Thursday, March 03, 2011

Message from Mom

It's been a stressful week, not just for me but for almost everyone I've encountered. (Gary's remained imperturbable, but that's his great gift.) The general level of anxiety right now reminds me a little of what life felt like after 9/11: everyone was jumpy, uncertain, scared, and didn't know what was going to happen next. People right now are worried about their jobs, having health problems, and desperately trying to figure out if and how they can live on less.

Sunday at church we had a guest preacher who, homilizing on the famous "consider the lilies of the field" parable, airily informed us that we shouldn't worry about money, because God will provide, and then added that anxiety's "a sin." I like this guy; I really do. He's a sweet man. But it was one of the most pastorally clueless homilies I've ever heard. I actually went up to him afterwards and said, "C'mon: Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country. The state economy's a disaster. Are you really telling people not to worry?"

He didn't answer.

The anxiety-as-sin thing pushed my buttons, too. Well, actually, from a psychiatric standpoint, anxiety's an illness (which then contributes to other illnesses). Do you think shaming sick people makes them feel better?

In a tiny triumph of tact, I didn't say that.


None of this what what I intended to talk about when I started this post.

So, yeah, anyway: bad week. Today I sat down to take care of some chores I thought would take only a few minutes. First on the list was calling Verizon to see why Gary's cellphone had gone inexplicably dead.

I think I spent an hour with the customer-service rep. The phone number I gave her -- the one on the cellphone -- didn't match the phone's serial number, and I couldn't come up with any of the right answers to the security questions (even though I was using my standard responses), and, well, it was a mess. We eventually managed to figure out what had happened. Remember those phones I got Dad and Fran when they came here? When Fran left and Dad died, Gary took one, which we converted to a prepaid account. I thought we'd thrown the other out. Well, the discarded phone was the one on the account; Gary -- who never uses his phone -- had been hiking with the wrong cellphone in his backback, and only when he tried to use it to find me in a mall last week did we discover that it wasn't working.

The very patient customer-service rep programmed the defunct phone with a new number, and we started up a new prepaid account. Finally! A working phone! Yay!

Since I'd already spent far too much time with Verizon, I decided I might as well deal with all my wireless issues at once. The voicemail on my Blackberry has been on the fritz for a while -- I can't get into it and people can't leave me messages -- so I called Verizon back to get that straightened out. This was much easier to resolve than the other issue, thank goodness.

When I got into my voicemail, I had two old messages. The first one was a beloved voice saying, "Susan, this is your mother. Nothing important; I just called to chat. Bye, love." She left me that message a few months before she died. After she died, I carefully saved it, but when I upgraded to my new Blackberry, it vanished, even though the Verizon people had promised me it wouldn't.

Today I got it back, and (in tears) carefully saved it again. I'm terrified I'll lose it if I don't remember to save it periodically; it's my only recording of her voice. Does anyone reading this know how to back up cellphone voicemail messages?

When Gary got home from his hike, I filled him in on the Verizon fiasco. He shook his head, opened a desk drawer, and pulled out my father's phone, decorated with the familiar Winnie-the-Pooh sticker (which I thought we'd removed when Gary took over the phone). That made me tear up, too. "If you'd asked me," Gary said, "it would have been much simpler."

But I thought we'd thrown it out. I really did.

In less convoluted news, the new Kindle arrived today snd seems to be working fine. Let's hope that the third time's the charm and this one won't go wonky on me!


  1. Tact - discerning between being right and being kind. I would have told the guy that anxiety is an illness, but when I ask myself why, the answer is full of 'shoulds', which makes my motives dubious.

    Don't you get all powered up by righteous indignation and find it hard to stop?

  2. I'm glad you got your mothers voice back....I had my folks on an answering machine but I lost them. Maybe it's just as well, I'd probably have listened to it everyday and never gotten past losing them. Do you know someone who could create a back up tape/cd for you from the voice mail recording?

  3. Anonymous5:55 AM

    I love that you found your mom's voice again. My dad stops by occasionally and rings my doorbell, which always makes me smile.

  4. susan, your blackberry probably has a jack for headphones, which means you can use that to cable the audio direct into any recording medium, given the right connectors.

    if you plug the headphone jack of your phone to the microphone jack of your computer, you're ready to record directly into any audio processing software.

    do you have a mac? then you have garageband and if you can get the right cable, you're already there.

    as for the cable, your guys at radio shack can get you set up with something that connects your cellphone to mini phono jack, which is standard on computers and portable players.

    good luck with it!

    if you need any help getting it going, you know where to reach me.

  5. Susan -
    We had to get a message recorded for a friend some months ago, and found this on the Verizon website:

    You have to pay, but you will get a hard copy of the message. It worked well for us.

  6. Danielle -- I ordered the copy from this service. Thank you SO much! This is exactly what I needed!

  7. I totally identify with the the joy of finding your mom's voice again. I still have a recording of deby on my old answering machine.

    Yeah the guy is clueless about anxiety and what it means to folk. It would have pushed my buttons too.



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