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Friday, April 21, 2006

Where are those gags when you need them?

I hate talking on the telephone.

It's no secret. Anyone who knows me in real life would tell you this. Often times the phone will ring and I don't bother to answer it. Isn't that what voice mail is for?

I don't have caller id, because I don't need the stress of knowing how many times people are calling me and not actually talking to me. I don't have call waiting because 1) I think it is rude, and 2) the last thing I want to do when I am already talking on the telephone is field another phone call.

This afternoon at 5:00pm I have to talk on the phone. I haven't been all that stressed about it because I figured I would just hold the mute button on my phone down and listen to everyone else talk. That way no one would hear my children who will be distressed in the background that I am not paying attention to them with every fiber of my being.

Also no one would have to hear me shrieking things like, "Put down that stick!", "Don't run your brother over with your bicycle!", or "For the love all things holy shut-up!" Not that I actually say those things, these are just examples of what I could say, you know, if I were so inclined.

Imagine my horror when I discovered that my phone does not have a mute button. How can a phone not have a mute button? Aren't those things standard now?

I'll let that sink in for a few seconds. My phone has no mute button.

This means that my screaming needy children will be heard in all their glory. I will probably ramble on and on like some sort of side show comedian. And instead of yelling at my children, I will be alternating between hiding from them and boring holes through their skulls with my penetrating stare.


Update: My threats and bribes and went over really well and the children behaved like perfect angels, or more accurately kept their noise and destruction away from me. Once I was done with the phone call I was treated to a laundry list of the ways that each person had been wronged in my absence.

"Wow, I am SO sorry that your brother looked at you and then ::gasp:: breathed on you. It truly is unforgivable that he would want to draw oxygen into his lungs. I am just so glad that you waitied until I was off the phone to tell me and that you didn't retaliate. I'm so proud. ..... What? Oh. Ummm, please don't hold your brothers head under a blanket and fart."

Closing myself off into rooms never has helped because they all know how to work door knobs, except for the baby. And if he began screaming and kicking on the door someone would be bound to open it up to "tell me the baby is crying" because obviously I was unaware.

I only have one child over the age of ten, and he already has enough of a God complex that I shudder to think what he would do if I left him in charge of everyone.

So I locked myself outside on our screened in sunporch. The only funny time was when the two littles found me and were staring at me though the sliding door with their faces all smooshed on the glass.

But it turned out fine, like most of these parenting things do.


Anonymous Kira said...

I've noticed that my perception of "too much background noise to talk" and OTHER people's perception of it are vastly different. I'll be happily chatting away to my child-free brother, thinking how peaceful the conversation is, and he'll sigh, "God, what is wrong with them?"
What? Who? The urchins? Those are HAPPY screams, which require no response and are therefore practically inaudible.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Mel said...

I hide in the closet to talk on the phone. The clothes muffle the sounds of the children wailing. To be truly effective, you need to sneak in when they aren't watching. Otherwise, they start banging on the door AND wailing which may be worse than regular noise. Sometimes I go in the garage and lock myself in the car for a phone call, too. Good luck!

5:20 PM  
Blogger aka_Meritt said...


I don't answer our phone either.

And we don't have Caller ID because I don't really care who is calling.

I don't have call waiting because I think it's rude to put someone on hold; it's like saying "you're not THAT important, let me see who else is calling..."

5:25 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Our phone has a button called "Do Not Disturb" and I hit it every evening when the kids get home from school.

As for "mute" I don't seem to have it either, or if I do, I am too dull to find it. Now you make me want a mute button that I don't have!

5:28 PM  
Blogger owlhaven said...

Chris, Here's what I do. When the phone rings and I need/want to talk, I hastily assign the baby to someone over 10. Then I go in the bedroom and lock the door. Then I go in the bathroom and shut that door. Sometimes I even climb in the tub and shut the curtain. That way even if there are kids hollering at me from outside the bedroom door, chances are they won't be audible in the bathroom...So far (knock on wood)no one has died from me getting 5 minutes to myself...

Mary, mom to many

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Do you ever have to wipe a butt while talking on the phone??? My two younger kids bowels were activated by the ringing phone....seems everytime a friend called to talk, they would run to the pot, do their business and start screaming....Mmmmmaaaaaaammmmmmaaaaa come wipe meeeeeeee........and this was all before the days of cordless phones.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Maddy said...

You can always use the "thumb over talking bit" mute button. When I need to yell very loud at my two boys who just love it when I am on the phone 'cos they think they can do what ever they damn well like, I just put my thumb over the speaker and go for gold.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous stillheidi said...

Candy...put out bowls of candy...It will be hell later when you have to deal with the sugar high...but, it might buy you some sweet sweet quiet for your call.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

I do what Mary from Owlhaven does. The phone cannot hear the screams from behind two doors.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous helene said...

i'm with you on the phone thing, caller id and all -- but no mute button. I'd be running out to target to get another phone

10:02 PM  
Blogger The Daring One said... did the call go?

10:19 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Well at least you will KNOW what time your phone conversation will take place. You can be a bit prepared for your tryout as a comedian.

We have caller ID and voicemail and, I despise them both. BUT cant live without them. If the phone rings and we dont know who it is, DUN DUN DUN.. we dont answer. Stupid and quite scarey, I know. Then I feel bad at all the people who so lovingly attemped to contact me, and I chose to ignore.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Well, I certainly do hope that you survived and we hear from you soon. My guess is you did JUST fine! ;-)

Now me, I will live on the phone with no problems. Yes, I am a strange one that could care less about talking on the phone or speaking in big groups. Just please lord don't put me on a one on one unprepared!

11:19 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

We just got a phone with a mute button. I am soooooooooooooo grateful. So that's what those things are for!

I'm also a bit phone-phobic. I hate talking on the phone and I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Trivial Mom said...

I just discovered you blog, and love it! I only have one child of my own right now, but it reminds me of my family life growing up.

Anywho, the phone thing. I HATE the phone. I HATE talking to people on the phone. And I really HATE it when my in-laws expect me to talk on the phone for hours at a time.

We don't have a landline at our house, we just have cell phones, so all those cool features are built in, but more often then not I just let the phone ring and check my messages later.

12:27 AM  
Anonymous HolyMama! said...

oooh, i hate the phone too. i mean, can't we just blog or email, or even text?

12:38 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Oh, I never answer the phone anymore. If I *happen* to be home with just *one* kid, I *might* consider screening the call and picking up if it's a family member who won't mind the noise in the background. Other than that, leave a message, people. Leave a message.

12:41 AM  
Blogger kfk said...

I hear ya! My husband always locks himself in the closet when he is on the phone and the kids seem to understand. But when I use that same trick, banging and yelling is all I get.

1:21 AM  
Blogger novaks8 said...

I avoid the phone too.

My kids can be sitting quietly for hours (yeah right) but as soon as the phone is on my ear, they start screaming and running and fighting.

I email if at all possible.

Although it is fun to listen to people's reactions who don't have small children.

8:46 AM  
Blogger DeeDee said...

Oh my gosh it is so wonderful to hear there are so many other phone-haters out there! Half the time when the phone rings I mutter curses about the inconsiderate caller. If I am anywhere in the vicinity of the bathroom, I tell the kids, take a message, I'm busy! and run in and shut the door. The only person I want to hear from is my dear dh, because he doesn't call to chat, he calls to tell me something. And now we have cell phones so I know the landline isn't him! I do miss caller ID because if I am a just a little bit prepared to talk to my mil or mother, it is a little easier to take. But oh how I hate call waiting! It is SO rude! I am appalled when I have called someone else and they have the nerve to "check their call waiting!" Sometimes I say, "You go ahead, and call me back when you're done." And hang up. And then don't pick up when they call back. Well, okay, I've only done that once. But I just might do it again someday!!

9:24 AM  
Blogger Cheerio's on my butt? said...

This post was like therapy to me! I thought I was the only one who hated talking on the phone, and for all of the same reasons and situations you listed. And then I read everyone elses comments and felt even better! Did you know that my Mom calls me up to talk and puts me on hold constantly the whole time? AND if that's not bad enough, when my brothers call she says, "I have to go, your brother's on the other line!" What am I her chicken?! Oh well. I found a cool phone setup that I really like....we switched to cell phones only, and with those you know who is calling and their number and also...I have programmed different rings for everyone I know, so I know who is calling by their ring and I don't even have to look at the I.D. And usually I don't answer it!:) And when my Mom puts me on hold now, I hang up. "Gee mom, cells cost too much to sit on hold!" Somehow she grasps that more than the times I've told her how rude it is to put me on hold! Totally funny post! Thanks for the great laugh! You are soo good at putting things like that into the funniest perspective. LOL!

10:02 AM  
Blogger moe said...

I don't answer the phone. I work from home and I avoid co-workers and my boss by not answering the phone. I don't know whay they didn't fire me a long time ago. I should get caller ID. If my hubby really needs to get hold of me he calls and then immediately calls again. It's our secret code. Oh no, not so secret now.

Everyone I work for knows I work from home with kids so sometimes I just let them yell and use it as an excuse to get off the phone.

You should see the hand gestures and faces I make when I DO answer the phone and it's work. There's lots of shhing and "boring holes in their heads with my eyes"

1:19 PM  
Blogger a very tired mommy said...

omg, i'm pissing myself laughing here..... Katie/Ramblings of a SAHM keeps telling me about you, but you are funny!

i only have three of my own, but play Zookeeper to many other people's I can relate a bit.

6:07 PM  
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1:55 PM  

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