A nickel's just a nickel

dime's just a dime, nickels make you happy in only half the time


Medium size city, West Coast, USA
August 30
A hundred odd jobs, some more odd than others. 30 years self employed in various building trades, sales etc. Lots of college, lifetime musician etc.


Alsoknownas's Links

MARCH 16, 2012 5:13PM

Proper Death and Surgery E-mail Etiquette

Rate: 21 Flag


I try not to blog too much personal information. It's just not my style and it seems better to avoid the cyber world crashing down on me like I have seen happen to  others before.

 I am faced with a bit of a dilemma however and wondered what the proper response should be.

My mom died two years ago about this very hour. 3:16 p.m. on 03/16. Her favorite Bible verse was John 3:16. Now that part is out of the way.

My sister has sent me an e-mail telling me that mom's ghost was floating around in the back bedroom earlier this week near her urn. She has told me this several times. This time was different because she also told me she was taking her chihuahua in today to be neutered and sent me a picture of him looking forlorn at the veterinarian. My wife suggested I say something comforting in response. I wanted to write something sensitive back to her but all I could come up with was :

" O.K. Mom is floating around your apartment. How's the dog?"

 My wife, who knows more about these things has told me this is not exactly what she meant.

So what do you think?  Should I break it up into two separate e-mails?

Is it better not to mention the dog until I know he is better? Should I ask her to keep her camera ready and trained towards the back room next time, because I've already seen the dog?

Thank you.


Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I would opt for 2 separate emails, and yes, keep the camera in the direction of the back room.
@ Erica K,

Sounds quite polite. I'm concerned she does not have a tripod which could cause a fuzzy or distorted image of some sort.
Thank you.
This is much too complicated. I simply cannot offer any worthwhile advice. Have you tried Emily Post? Miss Manners? The cast of Jersey Shore?
Email etiquette is such a conundrum! What to write to whom when, where, and how? Then there is the ever present why? And what to do with spam? Trojan Horses?? Worms??? What else may be lurking in the strange lines of hidden code????
@ Jeanette,

I've never seen those Jersey Shore programs, but I'll bet you're right. There's probably some sort of "Meet the stars" FAQ page where this could be discussed.
Thanks for the idea.
@ jmac1949,

I was hoping for a more backwoodsy response from you. I am aware of cyber threats and disappointments. Perhaps you know of some "single-wide" type of melancholy response I can use if the little tyke doesn't survive the snip. I'll let you know.
Two emails and a tone that does not impart disdain would be best, don't you think?
The only rational way to handle this is to somehow work John 3:16 into one of the emails, doesn’t matter which one…”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I think you should give more personal details in your posts, not necessarily about yourself, but certainly about your sister. Kinda like I spill all my Sister L’s details. She and the New Man took me out to dinner tonight. I like the cut of his gib. Jib?

Why wouldn’t a dog survive being neutered? Is it the breed?
There's simply not enough information here for you to write a proper response. The date, the dog and your mom's ghost are obviously all related in some symbolic way and you've got to find out. Did your mom know the dog? Did they like each other? Maybe your mom was indicating she was hoping the dog would die so his ashes could keep her company in the urn. Maybe because of the Bible verse your mom is saying she thinks of the dog as her son. Maybe she wants your sister to re-name the dog John. On the other hand, because the dog is a chihuahua maybe she's prefer he be renamed Juan. Or that she's tired of being shut up in the back bedroom and wants her ashes scattered in Mexico by someone named Juan. You really need to contact the experts at Ghost Hunters and get to the bottom of this.
I think you've already over-stepped the too-much-personal-information boundary by mentioning your sister's dog' sex life, & how little control it's been given over the situation, myself.
Add to that your sister's own issues around letting go of your mother, the complete breakdown in communication between yourself & your wife, & the whole thing begins to look pretty murky, if you ask me.
I'd go for a clean break.
Cut off any communication between you & your sister, file for divorce, grow a mustache & move to Florida, then start over with a nice little lawnmowing franchise ~ I've seen it work.
Dog neuters are nuttin', pun intended. ;0) Honestly, your sister will have more trauma than the dog will. Perhaps she's seeing your Mom float around as a simple transference of angst from the dog to a more major event in her life.

I like Kim's suggestion.
Maybe would just add a little "hello to Mom!" somewhere in there...
My mom is still in the here & now, but she's always trying to get my sisters and me to connect (even though we are pretty darn connected)...maybe yours is doing the same. :)

I'm sorry for your loss; although you don't say too much, sounds like your mom was a very loving and beloved Mom.
kim's response, though drastic, is comprehensive, which is a plus.

but i'd skip any mention at all of mom, death, ashes, ghosts, weird photos and roswell or area 51. also avoid bible verses unless you can find one that is specific to surgical excision of testicles (dogs or ...) - which shouldn't be too hard, actually. isn't that what wiki is for? you're welcome.
She sent the info all in one email so hit reply and answer both in one response. People do like to send photos of their pets and I prefer it to seeing endless photos of their kids. Be sure to admire forlorn pup. The dog will be fine, much sweeter in fact.

So far there's a 50/50 chance there are ghosts, why wouldn't such a woman be one to return for a visit. I love that your mom has returned with a flair for the dramatic. It's very telling that her favorite scripture was one that promised eternal life. Date and time are interesting too, good for her.

Now lean close and tell us all your little peccadillos, we won't tell anyone...
I thought your response was perfect, but Kim's advice might be better. If she ever snaps a pic of your mom's ghost, please post it.
Believe me when I tell you that I have drafted email responses for my husband in similar circumstances (sans ghost, I must admit). One email is ok, but it has to be two paragraphs. Not hitting "return" is your fatal error. I think the 3:16/3.16 is pretty darn cool! Good luck!
I could tell you a thing or two about "coincidences." But, I won't. don't think the camera idea is a good one, ghosts can't be seen in mirrors, so I don't think they would take kindly to being digitized. As for the dog, I think you should lure him into the car by telling him that you are going to take him to be tutored.
One word; Ghost Adventures.

OK that's two words, sorry, but if Zak Bagans can't get to the bottom of this paranormal enigma no one can.
How about one email and two paragraphs? :)
Since your sister mentions your mom's appearances other times, I think you're okay to cover both in one email. "Hey, tell mom hi for me, and how's Nutter doing? Hope he's healing quickly." The numbers thing is one of those fascinating and weirdly comforting things. Good thoughts to you.
What a bunch of flip, insensitive responses to your heartfelt plea for answers. I put this to the best psychic in my psychic stable, James Van Pierogi and here's what he said:

"It's really very simple. The juxtaposition of the urn, your mother's ghost, the dog awaiting castration and the non-coincidental date of death and bible verse, indicates that your mother is telling you and your sister she wishes she'd been "spayed." She's telling you she never wanted children and the dog is one lucky pup. She went from one prison (home) to another (urn). I'm sorry but that's what it means. Well don't be upset. Not everyone gets the winning lottery numbers."
I have been laughing out loud at this post and the comments. Very smart and spiritual. Woo.
Thanks for the much need guidance here.
.........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥
I had to go to work and then dinner so i missed all these great responses in real time. Thanks to each one of yoou for getting here and offer sound and even once or twice snae advice.
@ Lea Lane
The wisdom of a world traveler

@ JME,
I don't know gib from jib either. I try to never use words I cannot spell. So when I get them wrong in writing I still think I'm correct.

@ Margaret Feike,
I see here you've come around more than once. That shows dedication. You've not only added your own sense of the afterworld but that of someone named for a meatball sandwich. That is special.

@ Kim Gamble,
I had the big moustache for far too many years but a younger co-hort of mine told me I looked like the lead actor in his dad's 70's porno stash he found in the back of a closet so the lip is shaven. Florida sounds interesting however and maybe a visit would whet my appetite.

@phyliss45's Bright Eyes,

I am dizzy from going back and forth to see if I got your name correct.

@ clay ball,

Trust me. Focus on the here and now.

@ candace aka femme forte,

I think you're right that I should leave out the connection to
Area 51. My sister would just say "Huh?" which would key me to recite in detail too many episodes of the History Channel and then well...might seem a titch looned myself.
I'd go with what Margaret said ... hope that helps.
Being curious however I am going to Google John 3:16 now ...
@ l'Heure Bleue,

The dog apparently is already sweet. I think it weighs about a pound and a half and though I do not not think it was possible he had any heft in the nethers, he is slightly reduced by now.
Lean close, eh? well..ok. One time when I was....................

@ fernsy,

Will do. Do you think it should be in color, black and white or maybe use one of those cool sepia settings to add authenticity?

@ Jennifer Prestholdt,

Sounds like a practical voice of experience method. I must write it down so I do not get it backwards and send just one paragraph in two e-mails.

@ John A Bayerl,

I am not allowed to handle the small family pets. I took grandma's dog to the Humane Society to be adopted and when I got there he jumped out in the parking lot and ran out in traffic under nine wheels. That's one full side of an 18-wheeler.

@ nanatehay,

You've been watching too much TV to know the name Zak Bagans. I understand. My current level of angst and insomnia means I know the cast of Storage Wars. But the ghosty shows give me the heebie-jeebies in the middle of the night.

@ Trudge164,

See my concern about your method in an answer a moment or two ago.

@ The Good Daughter,

I can always count on you to say something nice around OS. Thank you.

@ Margaret Feike II,

Ah yes, here it is. The MeatBall Clairvoyant quote. Thanks for the extra research. It keeps me from having weird Wikipedia searches on my permanent Google file when THEY come knockin' and askin'.

@ zanelle,

I'm glad the spiritualty of the post was meaningful to you.

@ Algis Kemezys,

I was able to read part of your comment but feel limited in my ability to reply.
@ Scarlett Sumac,

I appreciate you picking out the most helpful comment and reiterating it.
I noticed above that I spelled "sane" "snae". Shortly thereafter I mentioned not using words unless I could spell them and that when I get them wrong I still think I'm right.
It's a bit disconcerting then to realize I got "sane" wrong but really what better word would there be?
Given the choice I wouldn't talk to me knowing this, but I do talk to myself if nobody is looking, or if I think they are not.
I shouldn't have read Margaret's answers more than once.
aka: Hey, you're speaking to the Queen of Comment Screw-ups ... you should hear me in real life! :)
So no worries but "Yes" if one is going to get one word messed up -- sane is the one to do it with. And oh yeah, guess if I knew my scriptures that one [ John 3:16] was a no-brainer, huh?
@ Scarlett Sumac,

Actually, Mr. Emmerling, resident OS reverend that he is, had already posted it in his comment above. I should have made mention and saved you the time to research it as you did.
Malapropisms are always fun. I do agree that one should not be overly concerned about getting their mords wixed.
i'm worried you've been afflicted by the ghost your own self. how else to explain "snae advice"?? and i'm stealing "titch looned," assuming i know what you meant.
femme forte aka candace,

I believe I got your moniker backwards as well the last time we exchanged comments. It is that sort of time for me, a titched looned or not.
I have tried to explaing myself to Scarlett Sumac as well right above your concern and inquiry but perhaps you missed it.
I must go, My Bengal is outside on her leash and harness and also in a mood. I haven't the direction or energy to chase her today as she makes an exhausting game of it. Once 20 ft. up the Norway Spruce I went with a pillow case and a broom. I should not reveal more of my usual goings on as it appears to be worrisome to readers.
Carry on........
A text would work but for an email you may want to just make it a bit longer and more separate ya know what I mean. I hope the dog doesn't miss well doesn't miss his pieces parts too much. I wonder why your mom is floating around her urn? Maybe she wants to take turns at the different homes?
I think your mom is trying to stop the surgery. Is there time to? Who knows, maybe he is to be the puppy daddy of the next savior of the free world? OMG is his package already gone? Get ready for the zombie apocalypse.
How did I miss this? I can hardly contain myself long enough to scroll down to read the answers. Did you figger it out?
@ dianaani,

Thanks for stopping by. I sent one brief response.Didn't mention the dog or the ghost. Seemed balanced that way.
Do you guys own telephones?
I still have mom on the speed dial.
I'd say two emails would be appropriate, but in all honesty this is way above my pay grade.
Gaud . . . For God so Loved this world?

What earthen Father would do that?

I ask a favor? I'll PM you right away.
Please let me know if you get the PM?
I took a photo of a road kill squirrel.

I'd donate the tail for a better world.
Moses must be on illegal morphine.
Rasputin, Plato, and ask Limbaugh?
He etc., declares they love the world.
On Easter the flower girls leering long
also known as