Wednesday, April 04, 2007


If You Got It, Use It.

Yesterday afternoon was an exercise in frustration. A dear friend of ours lost her mother over the weekend and the visitation was to take place Tuesday afternoon and evening. The funeral home is about 40 minutes or so from where we are, so I e-mailed our group of friends to see if anyone wanted to carpool with The Squeeze and me in The Ark since it seats eight. Well, to be honest, it seats five normal people and three members of the Lollipop Guild on the very back bench, but it's not about the comfort, it's about going together and laughing on the way. We put the 'fun' in 'funeral'!

I talked to Weezie (my baby mama) and she said she'd go with us. When I checked my e-mail late Monday night I had received two replies. Jeannine (aka Neen) said she was in and we arranged to have her meet me at my shop. The other e-mail was from our friends Karen and Steve. Steve was working out of town and didn't expect to be back in time, so he asked if we could take Karen with us. I e-mailed back and said it was no problem and explained that Neen, The Squeeze and I would leave from my shop, scoot across the city to get Weezie, and pick Karen up as we headed out of town since it's sorta kinda on our way.

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from The Squeeze. He was at home to get changed and he told me there was a voicemail message from Karen wondering what the plan was. Clearly she didn't check her e-mail. The Squeeze tried calling her, but he kept getting a message telling him that "The person you are calling does not have their voicemailbox set up". I told him to let me try to get ahold of her so he could get ready.

I tried, and tried, and tried, and kept getting the same message. WTF? However, what the message did add later on was "Please enter the number of the person you are calling". Huh? OK, so I did that again and guess what I got? "The person you are calling does not have their voicemailbox set up." That was followed by "Please enter the number of the person you are calling. If you do not have a touchtone phone, please stay on the line for assistance". Alright, now we're getting somewhere! I waited for a few seconds, heard a click and then "The person you are calling does not have their voicemailbox set up. Please enter the number of the person you are calling. If you do not have a touchtone phone, please stay on the line for assistance". I think you know where this is going. I thought I'd bypass the system by hitting the '0' button a few times, but received "The number 0000 is not a recognized number".

I tried to get through to Karen for about half an hour when finally she picked up.
"Hi Dave!"
"I have been trying to get through to you for ages (me? exaggerate? nah!)."
"I was on the phone with Steve."
"OK, you need to set up your voicemail."
"Oh, we don't use it. We have an answering machine."
"Ya, well, welcome to the '90s. You've got voicemail. Use it."
"But we like the machine."
"That's all fine and good, but it doesn't help when people need to leave you a message when you're on the phone."
"That's true. Well, we'll think about it."
"And quite frankly, I've got better things to do at work than listen to the endless loop of phone prompts. And furthermore, did you not check your e-mail?"
"No I didn't."
"I sent all the info about tonight's plan last night."
"Oh, did you?"

The whole time Karen just laughed at my frustation. It's the kind of relationship we have. Eventually, we got past all of that and discussed the plan, and at that point she told me that Steve might be making it home in time. She said she'd give him a call and would call me back. I told her to call me back at the store until 6:00, and after that to call my cell.

At about 5:40, I hear my cell phone ringing somewhere in the back of the shop in one of my coat pockets. I go running back, fumbling through my coat and miraculously find it in time. Yep, it was Karen.

"Hi Dave."
"Oh hello Karen."
"What time would you be coming by?"
"Probably around 6:30 or 6:45 at the latest."
"Steve said he'll be home around 7:15 or 7:30 to get changed, so maybe I'll just wait and go with him."
"Alright, sounds good."
"We'll see you there by 8:00."
"Sounds like a plan."
"OK, see you Dave."
"See you Karen, it's been an ordeal."

So when all was said and done, there was a total of four people in The Ark, but we still had a good drive and chatted and caught up on what was going on in our lives. Actually, it was mostly Weezie and Neen talking about kids, but it was still fun. We met up with the whole gang at the funeral home, and everyone got together at a nearby pub afterward for wings and beer.

Neen made the comment that it's always so hard to get the whole gang together for a night of fun (potluck or whatever), but we always manage to pull together in times like this.

It's all about priorities I suppose. We can be counted on when we're needed to give our support to each other. We made a plan to get together in two weeks for a happier time when the husband of one of the old gang is performing at a local establishment. When The Squeeze and I got home last night I looked at the calendar and realized we had plans to go to another function that night. It's an annual art auction that we always go to, but this year I think we're going to skip it. Laughing with the old gang trumps standing around in a sweltering room looking at art that we don't need.

Answering machine???? Egads. I have a friend who has an answering machine as well - and a rotary phone. He did, however, join the 21st century recently by getting a cell phone. He was asked if it were the popular rotary model. He just laughed. Perhaps Karen and Steve could get the VM function turned off, so that their callers get a busy signal.
We still have an answering maching, but only because the phone company that we have doesn't offer voice mail. Or call waiting. Hell, we were thrilled when we were able to get caller ID.

We've damn near caught up to 1992.

I'm going to get ecbjjgy with it today.
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