Today started off to be a pretty calm day - or so I thought. Well, maybe the problem is that I assumed it looked like it was going to be a good day and we all know the correct way to spell ass-u-me now, don't we? I think that is what happened but I'll let you decide for yourself.
I'm babysitting the two little ones today - but overall, that usually isn't all that much of a problem. Feed Kurtis, keep his behind dry and comfy and he's pretty much a happy camper - most of the time. Maya - well, as long as I can keep her from dragging every toy under the sun out and generally wrecking the place with her junk, she's been doing much better lately.
I knew going into the day I had to go through my e-mail (of course - Priority #1), clear out e-mails that didn't need a response, write to those that did and well, then be on my way to Priority #2. That would be to hit the blog and go through the link sites, read and comment. That in turn would make way for me to then post my entry for the day - or the first of several - depending on how things progressed.
In the meantime too, I also was to make two phone calls and that became my downfall for the day.
The first call I wanted/needed to make was to my cousin who lives about 90 miles from me - so that means making a long distance call. Now, normally that is not a big deal except that it means I have to sign off the internet because the phone the computer accesses with is the only line that has long distance available. Mandy generally uses her phone card to make calls from her phone which is totally devoid of ANY extras available via sweet, wonderful, ridiculously priced, Verizon.
Now, my phone has long distance capacity but I do not subscribe to Verizon as my long distance carrier - I figure those blood suckers get enough money out of me with their grossly overpriced bargain basement package deal that offers junk I never even use for an opening price of almost $32.00 a month - plus the basic phone package, plus whatever long distance calls we make from the el-cheapo calling services, added with other fees, federal and state taxes and excise taxes and taxes on all three of my children and first born grandchild and presto magic, I still end up with a bare bones price at the end of the billing month in which I owe Verizon and these other places at least $60.00 so I can have a phone to use with my computer is what it really boils down to!
Ok - now that you understand all that, you know then that to make a long distance call here I have to use an access number - in addition to the 10 numbers one has to dial to make the long distance call in the first place. I generally use 1010-811 or Var-Tec for my long distance calls if I happen to have to make one. And today was one of those days when I had to use this long distance service to call my cousin, Arline.
I dialed the access number, then her number, the phone rang twice and I got a recording that said "You do not need to dial an access number to call the number you dialed. Please hang up and dial again." Fine, I'll do that. So, I redialed the number without the access code and I get a message there too -"The number you are dialing requires that you use an access number in order to place your call. Please hang up and dial again." WTF? So, I redial the number using the access code and get the other message that I don't need the access code and of course, being an idiot, I then try to call it again without the access code and you guessed it, I get the second recording again. And being the idiot I am, I go through this whole process a third time, just in case something has changed!
Now I am getting frustrated - which is slightly different than when I am getting mad or am downright angry - not much different my kids would say but I prefer to look at it as a gradual progression of things.
So, I dial 0 (zero, you know) - that old standby to get you to a real person on the other end of the line to assist you - what's that person called again - oh, yes - an "Operator." Yeah - "Operator" my fat fanny! I explain to the guy my problem and he says ever so chipper, "I'll connect you to the area so you may place your call." I said thank you, heard the phone ring once or twice and boom, I get another recording "Your telephone service does not provide assistance in dialing numbers. Please hang up and dial again."
Now I am edging beyond frustrated and starting on the middle leg here of getting mad! Again, I mutter to myself, "WTF!" But, of course, I try dialing Verizon - dumbass coming through in spades here you know - all over again.
This time I get another male "operator" - sounds very much like the one I just spoke to - and explain my problem all over again and he informs me I need to contact my long distance provider. I explain to him I don't have a long distance provider and he says, "I know, that's the problem!" DUH! WTF enters my mind for the third time in a not to long period of time.
He then tells me I have to call whoever it is that I am placing my long distance call through which, of course, at that time, I had no idea the name of the company that has the 1010-811 access number but I finally find my phone bill - just paid - by phone and bank card this past Saturday -where I see the name of this fine, upstanding firm is called "Var-Tec." So I dial one of the two 800 numbers listed there and listen to their standard litany of choices I can select from based on my reason for calling them.
After three more calls to Var-Tec and a lot of cursing under my breath, getting hotter and hotter under the collar I am as I dial the string of numbers I'm given, go through their menu choices, hit the wrong buttons too at least 3 times in the process so I have to start all over again, I finally end up talking to a lady who asks me as many questions about my life, my personal information as I probably had to provide to get my social security number and then, she transfers me to yet another number, where I have to provide all that same information to the guy on that end all over again.
Do you see a pattern developing here? Beside the fact that you know by now, I am not just slightly angry, I am very, very angry. Yes, in fact, I am by now downright pissed!
Add to that if you will the fact my grandson has now decided to wake up from his little nap and he has also decided if I don't get a bottle to him within, at most 30 seconds, wherever this person I am now dealing with is located - whatever third world country company has had this work outsourced to them, they will be able to hear his screams without having an open phone connection there.
In order to hear what this jackass on the other end of my connection is telling me above Kurtis' manical screams, I have to go outside, to stand in the freezing cold (with snow flurries now flying too) just to hear what the hell he is saying to me!
And what is it that I learned from him? Well, they will look into this problem and try to ascertain what is wrong with my phone line there and have it corrected for me within 36-48 hours.
Wonderful! Just freaking peachy keen wonderful this is. I mutter to him that I really was hoping to get this call taken care of TODAY! Well, ma'am - we will be in contact with you again within 36-48 hours and we hope we can have it corrected by then. Thank you very much and is there anything else I can do for you today?
No 'fffing way! You've done enough, yes quite enough for me today! My attempt to make this one puny little phone call has now sucked my time planning for the day of almost 3 hours of my very valuable time, thank you very much. It also has my grandson screaming like a banshee and probably will give him severe indigestion for the next two days from sucking in all that extra air. And also, there is the little matter of seeing almost every book, crayon, riding toy, car, doll - you name it - prized plaything of my granddaughter Maya now strewn all over the living room floor because as any parent will tell you, children will go berserk and wreck your entire house as soon as you pick up the telephone and make even what you perceive to be a very brief phone call!
And what was it that was of utmost importance that I had to reach my cousin Arline today?
Well, it's like this you see - she and I are cousins on my Mom's side of the family and the ethnic roots there are from Sweden. And, the Swedes - being so very into the culinary stuff too you know - really HAVE TO HAVE a special cheese at Christmas time - called Bondost - spelling probably not exact there due to the little dots or whatever the hell they are that the Swedes put over many vowels. Now, last year Arline had not been able to purchase any of this yummy cheese down in her neck of the woods - Indiana to Pittsburgh geographically speaking - but we had been able to purchase it at the little grocery store here where my daughter works because the meat manager special orders it in for the store in late November just to satisfy the wants and needs of a few old Swedes and those of us of Swedish descent who absolutely have to have this on our dining room table on Christmas Eve.
Hey the phone company may not have me as a customer on their priority list but by damn, I HAVE priorities in my life here and this cheese is one of them. And, I know my cousin Arline feels the same way and if it were me in need, she would try to get what I wanted to help me so it's the least I can do to pass the favor back for her, isn't it?
One moment please while I dial that number again but this time, using my daughter's phone card which I had to call her at work to find out where she had it safely stashed away and finally, yes - the phone is ringing and I get an answer.
You guessed it - I got my cousin Arline's answering machine!