Okay, some of you have read about my “former” boss.  Yes, she finally quit and went on her own merry way.  In her wake, I have a living room full of office equipment, files, and miscellaneous crap that she had “acquired”.  You see, our office was in her home.  Yes, a “home office” in which half the stuff was hers, but she was “loaning it to the company” and half of it was the company’s and she was borrowing it.

She refused to let me do any packing (because I might “accidentally pack something that is” hers.  Wonder how that would happen when her stuff is so closely embedded in the office stuff.  So, I had to wait for her to pack it all up.  She did about half, and left it on her porch.  Then a week later, she gratiously gave me a date and time to get the electronic portions: Thursday at 9am (I was told Tuesday night at 11pm, plenty of time to find some strong people who have nothing better to do on a Thursday monring (like work, perhaps?)  She stood there and glared as we packed up the remains, ticked because she would be “late to work”. 

So, let’s talk about the cell phone.  Since the office was in her home, the landline was wired to her house.  However, she never contacted the phone company to give me permission on the account, so I can’t move the landline.  Plus, since we don’t have a permanent office, where would I move it to?  She didn’t give me any instruction on the phone, the Palm Pilot or anything else she was giving us.  Lucky I am a geek and was the one who set most of it up (except the cell phone.  That was in place before me.)  She didn’t bother to leave me with the Voice Mail password.  Luckily, I know all her passwords, and her idea of security, so I guessed her birthdate – and got into Voice Mail. 

Since we now have no office (I am not ready to give up my living room permanently, especially since the board isn’t sure I will be promoted to her old job), and the landline is being forwarded to the cell phone; so is the fax line, and the 800 number.  I get to carry it around with me in one holster and my regular cell in the other.  I look like an old west cowboy with a phone on each hip. 

So anyway, when it rings, I had no idea whether it is a fax or not.  The screen doesn’t indicate that.  I also had no idea how to retrieve a fax should it end up on the cell phone.  Being a geek, I grudgingly got out the phone manual.  Surely, if all else fails, read the “fine” manual; the answer will be in there.  Well, as it turns out, the manual doesn’t even mention the possibility of receiving faxes on the cell phone.  The only place I can find any reference to it is in the “Settings” where it will allow me to “Accept Faxes Always” (where it also mentions that no inbound voice calls will then be accepted.) 

Well, since the manual was no help, I tried the website for the phone.  No joy.  In a last ditch attempt at sanity, I stopped at the cell phone store.  Surely their well-trained staff will know how to help me.  I won’t mention any names, but it rhymes with Derizon.  I got a lovely salesperson, who had no clue what I was talking about.  She didn’t know that any of their phones – or plans – had a faxing option.  She played around in the Voice Mail, but couldn’t get it to work.  I suggested that she send me a fax, and then maybe something new would turn up in the Voice Mail menu.  Lo and behold, she DID have a fax machine in the store, but had no idea what to fax. 

“Just write ‘Hello’ on a sheet of paper and shove that through, ” I suggested, realizing that my 6-year old was about to the limit of her patience, and mine was close to its end as well. So she faxed me.  And the phone rang and rang and rang; eventually, it stopped and several minutes later, it indicated I had a new voice mail message.  Finally, some joy, or so I thought.  I called Voice Mail, and it did indeed indicate I had a new fax … and who it was from … and the time it came in …  and the number of pages (in the slowest computer generated quasi-female voice I have EVER heard.)  Then it sweetly asked me if I wanted it to be printed to my “primary” fax number, press 1; or an alternate fax number, press 2.  [Expletive].  I don’t know what my primary fax number is.  It is probably still the office fax number which, did I mention, is being forwarded to the cell phone? 

So I ask the salescow, “How do I determine my primary fax number?”  “Gee, I don’t know. Maybe it is set up in Voice Mail.”  “Well, when you were messing around in Voice Mail, did you see or hear anything that indicated you could set a primary fax number?”, I prompted.  “Well, no, I didn’t.”  “Okay, could it be in my V-Card listing?” I asked, really feeling that this cow needed to go chew some cud and send a real salesperson out.  “I guess we could change it and see what happens,” she suggested.  “Well, you see,” I explain, “my fax machine is 6 miles from here, so how will I know if it works when I change the V-Card number, other than driving home, and then coming back and standing in line again?”  “Gee, I don’t know.”  “Well, does your technical support person know?  Maybe we need to call him/her?”

Turns out, their technical support didn’t really know either.  He suggested I just send the fax to the “alternate” number.  “Okay, so what ‘alternate’ number should I use,” I asked, “that I can actually VERIFY without leaving the store….<pause> CAN I FAX IT HERE?”  “Oh, yeah, sure.  I never would have thought of that.”  <under my breath> Yeah I know.</under my breath>.  She gives me the store fax number, and when prompted to enter the 10 digit alternate fax number followed by a # sign, I enter it and hold my breath…”This number is not recognized as a valid number.”

At this point, I give up, tell the phone my alternate number is my home fax number, and hope to God that there is a fax sitting there when I get home.  As I am gathering my stuff to leave, the salescow calls out, “That phone is pretty old.  Your plan would probably cover a brand new one. <grin>”  Yeah, I can see that getting a new phone, with MORE features, from THIS salescow, would be the highlight of my week.  I think I need a much bigger cup of coffee before I take that on. 

Oh, and the fax was there when I got home.