After four rounds of email with the tech guy where I used to work, I realized my request of him was too vague. I wrote the article "sometime between September 2009 and February 2010", sent it home "sometime between December 2009 and April 2010", and it may or may not have been in the My Documents directory of my computer at work and backed up at some point. Because I deleted everything off my computer on my last day of work, and besides, it's been surplused since I left.
The guy was willing to order backup tapes from offsite, but I doubt he would have been able to order enough of them to make sure he got Facebook Cat. He said he could only find an old email "if I had a court order." He wasn't being obstructionist - just realistic.
So I had an online chat with Comcast, my email provider, and asked if they kept my emails even though I had them set up to automatically delete after 30 days. They said nope, they didn't, and that in the future maybe I should set email up to be deleted "never". I said yep, I would.
Then I talked to a writer friend of mine, who has a daughter who went to Stanford, where Facebook originated, and my friend emailed her daughter for the name of anyone who works at Facebook now, so I could plead my case to have them give me access to my oldest posts, rather than the 36 hours of posts I can now read.
When I got home at 10 p.m. last night, I looked around in Facebook. I'm an analyst, after all. And, on the Account/Account Settings menu, I found an option called "Download Your Information." I followed the instructions there, and within an hour I had a zip file delivered to me by email from Facebook. It contained everything I've ever contributed to that ginormous database.
Between 11 p.m and 12 a.m. I copied and pasted all the Facebook Cat entries to a new Word document.
Between 12 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. I lay awake as though I'd had nine cups of coffee before bed, when actually I'd just fully exercised my brain for probably the first time all winter. Larisa the Facebook Cat was asleep at my feet, purring.
At 6:15 a.m. I woke up with the opportunity to sleep one more hour before I had to get up, then lay there thinking how to format my article so I can get it into the 1,000-word limit the magazine is requesting.
Now it's 4:15 p.m. and I am going to take a nap.
Thanks for all the good wishes and optimistic thoughts.