We still have a ‘land line’ at home, although technically it’s a cell phone with a fixed base. We have this because a lot of our long time financial stuff likes this information, plus really long time friends and relatives are familiar with this number.
We get a LOT of phone calls we don’t want on it – several per day – always in the middle of something we’re trying to do. We stop what we’re doing, answer it, to find no one else on the line, or an obvious robocall, or an obvious ‘wait-until-someone-answers-says-hello-twice-and-then-a-pickup-and-sales-pitch.” The disruption of whatever we’re trying to do is more than annoying, causing frayed nerves, bad moods, intemperate words, as well as a lot of time for us to regain composure and figure out what it was we were trying to do when the call came in and get back to the place we stopped.
After several months of beating his head against the wall, my smart husband bent a new computer language (Asterisk) to his will and created a phone answering system that we’re hopeful will stop most of the crank calls while allowing the people we want to hear from to call without noticing anything different.
We created a list of people and numbers from whom we would like to hear, (using three address books, our Christmas card list, and both contacts lists from our computers) and then a shorter list of people from whom we NEVER want to hear. The new system will check its lists and decide whether to let it ring through as usual, give a message, “If you’re human and you’re not selling something, press 1”, at which point it will ring through (assuming the person pressed 1), or will give you a message, “Don’t call us anymore!” and then hangs up the phone without our hearing anything. We’ll add to our good and bad lists as calls come in.
We have it on line now. I was talking about how it might be difficult to know if the phone system is actually working or not, since it’s been quiet all morning! My husband answered that we could look at it ‘from a hysterical perspective’ and see if anyone is on the call log. I fell apart laughing. When I told my husband that he’d said, “hysterical” rather than “historical,” he had a good laugh, as well. :0)
I’ve decided that this is too good to just forget, so the next time I ask him to check the log, I’ll ask for the HYSTERICAL perspective…