Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Party-Line

For years I've enjoyed and taken advantage of the perks of three-way calling. It can save you time if you have something to share with your friends or family. You can kill two birds with one stone by calling two people at once and only having to tell the same story one time. I don't use it very often anymore, but there was a time when I definitely got my money's worth out of the specially added phone feature.

Back in high school, when it first came out, my friends and I loved to use it for prank calling, long before we had to contend with caller ID. We also used to make a "monster party-line" by calling one friend, then they'd call another friend and so on and so on until we had about ten of us on the line and could hardly keep up with who'd just said what. It was a big waste of time but we found it amusing. Once, when my sister-in-law was dating two different guys she called to ask me if I'd call one of them on three-way so she could tell him she was at my house for the evening. This was after caller ID and she needed a cover story. Okay, so I did it. She was young at the time and they were only dating, not serious and not married. So, I called him for her and then laid the phone down and went back later to see if they were still talking. I was too nervous to listen and didn't really want to. (That was a first!)

With the changes in technology came a newer method of the "party-line" and I've been a willing, eager and active participant in this latest form of multi-communication for many years now. It's the email version of the “party-line” where you simply hit reply all and can communicate with your friends all day long. It can certainly break up the monotony of a long day at work and provide countless laughs.

There are several different people who I correspond with via email on a daily basis and with whom I often end up on a “party-line”. It might be me, my sister, Kelli and Shelli, or me, Teedee (Teresa) and Carla or me, Teedee and Kelli. Ya never know and the list goes on. It usually starts out with an email from one of us to the others updating them about something juicy or the latest drama of the day. The topics range from serious to comical. We reply back to all with our opinions or a funny comment and once we get going it's almost impossible to keep up. When we're really on a roll I can hardly reply back before having 5 news messages appear as soon as I hit send. God forbid you're actually busy at work and can’t “play” because you'll end up with 25-30 unread emails in your inbox within five minutes. Or if you go to lunch when things are in full swing, you'll most likely return to mass unread emails.

Yesterday it was Kelli, Shelli, Molly and me and we were on a roll. We went back and forth all day long with some pretty clever one-liners. Ones that were causing me to laugh out loud, even at some of my own responses. Fortunately, my boss was out of town and there is absolutely NOTHING going on at work. It’s a good thing I had the girls around for the entertainment because I was about to play with a razor blade after I watched the clock stand still for hours. I left for lunch in the midst of some major humor. When I returned I got all caught up but everyone had disappeared and I felt abandoned. They actually had to work for a few hours. Ha! My boss has been out all week and there's nothing going on here to keep me occupied all day. I was so excited when they finally started reappearing one by one. I found out later that it was Molly's first time to do the party-line email and she loved it. She said she laughed all day long. We all did. We were making fun of ourselves, our problems, our bad decisions, our flaws and each other. Laughter is the best medicine in life. It makes everything seem better! I’m still laughing as I think about some of the content of those emails. We really should have our own comedy show. We could no doubt be very entertaining.

My boss is still gone and I'm just waiting around on today's party to finally get started!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Mysterious Seemab and Huma Rashid

About four to six weeks ago I started receiving mail for a Seemab and/or Huma Rashid at my address. At first I just assumed it was an error and didn't think much of it until within days I was receiving five and six pieces of mail a day for these people from various mortgage companies. It appeared that they were applying for home loans but there was no information, other than my address, that indicated they were stealing my identity. I've just been tossing the mail because it was coming in mass quantities and I didn't need any additional stacks of paper lying around the house.

Last week I received a few "Welcome to the Neighborhood" coupons from local stores with their name on them. Again, I tossed just them since they weren't coupons for stores I shop at or anything I could use.

Yesterday I opened something from a National Deed Service Company and it has peaked my curiosity into finding out what exactly is going on here. I googled the names above and came up with nothing. The latest letter definitely appears to be a scam, but I'm questioning where the scam originated from and why all of this mail regarding mortgage loans suddenly started coming to my address for these people. It's odd.

The letter contains a "XXXX county recorder document number" from the county that I reside in.

The letter states:

Our records, obtained from public information, show that Property Deed Document # XXXXX recorded January 18, 2007 indicates your ownership interest in the property located at MY ADDRESS.

At the time you purchased your property, a deed was prepared that shows the title was transferred to you. The deed was recorded by the XXXXX County Recorder.

The US Govt Federal Citizen Information website recommends that property owners should have an official certified copy of their deed.

Okay, the remainder of the letter says they accept payments of $59.95 via check, money order or credit card.

Any ideas? Anyone out there familiar with scams of this nature or have any suggestions as to whether or not I should continue to throw the "Rashid's" mail away or actually be concerned? Obviously, I haven't been too worried about it since everything has been trashed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Perks of Flip Phones

Do you ever close your cell phone and then re-open it to check and make that sure it actually hung up? Possibly because you’ve just said something about the person you just hung up with or were about to? And I don’t necessarily mean you’re about to say something bad, just anything you wouldn’t want that person to hear. I'm sure that flip phones have saved me from putting my foot in my big mouth a time or two. I've been busted a few times in the past on my cell and a home answering machine and it’s not a good feeling.

When we lived in Hawaii, my friend and I were out shopping one morning and I called my husband’s cell. His voice mail picked up and I left a message, however, didn't realize that I hadn't actually hung up. He called later to inform me that he had several minutes’ worth of mine and my friend's conversation freshly recorded on his voice mail. My first instinct was uho, what had we just said? Was it anything bad? It's not like either of us had any big secrets to hide but I was known to tell little white lie from time to time about certain things (i.e. the real amount of the long distance bill or how much my highlights had really cost). We hadn’t said anything bad or earth shattering but it’s still embarrassing when you’re conversation has been unknowingly recorded.

There was the time a few years ago when I called my friend, Vicki, because "Delta Dawn" was playing on the oldies country station. I had intended to sing her part of the chorus when her voice mail picked up and then hang up but messed up when hitting the "end call" button. She had the pleasure (NOT) of listening to me sing the entire song and had it all recorded. I thought it was just me, myself and my pretend mic all alone in my car and believe me was singing my heart out, if you could call it that (wailing or howling would be a more accurate description. I can’t carry a tune to save my life). She called me back later laughing hysterically and informed me of my error and how she’d heard the entire song, not just the chorus. I thought I was going to die of embarrassment.

The biggest near blunder of them all was many years back when I called my sister to vent about a particular problem we were both having with a mutual friend and her answering machine picked up. She thought she'd turned it off but it had recorded our entire conversation, which had lasted quite a while. Days later, my brother called over to my mom's house looking for one of us to inform us that he'd just called her house and heard a fifteen to twenty minute conversation about *&^%$#. Apparently the answering machine was malfunctioning and rather than answering with a greeting it was playing the entire conversation we’d had previously for anyone who called. We immediately called to verify it for ourselves and only needed to hear the first few minutes of the call before going into total panic mode. It was a twenty minute drive to her house but we made it in record time to rip that tape right out of the machine.

I'm grateful for flip phones but am still inclined to re-open and check them "just to make sure" it hung up and I'm not the only one with that habit! I have a few friends who do it, too. It's kind of funny when you think about it.

What Time Is It?

I was so flipping mad on Saturday when Lauren first called to ask me if we had to move our clocks forward. She'd just caught part of the announcement on the radio so we weren’t certain. I must’ve been living in the clouds recently because that was the first I’d heard of it so I naturally assumed it had to be next weekend and pretty much forgot about it until later on in the night.

I really hate losing an hour. Okay, so it’s only an hour, but it really annoys me. I really like gaining an hour in the fall but losing one is a totally different story. I just feel so robbed! Not that I would do anything worthwhile with that hour to begin with if someone actually gave it back to me, but it’s the point that it was taken from me in the first place that upsets me. Plus, it also meant that I had to be back at work on Monday morning one hour sooner.

I wasn’t able to confirm that it was indeed the date of “spring forward” until Saturday night, as I was officially losing that precious hour and beating myself up for being up so late to begin with! Then of course there’s that whole week afterwards of having to ask yourself which clocks have been changed and which have not. What time is it really? Some clocks change automatically and figuring out which ones are correct always throws me for a loop. The phones at work switched automatically, as did my computer. Truth be told, my car clock will likely remain off by one hour until this time next year unless one of the kids decides to take action and fix it for me. My least favorite clock to change is the old cell phone that I use as an alarm clock. It’s set to military time and I will be double checking it for days while using my fingers to verify what time 17:30 really is.

My sister and I were chatting on the phone tonight as I was finally changing the cell phone/alarm clock to the correct time. It was 12:58am and I asked her to confirm that that would be 00:58 in military time. She told me just to make it an even 1:00am. She said it would just be easier to go with that. My argument was that I would then lose two whole minutes of sleep. She laughed. I was serious. Two more minutes of sleep is two more minutes! She said she sets her clocks ten minutes fast, as I know many people do. I had to explain to her that that little trick has never worked for me. I've never been one to fall for that or get anywhere earlier because I KNOW the clock is wrong. Why do people bother doing that? If you already know that you set the clock ahead ten minutes fast, aren't you going to leave ten minutes later than you should've? Hmmm, maybe if I trick myself I won't be late to work or school. Maybe I'll forget that clock is fast and leave ten minutes early and arrive on time for a change. Come on! Does that make any sense? All that means to me is that I have an extra ten minutes now and thinking about it slows me down even more.

I really do have more important things to complain about than the time change but it felt good to get it off my chest. I forgot to mention how upsetting it is to wake up when it’s still dark outside, as if I need another reason to want to sleep in later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm So Proud!

I think it's been mentioned here before that Lauren was going to modeling school. Well, a few months ago she was asked by a local photography company if she'd allow them to take photographs of her to be used on their website. In exchange for her services, she would receive some free photographs, which she used for her interview with the modeling school/agency.

She got a few of them back immediately but we just saw the ones shown on their website for the first time tonight. I'm very proud of you, Lauren!

There are seven photos of Lauren. Two of them are the same
with one being in black and white. You have to go to protraits,
gradutaing seniors, or induvidual portrait.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Third Child Syndrome

There were some drawbacks to being the youngest child in the family. For one, my baby book only had about two pages completed. That used to really bother me until I had a third child of my own. I think his book might have his full name and birth date and that's about it. How sad is that?

I always got stuck in the worst possible spots in the vehicle on our family vacations. It was an eleven hour drive from Houston to Tulsa (with my Dad driving, but my mom could usually make it in ten). We would often make that trip during the five day Thanksgiving holiday and would leave late at night after our parents had everything packed. This was back in the seventies and the car that I most remember us having was a Buick LeSabre. My dad used to take two buckets and turn them upside down in the floorboard. He then used a piece of plywood that was cut to fit perfectly over the buckets in between the front seat and the back seat. He would wrap the plywood with blankets and lie it across the buckets to make the seat a bigger "bed" for Jerri and Curt to sleep on during the trip. I was always stuck up front in between my mom and dad. My parents used to ask me to switch "laps" because it would become uncomfortable for them during the long drive with my feet kicking them in my sleep. I used to hate it when I had to lie with my head in the driver's lap and also contend with the steering wheel being about a 1/2 inch from my face. (Does anyone else think that might’ve qualified as child abuse?)

We once borrowed my grandmother's van and took a two week trip to Niagara Falls. It was awesome, except while my sibling’s each got a whole seat to themselves, I had to lie on a pallet in the very back by our luggage or in the small floor space right behind the two front seats. My sister slept the entire trip but my brother would sit up and complain that I was in the way of his feet. I pouted during much of the time on that trip about my poor sleeping arrangements and that being on the floor made me car sick. I can only imagine how miserable my parents were with all of the complaining going on within that van.

Caden always says we don't have enough pictures of him. I remember feeling so slighted when I was younger for the same exact reason. Of course, we do have lots of pictures of him but not nearly as many as we do of the girls. This was obvious recently when we were doing a school project that required pictures of him at various ages. As we rummaged through the photo boxes we came across tons of Lauren and many of Cassidy, but finding some of him were a little more challenging. That's just wrong, but it seems to be the norm for the third child and beyond. Your time and energy is drained with each new mouth to feed and rear end to change. I really wish I'd put more effort into keeping up with his baby book. I'm not even 100% sure at exactly what age he started walking or when he lost his first tooth. I'm sure I won't be a recipient of this years Mother of the Year award. Again!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Happy 19th Birthday, Lauren!

We have a very cheesy tradition every year for Lauren's birthday. We play her this personalized birthday song that I bought on tape when she was three-years old. It became a tradition from that point on. I always blast it from the living room stereo for her. I turn it up so loud that the whole house rocks. After all these years, I still manage to catch her off guard each and every time. That’s usually because I have it in the stereo all ready to go, and all I have to do is discreetly hit the play button when I’m ready. There’s a delay of several seconds, which gives me time to move away from the stereo before the song starts. It was most often played in the mornings when she was getting ready for school. She always acts like she hates it, but she loves it.

The song starts out with rocket and space ship sounds that are very high pitched, then some music, and then you hear "Zoom" start to talk. He’s the outer space guy who has a special message for Lauren and who came down from Mars just to sing her this tune. See, told you it was cheesy but it’s awesome.

When she turned eighteen last year, I wanted to do something different for her and came up with the best birthday scam. First, I had to call one of her friends to get approval that it would indeed be funny and not mortifying. Rachel totally approved and helped carry out the plan. I gave her a copy of the tape and she got permission ahead of time from their teacher in their third period class. It was also a class she shared with several of her friends, including current boyfriend Travis, who was actually ex-boyfriend Travis at that time. Rachel set the boom box up by the teacher’s podium and all the teacher had to do was bend down to press play when they were ready. Rachel even managed to get someone from the video department to tape the entire thing. Only Rachel and the teacher knew what was happening ahead of time. Lauren and the rest of the class just thought there was some student filming various classes for their school broadcast and had no idea of the evil plan!

I wish I knew how to post the video. It was so funny. She turned three shades of red and kept covering her face and asking what was going on. She later said she knew immediately that it was “her song” but she couldn’t figure out why Mrs. May was playing her song or why the camera was zooming in on her. Then Rachel told her about halfway through the song. We sent the video out via email last year but I’m not computer savvy enough to know how to link it or make it available to view here. It was so funny to watch her reaction. As soon as the space ships and music started she looked up, frozen. Then when Zoom started talking her eyes started darting from side to side and then her mouth dropped open and again she froze. It really was priceless to have it on video. Here’s a still shot of her face as they were playing her song.

By the way, I purposely skipped our tradition of playing her song before school last year. Then the day got away from us and I figured it was good enough that she’d heard it at school. At almost midnight she called in a panic saying that we’d not yet played her song. I told her everyone was asleep but she rushed home so I could still play it for her. Even when she was expecting it, I still caught her off guard. I had all of the lights off and as soon as I heard her shut her car door, I hit play and then went and hid in the kitchen. She came into the dark house and had just reached the hall to go looking for me when it started. It actually scared her. Then she broke down into tears. She didn’t want to “grow up”. She wanted to “stay seventeen forever”. I couldn’t help it but I started laughing then hugged her and said I didn’t blame her a bit. I didn’t want her to grow up either.

Happy Birthday, “Nawwen”.

We love you!!!!!