I’m So Sorry I Missed Your Call, Mom


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

  1. 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.

  2. 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…

      1. 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?

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. Deborah the Closet Monster

    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!

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

  7. Running from Hell with El

    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?

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. cydmadsen

    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 🙂

    1. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!” 🙂

    1. 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!

      1. 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).

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

  12. 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. 🙂

    1. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  13. winsomebella

    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.”

  14. 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”).

  15. 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?

  16. wcdameron

    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….)

  17. 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.

  18. Perfect, Darla.

    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.

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