Sandoval Signpost

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My Wife and Times

Daniel Will Harris

The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. —Ed].


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By Daniel Will Harris

I have five phone lines. I know, it sounds insane at first—especially since up until a few years ago I'd only ever had one. But my wife got tired of the phone being tied up all the time because I was on the web.

I didn't mind it—I liked that the phone wasn't ringing. And I didn't think that she'd mind because she's rarely eager to answer the phone, much less talk into it. But you know how these things go. Within days of her pronouncement, we had another phone line. Now I could be on the web all day, and we could still talk on the phone.

That was all fine and good until she got a modem. Now we basically had two modem lines, and no line for talking. You can see what's coming.

My wife always thinks ahead. I think that women, in general, are more forward-thinking than men. If men were smart they'd just get out of their way, stay home and raise the kids, and let the women rule the world.

My wife doesn't disagree with this. In fact, she always tells me if I just go along with whatever she wants, then I'm freed of all responsibility. If something doesn't turn out right, then it was her decision and she can't blame me. (I can't blame her, either, but that's another story.) To me, giving up most decision-making at home is certainly worth giving up all possible spousal blame.

So she proclaims that we don't just need a third line, we need a third and fourth line. I'm wondering if this isn't excessive, and feel a little guilty because now I see why the phone companies keep adding all these new area codes. But I don't want to be responsible if we need a fourth at a later date, so I agree.

Of course, our house wasn't wired for four lines. So the phone installer comes out, crawls around under the house, drills, has to run lines through the garage, where he manages to get them wound into the garage door spring and breaks it so we can't open the garage door for three days and it costs $600 to fix, and then, like magic, we have four lines!

The fifth line was my idea. I wanted a cell phone. People think I'm at the leading edge of technology, and in many ways I am, but teenage girls were walking down the street chatting on HelloKitty cell phones while I was still searching for pay phones.

Of course, my wife had ideas about this, too—so we had to get one of those Lt. Uhura-like earpiece things so that we didn't hold the cell phone too close to our heads. Still, this made sense to me, since I can imagine that all the radio waves coming out of a cell phone aren't that much different than the radio waves inside a microwave oven and I don't like the idea of a half-baked brain.

I think five phone lines will be enough for the two of us for some time. But I haven't asked my wife, and she very well may have different ideas.

As so often happens, one thing leads to another, and I realized I needed another answering machine. At first I resisted. The last answering machine I bought was expensive and complicated with a big glowing red HAL9000-like button (really). Listening to messages remotely was so complicated I never could remember them. The instruction book said, "*Simply* press *1234 then wait for a beep, then press *011 then wait for another beep, then press *022 then #." Why, that's simplicity itself!

To avoid this I considered getting the phone company's voice mail service. But the fine print said it cost $20 to set up, plus $11 a month, and while I'm bad at math, I'm not so bad as to miss that it would cost $152 the first year.

So I looked on the web and found a new Casio TA-114 all-digital answering machine with more features than I'd ever seen (including a fun talking clock and a stylish semi-transparent blue case) for a big 20 bucks. It's very easy to use, too, because it tells me what to do. Just what I need, an appliance that tells me what to do—but hey, I enjoy that.

OK, so maybe I'm too easily amused. But little things like cheap, smart answering machines give me hope for the future. When computers cost $20 and tell you what to do, we'll be better off—as long as they're not too smart. That, of course, is best left to a spouse.

dwh sig


My Wife and Times Cover
If you would like to read more fabulous stories, you need Daniel Will Harris’s My Wife and Times. The 148 page book contains stories that are conveniently short, perfect for bedtime reading, or between airport friskings. Price: $15 postpaid and is available for purchase online at or on





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