I have finished statements...early!

I've been working like crazy to get them all finished before I have the baby, and I've been wondering if the baby would come early and upstage the statements. But lo, the statements are done, and there is no baby in sight.

Can I get a big disappointed sigh?

Because you know I'm doing my share of sighing (both in relief and in disappointment...and in just normal trying-to-catch-my-breath breathing because this child is WAY too big for her current location.)

And now, boys and girls, a story for you:

This morning, the office phone rang, and I answered in my usual cheerful manner, "Good morning, this is Melissa. How can I help you?"

A low-pitched voice demanded, "Why do you keep calling me?"

I paused, "Excuse me?"

"I've had enough," the voice ranted, "I just got back from a weekend at the hospital, and I am tired of getting these phone calls from you! Who are you, and why do you keep calling me?" The raspy voice could have been a man's or a woman's, and the thick Polish accent could have been a speech impediment. I scrounged up all of my brain cells trying to place the voice, trying to make sense of the conversation.

Many times, Craig's friends will call leaving rediculous messages for Craig, and many times I have been the victim of their prank phone calls. "Moe Skeeto" frequently calls. "Earl Acker" has called a few times. "General Johnson" leaves messages at times, and these are just a few. Some more imaginative gentlemen call with stories that I have fallen for, and this phone call fit right into that particular genre of prank call.

I determined not to make a fool of myself this time. But, I still wasn't sure if this was a prank call. So I had to hedge my bets.

In a polite, I'm-Really-Just-Playing-Along tone of voice, I asked, "May I ask who is calling?"

"Who do you think is calling!?" the out-raged voice yelled out. "I'm not putting up with this any longer! Why do you keep calling me and hanging up, anyway? I've had enough of this! I'm going to report you to the police for harrassment if you don't stop!"

"Calling and hanging up?" I inquired politely, my guard still up.

"Listen, I am 85 years old. I don't have time for this! You stop calling me! Who are you, anyway?"

I began to wonder if my prank call theory might be wrong, but I hesitated to cave in too soon and play the fool once again. "This is a place of business located in Iowa." I stated politely, "When have you received a phone call from us?"

"When have I received a phone call from you?" the voice repeated incredulously, "Every hour on the hour for the past month! This is stopping today! What kind of business is this, anyway?"

"This is a financial business," I stated carefully, not sure how much information I wanted to give out, and still wondering when the punch line would pop out.

"WELL! I know that I've been behind on my payments, but I've been in the hospital this weekend, and my neice stayed at the house this weekend, and I've been trying to pay things off slowly. Just last week, I payed off a large chunk of my bills, and I'm still getting things in order. This is nothing more than harrassment! You cannot keep calling me and hanging up, day and night! That's no way for a financial corporation to operate! I am calling the police! What's your name, young lady?"

By this time, I had determined that the voice belonged to a woman. "Ma'am," I interjected in a hopefully not too placating way, "No one from our company has been calling you. In fact, we leave the office at five o'clock pm, and there is no one here to call you after that time."

"Then we'll just talk about the calls that I've been getting BEFORE five pm. Never mind about the ones that come after five pm! Tell me about the phone calls during the day!"

"Well, I can promise you that no one here is calling you repeatedly and hanging up during the day," I started in a respectful tone.

"Don't tell me that! I have caller ID! I see your phone number! I know it's you!"

I glanced at my phone display, disappointed that I did not have caller ID. "Would you mind telling me the phone number that has been calling you?" I asked.

"It's this one! The one that I called!" she rattled the number off to me. It was our toll-free number. The one programmed for incoming calls only and not capable of making out-going calls. But the fact that she had dialed the number from her caller ID and reached us only further proved her accusations.

"Hmm, do you mind if I call my phone company and find out what they can tell me about these calls?" I asked.

She seemed pleased, "You certainly can! And tell them that I won't stand for any more of this harrassment!"

"Yes, Ma'am. Would you like me to call you back with the information that I find out?"

"You'd better!" she responded. She gave me her phone number, and I wrote it down and repeated it to her. Then she told me her name was Rose, and I was happy to confirm that she was a woman, since I had been calling her ma'am!

I called our long distance carrier, who confirmed that our toll free number was incapable of making outbound calls. They tested the line and determined that it was working properly, then they told me that the problem must be occuring on her end of the line. Her local phone company must be accidently routing something through our phone number to her line. But since no one was actually on the call, she was getting what she thought were hang-up calls.

I dialed Rose's number and waited. Boo-doo-boop: The number you have dialed is not in service. Please check the number and try again. I dialed again, paying closer attention to the numbers as I punched them into the phone. Boo-doo-boop: All circuits are currently busy. Please hang up and try your call again. 041T.

I laughed out loud, realizing that I had falled prey once again to one of Craig's friend's elaborate phone pranks! I waddled into Craig's office, and I related the story to him. We both got a big laugh out of the whole thing, and we tried to guess which of his friends had set me up.

A few hours passed.

"Good afternoon, this is Melissa. How can I help you?" I answered the phone after lunch.

"You never called me! I waited by my phone for hours, and you did not call me back!" Rose's raspy voice accused.

"Hi," I stated, surprised, and wondering what to think. "I actually did try to call you, but my call would not go through. I found out some information for you."

She calmed down slightly, "What did you find out?"

I related what my long distance company had told me, and I stated that she might want to call her local company to find out what they could tell her.

"It most certainly is NOT my local company! I've had this same phone number since 1949, and I've NEVER had any problems with it. I have not changed a thing! That is a bunch of rubbish you are trying to tell me, and I won't stand for it! I'm reporting this number!"

"Yes, ma'am," I replied, "That's a good idea. Write my number down, and here is my name," I spelled it out for her. "Call your phone company and report this number. Make sure you give them my name so that they can verify with me when they try to check out the problem. That's a great idea!" I tried to sound enthusiastic and happy and helpful. The truth was, I was really beginning to enjoy our conversation. She made me laugh (internally) with every new sentence, and I really felt sorry for her. I wished I could meet her in real life.

In my mind, she had shrunk to a tiny four foot three inches, her tanned skin hung in wrinkles around her face, and her curly white hair bobbed with every exclamation point. She wore a floral dress, elastic at the waist, and her small home was filled with green plants, magazines, a small dog, and a parakeet.

"Wait a minute!" she interjected, "You said you are in Iowa? I live in Maryland, but my granddaughter and her husband moved to Iowa...I think. Iowa. She works...somewhere. Do you know her?"

Because I live in Iowa, do I know her? I remained silent, not sure what she meant.

"Maybe she works for your company. Maybe she has been trying to call me from your company."

"Oh! No, ma'am, I don't think so. There are only two of us who work at this company. Your granddaughter does not work here."

The suspicion was back. "Only two of you work at that company?" she questioned sharply, "Only two? Well, who else works there?"

The phone call was getting long, and I did not see an end in sight. "I can check our records to see if your granddaughter works here." I abruptly changed my tune, "What is her name?" Rose did not seem to mind my switch in stories.

I waited the approximate amount of time it would take to check employment records and then informed her, "No, we have no one here by that name. I'm sorry."

She sighed, "Oh, I guess it wasn't her then."

In closing, I gently suggested again that she contact her local phone company and report the calls she had been receiving, and she adamantly refused to entertain the idea that they could have anything to do with the problem.

She finished by blessing me. Blessing me! Over the phone. How fun! She told me how wonderful and helpful I had been, and how blessed she hoped I was for all the trouble I had gone to for her. The blessing really surprised me, because she had been acting as though I were lying to her about the whole situation.

I think, though, she was lonely. Talking to me gave her something fun to do that day, and it definitely gave me something fun to do! I wish I had a recording of our two conversations because they were both much longer and much more diversified than what I have typed here.

I'm so thankful that God made people!

PS> Only 8 days until the baby is due! :-)
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1 Response
  1. missbates Says:

    Your stories are very entertaining! I guess your life is even more so. Have a good last week before the baby is born. I don't have to say keep your sunny-side up because you already do.


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