I've taken off the password protection, but will not be posting here anymore. I'm keeping it up for archival purposes, but don't look for anything new.
Tugboat and I are so grateful for all the kind wishes in response to us finally finishing up our case. We are only just beginning to exhale.
Of course we can’t completely fix Tugboat’s physical problems, but at least the medical care he gets is within our control. I’m actually giddy at the thought of going to his doctor and getting all the different rehab referrals he needs. I’m ecstatic that we know how to proceed with his continued pelvic pain and have a top New York doctor at the ready. I’m desperate to go line-up an expert trainer for him (and me!). Our main goal now is to halt the degeneration that has picked up so much speed of late.
I can’t begin to explain how freeing it is to KNOW that nobody is following us. To know that nobody will hold it against us if Tugboat carries the diaper bag, holds his son or pushes a stroller.
Being here these last few weeks has also taught me a few things about myself. I learned that I still love Brooklyn. But, I know now that what stands between my old Brooklyn utopia and everything else is so frustrating, irritating and generally unnecessary. I see now that living away has given me an easier, slower and longer life. While I still mourn the childhood my kids would have here, I see clearly the drawbacks of that childhood.
This lesson, this new truth, is that I can’t wait to go home. To Maine.
And so, this blog has served its purpose. I have made peace with leaving New York. I have transitioned, finally, to my life in Portland.
I’ll be closing the site down soon and re-formulating under a different name and mission. Let me know in comments or via email if you’d like to be notified when I re-surface.
I can’t thank you enough for your support and friendship over the last two years. I don’t know how I would have gotten here without this place and the people who visited.
I can't believe I just wrote that.
There are so many things I want to write about the last four years, the last two weeks and the last forty minutes, but my brain isn't quite up to snuff right now.
We settled our case this afternoon.
This whole thing is over. Over. OVER! OHMYGOD!
Oh, and just to not leave anyone hanging: It is a fraction of what we would have been awarded by the jury, but it is cash in our hands. In three weeks. Not two years.
And it is enough.
Today was the third time I showed up to court expecting to testify and got sent home.
Since I don't have balls, per se, I can't say I know what Blue Balls might feel like. But, I imagine it's like being brought to the edge of a cliff with every expectation of making what might be the most satisfying jump of one's life, and then, AT THE VERY LAST SECOND, being told to climb back down.
Turns out Tugboat was "The Best Plaintiff Witness" our lawyer has ever put on the stand. There were tears, both on his part and on the parts of the court reporter, the court officer and jurors #1 and alternate #2. There was obvious physical discomfort (exhibiting his injuries in real-life). There was tension during the cross (Tugboat got a little fresh with the defense attorney, but that's a different post).
It seems he might have scared just enough of their pants off to bring up the offer.
The official offer comes tomorrow. If it's what they say it will be, we will accept.
Settlement talks have come to a stalemate at a number that is below what we can accept. So, we are moving ahead with the trial.
Today was the urologist and psychiatrist. I attended. Not a thrilling day.
Tomorrow is Tugboat in the morning, then the Nurse Case Manager (and author of The Lifecare Plan), then I go. I'll be prepping tonight until who knows when.
Wednesday is our economist and then our case is rested. The defense is only putting up three witnesses, so they are estimating we will be finished by the end of the week.
Our lawyers are totally baffled because it seems like the defense is not mounting a defense. He doesn't write notes. He doesn't cross-examine. He looks bored. It must appear to the jury like he's going to pull some huge smoking gun out of his hat at the end. But, he isn't. It's the weirdest thing. I keep asking if his lame representation could affect us at all and our lawyers assure me it won't.
The Bird is like the frayed end of an old, broken rope. She's fried. She's edgy, weepy, whiny, needy, nasty and generally miserable. I keep making apologies for her, but I shouldn't because OF COURSE SHE IS. I am too. I'm just a little better and keeping it together.
Well, not much better.
When we called Tugboat's grandmother to tell her we'd gotten engaged, she congratulated us profusely, but she also said, "It's not always rosy, baby." Those sage words have gotten us through some very rough times.
By all accounts, she and her husband, Tugboat's grandfather, were a true love match. I always thought of them as an example of how I hope our marriage fares.
Today she rejoined her beloved husband.
We'll miss you, Grandma Curl.
No court today. The lawyers and judge all sport highly suspicious tans, leading me to believe that Friday is always optional in the summer.
Presumably, the 20 or so lawyers for the insurance companies are hammering out the settlement today. But, you know, maybe not (see above).
I find this supremely irritating, especially considering that The Dream House has gone to contract with a kickout. If we can make an offer that is better than the current buyers' before the buyers sell their own house, the seller will go with us.
I'm tapping my fingers on everything, so why not type, right?
Today is the Expert Orthopedic Surgeon and Tugboat's actual Orthopedic Surgeon. Experts always come under a lot of scrutiny since they are paid for their time and they see the patient relatively infrequently.
However, Tugboat's ACTUAL doctor is a genius and has a knowledge and continuity of care that can't be challenged. Plus, he's also spent the last four years frustrated at the limits put on Tugboat's care by the Worker's Compensation system. So, he's out for little blood, too. Got to LOVE that.
The expert went on this morning and wow'd the jury, as we knew he would. We also got a lunchtime update on the settlement negotiations. It's kind of complicated so here's as much background as I think I can give:
We are suing a city agency. That city agency had hired a contracting company to run the job. The first level of liability lies with the contractor. But, they only have a limited amount of insurance coverage. So, if the trial goes to verdict and it's higher than their insurance coverage, they will be forced to go bankrupt and the city agency will be forced to appeal the decision or pay the balance.
You would think this would motivate all parties to settle this shit before a verdict, no?
Everyone seems to be bickering about a relatively small amount of money. (Though that small amount does put us over the emotional threshold we had been hoping for.) We've made it clear we are willing to settle and are just waiting for them to stop fighting and make the call.
(Sidenote: The scheme I alluded to in the last post was something cooked up by our lawyer that turned out not to be legal, so we won't be doing any of that.)
Tugboat was supposed to testify today. I stayed back with the kids. I don't know about your lawyer, but mine has two nannies for his kids. So, they took The Bird and The Boy yesterday when we both had to be in court. Not wanting to avail myself of their services unless absolutely necessary, I cooled my heels in Manhattan today. (A side query: Why did every elementary school in the tri-state area decide to go to the zoo today? Bastards.)
Anywhoooooo, ALL DAY I waited. Not one word. Finally after I knew regular court was over, I couldn't contain myself any longer and I called Tugboat. He picked up with a hushed voice and said, "There've been some interesting developments. I'll fill you in later." Click.
Long, involved, tense story that is still making my temples hurt, short, there is an offer on the table. A good offer. Not great. Good.
Our lawyer has come up with an element that would greatly improve the offer in terms of future earnings, but isn't a cash-right-now sort of thing. It hasn't been approved yet, but is very interesting.
We're going to mull it over tomorrow while the orthopedic surgeon blows the jurors' minds.
Word of the day: Surreal.
Surreal to see the names of the Judges who messed with us all these years on the doors of courtrooms, surreal to see the faces of the people deciding our fate, and most of all, surreal to hear what sounded like an episode of Law & Order with our names peppered throughout.
Our lawyer said it was as good a first day as he's ever had.
Turns out the investigator was following Tugboat for a while before he noticed him across the street. They submitted video today of him taking The Bird to music class. Not horrible, but not great news.