January 24, 2011

"101 Reasons We May Not Answer the Telephone."

My husband tells me I shouldn't have to justify this with excuses or reasons.
We live a free life and all. 
But I was approached at one of our kids' sporting events the other day, and asked if we have Caller ID.  Then, it was generally implied that we deliberately screen our phone calls.  (Funny thing is that I don't recall this person ever calling our house before.)
First, I was pretty confused, based on reason stated in the parentheses above.
My initial reaction was to ask out of genuine concern, "Did you try calling?"
Next, once aware of the quite blatant accusation, I thought,  "Gee...Of all the reasons a person might not get an answer (if they were to call) at a household like ours..."   I kept calm & carried on.  Enjoyed watching my kids, as was my original intention.  
But ever since, I've had these thoughts streaming from my conscience:  
You know, those pesky little rational thoughts of reason.
Reasons you may not get an answer if you call our home:
**Our apologies in advance.  Please - do leave a message! 

*  First off, honestly: we may not be home.  There are seven people in our family, heading many directions for varied sports & activities.  There's the grocery store, frequent trips to the orthodontist, birthday parties. There's even the possibility we're out of the country.  Who knows.  Possibilities & likeliness are pretty endless here.

*  There are two young teenagers under our roof.  It's possible our phone could be tied up with them talking to friends.

*  We were all sick recently.  Fevers.  Stomach flu.  Yuck. 
Might not jump up & run for the phone in that condition.  Though I hope we don't find ourselves in conditions like those again for a very long time!

*  Our dog sheds a lot.  And we have a wood burning stove in our living room; we bring in a lot of bark & sawdust every time we carry in an armload of fire wood.   So I have to vacuum a lot.  
I have less than great hearing already.  I don't hear the phone when I'm vacuuming.
*  Our house is often under some sort of improvement, the past several months included for sure.  
There's a good chance on any given day that there may be power tools running, in which case we don't hear the phone.  I also may be at the top of an extension ladder, in which case, I don't run for phone calls.
Here's a glimpse at how our current project is shaping together.
*  Last week I had no voice.  I'm still battling a sore throat & the scratchies.  I don't usually get sick, but it's guaranteed I lose my voice at least a couple times a year.  When I can't make a sound, I can't answer the phone.  

*   We only have one phone in our house, at a central location on our main level.   Our laundry room is in our basement & I often miss calls when I'm scrubbing stains & sorting clothes.  Which there are a lot of.  (Stains & clothes.)   I don't hear the phone when I'm in laundry room with water running or washer filling.
And because I haven't gone anywhere, I don't think to check my messages when I come upstairs.  We always check messages when we walk in the door after being away, but I never think to do so if I haven't gone anywhere.  In that case, I don't get the message until the next time I leave home.  This actually happens a lot.

*  We have a small amount of evening time to do large amounts of tasks.
Especially if Mitch is out of town & I'm running everything solo, I stick to the tasks at hand.  Homework & spelling practice for 1st & 2nd graders takes time & parent involvement.  I don't answer the phone when I'm helping the kids with homework.  The same may apply if I'm elbows deep in making dinner for the hungry tribe.   Or tending to many splashing children in the bathtub.   Or reading bedtime stories, trying to get kids tucked in on time.  

*  Confession:  In general, I really don't talk on the phone much.  Being on the phone means not paying attention to the kids, and I'm not a fan of that.  I usually prefer responding to messages by email, when I can do so at  hours when the kids are sleeping.  I nearly always, eventually, reply to emails where a response is called for.   Mitch seems to be on the phone SO much for work, and all around, the phone has become kind of one of those things we sometimes want to avoid.

*  We're outside!!   We live a great part of our time outdoors.  Odds are big on this one!  The longer the days are, the more likely we're not in the house.
Speaking of which, Mitch & I got snowshoes & spent the afternoon hiking the deep woods & deep snow behind our house yesterday.  Brisk, beautiful, exhilarating! 

*  Company.  On occasion, we have guests over, either friendly visitors, or work acquaintances of Mitch's, etc.  I normally don't take phone calls when taking care of business, or when catching up with friends.  I think it's bad manners, honestly. 

*  I may be in the shower.  With growing children who are no longer babies, I actually get to take showers regularly these days!!  However, the time of day that it happens is totally random.

*  I will admit that there are times I know the person calling is calling for Mitch, and I will let the machine pick it up so they can leave a message that I know he will get, rather than me taking the message personally & then forgetting to tell him.   Answering machines are a good way of accurately relaying messages.  I'm not a machine.  I mess up & forget.   

I could go on. 
More often than not, though:  We're busy.  We're outside.  We're driving somewhere.  We're living life.  Which is full.  And, as mentioned, free.  (Thank goodness.)  

Oh.. and while on the topic, I should note:   I'm not one of those people who has their cell phone attached to their hand at all times.   I forget mine in my purse all week & then notice the battery has been dead for days.  If you repeatedly get sent to my voice mail.. feel free to call our land line & remind me it needs charging.   :)          


  1. How many times did the phone ring while you were writing this?

  2. so funny

    reason #101 our phones here are cordless. the kids may use a phone and leave a phone in an odd spot and then goes dead since it needs re-charged. So, when the phone rings on the base, we look for it everywhere but never find it so the phone just rings and rings.

    we don't have caller id.

    we had an answering machine but the kids somehow altered the message so all you hear in the message is crying and talking in the background for 20 minutes. I can't delete it. So I just unplugged the machine.

    I just give everyone my cell phone # instead. But it rings so softly that i usually don't hear it over the noise of our household.

  3. 4 stars...2 thumbs up...life at its fullest and best-est!

  4. Kim, the missing cordless phone reason should be on my list, too. :) Sometimes we just can't find the thing!

  5. Yay priorities!!! I'm with you on all your reasons! Brutus gives away the telephone when I'm vacuuming or in the basement doing laundry(he howls when the answering machine goes off)but I don't race to the phone unless I think it's my sweetie : )

  6. I love you, friend, and am super glad you don't go rushing off of ladders for phone answering. From someone who has spent many years attached to a phone because I'm paid too...Good for you, good for you, good for you. :)

  7. Oh, yes. Here's my number one reason, which I would never actually share with anyone I know...I am really, really tired of the phone and computer filling in for real relationships and physical presence. End. Of. Story. For me. : )