Did Ya Know…

A 79₵ can of cat food has the power to cause untold destruction?

A dial-9 line can wreak havoc with a web tutorial?

Well did ya?

I suspected not, except Becca – she knows one of these stories…

Miata Meow

Several years ago, at the beginning of the new century, a co-worker of mine bought a sporty red Mazda Miata. Very cute little car; not terribly expensive but not cheap either.

One day she bought a can of cat food and noticed a dent in the side. She decided to bring it back to the store to get a refund for that 79₵ – well, she’s Scottish, what I can say.  So she put in the Miata (passenger side floor in the front) and promptly forgot about it.  The convertible hood was up and it was summer in in the Southwest. For those that aren’t aware, cars can get up to 120+ degrees sitting in the sun.  This is precisely what happened on that fateful day- she went to her car and the cat food can had EXPLODED.  Rancid pâté is not a feline nor human delight.

She brought the car into the nearest car wash –had it scrubbed…to no avail.  She brought it to body shop to have it detailed and scrubbed…to no avail. She even had it cleaned at the type of place that cleans after hazardous accidents (dead bodies, fires, floods – that kind o’stuff)…but to no avail. The stench of rancid cat food prevailed.  She finally contacted her insurance company and they had to total the car. Why? Because the rancid cat food got it the cooling/heating vents and the bacteria it was producing was a major health hazard.   So ironically, a 79₵ can of cat food can beat up a $20,000 sports car.

Where’s the Emergency, Ma’am?

Part of my job responsibilities is providing tutorials for our company’s website. We are all about data and reporting – and we had just migrated all our clients to a new website with a nifty new interface.  My co-worker and I had worked for weeks brainstorming and executing the migration – we decided it would be a great idea to send everyone an invitation to join in a phone conference for the web tour.  I had been giving web tours for several years, but typically I tour a couple of people at a time and don’t use a conference service; but this was a completely different way of conducting the web tour.  Needless to say, I was very anxious as we could potentially have close to HUNDRED people ‘show up’.

So the big day arrived – we called into the conference number – hit the first glitch with the phone number.  I’m starting to sweat a little.  In the ten minutes remaining before the conference is to start, we frantically get on the phone with the conference provider’s help desk and get things settled down.   At that point, I sent a mass email to everyone that we are starting the conference about 15 minutes after the hour instead of on the hour.  We get things sussed out – or so I thought. I tried dialing in again – another glitch. I’m pretty much a freak at this point – and after working with the help desk again; everything is ready.  I dial in again – have a fat finger error and then dial in again.

Ah! Success…I’m in and my speaker phone is on. I hear the ding of people dialing in…about 50-60 people showed up. I’m completely strung out on adrenaline at this point but I just plow forward and start the tour.   I needed some comic relief at this point so that I could kind of restart myself…  sometimes we get what we wish for  – like the book “The Monkey’s Paw” – ya know the story where the moral is watch what you wish for as it may come true?

Well, as I’m frantically sweating and conducting the web tour with SIXTY PEOPLE I hear a ruckus outside my office…and all of a sudden a knock and the door opens and the POLICE come in.   “Ma’am, is there an emergency here? We had a 911 call from this facility.”   I must have looked like a deer in the headlights – I asked my clients to excuse me because the police were here – I stutter… “Um….I didn’t call 911 – everything is fine.”   The police look around our offices and then leave.  I continue my web tour and after 90 minutes I’m finally done.

I start to think about the 911 call and realized that it was indeed ME who accidently dialed the 911 – we use 9 to dial ‘out’ and then I was making a long distance call to the conference service – so that was where the 1 came from…then I had that fat-finger dialing episode… Oi!

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About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Food, Humor, Random Thoughts, Story, Words, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Did Ya Know…

  1. Katie says:

    Accidentally calling 911 is my one true fear, but I never thought of the fact it could happen at work…. Until now. I’m never dialing out again.

    I also freak out a little when I unlock my phone and accidentally hit “emergency.” I’m paranoid the police are going to show up immediately and shoot me accidentally or something. …That happens in Chicago.

    Anyway! The Hook referred me, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to address my fears.

  2. Diane C says:

    I love any blog that involves librarians because I am a librarian too! I work in a high school and I am certainly a non traditional librarian. I ran an anime convention in my school library for 5 years for all the kids in my city. As for misdials – never had the police show up at my school, but my daughter at age 2 picked up the phone and was playing with it. I took it away and hung it up. Next thing I know the phone is ringing and the police are on the line wanting to know if everything is okay and that police and an ambulance and a fire truck have been dispatched. Yup, my 2 year old had called 911.

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  4. aFrankAngle says:

    I imagine the rancid cat food can destroy any car! YUK!

  5. The Hook says:

    At least you managed to produce a kick-ass post about the whole ugly affair….

  6. Those were two of the BEST stories!! Especially the miata one (I cringed for you for the onference call!). I told my mom the miata one, so she told me the story about the couple who gets divorced, and the man gets remarried. For some reason or another, the husband will be getting the house, so the ex-wife stuffs the curtain rods with shrimp. So they’re rottting inside the curtains, and the smell gets to be so bad, the husband sells the house. But then he and his new wife move with the curtains!
    Ah, the delights of rotting food ^.^

  7. Funny funny funny! Goooooooood stories. Sorry one of them was at your expense!

  8. SocietyRed says:

    A cat food catastrophe and a 911 neurotic knuckle.
    You can make anything funny!

  9. Dialing 911 was a regular occurrence at one of my offices. Not because of anything more hazardous than someone trimming his beard with their office scissors, but because the dial tone didn’t work properly on someone’s phone and they were never sure if they hit the “1”. Happened weekly.
    As for the cat food, I have long suspected the destructive powers of cat food. I mean, that stuff just seems like it is waiting to take on a new life form and rampage all over the place. This is just confirmation.

  10. sacha1nch1 says:

    we have to dial 9 for an outside line at the hotel and then another three 9s for the emergency services; one guy – whom we shall call danny, because that’s his name – on the very same day that he was given this information, had to call the fire brigade and only dialled three 9s and had a major panic because no-one was answering!

  11. rossmurray1 says:

    Welcome back. Great stories.

  12. stephrogers says:

    Glad to hear your FIL is getting better. I love the 911 story, that’s something I would do! Thanks for the laugh on a Monday morning.

  13. Kylie says:

    Funny stories!
    I used to do conference calls a couple times a month and there were almost always phone number/ technology problems. It’s so nerve-wracking. But calling 9-1-1 takes the, well, tuna.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Ewww, cat food car. Ad this is another reason I like that our emergency call is triple 0. Not many mistakes can be made from that combination.

  15. unfetteredbs says:

    Thanks for the chuckles. Impressive web stuff lady– super librarian. (glad to read you FIL is on the mend)

  16. iRuniBreathe says:

    I’ve had the police show up at the Library where I worked because of the fat finger 911 dial in error.
    And the cat food? Ew. Who knew?

  17. Funny stories, Denise. The cat food, yeah who knew? I’ll never leave cat food in the car, EVER! And, your call, well, it’s a great story!!

  18. TAE says:

    My cousin had a buttermilk spill on the passenger seat of her (now former) car…it reeked of *barf* for eternity. At least she didn’t have to total it, though.
    All the best to your FIL from me as well.
    Did you have rain in AZ btw? Another AZ blogger had a couple of days (wherever he is exactly, dunno). I miss rain; me jealous.

  19. happyzinny says:

    It’s funny -as in the movie Brazil- when a tiny little happening leads to bigger and badder things. (Funny when it happens to someone who knows how to make a good story out of it, I mean!)

  20. Carrie Rubin says:

    Great stories! As long as they happened to someone else, that is. My Prius wouldn’t take kindly to cat food smell. 😉

    Thanks for making me smile. 🙂

  21. "HE WHO" says:

    Cat food, huh? Truth is stranger than fiction. Glad you’re back so quickly. I hope your father-in-law is on the mend,

  22. some serious bad luck!! @the second post – hahaha that was funny! it happens! 😉

  23. twindaddy says:

    Haha. Oops!

  24. mairedubhtx says:

    Who knew cat food could be so deadly? And I can totally see how the 9-1-1 call happened. I’ve dialed it in error before. From my own phone. In my purse.

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