Mostly Dead All Day: A Tale of the World’s Worst Phone

Notes from the Shallow End

It was a quiet day. Nothing out of the ordinary was happening. I was doing some writing; the dog was licking his own nether regions. You know, the usual.

First, let me say I am always near a phone. I have three kids, and one of my fears is that something will happen to one of them at school, and the school won’t be able to reach me. I’m usually at home during the day, and if I’m out, I have my cell phone with me. Otherwise it’s turned off to save the battery.

But then, somehow my plan went to pieces. My kid got hurt and the school couldn’t reach me.

We have been having problems with the downstairs cordless phone, in that it won’t hold a charge for more than about a minute.  Conversations on it often go like this:

Person: Hello?

Me: Hi, it’s Lisa. I was just calling about the… hello? Hello? Aaaaaggh! Stupid phone!

So most of the time, the phone is nearly dead.  We’re talking gather the relatives, because it’s on life support. And sometimes it’s completely dead.  That means a mad dash up the stairs to grab the second floor handset phone every time it rings. Because it only rings four times before it goes to voice mail. (All of these years and I’ve never been able to figure out to change that. Time Warner, I’m looking at you!)) So I was typing away downstairs, enjoying a delicious second cup of coffee, when the phone rang. By the time I got upstairs, I had missed the call.

“Oh well,” I thought. “If it’s important they’ll leave a voice mail.” And I returned to my hot coffee downstairs. Priorities, right?

But when the phone rang again five minutes later, something told me I should move faster to answer it. I sprinted up the stairs two at a time and grabbed it on the last ring. And Thank God I did. It was my husband, calling to tell me that the school had just called him. It seems my son had fallen, cut his head open on a metal coat hook, and was bleeding profusely. They thought he needed stitches.  My husband, I should mention, was out of town on business.

So my husband, who was in Orlando, had to call me in Ohio to tell me to go to school and pick up my son. And I should mention that the only reason the school was able to reach him is that his morning meeting had been pushed back, otherwise his phone would have been turned off.

The good news is that my son is fine. He got to have a Popsicle in the school office, and when I brought him home and washed the blood off (head wounds… gaaahhhh!) it didn’t look as bad as we thought. He got to spend the rest of the day wearing his jammies and robe, snuggled with me on the couch.

So, phone? You’ve been unreliable for way too long. I hate to tell you this, but you’re fired. Pack up your things and security will escort you out. I’ll be shopping for your  replacement this weekend, because the school couldn’t reach me in an emergency and that is a feeling I never, ever want to have again.


15 Phrases I Wouldn’t Want In My Obituary

Happy Monday, readers!

Toda, in lieu of a real post, I’m sharing a game that I sometimes play in my head when I’m bored.  The working title is “Phrases I Hope Never Appear in My Obituary”.  Board game pending. (Also, some years back, I invented the very popular road trip game “Name That Smell”.)  (In possibly related news,  I’m starting to realize why I don’t get invited to that many parties.)  Anyway, we all know the kinds of things we want to have written about us. Things  like “beloved” and “donated millions to charity” and “ravishingly beautiful, even in her 90’s”.  But who gives a thought to things they would hope never appear? Me, that’s who.

Here’s the point. True, some things you can’t control. True, no one knows when and where they’ll “pass to the great beyond”.  But I hope to live my life in such a way that phrases like “eaten by sharks” or “victim of a mob hit” won’t be associated with my demise.

15 Phrases I Wouldn't In My Obituary



15 Phrases I Wouldn’t Want In My Obituary  

1.“homeless drifter” and/or “escaped prisoner”

2. “chute failed to open”

3. “toxicology results are pending”

4. “old, unused logging road”

5. “pack of wild dogs” and/or “escaped chimpanzee”

6. “identified by dental records”

7. “removed by forklift through the window”

8. “ditch and/or culvert”

9. “beyond recognition”

10. “subject of a 48 Hours Unsolved Mystery”

11. “in the trunk of her car”

 12. “The explosion could be seen for miles”

13. “recent lottery winner”

14.  “search crews combed the woods”

15. “before eventually being eaten by her cats”


Come on, you know you want to play too.  I’m in  your head now.  You’re welcome.  What phrases can you come up with that you would absolutely never want to appear in a news story or obit about you? How many can you come up with in two minutes?  Aaaand go.  Also, while you’re at it, make sure to let me know if you hear about any escaped chimpanzees.

The Fears of a Clown

Well, now I know what we won't be doing for his birthday.

Well, now I know what we won’t be doing for his birthday party.


My five year old son, like a lot of kids his age, has some fears and anxieties. He doesn’t have too many, and for the most part, his fears are ones I am fairly certain he will grow out of in time. So I don’t push him into situations I know he will be uncomfortable with. What would be the point? He doesn’t do heights, so he’ll skip the three-story climbing apparatus with the “mesh net of death” suspended precariously high above the cement floor, thank you very much.  Ditto large, animatronic dinosaurs.  And he will literally run the other way from anyone in a costume that includes a large head. (Hello, Mickey Mouse, I’m looking at you. Sorry my kid wanted nothing to do with you when we were at Disney.)

As well as I thought I knew his few minor fear triggers, I was still caught off guard the other night when the subject of Lent came up at dinner. VP asked our girls what they would be giving up for Lent. To no one’s  surprise, they both said “school”.  Eye roll, sarcastic laugh.

But, because he’s five, Lent is a whole new concept for my son.

“What’s Lent?” he asked.

To which I answered, “well, it’s a short period of time where you  give something up.”

My son thought for a moment, his brow furrowed, before he replied evenly, “Well, then, I’m giving up… anything related to clowns.”

So, yeah, we can add that one to the list. But, just think of all the money we’ll save by not buying circus tickets.