Okay, this is going to be one of those “my misery = your entertainment” posts.

The courthouse doesn’t provide a private area where I can go pump (for breastmilk) during my working hours, so I use my jury deliberation room attached and adjacent to my courtroom when we’re not in trial and we don’t have jurors. I hang a “SORRY, OCCUPIED” sign on the door, close the jury room door and switch on the double electric pump at the far end sitting at a small table toward the back.

This morning, my judge was using the jury room for a mandatory settlement conference on a case, and when he does that during a pump time, he invites me to use his private chambers to pump, telling me to lock his door, so I did. When I came back to the courtroom, my courtroom assistant told me that the building’s maintenance guy just walked right through the courtroom earlier toward the jury room, unresponsive to her calling out, “Excuse me! Excuse me! Can I help you, sir? Excuse me!” and opened the door into the jury room and went right in. You would think someone who works for a courthouse would know better than to just barge into closed rooms, especially during working hours. Lots of confidential stuff goes on around here (as with the settlement conference), and it would be a pretty big problem if there had been a jury in there deliberating. The courtroom assistant said he must’ve been turned away by the judge, because he came back out looked a little bewildered, and she explained to him that there’s a conference taking place in the room. He said he first saw that we weren’t having a trial, and she told him there are other things that happen in a courtroom aside from trials, such as what he’d walked in on. In telling me this story, she added, “What if you were in there pumping and I wasn’t here and he just walked in?” I said well, I would think that he’d have learned from this morning and would now know better than to just barge into a closed room. She offered that, for my lunchtime pumping, if I would wait for her to come back from lunch she’d sit outside the jury room and guard it. I laughed, but can’t wait because I would need to pump in the middle of lunch, not after it.

So after lunch, I put the sign on the door, closed it, settled into my chair, turned on the pumps, and attached myself to it. A minute later, sure enough, the door opened suddenly behind me, no warning, no knock. I turned my head and called out as the maintenance guy’s bearded head appeared, “I’m in here, I need some privacy, please!”
He pointed toward the bathroom, still coming in. “I just need to –”
“No, I need some privacy.”
He pointed again, taking another step in. “I’m just gonna –”
“No, no,” I shook my head emphatically at him. “Please close the door.”
He started in and said, “So I’ll just go ahead?”
“No. No. No. I’m pumping.” As he started in again, I said, “No. No. I’m pumping!”
“So I can’t –” He started saying.
I cut him off again, not believing I’m sitting here still arguing with him. “No. I’m pumping. I need privacy, please. Close the door now, thank you.” He started to say something again, and I said very firmly, “Please. Close the door, please.” OMG. He finally left.

After that disruption, I sat in disbelief, and got more and more upset as I saw that my body was not having a let-down. I’d heard that if interrupted or startled, a mother’s body will not release milk. I did not want to find out that it’s true, but apparently, it is true. All that time wasted sitting there trying to get milk to come out, more time wasted washing and drying pump parts, all for less than 2 ounces of milk. Allie could slurp that up and not even notice she’d swallowed anything (a bottle feeding for her is 7, 7.5 ounces). THAT pissed me off more than anything. I didn’t even waste a milk storage bag on it, just poured it into small storage vial and stuck it in the fridge.

I called the coordinator person who had called for the maintenance guy and told her that I know the guy was just doing his job, and he’s a very effective repair-person and a good guy, but if he’s working in a courthouse, he NEEDS to know certain common sense things about being here during working hours. I explained what happened this morning and when I got to the part about what happened earlier when I was in there, she gave a loud gasp. I said that given that he thinks he’s exempt to closed doors and signs and doesn’t even knock or anything before going into places, what if I’d been in the bathroom PEEING when he went in to fix the faucet drip? I’d have to convince him to leave from the other side of the stall?! I realized I was practically yelling on the phone and realized soon after that I have no control over my volume or tone, so I just told her in the same yelling emphatic voice I’d been using through this entire conversation, “Can you to talk to him, please? I can’t talk to him, I’m too worked up right now. And please be nice, I know he was just doing his job, but he doesn’t get it.” She laughed and said she understood, she’ll talk to him, and nicely.