Vacation Responder: Technical Difficulties


oldcomputerDon’t want to deal with email on your vacation? Blame it on your parents.


Thank you for your email. I am out of the office from October 8th to October 31st and unable to read, retrieve or otherwise attend to any correspondence until I return to the office on November 2nd. I have no wifi or 4G or anything because I am staying with my parents and they still live in the dark ages.

If this is an emergency, you could try to email me at my mom’s compuserve email, but honestly, but since they still have dial-up, which only seems to work between the hours of 2pm and 4:30pm (unless someone calls on the line), I think you’re better off just waiting until November.



Vacation Responder: TMI


dorabandaidThe perfect complement to yesterday’s lazy responder, Vacation Responder TMI accentuates in excruciatingly vivid detail why you are otherwise indisposed and cannot answer email right away. Perfect venue for a little self-pity. 



Thank you for your email, but I will be out of the office for the next two weeks, nursing a small flesh wound that will remain after I get my boil lanced on Oct 7. Hopefully it’ll be a quicker recovery than last time. As some of you might remember, that thing oozed and festered for weeks. I still have mecuricome on several of my blouses.

Wish me luck! The doctor says that the pus that is gathering on the sides of the boil isn’t too bad; he’s seen worse. He’s confident that it’ll be put to rest after just a couple quick jabs.

Can’t be worse than this, right?

As always, if this is an emergency, contact [PERSON UPON WHOM WILL GET  YOUR WORKLOAD] and if it’s a boil emergency, see my doctor, ha, ha!

Vacation Responder: Lazy


broken-linkToo lazy to spend more than 45 seconds to think up a thoughtful and businesslike vacation responder? Cut and paste this deadbeat special in less than seven seconds! Guaranteed to deliver the message that you couldn’t care less.


i will answer ur msg when i get back.


Don’t-Call-It-A-Vacation Email Responder


Layout 1Work so busy that you can’t answer your personal email? Try this handy “I’m too busy to pay attention” email response with bonus points for shameless self-promotion. 

Hello and thank you for your email!

If this message is Litquake-related, please contact me at my Litquake email address. If it’s not, please know that my response will be delayed until after October 18th, after the festival.

Until then your best chance of catching up with me is at the festival itself!

Check out our schedule!

I’ll be dancing here (but come for the charismatic poet) and reading here.


Vacation Responder: Cheeky


Face it. You’re not kidding anyone. We all know you’re reading every email as it comes in. We see you on Facebook. We saw those pictures on Tumblr. Might as well own up to and let us know you are ignoring us.

SUBJECT: Off the Grid

Howdy from Florida!

I am reading email, as I am addicted to my phone; I’m just not answering it. This is vacation, after all. I’ll get around to returning your message eventually, though, as there is only so much vacation a person can take when there are exciting emails to answer piling up in one’s inbox.

(However, if this email absolutely cannot wait, you can text me at [SECRET NUMBER] and I’ll get to it as soon as I can.)




Want to let people know that you don’t want to read their email and make them jealous at the same time? Try this subtle gloat with optional shit-rolls-downhill escape clause.

Hello. I will be away from the office from Oct 3 to Oct 31 and will be able to give my full attention to your email upon my return as wifi is spotty in our beachfront villa in Belize.

Thank you for your understanding.

If this matter cannot wait, please email my colleague [NAME OF PERSON UPON WHOM YOU WANT TO DUMP YOUR WORKLOAD] and she will be more than happy to help.

Aarait! (I think I just said “thank you” in Belizean Kriol!)


Vacation Responder: Unspecified Illness


Too sick to answer email? Try this handy but generic all-purpose illness vacation responder! 

Thank you for your email. I’m sorry to report that I am out of the office on sick leave and will not be doing work of any kind until I have made a complete recovery.

If this matter requires immediate attention, please contact my colleague [INSERT NAME] and she will get back to you as soon as possible.



Vacation Responder: Classic

31Days Kovac


We’ve all been there. You’re about to go on vacation and pretend that you don’t have access to email. But you can’t just ignore it for for 15 days. You have to let people know that you’re going to ignore them.

What will you say?

Don’t panic, just write a vacation responder! And it seems you’ve come to the right place. Every day for the month of October as part of the blogging challenge, I’ll be writing 31 vacation responders ranging from professional to zany. Impress your boss! Amuse your friends! Pass work onto your co-workers! 

Today’s Vacation Responder:

Thank you for your email.

I will be traveling and out of the office from Thursday October 1 through Saturday October 31; my response may be delayed during this time. If you need to reach me regarding an emergency, please call my mobile: [YOUR NUMBER. I will return to the office on Monday November 2 after the holiday.

Thank you,


Writing Prompt: You Remember


not this bus but one just like it

You remember the time in Ferrara, a town you only know because it’s the last stop in Veneto and because it has a theatre but no ballet company. If it did, you’d have auditioned here on your way to look for more stable work. Now it’s just a stop on the tour. The bus to Reggio Emilia is parked right outside the piazza and you know that in the daytime, it’s a pretty average piazza. If this were a smaller company, the poorly-managed kind without a lot of money, you’d mingle outside the stage doors waiting for the rest of the cast, smoking a cigarette under the “No Fumare” sign and then the group would wobble into town and eat at some local trattoria.

But this time you are with a more prestigious company and so there is no time to explore the town you’ve just performed in. The bus leaves 30 minutes after the last curtain call, the only vehicle in the whole boot of Italy that is punctual. You won’t eat until you get back to Reggio Emilia, and then not you make the final trek back to your tiny apartment. Not only will all the restaurants and trattorias be closed when the bus arrives, but you don’t earn enough to eat out after every performance. (Part of the reason that poorly-managed company never has any money is because they always treat the dancers to dinner.) But here at your new job, you’ll have to eat something at home, and with all the touring this week, there’s scarcely been time to go to the grocery store. There’s probably a bit of proscuitto and there’s always pasta and olive oil, if nothing else.

In a way, it’s no different than the bus that waited to take you from Uvalde, Texas back to El Paso when you were in 8th grade. Except perhaps, that you weren’t smoking then.

My Eulogy (rough draft)


I’m getting on a plane tomorrow. In the past, before I had children, and if that plane were flying over the ocean, I would send my brother a list of the bills I still needed to pay that month and their account numbers. In retrospect, I suppose I could have just paid the bills before I left but somehow that never occurred to me.


These days I figure that if someone needs to find out what I owe and to whom, they could just google it (I think adsense has a cookie for that). But I’m still worried about what my loved ones will do if I die tomorrow. Do the kids know where their Social Security cards are? (Probably not. I don’t even think they know what they are) Do they know we still have one outstanding library book?


And most importantly, do they know what they’d say at my funeral? I mean, if I go down tomorrow, they’ll have to come up with something by Sunday and who can write under that kind of pressure? I know I can’t.


So I thought I’d write a draft my eulogy here that my husband can use as a template.

this came up when I googled “Death Bouquet”

(Note to my husband: just think of it as a working draft and please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments)

(Oh, and note to my mom: I don’t think Matt knows I have a blog, so if you read this and the plane goes down, could you let him know this is here? Thanks.)

Janine Noelle Kovac, known to friends and family as “Zippy” (I wasn’t, but who’s gonna know? And besides, this is my last chance to embellish the truth) was a loving wife and doting mother nearly all of the time.

Oh, man. This is harder than I thought.

Janine would have celebrated her 30th birthday this month (technically true. Not technically true: that I would have celebrated my 30th birthday this year.)

I could give a list of things I liked: classical music, raw almonds, my kids. And a list of things I didn’t like: cockroaches. FOX News. Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Maybe I could list some of my favorite quotes. I can’t remember what they are, but I know they’re in my goodreads feed.

(Note to Matt: to make everything easier for you I have changed all our passwords to “pencil.” Except for my goodreads password, which is “snowbird1882”)

I’m sorry Matt. I just can’t think of anything interesting to say about myself. But I do have the latest bio I submitted my last Write On Mamas post:

Janine Kovac works for Litquake, San Francisco’s literary festival. She lives in Oakland with her husband and three small children. She spends her free time wondering if it’s really free time or if she’s just forgotten to do something.

Mom, will you tell Matt it’s the best I could come up with?