My New Family Rule

I have made a unilateral decision that no one in my family is allowed to change their cell phone numbers. Ever.

It's not like they need to - you can take your number with you anywhere. And I have a good reason for this.

I have blogged about my issues taking care of my aging Russian Mother in Law long distance as she deals with dementia. It's not fun. Funny sometimes, but not fun.

When the most recent issues with her came to a head, we were given a lawyer referral by the local Senior Advocacy program and the name sounded very familiar to me. Because my parents are from that area and my father was very active in the community I thought I should run the name by him in case there was something I should be aware of.

I punched in my Dad's new number on my cell, but unfortunately he was not there and I got a message.

"Dad, this is your eldest daughter. I just got off the phone with the Legal Referral Service about my MIL's situation..."

To my surprise my Dad picked up the phone.

"What's going on?"

At this point I launched into the whole sordid update to the story. My MIL's financial issues, our financial issues, the fact that the Ombudsman is singularly unhelpful and one of the most irritating people I've ever dealt with, oh and by the way - I'm ready to crack under this pressure.

After about ten minutes of my tirade (in which I barely stopped to breathe) and lots of uh huhs and mmm, I sees from the other side of the conversation, he stopped me to say this:

"I don't think I'm your Dad."


"I think you called the wrong number."

"Oh. Well. I can see how that would happen. I thought it was my Dad's new cell number."

"You can't answer a cell phone once the message has picked up, though."

"You have a point there. Well, thanks for listening."

"Sure. You have a good day now."

So now a complete stranger somewhere in the Monterey area has heard the whole sordid story of my MIL, her house, and how unhelpful the eldercare system can be to a family.

To tell the truth, it didn't even really sound like my Dad, I just assumed he had a cold or something.

And this is why no one in my family is ever allowed to change their cell phone numbers ever again.

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