Apparently we have been incommunicado for quite a while. Well, perhaps not completely. Let's just say we've been near communicado.
It all unfolded slowly. Shops that had merchandise on hold for us called to let us know it was in. And when we finally showed up weeks later, they asked if we hadn't received their messages. We figured they had the wrong phone number, but it was right when we checked. Oh well, one of the mysteries of life that isn't worth solving.
Then we started getting narky e-mails and SMS messages from friends and family. Why didn't we answer their calls? What calls? was our response, but you know how lame that sounds as an excuse. I think we would have been better off claiming the dog ate our answering machine.
Then LK got a testy note from Caroline wondering why we were ignoring all her calls. Since Caroline has one of the sunnier dispositions (except when it comes to the weather and real sun), this set Linda to worrying that something was wrong with the system.
I, on the other hand, am pretty much like the guy in the cheap sci-fi films who ignores all the signs foreshadowing the monster's arrival on screen only to become a late night snack by the second reel. Surely it was more easily explained by saying we were dealing with people who had not quite mastered the art of leaving a voicemail message. I pooh-poohed the complaints, but I did agree to check the phones.
Neither of our mobiles had any messages, nor any record of receiving calls so I assumed we could leave them. The home phone had some old messages, so it seemed obvious that the answering machine was still working. No problems I could find, and my final test was to ring the home phone from the mobile.
Instead of the answering machine kicking in, the unanswered call went to MessageBank, the phone company's automated answering system. Well, that would explain things. I had no memory of ever ordering it, and cannot imagine why I would have since I prefer our own answering machine. Nonetheless, Telstra had it up and running, apparently since last August when we installed the home phone.
Since the system doesn't let you know you have messages waiting, we - well - we didn't know we had messages waiting. And when I tried to listen to them yesterday, it turns out I didn't have a password, so I still don't know how many messages were waiting or what their contents were.
In part that's because, at $6 a month, I cancelled the MessageBank service yesterday. And then found out that once it was cancelled all our messages were gone forever.
So, to make a long story a tad shorter, if anyone out there has left any messages on our home phone in the past 7 or 8 months, we may have been ignorant of your call but we weren't ignoring you. Now I just have to come up with an equally good excuse for not answering e-mails promptly.