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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

All Aboard!

Photo Credit:  Jusben from
Well, I finally boarded the train…the texting train that is.  WHAT?!  Yeppers!  Many…no, wait…ALL of my friends and family will be shocked, stunned, dazed, and confused by this news.  I no longer have my beloved, bejeweled flip-phone, folks.  She will be missed by all.

My new unlimited talk and text plan (that is miraculously cheaper than the non-texting plan I previously had) is not the remarkable part though.  I want to share the story about myself and the fella at the AT&T store.

Yesterday, I gathered up my flip-phone and my husband’s too (I talked him into it after his flip-phone came unhinged for the bazillionth time.).  I took the cardboard boxes that housed our new, smarter phones and cases that I’d ordered online.  There is no need to rehash the countless weeks of research and discussion that preceded the phone or case purchase.  Seriously.  hee hee!

Anyway, I walked into the store with my arms full of boxes and my heart full of hope.  I prayed that whichever “lucky” employee got to help me would be oozing with patience that day.  I had LOTS of questions.  I added my name to the waiting list and crossed my fingers.  After thirty or forty minutes had passed; I heard my name loud and clear.

A young man walked up and said that he’d be assisting me.  I basically handed him everything and with my hands waving in circles, I said, “Is there any possible way you can help me with all of this?”  “Absolutely.  Yes ma’am.  I sure can,” he responded so politely and patiently.  My prayers were answered.

All of you out there know that it’s never easy, right?  To change anything, I mean.  Jobs, insurance, phone service, medical coverage, mortgages, loans, a diaper on a wiggling baby….the list goes on and on.  It’s almost impossible to get a real human on any phone line at all these days.  When I have to call an automated system, I normally just press “0” repeatedly until someone…ANYONE…picks up.  So, I did have that in my favor.  A real, live human being.  Score once!  A seemingly patient one at that.  Score twice!

The first hurdle we faced was that my name was not on the current phone bill.  It was my husband’s name.  And…THAT actually matters…so much so that the poor guy couldn’t help me do anything until my husband called AT&T (not the store) and added me as an authorized user.  Yea.  So!  Guess who has my husband’s phone?  I do.  Guess who is in a pasture working cows somewhere in Timbuktu without a phone?  My husband.

So, the search began, as well as the test of patience for me and my brand-new AT&T friend.  I called my father-in-law’s cell phone first.  He answered.  Easy!  Not quite.  He was on a tractor and could only see my husband across the field.  However, it would take him about twenty minutes to drive over to where my husband was working.  Hmmmm….okay.  That would allow me and my AT&T buddy some additional time to chat more…about phones…and life.

Then, I decided to call my in-laws’ home phone just in case my mother-in-law was there and could get to my husband quicker.  The only person inside their house at the time was my 8-year-old daughter.  Our conversation began:

Me:  “Hey, can you go outside real quick and holler at Daddy and tell him to call me?”
Daughter:  “What?”
Me (with a kind, but louder tone):  “Can you GO OUTSIDE and holler at Daddy and PLEASE tell him to call me?”
Daughter:  “I don’t know where he is.”
Me:  “Just open the door and holler toward the pond and see if he can hear you.”
Daughter (starting to cry):  “I don’t know what you want me to do…(sniff, sniff)”
Me:  “Oh goodness.  Please don’t cry.  Try to gain composure.  I’m at the phone store and I need Daddy to call me as soon as he can.”
Daughter (crying):  “I don’t understaaaaand.”
Me:  “It’s okay.  Never mind.  I will wait for PoPo to find Daddy.”
Daughter:  “Okay!  Bye!”

My husband finally calls me two days later (I’m kidding).  My sweet father-in-law was so very kind to stop what he was doing to drive over to where my husband was.  PoPo gave my husband the message and I eventually made a connection with him.  From their house phone, I asked my husband to call the 1-800 number so I could be added as an authorized user, for goodness sake!  Mercy me!

After twenty minutes, he calls me back and says, “Soooo, because I’m not calling from our home or cell, they are going to text me some kind of code to make sure I’m really me.”  I say, “Seriously?!  You’re kidding me.”  Of course, I have his phone.  So, they text me.  Anyhow, I get the code and call my husband back with it.  Then, he has to call AT&T again with the code (and explain it all to yet another employee since he had to hang-up to call me.)  Uh-huh.  That’s right.  Are ya with me?

Thirty minutes later, my husband calls and says that I should now be added as an authorized user.  All is well…until…I try to get out of the “combined billing” set-up that we’ve had for years.  Brain surgery, I tell ya.  My AT&T bud (who now knows enough about my family to be a part of it), should get Employee of the Year.  He has to do some kind of internal AT&T chat with someone to get me OUT of my old combined billing plan.  I’m not trying to get out of prison, peeps….it’s just combined billing.  Anyway, this takes about forty minutes due to an “increased call volume.”  For realz.

Honestly, I’m starving at this point, so I discreetly pull out some crushed peanut butter crackers one by one from the bottom of my purse and feast like a little mouse.  So I don’t choke on my crackers, my AT&T pal gets me a bottled water and we wait…and chat…about phones.  After another twenty minutes, we get the billing situation figured out.  He helps me transfer all of my numbers to the new phone and familiarizes me with the most important features of the phone…like how to turn it on.  Ha ha!  I’m just joking, people.  No worries.

The wolves are howling and it’s getting dark outside.  IT IS TIME FOR ME TO LEAVE.  I exchange Christmas cards with my AT&T compadre…kidding….and I am G-O-N-E!  I hop…no, wait….I fall…into my car.  I slump over the steering wheel.  I am mentally drained.  I can’t be sure that this texting train will be all it’s cracked up to be, but I’m all aboard now.

You know what, though?  All this talk about the texting train reminds me of a thought-provoking e-mail my Uncle Erol sent me about a train:

At birth, we board the train and meet our parents.  We believe they will always travel right by our side.  As time goes by, other people will board the train and they will be significant to us, i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.  However, at some station, our parents will step down from the train, leaving us to journey without them.

Some of the passengers will come and some will go.  We may or may not even notice their vacant seats when they leave.  Some vacant seats, however, will never be forgotten.  The train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, and goodbyes.

Success consists of having a good relationship with the passengers, requiring that we give the best of ourselves.  The mystery to everyone is that we do not know at which station we ourselves will step down.  So, we must love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.  It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty; we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.  Remember to give lots of love and always thank God for the train ride.

When I think about life being like a train ride; I want to be sure that we all take the time to look out the window as well.  When we live a reflective life, we are attentive, receptive, and responsive to what God is doing in us, through us, and around us.  As we reflect, we can find our everyday life infused with inspiration.

Has God ever given you exactly what you needed or prayed for?  Has He given you more?  Has God ever given you something or someone you didn’t even know you needed?  Yes, yes, or yes?

This week, I want to thank God for the great lesson in patience at the AT&T store.  I also want to share some INCREDIBLY AMAZING news with you today.  In looking around my train, there are some pretty unbelievable prayer warriors on board AND each of them has been fervently and unceasingly praying for a miracle since October.  I have the pleasure of announcing that my precious goddaughter, Sydney, received a crystal-clear scan yesterday and is now CANCER-FREE!  Thank you, Lord, and thank you, prayer warriors!  Sydney Strong!

I’m blessed and honored that each of you are passengers on my train!  Choo-choo!  I thank God for you!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  And, thank you for your patience with my summer writing schedule…