Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Switchboard SNAFU

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Switchboard SNAFU

As I scooped up our lunch dishes from the kitchen table, Erik disappeared around the corner into the living room. I suddenly ceased what I was doing and noticed the house had taken on that deathly silence all parents know indicates that their child is in the middle of doing something irreversible and evil, like flushing the contents of your wallet down the toilet. In fact, the last time I experienced this stillness was when Erik uncapped a black permanent marker and decorated the rug in his bedroom with a series of gigantic squiggles that would have brought a tear to the eye of any talented contemporary artist. I'm no artist, but his work certainly threatened to bring tears to my own eyes. For different reasons, of course.

As I stepped into the room, I saw Erik sitting on the couch. He looked up at me and gave me that crooked, Dennis the Menace smirk at me that he does when he is doing something he knows he shouldn't. He held my cell phone in his palm, and it was open. He was pressing buttons on the keypad. I loosened the thing from his viselike hands, and he instantly began screaming "NO" and slapping my legs at the same time. The display read, "66666666666666." Of course. As I began to walk away with the thing trying to figure out just what he had done to lock up the display, I heard a wee voice yelling, barely audible under the bilious din emanating from my furious son, who followed me like a tiny, pissed off tornado. The voice was coming from my phone. Maybe he had dialed the devil after all.





I placed the phone to my ear and found myself talking to a 911 dispatcher. Apparently, her knickers automatically bunch themselves into a giant, angry, crotch-splitting wad when you dial these three numbers in a row for no good reason. She bitched me out accordingly and instructed me to take the phone away from my son. Uh, okay. I felt my face flush and couldn't decide if I was more angry or embarrassed. On top of everything, Erik continued to scream at me, follow me around, and try to topple me over, so I could barely hear her. I just said I was sorry as loud as I could and snapped the damned thing closed, cutting off the leprechaun-like voice admonishing my parental stupidity. I'm surprised CSD didn't show up five minutes later.

Oh, sure, I bought Erik his own cell phone when he started stealing mine. It's really darling. It's red and blue and makes a funny camera sound if you push the correct button. However, it only dials Mickey Mouse, not real people, and Erik is beginning to suspect that he is talking to a recording. Erik doesn't even really know who Mickey Mouse is, as I consider Disney a tad too corporate for me these days. Besides, we kill mice around here. Actually, now I think about it, when emergency personnel get excited or agitated enough, their voices do reach that hilarious, sky high octave and almost sound like Mickey Mouse. However, I definitely did not hear adorable little things such as "Hot dog!" or "Would you like to come over to play with me?"

During my research after this embarrassing incident, I discovered that no matter how I set up my cell phone, there is a hot key that will connect me to the 911 dispatch center that is impossible to lock. What's ironic is that I couldn't tell you what it is, as they neglected to include that in the manual. I could be lying on the floor in a pool of my own blood the size of Lake Michigan and would have no idea how to use this "hot key" or where it is located. I would expire in a matter of seconds, but before I blacked out, I would likely get Erik's attention, point to the phone, and plead for his help. He would probably say, "No, mama, you said not to touch that phone, and I wouldn't dare disobey you."

A girl can dream, can't she?

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Blogger Edna said...

You're too funny! Find that hot key!!

9:01 AM  
Blogger jbgrinch said...

I have 2 daughters from china the 2nd of which has many disabilities, some of which have caused much pain and tears, The small victories like using a potty and having a dry bed in the morning came very late she is now just 7 and able to most nights have a dry bed. We all deal with our problems differently. I know a bit about WS as I have a friend my age (50) with it. Be strong from small steps still comes big progress. With love and prayer

9:54 AM  
Blogger camille said...

Oh my, what an afternoon. You certainly lead an exciting life.

Thinking of you too :) Annnnd, happy mother's day. You should go get yourself the biggest margarita you can find. Have a big sip for me too, ok??

2:09 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

You are hilarious! Noah would much rather have Scott's cell than the play one we bought him. Amber called a country I never heard of when she was little. Compared to her Noah and Erik are little angels. I could tell you stories that would make your toes curl.:)

4:14 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

yes... i remember a similar embarrassing incident...
I was awoken at about 6am with the phone being thrust into my face, as i answered with a bleary hello i was informed that "your little one has phoned '000'" said something about a spider next door?" Me- OH CRAP!! SORRY!!! and hung up swiftly. JAIDEN!!!!!!!!!! - the problem with our phone is that when locked the '0' key still works so press as he might he can ONLY dial '0'! I have had words with the pre-school teacher about teaching '000'.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

:0 I know that silence, and it's never good. If our house is silent like that, I can usually hear the couch going, Squeak,squeak,squeak in it's familiar rythym. If I can't hear him rocking, I know there's trouble.

8:38 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

Funny story; Charlie had dialed 911 once when he was a little older than Erik and they'd been learing about 911 at school. I didn't know he'd done it till there was banging on my door and there were several police outside with guns drawn. Apparently he'd dialed it, put the phone down, and continued playing with his brother...with their usual yelling, screaming and slamming things around. Yup...funny story.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Same scenario, my house, my daughter, in two months. I see it coming. Avery can spot a fake phone a mile away and wants nothing to do with it.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Believer 1964 said...

In your defense, you are an attentive mother who knows what your child is doing at all times.

The switchboard operator was too harsh with you. I would gather that she doesn't live with young children.

This is an embarrassing moment for any parent!

10:25 PM  

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