noticed that there were some empty parking spaces outside the parking structure. This is good, because the parking structure is two stories, the ground level is all reserved, and there is only stair access to the top level. (Yes, I’m lazy. And I’ll be toting a heavy, wheeled laptop case, at the end of a very long day, in the dark, back to my car. So just shush.)

Having conquered the scary, maniac-filled roads, figured out how much time I’m going to need, and located the classroom, it was time for a reward. I hied myself to the nearest Long John Silver’s (about which I have nothing bad to say, so I’m not going to wrack my brain for a pseudonym) for a Fish & More. Once my malt vinegar quotient was back where it belonged, I visited a nearby comics store and picked up a copy of Warehouse 13 #1, and left my number so they could call me when more copies of #2 arrive.

I’ve still got a few oversized butterflies circling my pyloric sphincter, but fish and chips, and a comic book go a long way toward getting them netted. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to write up a quick summoning ritual for the gods of traffic, and find a suitable sacrifice. I wonder if they like malt vinegar?