Sometimes you get crap in life, but you may also be surprised by the bright yellow dandelions that grow out of crap. Excuse me if this post doesn’t make as much sense, I had bourbon for lunch today (with cherries and sugar muddled together, plus vermouth) because I DESERVE it after the day I had yesterday, goshdarn.

Yesterday we were “dark,” meaning my judge took the day off (to take care of some family issues), so his staff was available to float. At 8:30 a.m. yesterday in my regular courthouse, my supervisor said, “Sorry. They need you in Torrance. General Civil department.” That’s 3 freeways and over 30 miles away.

Crap Chunk: I walked into a criminal courtroom in the middle of morning calendar call, and NOT a civil courtroom. I didn’t bring any of my criminal law materials with me. Calendar was also hard because criminal attorneys have a tendency to assume you know who they are so they don’t check in with you. You have to guess or flag them down after the hearing to know who they are.
Dandelion: The court reporter was wonderful. Things that I had missed, she read back the proceedings. (The clerk who was temporarily subbing in there when I walked in didn’t take notes on the morning calendar hearings.) Also, a supervisor walked in with two giant manuals so that I at least had some of the codes necessary to work the program.

Crap Chunk: Since the courtroom handled a lot of cases in the morning and is in trial, I knew I would have to work through lunch. I didn’t have breakfast, and would now not have lunch. I can’t leave during lunch anyway because I didn’t have keys to return into the building.
Dandelion: The bailiff walked in during lunch carrying a large Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust pizza, saying “Anyone want pizza?” He told me to help myself, and then left to do some work. I had two slices, they were my saving graces.

Crap Chunk: The regular clerk screwed up her verdict forms for the jury so bad that it caused major confusion when the jurors THOUGHT they had reached verdicts and turned out they didn’t. The judge wanted the verdict forms corrected. I don’t have access to her computer profile/login so I can’t touch her old verdict forms, so I had to retype 3 verdict forms (a full page long each, single-spaced on MS Word) from scratch. After 4pm. Regular courtrooms would’ve already adjourned for the day at 4pm. But this judge wanted me to retype the verdicts and give them to the jurors pronto. I got them done around 4:20pm cuz I’m a fast typist. The judge sent the jurors back into the jury room with the new forms, and everyone including 5-6 backup deputies (since this is a gang-related murder trial with defendant’s peeps in the audience) waited until 5:05p, when the jurors finally reached their verdict correctly. I read the many looong verdicts (all guilty), and the jurors were finally discharged at 5:30p. The judge did some last minute things and got off the bench at 5:45p. (A normal courtroom would’ve recessed 1 hour 45 minutes prior.)
Dandelion: The judge came back in after 6p and said, “I like your work ethic. Let me know if you ever need a job.” Another clerk working late in the building said that for THIS judge to say that, he really really really means it and she’s never known him to have ever said anything like that to any relief clerk, it’s an extreme compliment. Yay.

*Guys (males), avert your eyes and skip this one*
Crap Chunk: I went to the bathroom for the first time since I’d left the house that day at 6pm, and found that surprise! My period had come early.
Dandelion: There just happened to be a tampon sitting outside the dispenser in the restroom, so I “stole” it. Plus, getting my period early means that hopefully, it’ll come early the month of the wedding, too, so I won’t be PMSing and bloated during. Otherwise I’m estimated to get it right around the wedding day.

Crap Chunk: I’d been dying of thirst but the jury room drinking fountain had an “out of order” sign on it, and the drinking fountain in the back hallway squirted water back against its spigot so that I can’t get to it.
Dandelion: I thought I’d try my luck and open the little fridge in the jury room. Sealed bottles of water!!! I “stole” one. First bit of liquid I’ve had all day, after 6pm.

Crap Chunk: The looooong trial minutes took forever to type (over an hour to be exact) and the overtimer bailiff could only stay until 6:30p to let me out of the building. But I still had to close up the trial file, inventory 100 trial exhibits, photocopy the verdicts and question while blotting out the jury signatures (to protect their anonymity) and seal any original documents with juror signatures in a confidential envelope, paginate and file the jury instructions, blah blah blah. I wasn’t gonna be done for a long time.
Dandelion: The overtimer bailiff (not the same one who bought the pizza) inventoried ALL 100 exhibits for me, put them in order, locked them in the judge’s chambers for me which is where the judge said I could keep them for his clerk. And another clerk who was working late in the building had a “bate stamp” which paginated all the jury instruction pages for me. And she stuck around for AN HOUR until 8:30p to direct me on where to turn in the various things I had to turn in after work, and to let me out of the locked building. And she drove me to my car cuz it was dark and I didn’t park in the nearby employee lot.

Crap Chunk: There was a 6pm Homeowner’s Association meeting that I told everyone I would be available for, that I had to miss cuz I was stuck in Torrance Court. It was a presentation put on by a termite company we’re considering hiring to treat our homes. The president had called me 3 times while I was in the courtroom, but I didn’t know cuz my phone was on “meeting” mode.
Dandelion: There was a 6pm Homeowner’s Association termite treatment presentation that I missed.

Crap Chunk: It was now almost 9pm, I hadn’t had dinner, and I was over 40 miles from home.
Dandelion: Christi (Flip Flop Girl) had flown in on business just 5pm that evening, and had called to tell me her whereabouts, asking if I was free for dinner. She was about 4.5 miles away. We met up and she treated me to an authentic Japanese dinner, saying I deserved a treat after the hellish day I had. We had a nice dinner, nice chat, and planned to meet up again tonite after bartending class for frozen yogurt.

Crap Chunk: I spent 11.5 hours in Torrance Court.
Dandelion: My supervisor approved 5 hours of overtime pay (giving me my lunch back in money) plus mileage. Cha-ching!