“9-1-1, What’s Your Emergency?”

Since my last posting wherein I wrote everything was pretty quiet, there’s been a small development. This one was completely unexpected and out of the blue.

Sunday morning, as usual, saw Nat doing his crossword and me watching Sunday Morning. Quiet, peaceful and relaxing just the way we like it. We even had a small discussion about my birthday present. Nat wants to buy me a new flat screen TV for the bedroom. He thought it would be nice to replace the one that sits atop my dresser and takes up space, along with a VCR/DVD player/recorder. Hanging a new flat screen TV on the wall would clear my dresser and make the bedroom look uncluttered. I agreed, but told him to save the money, and couldn’t believe my own ears as those words came out of my mouth!! Since when did I become practical. But I suppose with time, age and experience one gains more sense!! Word to the wise – don’t get old, it’s no fun no more!!

With our discussion and lunchtime over, we headed into Fort Erie to the Pharma Plus where they were having a sale on cases of pop. Going through diet gingerale like I do, we take advantage of every sale we can find and stock up. We were gone for less than an hour and upon our return a Niagara Regional Police officer was at our door. We were informed that our phone had dialed 9-1-1 while we were out and he came by to check on things. How bizarre, we thought!! We informed the officer we had just returned home. “Yes, I know”, he said, “My son, Bill, lives across the street and said if your van wasn’t in the drive, then you weren’t home”. “OH, you’re Officer Bill’s dad”, I replied. He laughed and said “Yes, and when he saw you drive up he called to let me know you were home”. Now that’s what I call neighbourly!!! Or maybe it could be kind of scary – Officer Bill watching our every move!!!! But I’ll continue to keep the good thoughts and be glad there’s a cop across the street that knows us and is watching out for our possible welfare.

Looking at each other, Nat and I were wondering why our phone was dialing 9-1-1. Was it something we said? Did we hurl them across the room when receiving aggravating calls from telemarketers at supper time? Was it all those frustrating calls to and from Bell Canada? Was that phone abuse? Did we neglect to clear their little memories of previous calls that clogged up their memory chip? Were they getting even for our bad thoughts about Bell Canada’s constant calling – despite the fact they’re not Bell phones?? What on earth was going on??

So, Officer Bill’s Dad informed us that this dialing 9-1-1 by static cordless phones can and has been a problem. “Get outta town”, I thought!! Technology is a wonderful thing, but this is taking things to that “bizarre” level. Apparently they receive these kind of calls 2 to 3 times a week and have since stopped sending out emergency vehicles until an initial visit is made by the police. He was right, each and every one of our cordless phones, and even our main line, had an enormous amount of static on them and you couldn’t have heard a caller if you wanted to. We apologized profusely and said we would put in a call to Bell immediately, which is what we did. Thank God we had a cell phone, otherwise the call would have been unbearable.

Bell had advised us to unplug and plug-in each of the phones coming into the house to make sure it wasn’t any particular jack. He then informed us to check the little grey box attached to the house. There’s a cord in this box that you can unplug and then plug in your main phone to see if the problem is “outside”. Nat and I headed outside where the box was located, right above the garden and beside the other utility boxes. I stood behind Nat in the rain with an umbrella over his head while he stepped into the muddy garden to check this little grey box and find that “cord”. All for nothing – he couldn’t find anything remotely close. We gave up as we didn’t want to muck about with property that wasn’t ours’ and we’ll leave it for the technician when he arrives. The small problem here is – if the problem is “outside”, then the tab is on Bell – but if the problem is “inside” then it’s on us to the tune of $87.70 plus tax!!! God bless Bell Canada!!!!! She’s getting even with us for canceling our television and internet service!!! Of course there’s no technician available weekends and he can only come Monday. And of course, we’ll be in Hamilton for most of Monday (my regular visit at St. Joseph’s Hospital), but he can come later that afternoon. Whew!! At least it’s next day service!! In the meantime we’ll unplug all cordless phones – don’t want to piss off 9-1-1 operators as they’ve got enough problems – and we’ll use the cell phone. At least it’s a line to the outside world!

Somehow not looking for excitement we tend to find some somewhere. Having a phone line on the fritz is not a major problem – except for calling 9-1-1 operators when it’s not an emergency – but it’s still a problem. We’re without a main phone but at least have a cell phone for backup. Which begs the question, what do other folks do when they don’t have any kind of telephone backup and it’s a weekend when no Bell technician is working? God help those that have to deal with Bell Canada and May The Force Be With Them!!!!

So! Let’s hope the trip to Hamilton Monday goes without a hitch. Shhhhh – don’t talk or write about it and we won’t jinx it!!!!

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