Mom Blows Stack

I have re-read some of my posts, and in many of them I’m sure I appear to be a reasonable, level-headed woman of some intelligence. However, if you knew me in “real life” I’m sure that you, my dear audience, would be amazed at the fierceness with which I attack. I’m very opinionated, make no bones about that. I feel things deeply. Don’t get into the ring with me regarding religion or politics, because I can outlast the best debater.

My daughter, Ms. Mini-Demonic, likes to think of herself as a Girl of Privilege. I would insert the word “woman” but she’s far from that moniker. She hasn’t earned her wings yet. In fact, many days I shake my head and wonder how she will do in college without her parents (meaning ME) nipping at her heels. Granted, I worried the same things with regard to Mr. Demonic Junior, but he was different. He never thought of himself as a Gentleman of Privilege. He still doesn’t think of himself that way. He has the potential for greatness (as do we all) but likes seeing himself as an “everyman.” Ah, but he’s another story.

And now, for my latest tale on the explosive release of my temper: Yesterday, I opened up our company phone bill. With 25 cell phones and more things to do than I have time for, I didn’t get around to it right away when the bill came in the mail. We provide cell phones to the employees who want them, and charge them a nominal fee for them so they can use them for personal calls. This is a great plan, because all calls to anyone with the same service are free, whether they are on our plan or not. If the employees go over on minutes, or call the Cayman Islands, or use the internet or send pictures, I charge for the overage.

Mr. Demonic, Mr. D Junior, Ms. Mini-D and I all have cell phones on this plan. For the obvious reasons, we don’t charge the family for cell phone usage. (Hey. There has to be some perk for living in this hell-hole of a state and working for family.) Mr. Demonic, who spends much of his time in the car, uses his phone all the time. He does it the old fashioned way, sans Bluetooth device, but manages to rack up more minutes than anyone else in the company. Says the earpieces make his head hurt. Mr. D Junior uses a normal amount of talk time and text time. He knows the phone is free to him, and being the frugal college student that he is, respects the fact that he even has a free phone even though he hasn’t worked here in over a year. Most of my calls go to the three of them, or to employees, so most of my calls don’t even count.

On the other hand, Ms. Mini-D has a problem. She, like many of her age, likes the text messaging feature. I have a huge problem with this. For one thing, I don’t like that she’s wasting her time doing this. If she has enough time to send and receive 1,700 texts in a month, she should be working on her homework or her college dorm application. For another thing, all of us on the plan only get 300 texts a month – either coming or going, and unlike the talking minutes, none of the texts are pooled. She always goes over her allotted texts. At fifteen cents a piece, that can add up. Most months, it’s right around $100, which she takes care of with one paycheck.

Last month, her bill came to close to $200. She pleaded innocence, since it was her dastardly ex-boyfriend who was sending her annoying text messages which she refused to open. I forgave part of that, because I knew what was going on, but she still ended up paying $175. She only works here part time, so it took two paychecks before that was settled.

Yesterday, while perusing the bill, when I got to her number, I almost fell off my chair. Her overages came close to $250!

After the top of my head blew off and I regained some composure, I got on the horn to the cell phone company. I was livid! I was ready to turn off the text-messaging feature in all 25 phones, which was an option back when I first signed up for the service. In my rage, I had to be careful. Mr. Demonic had already had a conversation gone wrong regarding his own lost phone and $300 worth of calls to Yemen. See HERE for that wonderful tale of woe. Our contract is up at the end of July, and I didn’t want to do anything to inadvertently extend it.

The lady at the company was sympathetic. She explained that they no longer blanket the account and turn off the text feature as a safety measure, in case the company wanted to contact the person, that might be the only way to do it. She did, however, inform me that I could turn off Ms. Mini-D’s text messaging feature, if I could get a hold of her phone.

“Get a hold of her phone?” Like there was any way I wasn‘t going to get a hold of her phone?

I took copious notes on how to shut off Ms. Mini-D’s text-ability and waited for my little princess to come to work.

She knew I was upset from the rather terse message I left on her voice mail, and didn’t call back during school or right after to see what the extent of the damages were. Boing! Another reason to get my blood boiling again. A “responsible” and mature person would have called me to see what was causing my upset.

So when she flitted in, I asked for her phone nicely. She looked in a panic and didn’t want to give it to me. Then she started in on how she could get another phone with unlimited text messaging. “I’ll pay for it myself, and it will be less than my overages!”

I said, “Go ahead. See if you can get a contract with a part time job and no credit references.”

“Well, you could co-sign…” She looked pale yet hopeful.

“No way!” I could tell the pitch of my voice was gaining in decibels, which is a bad thing to do in a busy office full of people answering phones. “What am I going to do when you leave here this summer? Be stuck with another cell phone plan?” This led me to launch a full-scale oration on responsibility, usage of company equipment, trying to be thrifty in a bad economy, how having a phone was a privilege, not a right and the fact that she text messages more than the other 24 phones combined. While I spoke succinctly and without anger, I’m sure the rest of my employees were cowering in fear.

She reluctantly gave me her phone and I punched in the codes to disable the text feature. I was still not happy. According to the phone company, she was already $92 over in text messages and the billing cycle was only 14 days old.

She’s going to have to kiss some major butt for me to come around.