Oct 06 2009

Fun with fathers-in-law

Our answering machine has been behaving badly the last couple weeks. I came home from work one day to find the call indicator light flashing even though there were no messages on it.

Initially, I thought maybe the electricity had been out during the day, but then it wouldn’t reset in the usual manner and the user manual was not in the drawer where I expected to find it. So in typical fashion, I proceeded to press every one of the half-dozen buttons on the machine even though I had no idea what they do and had never touched more than two of them before. All this to no effect (surprise – NOT).

I then tried to turn it off, thinking that cutting the power would force it to reset. But remarkably, NONE of the half-dozen buttons on the machine is an on/off switch. So I unplugged it from the wall socket, waited 30 seconds and plugged it back in. No luck. Clearly this was job for Dr. Darling, who…in very UNtypical fashion, could not put her hands on the user manual either. (This is a person who still has warranty documentation on the analogue clock radio she had as an undergrad. It’s GOT to be around here somewhere.)

In the meantime, we were able to ascertain that the answering machine is actually still working despite the constantly flashing call indicator light. The only glitch is that our outgoing message is now a generic greeting in English from an obviously automated male voice instead of the personal one I recorded (at least 3 years ago) in both English and Swedish. Without the user manual, neither one of us has any idea how to record a new greeting, and to be honest, it doesn’t really seem all that important to do.

Especially now that we’ve learned that the automated male voice is driving my father-in-law crazy. He has a long-established reputation for not listening very well when talking to either of his kids, and he clearly missed the initial explanation that the voice did not belong to a real person. So when he asked a second time,Who IS that guy on your answering machine?”, Dr. Darling could barely keep from laughing out loud.

“It’s not a real person, Dad. It’s an automated greeting that’s built into the machine.”

“Have you called yourself to listen to the message? You really ought to try to figure out who that guy is.”

“Good idea. We’ll get right on that, Pop.”

So now we’re giving serious consideration to enlisting several of our male friends to record identical outgoing greetings that we can rotate once a month. During which time we’ll continue to tell my father-in-law that it’s an automated voice built into the machine! It’s going be GREAT!

But this means we’ve GOT to find that damn user manual.

Feed my ego!

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