Tag Archives: phone

The 411 on 411………………

I have a teenage son, so in addition to everything else I must accomplish in a day, I am also a chauffeur extraordinaire.  

My son and his friend wanted to see a movie. So I had to decide which was the lesser of two evils – him sitting in a dark room playing Xbox with people who might not really exist – or taking him to a movie with his friend (who happens to really exist) to sit in a dark room and watch characters who definitely do not exist.

Xbox is free – the movie costs money and taking them required me to get off my b.u.t.t. and go out in the heat. So off we go to the movie where I can at least pretend he might have some real-life human interaction.

I drove them to the theater and dropped them off and told them I would be back in 2 hours.

I ran a few quick errands and got back to the parking lot and waited. And waited. And waited some more.

With my keen powers of deductive reasoning, I started to think that the movie might actually be longer than 2 hours.

So, I called information (411) to get the number for said movie theater. And, yes, it was the movie theater that I was parked right in front of and yes, I could have just gotten out (and walked all the way across the street) and simply asked the movie professionals what time the movie was over. And yes, it turns out that would have been m.u.c.h. faster. But that would have left you without the absolute pleasure of reading about my 411 experience. (See the sacrifices I am willing to make for you, dear readers?) Plus it was hot outside. And I (thought I) had technology on my side.

I dialed 411 and was asked the city and state. Told them. Was then asked what listing I wanted. Told them.

Dead silence.

Then this……”Ma’am, there is no listing for that number. Are you sure there is a movie theater there?”

I have to say I was pretty surprised by that answer. If I was looking for a sherpa at the foot of Mt. Everest, I might understand the no listing response. But I was asking for the number of a movie theater – in a pretty big town. Seems that would be kind of a routine request. It seems the 411 operator might have some knowledge of how to find that nugget of info.

I told her I was pretty sure. In fact, I was sitting right in front of it.

She checked again and started to believe that either aliens had either abducted the movie theater and taken it back to their home planet or I was nuts.

But she simply said, “Ma’am, I cannot find that listing.”

I know that the price of 411 calls has gone up, so I said, “you won’t charge me for this call, right?”

“Uhm, Ma’am, when you call four-one-one, you are actually paying for the service not the results of that service. Yes, we will still be charging you.”

Excuse me?

So, you basically call me a liar, liar, pants on fire for asking for a number that (according to you) does not exist – you do not give me said number – and you are going to charge me for service? Did I miss something?

“Yes, you are paying us to look up the number – whether or not we find it. I can transfer you to our service department if you would like.”

That would be marvelous.

I got transferred to a new chickadee who could also not find the number. I also asked her if I would be charged for the call.

“Yes. You are paying for the service.”

Got it.

I showed great restraint and did not ask her which  dictionary (or language) she was using to define “service” because not giving me what I asked for me and then charging me for it does not really equal “service” in my dictionary or my wallet.

I asked for a manager and the second chickadee told me she could transfer me to 611 – their customer service department. Being a customer who would like some actual service, I asked her to transfer away.

Then I heard “beep, transferring your call to 611” – and then – and no, I am not kidding – “your call cannot be completed as dialed.” And then another beep.

Seriously.

The bottom line here is that two different 411 operators could not find the number for a movie theater in a major metropolitan area and one  of them was incapable of pushing three numbers on her phone and following it up with hitting “send” effectively and I was going to get charged – wait for it – one dollar and seventy nine cents for their “service”.

Deep cleansing breath.

My blackberry has a web2go feature – so I entered (correctly) the search terms: movie…. theater….name of the major metropolitan area… and wahlah – the name, number, address, and movie listings came up for said theater.

After calling the number and asking when the movie was over and doing some pretty high level math, I realized I was an hour early for movie pickup.

Fabulous.

Plenty of time to call TMobile and ask again why I was being charged to not get a telephone number.

TMobile was all loverly. That spunky little chickadee even said – and I quote – it doesn’t really make sense that they could not find the number of a movie theater in a major city. That isn’t very helpful is it? (Yes, I think I love her.)

She held my hand and dabbed my wallet and told me she could remove the charge.

Now we’re talking.

And to fully absolve TMobile of any wrongdoing, she kindly explained that 411 is its very own entity and calls are not routed through or in any way handled by TMobile. And it turns out that you do in fact get charged whether or not they give you a number – and even if they give you a wrong number.

But it also turns out that you can call your carrier and have that charge removed.

I heart TMobile. 411 – not so much!

Update from Yesterday…………the recovery of a twice wet blackberry

It worked! My phone works. I am going to give you the steps I took just in case you find yourself in the same predicament of dropping your phone in liquid – twice….

In case you missed yesterday’s post – I dropped my phone in my soda – and then in an attempt to get a picture of what a stupid thing I had done, I dropped my phone in diet Coke a second time. Yes, that was in fact more stupider.

In order to try recovering my poor, poor phone, I immediately pulled it out of the cup and dried as much of the phone off as I could.

Then I took off the back and took out the battery.

Then I paper toweled every piece I could.

Then I blew into the keyboard portion and dried the back off. You’d be amazed how much soda came out this way.

Then I cursed at myself for being a little dumb.

I put the battery in and tried to turn it on – no luck. And now I understand that this was exactly what n.o.t. to do until you are pretty comfortable your phone is as dry as it can be.

Then I put the pieces of my phone in uncooked rice – this is supposed to help pull out the moisture. I left them to set for several hours.

Then I thought about praying but realized there is an oil spill, starvation, and much bigger things on his radar screen – I just might not make the top one million on the list of things that require God’s immediate attention.

So, I did the Scarecrow Dance from Wizard of Oz – you know the one – “If I Only Had A Brain”.

I tried to turn it on again. And some of it worked. The rolling ball would not work and the “N” key read as a “J” key and the “F” key read as a “C” key – but this is progress and I am not a super duper speller anyway – people just might not notice.

I cursed myself again.

Then (because my son had a flash of brilliance) I used the Dust Off can of air that you can use to clean your keyboard and blew air through every crevice on the phone I could find.

After that, I left the phone unassembled on the counter under a light over night.

Then in the morning I reassembled everything, took a deep breath, and waited. And it worked!

And then I pretty much repeated the whole process over again.

Diet Coke and Cell Phones Don’t Mix…………..

Apparently. Wanna know how I know? That’s right – after lecture upon lecture of telling my children how not to treat their cell phones – after speech upon speech about the dangers of liquids and cell phones – after insisting that they put their phones in plastic bags anytime they are going to hold their phones and even breathe near it, I decided to carry my cell phone like this…..

Oh wait, I tried to recreate the visual for you (because that went so well on the first go round) and guess what happened. You got it. My phone fell into my soda again. Dammit and yes, I am apparently a complete moron – either that or I just love you so much and I wanted to protect you from making the same mistake I did that I was willing to risk life and cell for you. Let’s just go with that. Smooches.

Obviously there is not a picture because I had to put down the camera to rescue my beloved phone from my soda (again) and so I will just have to explain what happened. I drink a lot of soda – that is a problem to address for another day – but I like to drink it out of  plastic cup – so yes, I am an idiot and a little bit of a redneck. Great combination right. Hubby is a lucky, lucky man.

So anysoda, when I move from the kitchen to my office I like to make just one trip. I usually put my blackberry over the top of my soda and very carefully carry it the 4 and a half feet to my office. And it has worked well almost every time. But if you own a hand held electronic device you probably know that it just takes once.

And yesterday was that once – or at least it was the first once. My phone dropped in my soda for the first time. We just all signed up for a new plan when we returned from India – so yep, it is my new phone – and, go ahead ask me if I got insurance. Why would I do that when I am so careful with my phone? I am a professional cell phone protector – I have given speeches on protecting phones from the dreaded wetness and I have trained small children in the ways of cell phone safety. I don’t need insurance – do I? argh. Maybe. But that did not stop me from n.o.t. getting the insurance plan – don’t have it.

But here is the good news. I went online and looked for suggestions on Blackberry Emergency Room procedures. Several people suggested soaking the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice (please be sure to use uncooked rice lest you need to write your own blog post) for several hours. I did that and it was certainly working better but not perfectly. My little Bear is a smart little Bear and around the corner he came with a Dust Off Can – you know that ridiculous can of air with a long thin straw that they sell you so that you can clean the keyboard on your computer? Well we blew the heck out of the phone and now it is working. Oh wait, it was working.

If you need to reach me over the next few hours, please email. My phone is soaking in rice again. 🙁  The good news for you is that I am retesting the rice theory  – I am nothing if not thorough – I will report back to you if it works (again).

Gujarat Haveli…………..

Most people who live in a foreign country want to take something special from that country back home with them to remind them of their experiences. Furniture seems a good choice because it’s also practical – of course I am also a big advocate of the impractical bejeweled souvenir as well. But I digress. Lots of our friends in Delhi have told me about the Gujarat Haveli and we finally made it out there. Holy home furnishings batman! Just on the FYI side of things Gujarat is a region in India and Haveli loosely means (very) lovely place to live and trade.

This place was amazing. It reminded me of antique stores (barns) in the U.S. but with way cooler stuff! I have absolutely nowhere to put something like this horse- but I love, love, love him. He loves me too – I just know it.

This table has brass elephants on the side.

Beautiful pots.

More beautiful pots. The one on the left is made of iron with leather braiding. The one on the right is wooden with brass trimming.

These are dowry chests. The brides family would fill these up with prezzies and they would be rolled with the wedding procession to the groom’s house. My youngest daughter had a hard time understanding all of it until I told her not to worry. She will surely marry someone who will be giving her gifts and if he needs a chest this big to fit them all in – so be it. 😉

He might just have to come home with me one day.

Either him or one of his cousins.

Most of these are the bottoms of Hookah pipes. The ones on either end reminded me of spittoons from the wild west days but the shop keeper told me they were for water. He said that at night you fill it with water then in the morning you drink it. You leave it over night so you get the benefit of the all the minerals in the metals. Not exactly the same, same as a spittoon.

Tres cool statues.

I would not sleep at night if this guy lived in my house.

Oh, the fabulous finds just went on and on.

This chair is for the boy, the girl, and the chaperon. But it would also be great for a game of duck duck goose.

This is a coffee table made out of an old door. Magnificent!

An old swing that doesn’t have to involve a chaperon. Must be for a married couple.

There were a lot of painted things. They aren’t my fave just because I am too practical and I cannot imagine trying to fit these into a room with other things.

And you know how I love my bells! Ding ding!

We left without buying anything – because there is also Sharma Farms that I have heard we should see – but clearly we have lots to discuss. I’ll let you know how it goes. Yes, you should start feeling sorry for number one hubby right about n.o.w.

P.S. I have gotten a few emails asking for the address (I had a super hard time finding it too) so for those of you who are local – here it is….
Gujarat Haveli
Mobile 98100 66925 (you need an appointment)
43 KM Stone Delhi
Jaipur Expressway, N.H.-8
Gurgaon, Haryana
email: kutch@ndf.vsnl.net.in
(I will leave it to them to give you directions – I might get you lost. 😉 )

Some days are tougher than others……….

I often start these posts by saying how hard it is to really explain life here – but it really, really is. No really – it really is. It sounds exotic and privileged and fascinating and it is absolutely all of those things. But life here can be difficult to manage. I miss the conveniences and the independence. Never mind family and friends because that is another blog post entirely.

This week Flower has been pretty sick. She just got over chicken pox and jumped right into some unknown something or other that nobody can really seem to pinpoint. When your kids are sick in a third world country and you cannot exactly define what is going on, the adventure becomes a tad less appealing. I want to be clear that I have never felt she was in any danger (that is for the grandparents who read this blog) but it has been frustrating. Flower just really doesn’t get sick – so to see her really unable to get out of bed just stinks. And to have everyone just sort of shrug their shoulders with a “oh, this is normal, come back in a few days” attitude is just not what I am looking for in medical care.

Flower had her appendix out when she was 7. She was very close to it rupturing. In the emergency room, the doctor practically stood on her stomach. She had no reaction at all. He was walking out of the room, convinced that she was going to be just fine because there was absolutely no way that a child with appendicitis would not react to that kind of pressure, when the CT scan came back. We were in the operating room 10 minutes later – it appeared she did in fact have a very infected appendix.

She just doesn’t get knocked out. So to hear the doctor(s) say – she looks listless, but she just isn’t that sick – augh. I want to jump through my mommy skin and send them back to medical school. Isn’t the first thing they learn to trust the mother’s instinct? If it isn’t, it should be. Something is going on with her.

And of course, if we were home, I wouldn’t be so worried because the chances of getting Dengue Fever, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Encephalitis, and all those other scary things are just a wee bit less.

Then if you add having staff working for you it gets so flippin complicated.

My cook knows just what is wrong with her. He has not even been to culinary school, much less medical school but he knows just what is wrong.

Francis: She has a fever?
Me: Yes
Francis: This will take a week – maybe 5 days
Me: Okay
Francis: But don’t worry ma’am – last night I prayed for her
Me: thank you, that was very thoughtful of you
Francis: Jesus will take care of it.
Me: I believe that
Francis: Jesus will make her better

Now, I want to be clear that I am very glad Jesus is on it. And I didn’t realize that Francis had such tight connections. But I am not leaving it to prayer – I have been doing that myself too – but we can also take some a.c.t.i.o.n.

One of the really nice things in India is that I do have the cell phone number of our doctor. So, I called her directly and made an appointment (yes that is crazy). She was able to make an appointment for us in half an hour (also insane). That means we need to leave right away.

However, our driver had gone out to get mosquito nets for our beds because Bear is getting eaten alive when he sleeps (and, yep, we have taken many precautions so that mosquitoes don’t enter our house – but they are persistent little buggers). He went to the market near us and felt that the nets were too expensive – so he decided to drive to a market that was quite a distance from our house to save us about 200 rupees (that would be $4). Nope, he did not ask first – just decided that would be the thing to do. So now he cannot get back quickly to get our daughter to her doctor appointment and the doctor is leaving shortly. Yes, I am frustrated. While I really appreciate the fact that he was trying to save us money – getting our daughter to the doctor is a m.u.c.h. bigger priority. M_U_C_H  B_I_G_G_E_R.

We ultimately figured it out. Hubby took Flower in another car with another driver and I met them at the doctor’s office. On my way, I got to hear all about the cost savings and the available colors of mosquito nets and all about traffic and how this vendor did this and that vendor did this and holy four dollars, batman. I was polite – but really – not caring so much about the whole story. Just. want. to. get. to. the. doctor. yesterday.

The doctor looked her over and really felt we needed to wait a couple of days to do any testing. See how Flower does. Keep her in a cool room. No school. Lots of liquids. You know the drill.

So Hubby took Flower home and I went to buy Gatorade. This involved 3 phone calls. You just cannot assume anything – in the U.S., I could tell you 18 places that sell Gatorade within walking distance of my house. Here – you better check first. So, I found out where I believed the Gatorade would  be. Went there. And they had it – yeah! And they also had the Starbucks coffee drinks that Hubby loves.

I thought I would get him a few. So I asked if they had the “coffee-flavored” coffee drinks.

Me: Do you have the “coffee-flavored” coffee drinks?
Him: Yes, how many do you want?
Me: I see Mocha, Vanilla, and Caramel – but not Coffee – do you have that?
Him: Yes, how many do you want?
Me: I want the “coffee” flavor – you have Vanilla, Mocha, and Caramel – see right here on the label (picture me pointing to the label) – I want the one that says “coffee” – I can see why it is confusing because they all say “coffee” but there are different flavors.
Him: How many
Me: I looked at all of the boxes here – I don’t see “Coffee”. Do you have “coffee”.
Him: Yes, how many do you want?

Just a note here – Indians don’t seem to make 15 varieties of the same product – so I want to be fair that it is not their fault that Starbucks has complicated the simpleness of a coffee drink. But even in this land of “oh sure, they all speak English” sometimes it is very, very difficult to get your point across. Finally, after he took all the boxes off the shelf (and yep, he watched me do the exact same thing just moments before) and realized there wasn’t actually a coffee drink called “coffee”.

He disappeared around the corner and – wahlah – and after (quite) a few minutes – came back with 8 “coffee-flavored” coffee drinks. I am not sure when the understanding of what I was trying to say kicked in but hubby is glad it did. At least the guy did not promise me the drinks “tomorrow” or compliment me on being the “first customer of the day”.

Hubby also asked me to pick up a pizza. I was weary of this because the pizza joint he wanted pizza from is a more of a “by the slice” kind of place. But I thought I would give it a shot.

I went up to the window and there was a whole cheese pizza sitting in the display case. I think I actually let out a sigh – this is not going to be as complicated as I thought. Yahoo for me.

Me: I would like a pizza
Her: That will be 75 rupees (that is $1.50)
Me: Really, for a whole pizza?
Her: Oh, you want the whole pizza?
Me: Yes
Her: That is eight slices (with a completely confused look on her face)
Me: Yes it is – that’s what I would like
Her: But that is eight slices
Me: Got it – I would like a whole pizza puhleassssseeee – in fact this one in the window will do nicely
Her: No, we’ll make you a fresh one – it will take 3 minutes.
(Just another note – if you are thinking, “that is amazing – they can make a pizza in 3 minutes” – my dear friend, I have a lovely bridge I would like you to consider buying – you are my first customer of the day and I will give you my very best price – tomorrow.)
Me: Honestly, this one is good
Her: You don’t want a fresh one?
Me: Nope – pretty sure this one that is already done is just great
Her: We’ll add cheese to it
Me: It has cheese on it – can I really please just take this one – as it is – now?
Her: Do you want it in one big box or each slice in its own box

Here is where I faltered. I was thinking about all the trash that eight slice boxes would be. So, I opted for the big box. But that changes what they normally do – it threw them for a little bit of a loop. The guy working there climbed up a ladder and went into a very small ceiling compartment. He did bring down a box. A very, very dirty box. It was dusty and greasy – I’ll spare you the details – but let’s just say you probably wouldn’t spit your gum out in it much less use it for a pizza that you actually planned to eat – and feed to your already sick child.

Me: Yeah, that box is kind of dirty
Her: You don’t want this box
Me: I am thinking hell no not exactly – is there another one up there?
Her: Okay – we’ll get another one

And they did get another box. It was better. But I am not kidding when I say they spent 5 minutes trying to put it together. It was apparently a broken box – still better than a dirty box – but broken nonetheless. So they performed box surgery and taped it 18 different ways. All of which came loose before I got all the way to the car.

The bottom line in this is that it took me 15 minutes to get the pizza that was already cooked and ready to go. Of course, it was worse because I really just wanted to get the Gatorade to Flower. But sometimes it is difficult to accomplish simple things here. And it is hard to understand why it is so complicated.

I finally got home and now Bear’s mosquito net is up over his bed. My first thought was – great, now we live in a Tarzan movie.

We ended the day by taking Flower to another doctor just to make sure we should not be concerned about anything scary. He had a completely different impression of what was wrong than doctor number 1. And no, I did not pick up a pizza on the way home.

It was a long day of  complications. So, most of the time I am jumping right in and enjoying our experiences here, some days are tougher than others.

Okay, I have some questions…………

It turns out that quite a few Indians read my blog – Namaste and Donyuvard! Yes, I am sure I misspelled those – but hopefully you know what I mean.

I have a few questions. Please know that I am not being a smart arse – I really, truly am curious. So, if you can help me out with any of the following, please do……

1. What is this about? My husband said he thinks it might be an ad for a t.v. show – a comedy – is it?

img_63041

2. I know every religion has its contradictions, but why is it okay for Hindus to have leather goods like purses and belts, but it is not okay to eat beef?

3. What is the little boy sitting in the corner on the AirTel (maybe it’s TaTa) commercial saying to his mother? It is an adorable commercial and I am so curious what it is about. He gets out his phone and goes on the roof, I am guessing to call his dad. Do you know which one I am talking about?

4. As far as reincarnation goes, am I in trouble if I kill a mosquito or an ant or a bee – if the answer is yes – does it matter if I am protecting myself or my kids from being stung or bitten? In the U.S., there are pesticide companies that will spray your house every quarter to rid your house of creepy crawlies. Is that available here?

5. Where is the best place to get Mexican food in Delhi?

6. How do Indian women keep their hair so soft and shiny? Is there a special treatment for that?

7. How do you feel about non-Indian women wearing sarees? There is a debate among western women as to whether we look silly in them.

8. Do you give anything to the women and children and handicapped who knock on your car window?

Thanks! And feel free to ask me questions too.