Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Potpourri: It Came From My Inbox

My cleaning obsession has followed me to the office.  Found the following items in my personal inbox at work:

A cat obituary. Before you laugh, the cat in question was acquired by my friend as a newly married person, predated her actual child by a number of years, and was well-known and loved by her friends. So it was (1) understandable that she was upset, (2) appropriate and appreciated that she brought us into the loop and (3) logical that she would disseminate the information by public notification (really, isn’t that one of the primary purposes of an obituary?). But, okay, it’s maybe a little funny to read about an animal “passing to the other side.” And, looking at the e-mail years after the fact, the birth dates and death dates made me chuckle a little, too.

A CC of an e-mail from my husband to a furniture manufacturer:

Our Marseille hi-leg recliner has been discolored by cat vomit. Per the tag, the leather ID is 66 L/V 21 brown, and it is an SA product. MultiMaster/Leather Master did not recognize this information and needs a swatch in order to mix the correct dye (or, if you could provide another code that MM/LM would recognize, that would maybe work as well).

I actually remember this one. I even remember to what “SA” refers (semi-aniline). We were trying to order the proper dye for a small area in the middle of a chair seat. We were unsuccessful. I decided that the slight discoloration made the chair look like one of those distressed leather bomber chairs from Pottery Barn. And apparently, I was right, because until I found this e-mail, I had totally forgotten that we didn’t buy the chair that way and that, once upon a time, I was eight kinds of distressed over a small amount of cat vomit on the seat cushion.

Another e-mail from my spouse (with my oldest child’s name in the memo line):

If he sees this ad on TV (I saw it on NICKW ten minutes ago), we are doomed.

A receipt e-mail to me from customer service at

Thank you for your order. We appreciate your business. Listed below are your order details:

Giant Microbes® Fat Cell Microbe
Product Part #: 874665004341
Manufacturer Part #: GMUS-PD-0250
(Qty: 1 x $7.81)

Giant Microbes® White Blood Cell Microbe
Product Part #: 874665001265
Manufacturer Part #: GMUS-PD-0800
(Qty: 1 x $7.81)

Giant Microbes® Red Blood Cell Microbe
Product Part #: 874665001272
Manufacturer Part #: GMUS-PD-0610
(Qty: 1 x $7.81)

Giant Microbes® Stomach Ache Microbe
Product Part #: 890242000049
Manufacturer Part #: GMUS-PD-0730
(Qty: 1 x $7.81)

Yes, I ordered plush microbes over the Internet. Four of them, to be precise. They were gifts from my kids to my mom, who has a background in biochemistry. As I recall, the stomach ache microbe was Giardia lamblia, which was my favorite single-cell organism growing up. Yes, I had a favorite. My mother was a biochemist, alright? And when you’re a mom, you go with what you know. So, when we were waiting for our food at a restaurant, and my mom had grown tired of doodling horses and cats on the paper napkins, she would draw amoebic dysentery, and various paramecia, and Giardia lamblia, which I liked, because it had two nuclei that looked like eyes, but the nucleoli tended to gravitate towards one another, meaning that it actually looked cross-eyed.

So, years later, when I found that such a thing existed, I bought her a plush Giardia cell. I opted against the venereal diseases (thought that those would be inappropriate coming from a grandchild – eww, that sentence made me throw up in my mouth a little). It was hard to resist the West Nile Virus microbe (they gave it Cleopatra eyes) and the Mad Cow microbe (it was cow-spotted). Clever folks, those Giant Microbe manufacturers.

An e-mail from me to someone at our country club about some suspicious charges on our monthly bill. An overlong, entirely too-detailed e-mail:

Thanks for forwarding our statement. We didn’t want you all to think that we were withholding payment just to be difficult.

I’m looking at the statement, and I’m confused about our charges for July 22nd, which was a Sunday. We did go to the club that afternoon, but it was just my husband, me and our (little, and therefore non-drinking) kids, and the chit reflects FIVE drinks – a beer, 2 margarita rocks, and 2 well vodkas. We’re not big drinkers (and certainly not if we aren’t eating), and the vodka didn’t ring a bell, although I guess it could be a bloody Mary, which I have on rare occasion. However, there’s no way that I would have had margaritas AND bloody Marys, and the maximum number of mixed drinks for me would be two. My husband’s a beer guy, so the other liquor wouldn’t be his.

Can you see if there’s a chit with our signature on that date, to foreclose the possibility that something was keyed in under the wrong member number? The charges were for Sunday 7/22 but weren’t processed until Tuesday 7/24 (I guess because of the club being closed on Monday?). If there is a chit for us, I’m pretty confident that somebody else’s drinks were put on our tab by mistake.

What am I, a forensic liquor scientist? Did I seriously break down our drinking habits for a total stranger based on liquor and mix preferences, day of the week, “with food” or “without food,” etc.? Egads.

And now I’m sharing this lapse in sanity with all of you. Egads again.

An e-mail from me to two of my work girlfriends (sent midday on what must have been a slow Wednesday):

So my friend _______________ e-mails me, and several others, a “Friends and Family” coupon for Linens n Things. Her e-mail distribution list consists of her in-laws, [name of a mutual friend], a number of folks from Woman’s Club, Junior Woman’s Club and Junior League and . . . Mark Cuban. Yes, I clicked on the e-mail address, and, yes, it’s THE Mark Cuban. Here’s the (literal) million dollar question – does Mark Cuban really need a 20%-off coupon to Linens n Things? I’m sure she just defaulted to her “go to” distribution list; nevertheless, the fact that she passed a store coupon on to him struck me as so incredibly funny . . . UNTIL . . . I got curious and looked him up on He appears to own several residential properties, including what I would assume to be his primary residence – A 23,676 SQUARE FOOT HOME WITH 16 BATHROOMS. Wow – that’s a lot of linens (n things)! So I guess we should credit her for helping a brother out?

And, finally, an e-mail from me to the other attorneys in my office:

If you've ever had occasion to wonder, "What is the legal definition of steak?" please take a moment to review the suggested verbiage of one Dallas attorney, which I have posted on the bulletin board in the breakroom for everyone's edification. Also take a moment to marvel at the fact that some associate spent billable hours analyzing the various states in which beef exists and dividing them into the categories of "steak" and "not steak" (actually, I believe he/she references "conventional steak," which was a new one to me).

Ours is a strange business . . . .

I really wish that I had retained a copy of the document in question, but I can describe it in pretty good detail. It was an exclusive use clause in a commercial lease. The landlord was granting assurances to a restaurant tenant that it wouldn’t lease any other space in the shopping center to another steak house. However, evidently, another restaurant in the center did sell other beef products, including hamburgers. Hence the need to draw a bright-line distinction between “steak” and “not steak.”

The sad thing is, I have had to do more absurd things. Seriously, people, this is what I do when I’m not blogging.  Or running around like a chicken with my head cut off, organizing everything because I'm being forced to pretend to sell my house.

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