Tag Archives: unpublished phone numbers

The Keyboard of Life

5 Jul

My husband & I have an unlisted phone number. We got it for many reasons, not the least of which was avoiding annoying calls when I had been up all night working in the OR assisting with emergency surgery & attempting to sleep the following day.

Adding an unlisted number to our phone service costs us approximately $60 a year; not a lot but enough for a nice evening out or to buy a pound of hamburger (these days) to enjoy on the grill.  What it doesn’t do is stop unwanted robocalls, calls from non-profits, calls from political affiliates wanting to be certain we’re going to vote for their candidate (mostly those calls fall on deaf ears), & calls from bogus IRS representatives telling us (on the answering machine) that we will face a stiff jail sentence if we don’t heed this final warning & pay them the back taxes we owe them (which we know we don’t). Those calls are not only very annoying, we felt like we were wasting our money on the unlisted / unpublished number.

I’ve called the phone company & all they could do was give me advice, “Don’t answer the calls if you don’t recognize the number. Don’t talk to the caller – hang up. Never give anyone your personal information. Here’s a number to report those calls.” I’ve reported the calls. I’ve enlisted the help of every agency, the phone company, the FCC & we’re on every national “Don’t Call” list there is but the calls just kept coming. Sigh … I grew weary of just hearing the phone ring.

So with determination & a side order of vengeance, my husband spent a fair chunk of change & ordered a CPR Call Blocker. It is truly an invention of the gods! It’s a small device that hooks to the phone & sits on my desk in my office. It has a window display & when the phone rings the caller’s number is displayed on that little window screen. In front of the window is a HUGE red button, obviously fashioned for the blind … easily accessible & difficult to mistake for anything else. The words in large, bold print on that beautiful red button are BLOCK NOW. When an annoying call comes in – a number I don’t recognize or do recognize as a previously annoying number, I simply limber up my pointing finger & hit that BLOCK NOW button. The word SUCCESSFUL tip-toes across the display screen, which causes such a feeling of accomplishment &, well, success. Not only have I blocked that annoying caller, hopefully for life, it gives me a tremendous sense of power. I’ve even been known to chuckle maniacally after having that button-punching experience. I LOVE it.

The CPR Call Blocker doesn’t stop all the calls. They continue to come in occasionally (& I continue to block them) but not with the frequency they did before the acquisition of the Call Blocker. It has given us peace, mostly, & has leveled the playing field. I’d recommend it to everyone.

So this morning as I poked that wonderful red BLOCK NOW button & sent yet another unwanted call to wherever it is the CPR Call Blocker sends them, I thought about life. I thought how great it would be to be able to hit a BLOCK NOW button when we’re threatened with heartache & disease & difficult situations & people. How wonderful would THAT be?

Then I looked at my computer keyboard that is right beside the Call Blocker on my desk & that made me think a little more (it’s a rainy day so sitting & thinking is a good use of my time right now … & writing blog entries). What if LIFE had a keyboard? What if we could simply hit an ESCAPE button when we found ourselves in unpleasant situations or boring company or doing stuff we didn’t want to do. How cool would THAT be? Well, just cool. If we were miserable, we could just hit the HOME button & leave a bad or annoying situation & be back in the comfort of our homes with the punch of a LIFE button.

I believe the most useful button on the Keyboard of Life would be the PAUSE button. We could PAUSE it to stay in a special moment for an undetermined length of time. We could stay in a wonderful experience or encounter & stop it from ever ending. We could extend special moments with special people & most of all we could hit PAUSE while eating Black Forrest Cake & keep those extra pounds from showing up on our hips by pausing the effect of the calories.

If I could, I would upgrade my Keyboard of Life to include a GO BACK button like we find on our TIVO remote. I’d love to re-experience some of the many exceptional moments of my life; perfect days that I never wanted to end, wonderful days spent with my mom when she was well.

As much as we would enjoy that GO BACK button, I can see there would be pitfalls; we might want to stay in those “go back” moments, which would be counterproductive & interfere with the paths of our lives.

So the Keyboard of Life would also have a CONTINUE button just like that box that records stuff from our TV. Without the CONTINUE button we could not experience all that lies ahead; all that makes us who we are, gives us strength & shapes our lives. Without the CONTINUE button I would no longer know the pure delight I feel when I hit that big red  BLOCK NOW button on our CPR Call Blocker. That would be a tremendous loss & leave a huge vacancy in my life.

If you are continually annoyed by robocalls, non-profits & politicians, you might try investing in a CPR Call Blocker. It may not take you on a trip across the keyboard of your life, but it will give you tremendous joy & a sense of unleashed, unbridled power.

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Invasion of the Non-Profits

16 Feb

A number of years ago we started getting phone calls from a “heavy breather” just like that old cliché.  They were frequent & in the beginning I thought it was someone having an asthma attack calling because they knew I was a nurse & might be able to help them. That theory was debunked in no time when the heavy breathing escalated to foul language & some unattractive name calling that simply didn’t apply to anyone in our house. So we changed the number & had the new one non-listed & non-published. The heavy breather moved on to another victim or possibly the hospital, depending on what his original intent / diagnosis was.

For the longest time we enjoyed a peaceful coexistence with our land line phone. When it rang we knew it was someone we’d given the new number to or, on occasion, a wrong number. We were blissfully ignorant of what was to come.

With more & more frequency we’ve been getting solicitations on the phone for donations from non-profits. We put ourselves on the “National Don’t Call List.” We have an answering machine. We simply don’t answer when we see a number from out of the area or one that comes up on our caller ID as “UNAVAILABLE.”

It became so annoying that I did a little research & found out just what was going on.

We can put ourselves on the “National Don’t Call List” every day all day long, which will stop some annoying calls but will NOT stop non-profits from reaching us by phone. Non-profits are exempt from anything that prohibits our phone number from being called. I REALLY have a problem with that.

After a call several months ago that Willy answered, he checked on the non-profit that supposedly was soliciting donations for veterans welfare. The non-profit existed but there were numerous complaints against them. When they called back, he told them that. Almost as though he had put fire to their feet or at least their dialing fingers, their phone calls became more frequent even after Willy asked to be removed from their call list. They called Thursday AND Friday last week & Willy, a gentle man by nature, became firm & almost ugly about removing us from their call list. We’ll see how that works out for us.

I have a different approach. I tell the caller that we pay for an unlisted number because we want our PRIVACY, yet their call comes up on our caller ID as UNAVAILABLE … giving THEM the privacy WE’RE paying for. I’m not nice from the get-go & some have stopped calling, while others persist. Willy says I’m so ugly to them he almost feels sorry for them. I hate being ugly to anyone but I’m at the end of my rope as we get no less than 3 of these calls EVERY DAY.

Willy & I support many non-profits & make donations to specific ones each year although we can’t donate to EVERY one, but it would be nice if we could. But we definitely do NOT make any donations over the phone. We’ve seen too many commercials where older, trusting people get scammed out of their pensions just by thinking they’re helping someone in need. We’re practicing caution for our elder years.

As we have begun getting these calls as early as 8 a.m. & as late as 9:30 p.m. I’ve developed a system. When an UNAVAILABLE number, especially one from out of our area code comes up on our caller ID, I answer the phone in my best “machine voice” & say, “If your call comes up on our caller ID as UNAVAILABLE we will not answer the phone. Thank you.” I actually think that may be working a little because we seem to be getting a tad less unwanted calls. The down side is I did that recently shortly after ordering flowers for a favorite aunt for her birthday. The florist called me back with a question using an unfamiliar UNAVAILABLE number & I gave my best “answering machine” voice response &, as a result & the following confusion, they canceled my flower order. When I realized the number was actually familiar I called it back & straightened out the birthday flower mess. This should never have happened.

I told the non-profit guy who called last night at 9:15 p.m. that I am president of a non-profit (our science fiction club) & that we canvas for donations but we NEVER contact people in their homes during non-business hours. I told him non-profits are invading our privacy & to remove us from his call list. He not only agreed to do that but gave me a numerical code to use to block any further calls from them. He said it wouldn’t stop other non-profits but it would stop THEIRS.  We’ll see.

The thing is, we shouldn’t have to put up with these annoying calls when we’re trying to sleep or work from home or watch a favorite television show. If we pay extra on a monthly basis for an unpublished number, that number should not be available to ANYONE & should not be randomly called from a computer. Non-profits should NOT be exempt from this. I wish I had an answer to this dilemma because I know thousands of us would benefit from it.

Probably the most successful solution I’ve heard of was from a nurse friend who frequently is “on call” at the hospital & often sleeps during the day. When the phone rings & it’s a non-profit asking for her husband, she simply says, I’m sorry, he died last month.”  If they ask for her she says, I’m the housekeeper &, I’m sorry, she died last week.” Surprisingly, this seems to work for her.

It’s a shame & seems extreme, to say the least, to have to fake your own death to get the non-profits to stop calling your land line. Lots of people I know have had their land line phones removed from service & use their cell phones exclusively to get their privacy back. The phone companies should take notice … they are losing business because of non-profits & the sooner they realize that, something just might be done. For businesses, losing money is the match that ignites the rocket.

Exclusive cell phone use will work for our cell phone dependent friends for a while but I’m betting the non-profits will find them eventually & their cell phones will be sitting in the charger with a lot more frequency. We’re already getting advertisements on our cell phones…Sigh.

For now, if you call & get my real made up “machine message” that’s actually me faking it or a strange message related to our untimely demise, please … just send me an email.

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