Sarah Roush

Sarah Roush

Once upon a time, I was a balanced person. Or at least I thought I was. I went to work, came home, did some work around the house, played with our son, spent some family time together. Thanks to some dumb virus, I don’t know if I am coming or going let alone the day of the week.

Working from home is so much more challenging than I ever expected. Keeping work hours separate from mommy hours is more challenging with evening and weekend meetings occurring over the Internet. Office phones being transferred to my personal phone means you are suddenly much more accessible than ever before. Add to the discovery that people can text you on the office lines ensures your phone pinging all the time. My serenity for work and home has disappeared like Boston Creams did on Donut Day Wednesday.

I am going to lay about 70 percent of the blame on our telephone. We already have a love/hate relationship with our cell phones, the coverage we have in this area is pretty much like a sieve.

Covered in one spot and falling through a hole a fraction away. Every call received demands a return call on either our landline or from another location. The only way I can make a cellphone call is to stand in the middle of the road in front of the house. Ironically, this same spot affords a view of the cell phone tower a few miles away.

The landline is slightly better, on sunny days the phone works fine. Rainy or snowy weather affords crackles and pops on the line — if it is working at all. Repeated calls to the phone company result in the same argument — they insist the trouble is inside the house, I counter back with it is not, they state we will have to pay service fees to send someone out to fix the line, I point out we already pay fees for service in every bill. They eventually send someone out; discover the problem is not in our house, blah, blah, blah.

Recently, the phone has been working well. Too well. For a number posted on the do not call registry, we sure get a lot of calls. Calls wanting us to purchase extended warranties, refinance our credit cards, purchase security systems or new roofs are daily. Election season must be ramping up because invitations to support various candidates, political parties or to attend townhall phone calls pour in as well. The vicious tones of some of these calls make me never want to meet any of these people.

The absolute worst phone calls are the ones, where when you answer the phone, a stupid recording comes on stating “all of our representatives are busy with other calls at this time….” I never hear the rest of the recording or even what the call is regarding, because they are immediately disconnected. I figured if you want to talk to me, you will actually be on the line to do so.

I am not so desperate for conversation; I will stay on hold waiting for a scam artist or salesperson. If feeling especially mean, when one of the requests for donations come in, I will ask how much of the total donation will go to the cause. Most of the calls are by telemarketing firms and they keep around 81 cents of each dollar raised, when asked what percentage they keep; it will typically result in a very confused conversation on their part.

When I share that best practices for non-profits state donors should expect at least 79 cents of each dollar to go to the charity of choice for all fundraising efforts, it flusters the caller. I also share the charity itself should have less than 30 percent of funds used for administrative costs, the person on the other end generally hangs up. Apparently informed donors are not a priority.

The upshot is each of these phone calls waste my time, and I have started to hand the phone over to our son, Sparky will squawk “what?” “What?”, “WHAT?” into the receiver when he doesn’t understand the conversation. He’s happy because he is “helping” mommy by answering the telephone and I am happy, because I am not answering the phone. As far as our household is concerned, it’s a win-win situation.

It absolutely helps with my productivity, ability to focus and my mood. I am considering renting out his services in the upcoming months before the election. He should be able to pay for his future car in just a few weeks. In the meantime, if you go flying down a back road and see someone scrambling to get out of the middle of the road while talking on the phone, be sure to wave as you go on by. It’s always nice to see people when I’m on the job.

Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.

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