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We had a kitchen fire in March of 2011. To treat the smoke, a chemical was used to eliminate the smell. While this was being done, we could not enter the house as the chemical smell was very toxic.

Our answering machine was taking telephone calls asking to leave a message and we would call back. (Thus a problem as we couldn’t enter the house to get the landline message.)

In telling our problem to a fire inspector, he informed us if we pleaded our situation to a cell phone company, we could purchase a cell phone and put our landline number on the cell phone. We did this and Jitterbug let us buy a cell phone with our landline number on the cell phone.

You can only have one cell phone per phone number so to solve that problem, Genie purchased her own cell phone from Jitterbug — thus we each have a cell phone with separate numbers for each.

The junk telephone callers seem to have easy access to landline phone numbers, thus I get a lot of junk calls on my cell phone and Genie gets very few.

Just about every day and sometimes more than once each day, I would get the same recorded message on my cell phone this past April. The message stated I was in trouble with the IRS and to call a certain number to take care of the problem. (The number calling me and the number I was to call back were not always the same.)

After about two weeks of those calls, I called the Albert Lea police. A very nice lady informed me this was happening to a lot of area landline phones. (Remember because of the kitchen fire my cell phone has a landline number.)

What was her solution to any annoying calls? The next time I got the fake IRS call,” hit star 78.” I did just that and a recording said, “This number will not be calling again.” As Jackie Gleason used to say, “Success, how sweet it is.” (thanks, Albert Lea Police Department.)

We have a device to plug into each of our cars. The device tells our car insurance company our driving record for the previous year. Our auto insurance premium billing has a discount for good driving.

The premium billing due in May showed the usual discount on the car Genie drives. The car I drive showed “no” usual discount of about $70. I called the car insurance company to find out why there was no discount. I was told the two main reasons were driving more than eighty miles per hour and hard braking. He asked if I could remember any hard braking events. I could remember two after the billing date — both due to the other vehicle driver failing to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. He agreed to remove both.

Most of my hard braking occurred on our annual trip to the Big Horn Mountains where there is open range. The insurance guy agreed to remove any hard braking events if I reported it shortly after happening. No pictures up close of moose antlers or the rear end of a black angus would be needed — my word was good enough.


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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