Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

Rants from the Chair: The Florida Keys Debacle

It’s an adventure having a mother who is about to turn 91.  Almost every day I wake up in the morning and wonder what will happen next.  One recent episode inspired me to write about it.

I take care of Mom’s finances, part of which, of course, is paying her bills.  The last AT&T invoice shocked me into action.  It was more that two times the normal amount.  So I called her, and it went something like this:

Me:     Mom, what in God’s name are all these phone calls to the Florida Keys?

Mom:  What in God’s name are you talking about?

Me:     You have 26 calls to the Keys, Mom!  Do you know someone who lives there?

Mom:  Who in the hell would I know in the Keys?  Absolutely not!

My imagination kicked into gear.  Was someone hacking into her phone line?  Was an employee at her incredibly expensive senior living center sneaking into her room to make long distance calls?

So I got on the phone with AT&T.  I won’t talk about how long I was on hold, but by the time I reached a human, I was red-faced and spitting nails.

Me:     These calls to the keys are not my mother’s calls.  I want them taken off the bill.

Foreigner with Unintelligible Accent:  We cannot do that.  They are her calls.

Me:     Dude, she’s very old and knows no one in the Keys.

Foreigner with Unintelligible Accent:  Then you will pay, we will credit next bill.

Me:     Right.  Like I can trust that will happen.  No, I want them removed now.

After approximately 45 minutes of arguing, I got my way and wrote a check minus the 26 calls.  That, however, did not alleviate my anxiety and fear over what might be happening, still, with her phone.  So I spoke with a trusted girlfriend about it.

Me:     Should I confront management at her incredibly expensive senior living center? 

Trusted Friend:  I would first call the number in the Keys.  See who it is.

And so I did.  The familiar-sounding voice of an old man answered. 

Me:     Who is this?

Old Man:  Who is this?

Me:     I asked first!  Please tell me who you are!

Old Man:  My name is Robert.  What is yours and why are you calling?

And then I knew.

Me:     Oh my God, is this Bob?  My mother’s boyfriend?

Old Man:  Well who in the hell is your mother?

Me:     My mother is Troy, damn it!  This is her daughter Jill!  Do you have a cell phone?

Old Man:  Yes.  Why?

Me:     And did you first acquire it in the Keys?

Old Man:  (laughing) Yes. 

Me:     This is not funny!  Her phone bill is huge because of you!

Old Man:  (still laughing) I’m sorry.  I should have told her.

Me:     Well if you want her to call you again, could you please get a local number?

I took a deep breath and again called my mother.  In an attempt to explain to her what had happened, our conversation went like this:

Me:     Do you realize I just got AT&T to delete legitimate calls from your bill?

Mom:  Well I didn’t know!

Me:     Did you think about that 305 area code, Mom?

Mom:  I didn’t notice.  I didn’t think.

Me:     Well it’s okay now, but Bob should have told you he had a long distance cell.

Mom:  How could that possibly be?  He lives right down the hall from me!


You know, it only goes to show how fantastic and bizarre our current world must look to some seniors.  Today’s technology has literally chewed them up and spit them out.

I shudder to imagine what I’m going to be faced with when I am in my 90’s, should I be so lucky, or perhaps not so lucky, depending upon my condition.

Because by then, people will be able to make themselves invisible, and will have the ability to sprout wings and fly.


January 31, 2012 - Posted by | Dementia | , , , ,


  1. So freaking funny …Doer..gotta love that Doer

    Comment by Jenneina E. Decker | January 31, 2012 | Reply

  2. Does this mean I have to get rid of my Key West cell and get a St Pete one???

    Comment by Linda Wines Stokes | January 31, 2012 | Reply

  3. Oh.My.God.!!!!!

    Comment by geri wright | January 31, 2012 | Reply

  4. Yes, people will be able to become invisible and have wings to fly… and Jill??? What realllllllly bothers me is that WE won’t have a clue WHAT the fxxxk is happening!!! I had someone tell me today that I could do something on my smart phone. I said, “But I don’t have a smart phone… my phone is incredibly stupid…” I too get such a laugh (after the frustration ebbs of course) with my mom’s reaction to any technology. And with the dementia, whatever she DID know is gone… BTW, your mom and Bob are just hilarious together…

    Comment by Peggy | January 31, 2012 | Reply

  5. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one these days..

    Comment by jon | February 1, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks so much for your positive remarks, Jon. WordPress offers a variety of themes to choose from, for free. Again, your encouragement is much appreciated!

      Comment by standingonachair | February 1, 2012 | Reply

  6. Two words: Unlimited Long Distance. Whoops, that’s three words! Hmmm . . . Throw in ‘cheap’ too. That makes four.

    Comment by judy robinson | February 2, 2012 | Reply

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