A Triad of Short Stories.

Thank You: Private Eye.

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I received a thank you note in the mail last week.

It was addressed to “Mrs. Callahan” and was signed “Mrs. [insert last name I’d never heard before here.]”

It was a rather generically written thank you card for a wedding gift that I did not remember giving. In fact, I recalled very few wedding presents I’d bought in the past year – we’ve journeyed past that state of being to baby presents. Which means that the only stage of life left is funeral flowers.

But this note. This puzzling note. I found it odd that she signed her name with no first name, indicating that she wasn’t sure who I was and she wasn’t sure that I was sure who she was.

Which would hint at the conclusion that I knew the groom, not the bride, but I knew no one of that name.

My first assumption was that she got a wedding gift from another Mrs. Callahan that she didn’t know, but still felt compelled to write a thank you note, so she looked up Callahan, threw a dart at my name, and sent me the thanks.

It made sense to me that I was never the intended recipient, as I didn’t believe I’d given the gift. But….I’m not listed in any directories. So I should never be The Default Mrs. Callahan.

Perhaps her wedding was so long ago that I had already forgotten her. But that sounds more like something someone in the Funeral Flowers stage of life would do.

The idea of me resting on my laurels with such a lack of closure was impossible.

So I began my usual internet stalking.

First, the return address on the outside of the envelope – searching that gave me the groom’s full name – I’d never heard of him.

Second. Facebook. He had no Facebook account. Not very helpful for stalkers, but not a bad plan for life.

Third. I searched for his marriage license in a vain attempt to locate the Bride’s first name. Couldn’t find it. Unusual….maybe they got married in the Bahamas.

Fourth. Broad Google Searches with a variety of terms. I gathered a bit more information on him and his relatives from the 1700s, but nothing helpful.

Fifth. LinkedIn. I completely ignore my LinkedIn account but it can be an extraordinarily helpful stalking tool.

He was there! And his profile picture showed him lovingly snuggled up to his new wife.

I enlarged the photo. Studied it. She looked slightly familiar. I had a hunch of someone she might be – who was someone to which I could have sent a wedding present.

I Googled his full name with her potential first name.

BINGO.

She was, indeed, someone I knew. And so I was, indeed, the present giver.

And it only took an hour of searching to accept it.

 

 

Hair Do You Like Me Now

It all started with Pillow Talk.

Doesn’t everything?

”Hey, dear. How do you think I’d look with black hair? Exceptionally pale, modern and edgy, glamorous, or freaky goth?”

“Um…I don’t know?”

“Well what do you THINK…? Because black hair does vastly different things to different people.”

“Seriously. I have no idea. Surely there’s an app for that.”

“Maybe I should wait until summer when I have a tan…”

Then, the next day, I saw that one of you ladies, Fi, had posted about the very app I needed:The ModiFace Hair Color App.

Yes, this was what my life lacked!

I started with this picture….

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And gave it a whirl.

I actually liked myself with virtual black hair – no trace of goth…possibly a tiny bit glamorous.

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The other black option seemed to give me white streaks. Which is fair.

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Then I moved on.

Let’s try red! My hair will NEVER hold a titch* of red hair color. So I might as well have it while I can.

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Okay. Maybe softer.

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Not bad…Not bad.

I was on a roll. Why not go blond while I’m at it?

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Or not. Wow.

Definitely not.

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But PINK. I’ve always wanted Pink! Pink I could do.

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Maybe just a little more…

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YES. I was made for pink.

I put them all in a grid and sent them to Chris – since he wasn’t helpful without pictures, maybe he could be helpful WITH pictures.

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Then again, still not helpful.

* Titch is a word that Ali made up but continually insists is a real word that she heard on television. She uses it often and awesomely. Usage examples:

“I don’t have a titch of candy left!!”

“I could use just a titch more apple juice, please.”

“Noah!! Scoot over a titch!!”

I expect you all to be using titch by week end.

 

Moist of my Own.

Remember Moist, Birmingham’s mysterious and disgustingly named graffiti artist?

Well guess what.

He has an Etsy shop* now. Isn’t that just adorable?

…Because Etsy was just getting too full of smock and needed someone selling graffiti prints and…Bloody Razor Vial Necklaces??

Okay that’s just disgusting, Moist.

But still.

His lettering is fabulous. And I needed a memento from my thrilling interview opportunity. So I ordered my very own Moist Placard.

When my package arrived, I excitedly looked at the return address – after all, I don’t know Moist’s real name, even after stalking him a bit – just for my own curiosity.

I liked his choice.

Moist Mailing

And I liked his packaging style,

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The placard was wrapped in what appeared to be vintage Birmingham paperwork, and my invoice was hand-printed on an old “Material Requisitions” form. He also included a few Moist Tags….I haven’t quite decided what to do with those yet but I should definitely wear one as my nametag at the next Homeschool Moms meeting.

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I opened up my placard, which was signed on the back (and pre-drilled for hanging)…

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And then turned it over to see my very own bit of Moist.

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It was the most fabulous moist thing I’d ever held in my hands.

The entire package was Birmingham perfection.

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And, naturally, I hung it in my bathroom.

Moist Placard

Because where else are you going to hang a sign that says Moist?

* No representation is made that the content of his Etsy Shop is or will be G-Rated at any or all time periods. Browse at your own risk.

 

How I (Mis)use My iPhone.

Once upon a time, the act of randomly tweeting a screenshot of my iPhone front screen birthed a flurry of 76 aghast tweets and not one, but two blog posts by my very particular friend Katherine.

I had no idea I was so vastly unacceptable in my organizational decisions, but alas. Now I do.

And because I like causing heart attacks in my overly-wound-up friends, I thought I’d list a few more quirks about my iPhone usage. Some you might also have, some might make you cringe.

1. I will never, ever, ever use the horizontal keyboard. It’s the most awkward and unusable size in the history of virtual keyboards.

iPhone Horizontal Keyboard

Okay surely you ALL agree with me on that one. Right?

2. I don’t use an alarm most days, but I have 19 alarms that are off, because I never delete an alarm, even if I’ll never wake up at 6am ever again. Plus, I would rather have an alarm ready to be swiped at every fifteen minute interval than be forced to create a brand new alarm when I do need one. I’m pretty sure the effort of scrolling through that many alarms is the same as creating a new one, but this is inconsequential.

iPhone Alarm Screen

How many alarms do you have?

3. I am a terrible organizer of both my iPhone and iPad. It’s like Noah threw all my apps on the floor, kicked the pile a couple times, lost half of them under the couch, then put the other half back.There are many apps that I have to use the search bar to find every time because I have NO IDEA where they’re hanging out.

iPhone Home Screen

4. I would rather have endless pages than use folders. I only put things in folders that I rarely use or that I am trying to hide from myself. Such as…

5. On the second screen of the seventh folder on the fourth page of my iPhone is where you can find my blog stats app. The folder is called “Kid’s Games” and it’s surrounded by apps my children don’t use. I put it there to make it difficult to find and therefore limit my obsessive stats checking.

iPhone Folder

It doesn’t work, in case you’re wondering.

6. You might have figured this out by now but I am an app hoarder – it takes a life-changing event to convince me to delete an app. Such as…

7. I have always unequivocally refused to get Candy Crush – it’s a cornerstone principle of my life. I know it’s addictive, I know they try to convince you to spend money or ruthlessly harass your friends on Facebook to be able to play the game, and I shall have no part in such deviant behavior.

However.

I TOTALLY allowed myself to download what was basically a Candy Crush clone – Frozen Free Fall – before I’d even seen the movie. Apparently I was craving addiction.

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And yes, Ali and I both fell to its crushing grip on our souls. And yes, they did attempt to coerce us into spending money (I might have spent $3.97.) And yes, I even put this app on my Grandmother’s iPad to spread the disease.

And yes. I finally deleted it off of my phone because it was seriously cutting into my life – or at least my Twitter reading time.

(But I left it on my iPad.)

(My precious.)

8. I actually use the native notes app. I’m sure there are at least 1,927 apps that are better for note-taking than that stupid, unpleasingly designed app, but yet I still use it. I’m open to suggestions but I doubt I’ll take them.

iPhone Notes App

9. I use the Spotify app for my radio nearly every time I’m in the car, and I pay $10 a month so that I can listen to anything I want on demand. I adore the immediate gratification yet am intensely aware that I am now, in effect, leasing music. And if I ever quit paying them, I have zero musical principal to show for it.

This makes me feel financially irresponsible.

10. The best thing I ever did on my iPhone was go to Settings –> Notifications –> Messages and change “Repeat Alerts” from “Once” to “Never.” That act alone added five years onto the backside of my life, because the lack of anxiety about that second message ding is indescribable bliss.

iPhone Alert Repeats

And I will NEVER be friends with whatever Donkeyface uses that last option.

(Oh. Did I just call you a Donkeyface? My apologies.)

11. I have never knowingly created a photo album. And I don’t exactly know what I’d do with one if I did.

iPhone Create Album

 

What quirks do we share? Which of my quirks made you twitch? And what quirks do you have that I didn’t mention?

Slightly Off Target.

Dear Target,

I love you. I really do. I adore your wide aisles, your children’s clothes and shoes, your lack of Walmartian bedlam, your maternity camisoles that actually go over a pregnant belly unlike Motherhood Maternity’s which don’t make it past a gestating ribcage, your pleasingly geometric notebooks and bedspreads and various other pretty things, your Starbucks in every store, and your selection of chocolate.

However.

Even though all those rumors of you being a French company are false, it seems that you don’t understand the English Language. Or at least with the same breadth and detail as us consumers.

Clearance. What does the word mean to you? To us, and by us I mean all humans, we hear “clear” which means that you’re trying to get rid of an item – perhaps seasonal, perhaps not popular, perhaps discontinued.

Clearing out unwanted inventory is something we like being a part of. But only when properly motivated.

And so, “clearance” better mean “50% off or more.”

Target Clearance{Image by Dan Studnicky}

That’s right, Target. 15% off is NEVER clearance. It’s barely enough to make me consider getting something I do need, let alone something I don’t.

You need to take a moment to recognize that Publix routinely marks regular products down to “Buy One Get One Free”, or effectively 50% off, and doesn’t even make a big deal about it.

Every. Single. Day.

I know, right? I bet you need a diaper just thinking about it.

Too bad for you they’re not *really* on sale.

{Image by Queen Bee Coupons}

Publix has opened Oz’s curtain for us – we now know that you big retailers are capable of charging us half as much and still making money.

And you need to quit lying to us.

So. For you and for all of your retail friends, here is a helpful glossary.

Good Deal: You have my permission to use this term when your regular price beats over half of your competitor’s prices. I appreciate you letting me know about your good deals and I will reward you accordingly. However, you need to know that this term alerts me to the fact that you may never have this item on sale, so I might watch for it in your competitor’s sale papers.
Other acceptable terms: Everyday low price, everyday values.

Reduced: You may use this term when you’ve lowered your prices by ten cents or more. Don’t use it on a penny – we’ll see that and Instagram your ridiculousness in a hot second. And just so you know, 15% off definitely falls under the “Reduced” category – so invest in more Reduced signs and less Clearance signs.
Other acceptable terms: markdown, price reduction.

Coupon: DO NOT print me a coupon at the register for 25¢ off six cans of dog food. First of all I don’t have a dog and second of all if I did I wouldn’t, couldn’t, would rather die before keeping up with a piece of paper for two weeks that will save me 4.17 cents off of each item. I could pick up that much money in the parking lot if I needed it.

Here’s the coupon guideline. If it’s under a dollar, I won’t ever use it. And really if I’m being honest, if it’s under five dollars, I’ll probably forget I have it. Okay – if you really want me to use your stupid coupon it better be fifty dollars off a product that costs ten.

Sale: To be officially recognized as a sale, the item in question must be at least 25% off. NO EXCEPTIONS. 24% off is simply a markdown – don’t try to fleece us. Sale also inherently implies that it will be off-sale at some point in the future, so if that is not the case, you may call it a Permanent Markdown – just because the price is permanent does not a clearance make.

Clearance: Using the term “Clearance” for less than 50% off is like calling a bumblebee honey – it’s WRONG, and I get really upset if I accidentally bite. Half off is the absolute MINIMUM, guys. When you find yourselves starting to falter on this issue, just remember Publix. BOGO every day.

Speaking of,

BOGO: BOGO stands for “Buy one, get one free.” It does NOT stand for “Buy one, get one half off” or “Buy one, get one 25% off” or “Buy One Get this other random piece of crap for free.” If you break this sacred rule, then I will never be your friend.

Blowout: A blowout must be 75% off or more (unless we’re talking about the hair process, in which case it’s a stupid name.) Blowout implies “this is the best deal you’ll ever find on this product.” And, as I’m a good deal finder, you better work for it. 90% off is preferred.

Event: Ain’t nobody got time for events, unless you’re giving away free stuff. And it better be an entire cart of free stuff. So if you’re gonna have a Tampon Event and I read your fine print that tampons are 20% off and THAT’S what you’re calling an event, I’m gonna sic all my Event Planner friends on your PR people. And Event Planners are a group of humans that are not fun when they’re indignant – take my word for it.

There. That’s not too hard to follow, is it?

THEN WHY AM I STILL SEEING 15% OFF CLEARANCE IN ALL THE STORES?!

I’ll be practicing my calm breathing until you fix it.