Cell Phone Dilemma

by compujeramy flickr.com

by compujeramy flickr.com

It was the Fourth of July. BTW, the following account is a typical day in my life as a member of the “Sandwich Generation.” (To find out more about this, click on Sandwich Lady in the sidebar.) I decided to take the kids (daughter 2 1/2; stepson 12 1/2) on my own to a community parade very close to my house. And although we live in the Midwest, it wasn’t too hot for a July day, but we wanted to find some shade to sit in. My husband is an air traffic controller, and so he was actually at work. (BTW, my ANNIVERSARY is also the 4th of July!) Since we were a bit late, the only “shady” spot left was a small curb space near a dumpster for an apartment complex on the parade route. This was a garbage dumpster COMPLETE with a couch and chair someone was throwing away.

If you have small children, you already know where I’m going with this: “Don’t touch the dumpster. Don’t sit on that couch–it’s gross–someone is throwing that away! Don’t pick up that cigarette stub. What are you thinking?” ETC. So, while I was lecturing the kids and waiting for the parade, which was of course late, except for the police motorcycles that sped by every so often at TOP SPEED, my cell phone rang.

It was my dad.

“Margo, how do you get this phone on vibrator?” (Yes, he said vibrator.)

(Before I go on, I should tell you that none of us have smart phones. We still have flip phones with NO texting keyboard, even.)

I told him. “Do you see that little button on the side? You need to click on that, pushing it down. And you will see a screen that shows your phone’s volume going down to VIBRATE.”

“Okay, hold on,” he said. Then I hear some commotion in the background. I put my hand over the phone and yell at my stepson to get away from the dumpster and watch his sister; can’t he see I’m on the phone?

My dad came back on the line. “I don’t see what you are talking about. I’m clicking the button down, and vibrator is not coming on.”

Stepson & daughter

Stepson & daughter

“Dad,” I tried to keep a patient voice. “Are you calling me on the cell phone?”


“You can’t do it while you are talking on the cell phone. I’ll call you back on the home phone.”

So, we hung up. People were now looking at me, and I saw snickering. I made my children sit on the curb and NOT MOVE A MUSCLE.

I called my dad back on the home phone and explained again how to get the phone on VIBRATE. This time, he put the home phone down, commotion going on again, and he came back on the home phone and said, “It worked. I think.”

“Well what does it say? Do you see a little symbol of the phone looking like it is vibrating?”

He was quiet for a bit. And he said, “I’m not sure.”

“Okay, I’ll call you back on the cell phone and let’s see if it vibrates.” We hung up. My children were whining: “I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. When does this start?”

I called my dad back on the cell phone, and he picked up. “It worked!”

Thank God.

Now, stay tuned for when my mom calls and says, “This computer isn’t working right. . . “


  • Very cute EXCEPT I’m the one calling my daughters and saying, “HELP! My whatchamacallit isn’t working.” Okay, so now I now which end of the sandwich I belong to. . .

    • So, Alice, you are on the top of the sandwich–the yummy piece of honey wheat bread. :)

  • Thought I’d give an example. After having my phone for a mere two to three years, I sat next to my daughter at her son’s game. My cell phone alarm sounded to notify me my grandson’s game started in 30 minutes. I held it up and said, “See what I mean. This calendar thingie doesn’t do a bit of good.” After checking it out, she busted out laughing. “Mother, you have every notification scheduled for 9:00 p.m.” I grabbed the phone back and showed her I’d typed in: Clayton game 7:00 p.m. Still cackling, she showed me I needed to change the dial to the correct time. But I’d already told the darned contraption
    what time in my original message. . .

  • I love this story. I was watching this show were a teenager was trying to teach parents what all the texting emotion icons meant it was hysterical…XD :( :) 😛 They were all “It just looks like a bunch of semicolons and parentheses”. So they girl said “everyone tilt your head to the left” they did and with a collective “Ohhhhh” they got it. Hysterical – times are changing (oh wait that happened years ago). You need a smart phone! LOL

    • I know, I need a smart phone. 😉 And I would probably need a teenager to teach me all the texting symbols, too. My parents DO NOT text.

  • Ha! This cracks me up. You got the kid voices spot on :)

    • Hopefully, I didn’t give you nightmares with the kid voices. :) LOL

  • Haha this is fantastic, it really made me lol! Great post!

  • […] I first started blogging about the Sandwich Generation, I shared a story about helping my dad put the cell phone on “vibrator.” Events with my parents (who are in their mid-70s) and technology seem to happen every day. […]

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