My answering machine messages from my 79-year-old mother while I was gone for a few hours last weekend:
[answering machine beep]
Darla? Darla? Darla? Darla?
Darla! Darla! Darla! Darla!
Gah! Are you there? DARLA! I know you’re there! Oh! God! There it is! Do you hear it? That beeping? It’s the freakin smoke alarm! I think it’s the one downstairs. Or it’s the one upstairs. I can’t tell. But it’s driving me out of my freakin mind. Oh! There it goes again! Good god almighty–
Can you hear me? CAN YOU HEAR ME! DARLA! God! Are you exercising again? You can’t hear me? Helllooooo? HELLO? Why are you always exercising?
[mutters under breath]
…it’s like she’s obsessed with exercise…always when I call…every single day…always with the exercise and the working out…it’s like an obsession, she just never stops. God!
Darla! I know you’re not there but when you come home I need you! Did you hear me? I NEED YOU! Darla! The smoke alarm is going off again! It might be the batteries! But I think it’s your father! He’s giving me a sign!
(my father passed away 20 years ago) Oh, I just know it’s him!
[smoke alarm chirps once in the distance]
Gah! Do you hear that? He’s driving me crazy!
[puts hand over phone and yells]
I get it, Ralph! I know it’s you! You can stop with the smoke alarm now!
[normal voice] Wait a minute, maybe it’s my rice cakes… Oh jeezum crow! I put them in the toaster because I was gonna make a hamburger… you know I can’t have bread… you really should try it, Darla, it’s– OH GOOD LORD!
Nope, not my rice cakes. Wouldn’t you know it, I never even put them in the damn toaster.
[smoke alarm beeps]
AHHH! The beeping! Again with the beeping! Ralph! Is that you, Ralph? I hear you! I know you’re here!
[covers phone and yells]
Quit bugging me!
[smoke alarm beeps]
That is IT! I have had enough!
[phone slams onto table]
[chair drags across floor]
[loud grunts and groans]
[crunching noise as plastic hits floor]
God! Oof! Oh! Finally! Jeezum crow!
[picks up phone] Darla? Darla, are you listening?! Can you pick me up a new smoke alarm? And some batteries? Or just take me to the pharmacy? I’ve got a headache now and I’m outta aspirin. Oh and also the bank and Food City cuz I need some more rice cakes. When I was smashing the smoke alarm they burnt to a crisp in the toaster.
Like this post? Want another healthy dose of dear ol’ Ma? You may also enjoy:
I’m So Glad We Had This Talk, Mom
I’m So Glad We Had This Talk Again, Mom
129 thoughts on “I’m So Sorry I Missed Your Call, Mom”
Oh that’s too funny.
My mom is an endless source of entertainment for me.
It stands to reason that since your Dad occasionally gives you signs that he’s capable of giving them to your Mom too. I think he was trying to tell her to change the batteries…or maybe he was just bugging her.
My mom is at the point in her life where she thinks EVERYthing’s a sign from my dad. Or maybe she just wanted to bug me. Isn’t that the true definition of a mom?
parents and children take turns bugging each other at various points in life.
That’s hilarious. Also a little worrying… !
I know. I live right next door to her though. And her smoke alarm is fixed. Oh, and I bought her some more rice cakes.
That’s so funny! I love it
She is funny and she doesn’t even know it. Much like my kids!
Oh, your mother is so funny. I think it is probably comforting, in a strange way, that she believes your father is giving her signs that drive her crazy. On a side note, you may be the only person I know who still has an answering machine…
Yep, ’tis true. I refuse to get a smart phone. I will be clutching my dear sweet landline close to my heart when I die, no doubt.
At least you know where the darned thing is, I guess. I get into trouble when my kids call me and I haven’t a clue where my “smart” phone is. It isn’t smart enough to stay within sight, now, is it?
Haha! Yeah, smart my ass. I have to admit there’s something exciting about coming home and seeing that little red button flashing, Katy.
Oh man, too funny. Your mom seems like a hoot. 🙂
She is a character, Lily. And by character, I mean someone who’s funny but bordering on a little annoying.
I take it your mom doesn’t read your blog……?
My mom doesn’t know how to use her phone half the time.
Omigosh. That is hyperbole, right? This didn’t REALLY happen. Dar, why aren’t you writing a book? For real. Or can you just finish mine?
All TRUE, Renee. I wish I could say she didn’t leave these messages. I’m not that good at writing fiction.
You have an answering machine! I do too. It’s built into a phone that has a cord on it. I think I love you now.
Love your mom posts. Does she know you use her to entertain your blog buds? Some seriously funny stuff, Darla. My mom is quite boring by comparison.
I do have a cordless phone that sits in the answering machine base. We bought it about 6 years ago. I’m not sure they even make them now.
My mom has no clue I EVER talk about her on here. She still doesn’t grasp what the internet is at all.
Oh, my! (Said in he manner of George Takei, natch)
I feel like I might be frustrated getting messages like this myself (initially), but it’s a hoot reading them here and imagining you hearing them!
Heehee! I love your Geoge Takei, you sound just like him.
Apparently your Dad occasionally gives me signs through my smoke detectors as well. Great post!
haha! Yep, my late dad seems to get around.
are you showing any signs of repeating learned behaviors? 🙂 At times I catch myself saying something my Mom would say. I refuse to chirp “finer than frog hair!” when asked how I am, but I know it’s only a matter of time.
PS. Hope you treat yourself often for being an amazing caretaker!
Hmm…what are you saying here? that I’ll turn into my MOTHER?!! Dear god! Yes! I’ve no doubt I will. I can already hear the voice messages I’ll be leaving on my kids’ smart phone in the future.
HA! I’m sorry, but I simply cannot stand by and let someone of any age eat a hamburger on a TOASTED RICE CAKE? How does that even WORK? That’s like trying to eat egg salad sandwiched between graham crackers. What am I missing here?
I would love to hear the conversation of you trying to explain a “blog” to your mom.
I second that!
(On both points, actually)
JD, your comment made me bust a gut. I completely agree with you. First of all, rice cakes shouldn’t even be considered a food category. Then to actually try to TOAST them? And use them as a bread replacement??!! My mom has gone mad, I tell ya.
Hahahahahaha!!!!! I love your mama posts! When reality takes a crowbar to fiction, you know? Seriously–you can’t make it any funnier!! Did you take her to the pharmacy?
I know, between her and the stuff my daughter says to me every day, I should never be without blog fodder, El.
And yes, I did take her to the pharmacy, bank, Food City, etc. etc….
Too funny! I hope you live close. I don’t, but my brothers do. They keep an eye on her and make sure everything is okay.
Oh, I live as close to her as a person can be. We share a split-ranch duplex house, she’s on one side and we’re on the other.
Jeezum Crow! HA HA HA !
and just how hard/crunchy ARE rice cakes after they’ve been in the toaster?
Hilarious and alarming all in one … do you see any of her in your actions? I hear my Mom in my sisters and I all the time … a little too much, really.
I know, you’d think that rice cakes would be sufficiently crunchy in their natural state. Aren’t they normally used as packing material?
I do see a bit of her in myself and it scares the crap outta me. But not as much as it scares my husband.
Hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. I sure wish I could get my mom back and have her drive me crazy again. At the time it drove me nuts, now I’m nuts and want to do it all over again 🙂
Oh, sorry about your mom. I know there will come a time soon when I miss the way she drove me up a wall like only moms can do. But I will make sure I pass on this tradition to my own kids one day.
Good for you. I’m being as much of a PITA to my daughter as I possibly can. LOL
Just remember, we will all someday be calling our kids like this…..don’t laugh tooooo hard at her! But I don’t ever see myself as getting messages from my dead husband. He rarely leaves me messages now, and he is very much alive.
Ha! Yeah, I’m with you on that one. I think I’d better make sure my husband knows not to use the smoke alarm as his main means of communicating once he’s gone though, just in case.
Oh! She’s so funny… Something my mom would do…
Y’know, I have to say I’m relieved there are other moms out there like her, I wasn’t too sure.
Is that a photo of your mom snapped surreptitiously? If not, that has to be next. I need a face to go with those words! (:
I really should dig up a photo of her and post it on here. I’ll do that for my next Mom post!
The best thing about this is the moment I realized I could turn her messages into a blog post.
Funny, now get off the computer and go get your mom! lol
Oh, I did. I take her out almost every day on errands. She eats a lot of rice cakes.
You’re a good daughter, Darla.
Obviously, this is hysterical. But you’ve already been told that.
What I find fantastic is the irony of her compaining about your “obsessive” exercising, as she had just completed her 12th phone call to you in about the same amount of minutes. Guess I know where that obsessive gene comes from. 😉
And I can just see you sitting in front of your answering machine, playing back your mom’s messages, and transcribing them into WordPress, all “this week’s post . . . done!” 🙂
Misty, she just called me at 8 am this morning to tell me what she’s having for dinner tonight. Yep. (not rice cakes, surprisingly)
Laughing at my desk at work! I’m so glad this was a funny one instead of a sad one…wasn’t sure by the title when I got this in my e-mail inbox 🙂
Ooh, I didn’t think about that. My title does read in a serious tone, and then it’s about a smoke alarm going off…D’oh! Guess I didn’t realize this post could have been miscontrued as something else entirely until you got to the ending. Well, I’m glad you laughed, that was my main goal!
This broke me up! My mother thought that phones only worked one way. From her sons to her and not the other way around.
Exactly. So relieved to know others have experienced this elderly mother phenomenon.
Thank you for the laugh. That was truly funny. And I am glad I don’t have to deal with any of it anymore. But then again, my mom wasn’t nearly as funny.
My mom is overall a gruff, straight to the point person, Sue. But I find it funny. Much later on.
Love this post, I can just picture you standing in front of the answering machine, smiling, and rolling your eyes at the same time. 😀
Yeah, mostly I have this blank look on my face. Guess I’m used to it?
Oh my God, your mom is awesome.
I hope her awesomeness doesn’t rub off on me too much, though, for my own kids’ sakes.
This cannot possibly all be true. Jeezum Crow.
Jeezum crow! It be true, all right. There were a few other messages mixed in there that I didn’t bother trying to remember enough to write them down.
How where you able to write this when you’re always exercising?
(huffing and puffing)
(gasping) What? (choking)
(wiping sweat from my brow)
Last night on Dateline they showed Al Roker on a treadmill, working away at a treadmill desk…Jeezum Crow! I get on-line to avoid the treadmill, not to accompany it. (Sorry, accompany is not the word I want, but I can’t think of the one I’m looking for. Dammit).
Al Roker? At a treadmill desk? Is there a video clip of this gem somewhere? not so I can buy one but so I can get my daily guffaw in.
Here it is…the clip is long, but the treadmill desk is at about 5:50…
Bwah ha ha haaaaaaa!
I need to get one of those. Then my blogging would be much more productive!
I actually BLOG on a treadmill — mostly I try to read other blogs and spend a whole lot of time trying to move the cursor into that damn little “LIKE” box. It’s great exercise. Of course I walk rather slowly while I’m commenting.
Elyse, you are an inspiration. i’ve tried to blog on my treadmill but I can barely manage to keep myself upright so I try to concentrate on balance more than anything. However, I do get a lot of my blog post ideas while working out. So all that exercise is good for something.
Have you ever thought about doing stand-up? I just now picked myself up off the floor.
Why yes, I have! Sadly, my fear of people has pretty much sunk that dream.
I heard about someone who published a book by compiling all of the answering machine messages from her mother. Sounds like you have a gold mine there, Darla.
Well, now! I think I’ve hit on my new career, Jackie! wahoooo!
that is good stuff!! my father leaves similar messages, having whole conversations with himself (and me, sort of) but he’s more depressing and lot less funny, even if it’s unintentional. love it. 🙂
My mom is the queen of chatter. She’s broken a few world records in her time:
*the longest anyone’s ever talked without pausing to breathe
*the most interruptions in a single conversation
*the uncanny ability to interrupt herself repeatedly
So now that I’ve read this post and the other two you thought I might enjoy (which I did) I want to see an actual photo of your Ma.
So happy you did actually enjoy the other two posts! Is this because your mom isn’t like mine? I’ve seen her photo today, I know she’s way hipper and less cranky than mine.
Ha! I just want to put a face with all this comedy! (And my mom is way hipper than I am!)
ha ha ha ha — I love how people talk to our answering machine– I have one friend who says–before she hangs up like she does not know the machine is on–“they never answer their phone, don’t know why I call….”
I know, don’t you love the extra grumbling people do at the end while they’re hanging up the phone? like we can’t hear them?
it is so funny–like I really want to call them back after hearing their complaining
Yeah “Ooh! I can’t WAIT to call you right back so you can bitch at me in person!”
Swear to god our mothers are twins separated at birth, even though we’re different ethnicities… sigh….
Ooh! We should get them together. They could go out to lunch and talk each other’s ears off and split a rice cake.
And also: I am so sorry. I feel for you, I do.
And they tell ME “the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree”! 😉
Hey! I don’t get what you mean by that,John! And what are you doing later? Can you take me to the pharmacy? And the bank? and Food City? John? JOHN? JOHN!!! ARE YOU THERE JOHN??!!
(boo Baa BEEP) I’m sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up, and try again. Message Seven Four Two. (Click.) 😉
I can’t get “jeezum crow” out of my head. Maybe you should help your mom patent that catchy phrase. She sounds adorable. Burnt rice cakes and all!
Well…she is adorable. If you find cranky, outspoken old ladies and nonstop chatter adorable. And burnt rice cakes do have a certain aroma that lingers for months afterward. But unfortunately, ‘jeezum crow’ is an actual phrase from the New England dialect, you can google it. So no hope of any fame and fortune for me.
Just googled it. And your right! Most everyone living in Maine or New England has heard of this mild expletive. No wonder it was unfamiliar to a girl from the West Coast! Perhaps I could start a new trend.
Oh! DO it. Why, we could make this phrase the new ‘get realz’ or ‘totes, yo’. My evil plan to dominate the world with Jeezum Crow has now entered the second phase!
That is hilarious. It brings to mind a conversation with my brother I had recently. His words : “When I am old, please remind me not to drink and dial my kids. Ever.”
Truer words were never spoken! A lesson for us all.
I’m glad the burnt rice cakes didn’t cause a fire. That would have been difficult to explain to the fire department (“well, you see, I didn’t notice the smoke because I was too busy concentrating on destroying the smoke detector”).
Thank god her place is equipped with a smoke detector in every room and hallway. She’s got maybe 10 she can take turns smashing to bits.
Jeezum crow. Your mom’s a comic genius. Something tells me she’s not trying 🙂
The less she tries, the funnier I find her, Tori.
This is fabulous. She sounds like my grandma before we got her to move in with us. Thanks for sharing.
Your blog titles fits this post perfectly. And thank you for reading.
Your Mom needs to meet my Dad, Darla. Match made in heaven, or hell. Yeah, probably hell. =)
Maybe the two of them together would be heaven for us? Less messages on our answering machines.
While you were “gone” for a few hours, eh? Is that what they’re calling “hiding behind the curtains refusing to pick up the phone” nowadays? Seriously?
Oh, you’re good. How did you know that? seriously?
She sounds as entertainingly batty as my mom, and that’s hard to do 🙂
I have to give our moms props. It is challenging to be simultaneously batty, annoying and amusing.
Oh Darla, your mom is funny. By the way, I still have a land line. I see no reason to let go of it. It is mine.
Yay! Someone else who has a landline! We’ve got to stick together in our fight against cell phones, Val.
Hilarious! From one Mainer to another glad to find your blog. (I’m from fake Maine, however and it’s only on the weekends, so I guess I’m not really a Mainer….)
Welcome to the ‘real’ Maine! Although, this is the time of year I’d rather be a fake Mainer.
At least you have an actual answering machine, so it’s possible that you really do hear her while she’s leaving the message. We have voicemail, but some of the older relatives still do that “Are you there? Hello? Hello? Pick up!” thing, thinking we’re listening.
Great post, Darla. I’m looking forward to another year of your amazing writing.
I’ve no doubt my mom would call my voice mail on my cell and do the same thing. “I know you can hear me!”
I screen all my calls, Darla, unless the phone number IDs someone I know. Had I gotten a call like this though, I’d be too busy cracking up laughing to recover in time to pick up. Great post, Darla.
Shh…don’t tell anyone this but…I screen my calls all the time. The problem I have with my mom is, I live right next door so she KNOWS I’m home.
amazing. simply amazing.
My mother-in-law calls whenever I am cooking dinner, which I do more or less at the same time every night. Every single night. She thinks it is hilarious. Tonight I realized that, at 86, before too long I’m going to miss those calls.
So true. I know there will come a time soon when I miss her calls about smoke alarms and rice cakes.
Until then, though, it will drive us crazy. I want to strangle her every time.
You too? I feel better now!
I wish my mom would leave me messages like that. She hates talking to a machine! 😉
Now I know how to call when my smoke alarm starts beeping.
I LOVE all the posts about your mom. Every single word is relished. 🙂
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