Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jury Duty

The people responsible for sending out jury summons have the worse possible timing when it comes to sending me summons for duty. I received my fourth summons this week and for the third time, I'm having to send in a request for exemption.

Now I'm not saying I wouldn't mind serving on a jury. There were those years between the ages of 18 and 25 when I was very interested in and willing to serve on a jury. I thought it would be interesting and wanted to be called to serve on an interesting case. But I never received a summons during those seven years. Not one single time.

My first summons came when I was pregnant with Mika. I was throwing up an average of every hour or anytime I dared to put food in my mouth, whichever came first. My midwife wrote me an excuse to send in and the court found it a reasonable excuse.

The second time I received a summons was about a year later. This time I was as unwilling to serve as I was unable. I was the stay at home mother to a newborn, nursing baby. I had no access to child care as we have no family in the area nor money to pay for full time child care. Plus there was the whole problem with the fact that I was the sole source of nutrition for my newborn and did not own a breast pump. I had no problems getting excused.

My third summons came during my pregnancy with Sammy. I was to report precisely two days before my due date. The only problem was that between having a two year old and feeling miserably pregnant, I forgot to respond to summons. I ended up calling them a couple days before I was to report. I was very apologetic about forgetting. I explained that I was willing to report in. Then I asked about bathroom priviledges for jurors, explaining that I was 9 months pregnant, due on such and such date, and found that I needed to pee every hour or so. They told me not to come in; they didn't want me going into labor in the court room.

Now here I am again. What's standing in the way of jury duty now? Well, several things. I have three children, no childcare, and no money to pay for childcare. I am responsible for the education of two of those children and, under the RCW for alternate education, have to provide a minimum of 20 hours of schooling for Sammy and 25 hours of schooling for Mika. I'm not sure I can accomplish that from the courtroom. Then there's the fact that I'm pregnant again with the same old problems of all my previous pregnancies. I asked for the childcare exemption but if I'm denied I'll have to get my midwife to write a note explaining how I have to eat every 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours to avoid the possiblity of going into a hypoglycemia coma and that even then, I'm prone to nausea and vomiting on occasion. I'm not sure they'll want to break that often so I that can go prepare and eat something.

I wish I could just tell them to take me off the list for the next 16 years or so. That should get me past childbearing age, young child age, and get me into that stage of parenting and homeschooling where I can just trust that all the children will be safe at home getting their school work done without supervision.

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