...the Journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Today I'm starting with magnets off my friend Diane's fridge, in Seattle.

Diane loves cats; she has a lot of cat magnets.


Someone suggested I add a discussion board, so I have.

If you have anything to discuss, go to this link. Feel free to start a new discussion on anything.

(of course I'm adding this right before I go out of town for 2Ĺ weeks!)


A Heartbreaking Work
of Staggering Genius

by David Eggers


The Survivor finale
of course!

That's it for today!


4 May 2001

You canít let me out into modern day company. Itís official. Iíve become an old fuddy duddy. Iím one of those people who sit in my rocking chair and talk about how much more simple things were "in my day."

This is not "my day."

Today I am fighting the battle of telephone menus again.

It started a couple of weeks ago, when I had a call from Pacific Bell asking if we wanted "extended caller ID" added to our phone. They assured me this way I would always know who was calling. Sounded good to me. Our Caller ID has been pretty much useless because sales calls always come through as "unidentified caller," but then so do some of my best friends, so I canít just ignore "unidentified caller" calls.

I wasnít sure what the new service would entail, but discovered that it meant that if the callerís number is blocked, they have to record their name, the recorded operator calls and tells me I have a call from so-and-so (with the recorded message), and I choose to accept the call or not. Sounded simple, once the grandmothers had figured it out.

This morning I received a call from someone who reads this journal. It was very nice of him to call and we were having a nice conversation when Ned called me from work. I was in the middle of switching phones and switching desks and I put the journal caller on hold, got the message from Ned, and then with my ever-iffy eyesight, pushed what I thought was the number "1" to accept Nedís call. Unfortunately I pushed the number "4", which is right under the "1" and #4 apparently tells the caller that the number from which s/he is calling will be blocked forever from our phone.

I told the journal caller that I had to deal with Nedís call and he said heíd call me later.

I tried to call Ned at work, but he was not there. I left a message.

Then I called the operator to find out how I could un-block Nedís number. After we talked at length, he told me I had to call Customer Service.

So I called Customer Service.

First I had to listen to all the menus from all the areas that it serves. Then I went through all the message options about kinds of service I wanted. Then I went through another set of menus about more specific kinds of subsets of categories I could select. Finally I got through to an operator.

I spoke at length with him and he told me that I had reached the number for hardware service and I needed to contact the actual telephone company that sold me the machine.

I called that number and essentially went through exactly what Iíd gone through with Customer Service.

I finally reached another representative, who listened to my tale of woe and she told me that I would have to call the Privacy Manager number and deal with the automated menu and I could have the number unblocked.

So I called the Privacy manager and went through the whole thing AGAIN to get to the right place on the automated menu. Once again, for the bazillionth time I punched in my area code and telephone number, and then it asked for my PIN number.


We have a PIN number? This is the first Iíve heard of a PIN number.

So after sitting on the phone for nearly half an hour to finally get to where I could actually unblock the number, I canít unblock it because I donít know what our PIN number is. And if Walt (to whom I have sent e-mail) doesnít know what our PIN number is, Iím going to have to do the whole bloody thing all over again just to get a bloody PIN number.

In the middle of all of this, journal caller called back and since I was in the middle of voice mail hell, I had to ignore the call, so, caller, if youíre reading this, I apologize for ignoring you--and for now leaving the house for awhile if you call again. I really am not avoiding you. Iím just frustrated.

This came right after Iíd tried to make a Visa payment by telephone and got caught in a circular loop which kept referring me to the same menu I had left two connections before. I entered my "16 digit account number and last four digits of my social security number" at least four times. That was another half hour of trying to do something simple.

In MY day, we called the operator for assistance, and we talked to the bank for payment information.

All these "labor saving devices" have taken a whole hour out of my day today and Iím still no better off than I was when I started. And Nedís number is still permanently blocked from ever calling here.


I think Iím going to go back to bed.

What modern "conveniences" drive you nuts?
come to the discussion board and talk about it.

One Year Ago:
The melody lingers on

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 5/3/01 by Bev Sykes