I have had more scam calls in the past month than I have over my lifetime. And let me start by saying, I am the worst nightmare for these people. I learned from a man who made a sport out of telemarketing calls. I have been listening to my dad mess with telemarketers since I was a small child. He kept a New York Times salesman on the phone for a good ten minutes telling him how the paper would be useless in our house because the entire family was illiterate. He talked this guy’s ear off about a cousin who went all the way through school to the 10th grade and then argued that the 10th grade was the end of high school, not the 12th grade. So when telemarketers call me, I usually do my best to keep them on the line as long as possible so they can’t annoy someone else.
Last year I had a guy call and tell me they were coming to arrest me. Since at least ten reasons popped into my head for why this could be accurate, I listened. Apparently my tax preparer didn’t file my tax return, which is weird since I’m a CPA and all. He even ended up swearing at me at one point so I grabbed a whistle and blew it in the phone as hard as I could. I then proceeded to call him back repeatedly blowing the whistle until the line was finally taken off the hook. I can be a little mean if they catch me in a mood. I have told several of these idiots that I am sorry they made such bad life choices that scamming people is their only form of income or I wonder if their mothers are proud of their career choices.
A few weeks ago I got a call from my “computer’s support team” telling me there was suspicious activity on my Amazon account. I asked if I had paid extra for the support team or if my computer just came that way. Strangely, the guy did not understand sarcasm, which seems to be common with these calls. He walked me through downloading a file onto my computer to resolve the issue. I tapped on my keys pretending to follow his instructions and then finally said “okay, I’m all done. I can’t wait to see what your virus does to my computer. Oh, and by the way, I don’t have an Amazon account, but my husband does. Do you want his phone number?” All I heard in response was a click. Luckily for him, I did not have my whistle handy.
Yesterday I received another call who sounded almost identical to the amazon guy. He was also from my computer’s support team, and said I definitely had a virus. He must have heard from his buddy that I downloaded the file! He asked if I had noticed anything unusual and I said that my granny porn had been really slow to load. When he asked what my desktop looked like I told him I had no icons and asked if I should. He said everyone had icons so I must have done something to make mine disappear. I think he just wanted to know if I had any of the granny porn loaded on my desktop. Maybe that question is the scam caller’s equivalent of “what are you wearing?” When he asked me what browser I used I said the blue one because it was way faster than the red one. He still didn’t catch on that I was toying with him. We had been on the phone for at least five minutes when he told me to press the function key along with another key. I asked him what a function key was and he tried to explain as I continued to ask questions. He was trying to describe the layout of a keyboard while I was saying things like “space bar, is it a bar in outer space? I don’t understand what you mean.” He was clearly becoming exasperated so when he said “do you see the key with the Fn on it? It’s right next to the key with Ctrl on it” I almost started laughing, feeling his head ready to explode. Instead I said “OH MY GOD, that key is not there. There is a blank spot. Do you think the virus stole it?” And again, all I heard was a click.
** I knew this album was in my head for a reason. **
It’s been awhile since I have written about our lake experiences. This isn’t because we haven’t had any, I have just been giving my dad a little break from the abuse I dish out when it comes to boat stories. But alas, there are too many stories to share about the captain and his high seas adventures, so my hiatus is over. If you are reading this, Old Man, just turn off the computer now and go back to watching ESPN or Sherlock Holmes, or anything else. Just avert your eyes from the screen if you can’t figure out how to turn off the computer. For future reference, you can just close the lid and this will all go away.
The first time I saw the boat this past summer it was being towed in by the neighbors. The same neighbors who come to the rescue every time we experience water related ineptness were pulling my dad’s boat as he sat on the bow. When they got close to shore the boat was cut loose and smoke billowed out behind it as my dad cranked on the engine to pull into the boat slip. The best part of this was that the lift sits too high in the water so he has to pull the boat in kind of fast or it doesn’t make it far enough onto the lift. It’s always an awkward maneuver the first few times each year and the smoking engine did not help matters. It literally looked like he was trying to jump the boat right over the dock as he pulled in. It was like a giant smoking cannon ball headed toward shore.
After the boat was successfully docked we realized that the company that had stored it all winter had either left it outside uncovered or had been allowing homeless people to sleep in it because the interior was filthy. Apparently “Skipper Bud” was smoking a lot of bud while caring for my dad’s boat. We had been informed that we couldn’t pick it up the week prior because they hadn’t done a final check on it yet. I guess they never got around to the final check or an initial check for that matter. Or maybe they were just too stoned to notice the smoke pouring out of the engine. It’s possible that they left the boat parked right in their driveway where we left it last fall, cashed my Dad’s check and immediately closed for the winter. Needless to say, we were all pretty annoyed as well as perplexed.
It took a few weeks to get someone to repair the boat properly and get us back on the water. But we finally did get back on the water, and every time out I looked forward to pulling back in to shore. This is because during every ride my jokes about my dad’s parking skills got better. I would like to say his parking skills got better as well, but they still remain questionable. Some of my better comments included:
“Maybe the 8 year old should give it a try. She can’t be much worse.”
“At least you didn’t hit the neighbors dock!”
“Maybe we should just leave it out here and swim back.”
“Your eyes are closed, aren’t they?”
It should be obvious to me by now why he tortures me with the work he asks for help with. I guess I would do the same if some little asshole kept terrorizing me. The difference is I would let that person know I was torturing them. He keeps trying to pass off all the work we do at the lake as bonding time. He says things like “if we didn’t have all this work to do, when would we spend this kind of time together?” I remind him that I’ll visit him plenty in the nursing home.
We took the boat back out of the water a few weeks ago along with the wave runners, the dock and the lifts. It was a two weekend process as usual and after doing the math, my husband and I discovered that we actually spent more time getting the boat in and out of the water than we did on the water this summer. This is not including the many joyous minutes of parking time spent drafting new material to poke at the Old Man. I would complain more but, but what can I say, I enjoy the bonding time.
I was standing in a very long line yesterday while Christmas shopping in the middle of the day. The woman in front of me was still looking at the stands of last minute gifts as she was walking up, taking her time as we slowly inched along. She turned to me and said with a smile “If I’m taking too long looking, feel free to go ahead of me” I laughed and used one of the hangers in my overflowing arms like a cattle prod and told her I would just move her along when the gap got too big. I had watched the woman in front of her cut in line with a cart full of merchandise as we all walked up to the neck of the bottle of the checkout line. She literally pushed her cart around this woman to angle her way in to the line first. I wasn’t in a big hurry and either was the happy shopper in front of me so we both just kind of laughed at the lady trying to steam roll herself to the front of the line.
We started talking about the temperament of people shopping at this time of year. Apparently the police have been called out to several parking lots in our area already for people arguing over parking spaces. She told me how someone had taken a spot she was waiting for while she was entering the store so she just parked down the aisle a little further. I hadn’t really noticed the chaos in the parking lot since I tend to park far away and walk the distance to the store. I already have too many dings in my doors from parking at the gym where nobody knows how to open a door without it physically touching the car beside them.
As I was talking to this woman I realized that she had already had a parking spot snatched away from her and a woman almost mow her down with a shopping cart to get in the checkout line ahead of her. Her response was “life is too short” and I couldn’t agree more. I understand that people are rushing around to get all of their shopping done in time for the holidays while trying to also maintain some semblance of a normal life, but it’s not like this is the first time Christmas has come along and all of the extra activities have just happened with no notice. It’s the middle of December, if you don’t like shopping with half of the world standing around you, do it in July or shop online. Don’t go shopping a week before Christmas and get annoyed that other people are doing the same thing.
We continued to chat as we made our way to the front of the line where I learned her daughter is home from college and they go to a church I love. I gave her a free mini facial from the bag of goodies I carry with me and told her to go give herself a little pampering that night. We both made our way to our assigned cashiers and wished each other a Merry Christmas as we left.
I don’t know if I am just not paying attention or if I have been going to the right stores, but I haven’t encountered a whole lot of bad behavior this holiday season. I took my Dad out shopping and I found a parking spot right in front where he didn’t have to walk that far and we didn’t have to wait in any long lines. Maybe my holiday spirit is just making it an easier process. I love shopping, I love giving gifts to other people and I love Christmas music. Or maybe it is that I have eaten enough of the cookies I have baked this year and actually turned into an elf. I guess I’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
I wrote this blog while listening to The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
As I was driving my daughter to a sleepover at her Grandparents’ house the other day she asked “Why are there so many songs about Santa at Christmas and not that many about Jesus? It’s His birthday and there aren’t even that many songs about him”. Part of me wanted to tell her that people are selfish and songs about Santa are popular because people want to hear songs about what the fat man may bring them this year. I wanted to tell her that people want to focus on all of the “stuff” that comes along with Christmas. I wanted to get on my high horse and preach, but I didn’t. I told her that there are a lot of songs about Jesus, they just aren’t on satellite radio. I explained that just like my punk rock, songs about Jesus had been banished to the stations people can only get on their computers at home.
This of course expanded into a larger conversation about why people are more comfortable celebrating Santa than Jesus. We talked about her Advent calendar and the season of Advent. We talked about Advent being the season of celebrating Jesus’s birth and that for us the best way to celebrate is to try to behave more like Jesus would. We do this by giving ourselves to others. We donate to charities, we make gifts for people, we spend time together as a family.
We have a beautiful advent calendar that we use every year. My husband and I wake up in the middle of the night panicking that the pocket for the following morning is not filled. We are hardcore Adventers. When we first started this tradition, our daughter was young so the pockets were filled with goodies for her, small toys and chocolate mostly. When she was old enough to understand what Advent is really all about we started putting little homemade tags in the pockets. Now the gift in the pocket is either a charitable act or something to do together as a family. The problem with this is it is a lot of work for us to keep track of everyone’s schedules and coordinate who is driving over to give the bell ringer money or what craft we might be starting. There are some scheduled events but mostly it is me moving around the “watch a Christmas movie” tag just in case we forget a night.
We are over halfway through the pockets this year and I think I have reused the same tag three times now, but that’s okay. My daughter understands what this season means to us and that is a gift. Our conversation diverted to Santa being more like the three wise men bringing gifts to Jesus at his birth. I’m just hoping this doesn’t lead me on a quest to find myrrh at 3 am one night next week.