Archive for the ‘as lawful as equilibrium’ Category

Just Pretend

October 21, 2010

Pretend you hire an attorney and pretend the attorney’s assistant sends you a brief letter that says:

Enclosed please find an  invoice from Super Terrific Insurance Company for the probate bond premium. Also enclosed is an invoice from The Local Rag for publication of the legal notice. Please prepare estate checks payable to Super Terrific Insurance Company and The Local Rag and send them directly to the companies in the envelopes enclosed.

Now pretend you are stupid. You respond by:

a) waiting a month before calling the attorney’s assistant to ask what you’re supposed to do, admitting  you didn’t read the letter

Now pretend you’re a condescending, uptight woman. The type of woman who would criticize a person’s body language. You receive the same letter with the same simple instructions. You respond by:

a)waiting a month and a half before calling the assistant  to ask what you are supposed to do. When the assistant tries to tell you what to do, interrupt her by saying “I didn’t understand that. I don’t understand these things.”

When the assistant asks you the status of  dead man’s account say “I thought you were taking care of it. See, that’s what I didn’t understand.” When the assistant reminds you that the attorney sent a letter telling you to close the account and put the proceeds into a new estate checking account say, ” What’s an estate? What’s probate?” When the assistant replies “Dead man’s asset is his estate. This process you are going through so you’ll be able to distribute the asset is probate,” say “See there you go. Now you’re talking about something else. I’m still thinking about what you said three minutes ago. And you get excited when you talk.” When the assistant says “I’m not excited,” cut her off and say “My mind doesn’t work that way.” When the assistant says nothing, say “I have to be able to interrupt you because I have questions. My mind doesn’t work that way.”  When the assistant contemplates cutting the phone cord say, “I work crazy hours. I can’t do anything. I had to take time off just to have my mammogram and pap smear. I don’t understand these things.” Then start telling the assistant about an account the dead man opened in 1974 for your brother that has nothing to do with anything. When the assistant says she will try to help you and see what she can find out say, “You speak in legalese and I don’t understand that.” When the assistant says she will try to help you and see what she can find out say, “Oh thank you. I have other questions but I can’t think of them now. My mind doesn’t work that way.”



My body language is speaking in tongues

August 22, 2010

My body language needs to learn to use its quiet inside voice instead of shouting.

” Did I offend you on the phone this morning?” she asked. “Because your body language speaks volumes.”

My body language,  seemed to indicate I was offended, which offended her. This was after she was pushy, haughty and condescending with me on the phone. And after I went out of my way to get her an appointment that day despite her unpleasantness.  And after I talked to her during my lunch hour.

And also after she knocked the chair over in the conference room, called me Clare and squeezed my hand so hard I thought it would crumble.

I kind of need my hands. I do many things with them.

Of course I denied there was any body language. Language? What language. My body has no language. Everything is swell. Abuse me. Criticize me. Demand, command, direct and control me.

It will be our little secret. My body is mute.

Much longer than a tweet + Copenhagen

June 11, 2010

The whole thing took about an hour and a half. I could have written a stupid blog post in that hour and a half. Or baked a pie. Or listened to my playlist called “These songs are a yes.”

Instead that hour and a half was spent attempting to close accounts for an out of state client who had already failed at her local branch. I had my ID and notarized letters of instruction and court certified documents and a red purse with business cards in it. Surely my red purse would lend me an air of authority. The customer service representative, I’ll call her Sophia, glanced at the paperwork and looked lost. She had on a pretty ring with purple and green stones. I wanted to compliment her but I didn’t want to seem too enthusiastic because I knew eventually she’d screw me over.

She dialed a number. We waited. Someone answered and she tried to read the court certified letters of administration out loud to a cog in the wheel they call the legal department, probably thousands of miles away. Sophia couldn’t pronounce prerequisite. She stumbled around with it and finally decided on “prereziquit.” The word decedent also took a wrong turn in her mouth and became descendant.

I was getting an uncomfortable feeling. When people who are supposed to be helping me can’t read, it gives me a bad vibe. The discussion went on for some time with more reading and mispronouncing and misstating of the facts. “My manager isn’t here today,” she told the cog. I felt a tear form but brushed it away.

“Let’s see if we can’t get this taken care of,” Sophia said somewhat unconvincingly.

She left the desk to consult with the assistant manager. I stared at the cup full of lollipops on her desk and thought of Copenhagen. I love the sound of it – the way it bounces around on my lips when I say it.  I’ve never been there. I’ve never been to Europe actually. I’ve read that it can take weeks or even months to complete simple transactions in Europe. I doodled. I deleted messages from my phone. I rubbed something sticky off the side of my sandal.

Eventually Sophia returned with the assistant manager, I’ll call her Clarice. She said something like “Well here’s the problem. We’re not going to be able to do this for you today.” Something about the absence of the client and the “scope” of their regulations and the Gulf oil spill and the price of grain futures.

This is where I got snippy and told them that I knew they wouldn’t do it, that their bank was the worst to deal with and that before I’d left my office that morning I’d said “Lord have mercy. I’ll be there all morning and nothing will get resolved.” That’s a real quote by the way. I even turned my eyes heavenward when I said it. Clarice said there was no reason to get upset. I said I knew there wasn’t, but I just needed to let them know that we’ve never referred a client to their bank and it makes me sad when I have to deal with them.

Clarice said “Here’s what I can do. I can try to get the rep from the Rhode Island branch on the phone and find out why your client wasn’t able to get the accounts closed out. Because this is the proper paperwork and she should be allowed to do it.”

“That would be wonderful,” I said. “It would be wonderful if you could even reach someone at the branch, because I already tried that and no one picked up the phone. Ever.”

Apparently I made enough of a scene that Clarice thought we should conduct further business in her office. From her office she tried to call the Rhode Island representative’s number and no one picked up. She searched for a better number for the branch. I think she was searching on the bank’s web page. There was no number listed. She called another person in, maybe her name was Ophelia, to look at the site and show her that there was no number listed for the branch.  She tried to call the customer service number and bypass the prompts by saying “Speak to a representative.”  In response she got, “Incorrect prompt.” I looked on sympathetically. While she continued her quest I complimented her on the roses on her desk. Now we were conversing like old friends. Her birthday was a few days ago… “Speak to a representative!” Her daughter got them for her. Her daughter attends the same college my daughter used to attend. She shares a condo with a roommate…“Speak to a representative!” After 3 or 4 tries she hung up.

She looked in the company directory, found the rep’s number, and it was the same number she’d already called so she called it again. And it just rang again. She found a number for branch manager and dialed her but she didn’t pick up either. She left her a voicemail. She also sent an email, which took her 10 minutes to compose.

I apologized for getting testy. We chatted about foreclosures and kids and crazy customers, like the one I’d seen a few weeks ago walking up and down the sidewalk with a sign that said “I pray for Bank X to fail” and “Honk if you hate Bank X.”  I apologized again before leaving and gave a little wave. I’m a lady. I’ve just turned into Audrey Hepburn. All I need are white gloves and a little purse that clicks shut with a snap.

After lunch I check my voice mail. It’s Clarice! “The manager from Rhode Island will call your client and tell her what she needs to do. I just wanted to let you know. If you need anything, I’m here.” she says earnestly. I press star 3 to delete.

Sometimes I dream of Copenhagen.

If you find a quarter on the sidewalk you must report it as income

January 26, 2010

I read everything. Cereal boxes, junk mail, directions, ingredients, warning labels, forms, business cards, tax publications…

Did I say tax publications? Indeed I did. Specifically IRS Publication 17. And its brilliance deserves to be blurbed.

“Deliciously uncertain – and satisfying. A gritty, unforgettable experience.”

Excerpts from Publication 17 (the only tax guide most individuals need)

Chapter 12 Other Income

Bribes. If you receive a bribe include it in your income.

Host or Hostess. If you host a party or event at which sales are made, any gift or gratuity you receive for giving the event is a payment for helping a direct seller make sales. You must report this item as income at its fair market value.

Kickbacks. You must include kickbacks, side commissions, push money, or similar payments you receive in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ, if from your self-employment activity.

Rewards. If you receive a reward for providing information, include it in your income.

Sale of personal items. If you sold an item you owned for personal use, such as a car, refrigerator, furniture, stereo, jewelry, or silverware your gain is taxable as a capital gain. Report it on Schedule D (Form 1040). You cannot deduct a loss

Stolen property. If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it unless in the same year, you return it to its rightful owner.


In a former life I was a court jester

August 7, 2009

5 minute cartoon

From A Catalog of Client Types, page 38DD: This client’s  inability to complete simple tasks will  be a frequent source of frustration. She’s never met an excuse she didn’t long to try on and check out in a 3-way mirror. She is misunderstood, stressed, overworked and scantily dressed. After unproductive meetings with her you are tempted to draw silly cartoons emphasizing her most prominent features, but you don’t because you are a mature professional.

How about you don’t call me sweetheart and I won’t call you an ass

February 5, 2009

It’s cold.

And  some guy I’ve never met just called me sweetheart on the phone, causing the temperature in my cubicle to drop another 20 degrees.

I wish there was a way to store today’s cold temperatures for use some soupy July day when I am sweaty, lethargic and miserable.

In which I talk about my name and forget to name the post and have to edit it to add this name which is a really bad name

January 11, 2009

For 22 years I had a name.

And then one day I got married. I had broached the subject of keeping my maiden name and the idea was met with general hysterics and displeasure. So because it’s traditional for the wife to change her name and because I cave fairly easily, I took  my husband’s name.

I had a new name. And that’s the name I used for 13 years as a married woman.

Then my husband wanted a new life. He went off and did his own thing while  I clung to my children. Things got really foggy. The kids were my tether and kept me from drifting off into the fog.

There was a lawyer. He handed me a boxes of tissues and said things like “You can’t get blood from a stone. ” He asked if I wanted to go back to my maiden name when it was all over.

I decided to keep my married name. I’d have the same name as my kids. We’d be a family. It was easier. It was neater. Fewer questions would be asked that I didn’t want to answer.

Now, 14 years after my divorce, I’m going back to my maiden name. My kids are grown and it no longer matters if we have the same last name. There’s no reason to use it any longer and it seems important to be rid of it. Like keeping it somehow identifies me with my failed marriage.

I have to ask a judge for permission, and swear and affirm the truthfulness of my claims, swear that I have no ulterior or illegal purpose for filing a petition for a name change.

And then it will be done and I’ll be me and not the ghost of a woman who thought she’d be someone’s true love forever.

(emo much?)

Promoted to ass

June 26, 2008

An elderly client who is cute as the dickens (that’s right) scribbled on an envelope: Mary Dawer – {insert attorney’s name here} Ass. That’s me! I’m the Ass.

So the name’s a little off and he probably means assistant. I’ll take it.

I dreamed my whole life of being an Ass and now I am one. The client said so.

It’s true then, that thing that every glass half full person says. If you believe in yourself and work hard enough you can make your dreams come true. I know mine have!

I’m very proud. I think I’ll celebrate by shitting out some pleadings and maybe a dozen cupcakes just to show off.

Dedicated to the letter E

January 30, 2008


Engaged in completing forms.

Economizing in a shitty economy.

Enraged by Bush, ignorance, bad drivers, wealth. 

Enraptured by our gorgeous, sunny, warm, breezy, kite flying weather.

Engrossed in the Journal of Eugene Delacroix.

Enchanted by Johnny Weir’s performance at the US Figure Skating Championships this past weekend.

Entranced by the letter E and my own E who turns Eighteen in a week.

Excited about the return of LOST tomorrow night.

Entertained by The Complete Jane Austen on Masterpiece.


January 18, 2008


Yes I am to be congratulated for several accomplishments which are as follows, in no particular order:

  •  I am captivated by sea captains and found further evidence that they may be the chosen ones on page 94 of the 1040 instructions: Certain whaling captains may be able to deduct expenses paid in 2007 for Native Alaskan subsistence bowhead whale hunting activities. See Pub. 526 for details. 
  • I finished my estimated 1040 even though it was painful since I am losing a dependent and a child tax credit.
  • I finished and submitted the CSS financial aid profile without consulting an accountant or financial advisor or even a man. Aw shucks. I must be kinda smart for a woman…I hope I don’t start to tear up a la Hillary.
  • I located Slightly Chipped:Footnotes in Booklore by bookies Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone, behind the row of books where it was supposed to be, forlorn and forgotten. I rescued it, checked it out and read it. And enjoyed it.
  • I started Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen and will see him at an event in March.
  • I waded through the shit coming out of Gov. Crist’s mouth and voted NO (early) on the property tax amendment. Tax cuts my ass. Loss of revenue for municipalities and tax cuts for the wealthiest homeowners. More about it here
  • My co-worker and I managed to procure a day off for the office Monday to celebrate that most awesome of holidays – MLK b-day. A day off is reason enough to honor MLK.
  • I haven’t listened to Deas Vail for at least 3 days.