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    Wild by Cheryl Strayed

At least when voice mail piles up it doesn’t collect dust.

01 Feb 2010

I’m a recovering pack rat, but sometimes I regress. Tonight I transcribed 14 saved voice mail messages dating back to 2007. It was as much a practical exercise as it was a display of my neurotic compulsion to document everything. I have no space left for voice mails and text messages. My mailbox is always full. I was forced to make room.

But before I purged these 14 messages from my voice mail memory, I decided to post them here. I’ve held onto them for very specific reasons, most of which will be completely meaningless to you:

……

1. “Hey cutie pie, baby pie, sweetums, lovey cakes. I hope this means you’re buying oak tag or poster board. It is 6:30 and I just walked into my house. I’ll be on the road about a quarter-to-seven, so call me back if you like, otherwise I’ll see you when I see you.” ♥

- From Joe when we first started dating. The poster board he’s referring to was used to make two giant Chinese takeout containers for a costume party at a bar in downtown Sarasota.

2. “Hey Heidi. I just got my grades back from my first essay and I got an 85, so I didn’t do as bad as I thought I would. The teacher said I ended the story too abruptly and I had a semi-colon in a place where I should have had a colon, but everything else was great, so thank you very much. I miss the heck outta ya.” ♥

- From my friend Chris, who I worked with at a marble yard during my two-year hiatus from journalism. Not long after I left the marble biz, Chris decided to go to college to pursue an engineering degree. He left me this message after I helped him with an English essay.

3. “Hey, did you hear? My daughter got engaged last night? Gimme a call. Bye.” ♥

- From my mom, the morning after Joe proposed.

4. “Well, Adam and I just got home from Fort Lauderdale and we checked our mail and I got the prettiest little card asking me to be your bridesmaid and I would love to. I would be honored. Happy New Year and I’ll talk to you soon.” ♥

- From Joe’s sister Rosey.

5. “Hey Heid. It’s Ro. It’s Saturday at 4:30 and I just got your Save-The-Date and for some reason every time I get something for your or Sue’s wedding on paper –– something that makes it real –– I start to cry. As I’m saying this now my voice is cracking. I’m going to be home all night, so just call me when you get this. ♥

- From my Ro, who always leaves messages in such a comforting conversational tone. I’m incapable of doing this as I’m always aware of the fact that I’m talking to a machine.

6. “Hey beautiful. It’s me. It’s 3:23 and I’m on my way to Phil’s. I’m going to hang out there until 5:30 and then we’ll go out to dinner, or go to a movie, or for a beer, or maybe play Rummy. I think you deserve a rematch. I hope you’re OK. You seemed so sad for no real reason. I love you and I’ll see you in a little bit.” ♥

- From Joe. I saved this message because I was sad for no real reason and every time I get this way, I replay this message and it helps bring me back to earth.

7. “Yes, Heidi. You have to call me. It’s Holly. I’m gonna have long hair for your wedding. I’m getting hair extensions put in so I’m gonna look like Shakira. Anyway, give me a call back so I can tell you about Brian dating our mother.” ♥

- From my sister Heelya, the (unintentionally) funniest person I know.

8. “Hey. Uh hey. Well, call me. I love you. If I don’t hear from you by 9, I’m gonna order you a Florida Gold from Harvey’s. Otherwise, I’m gonna die. Well that’s not true. I’m actually eating the chicken from Wednesday night. It’s OK. I’m not saying — well, you know … I love you.” ♥

- It was late. I was covering an event in Sarasota and Joe was starving. A Florida Gold is a grilled avocado, tomato, cheese and sprout sammie from Harvey’s, the bar behind our house. It wasn’t until after we purchased our home that we realized Harvey’s 4th Street Grill is a local institution around these parts and that it’s literally a three-minute walk from our back porch. We’re convinced living behind this bar/restaurant increases our property value.

9. “Here comes the bride. All dressed in white. I don’t know the rest of the song. Anyway, just calling. It’s Heelya. One more week and you get married. I’m just calling to let you know that.” ♥

- Thank god Heelya called to remind me.

10. “Hi Heidi. It’s Meg. I realize this is the week before your wedding, so you’re probably really busy and stressed out, or out playing. Who knows? So it’s probably not the greatest time to catch up, but I can’t wait to talk to you –– maybe it’s after the wedding to hear about the honeymoon. I am wondering if you’re going on your honeymoon directly after your wedding? Just curious. Maybe it’s on your blog and I should check it. I’m so sorry I haven’t been able to come to anything –– especially the wedding.  I would have loved LOVED to come. I just hope it all goes perfectly and is gorgeous. I can’t wait to see photos and we should catch up soon.” ♥

- From my friend Meg in Kansas City. Here’s why I saved this message: Joe and I were on our way up to New York for our wedding when I listened to it. We were driving through the mountains in West Virginia, and while I was bummed that Meg and Cory couldn’t make it, I was touched by Meg’s phone call and in general, deliriously happy.

11. “Hey Heidi. It’s Heelya calling. I’m calling to tell you, well I gotta get a root canal and a crown put on my tooth. It’s gonna cost me $800 with insurance. The insurance is covering already half of that. If I didn’t have insurance, it would have cost $2,000, which is crazy. So anyways, I’m calling to see if the name Olivia is what you wanted to name one of your kids. Cuz if it is, then I guess we can’t name our Bullmastiff that, cuz we’re looking at two girls tomorrow and the chances of us getting one is likely, so we have to think of a girl’s name and we like the name Olivia. You know –– Owen and Olivia. We have to think of another “O” name and we want to get a girl so we need to think of an “O” girl name, and I thought maybe Olivia was what you wanted to name your kid. If that’s the case, we won’t name our dog that.” ♥

- I’ve listened to this message at least 10 times. I don’t know which is better: that she starts with the root canal or that she thinks she’s ripping off my unborn daughter’s nonexistent name.

12. “Hello Heidi. I don’t know. Are you sleeping? Anyway, just calling to tell you we’ve got Olive Orchid in the backseat, in a cage that is much too small for her. We’re gonna have to get her a new one. She’s the same coloring as Owen. Very light fur and dark face. OK, gimme a call back when you get a chance and I’ll talk to you about her then.” ♥

- Heelya’s Bullmastiff is 75 lbs. and growing. Her pug Owen is half the size of Cubbie.

13. “You are disgusting. I found your dirty Q-Tip and booger rag in my new garbage can. Gross. Bye.” ♥

- From PK, who refused to put a garbage can in her bathroom because she think trash cans in bathrooms are disgusting. After months of persuading and two trips to IKEA, I convinced her to buy one. As soon as she set it in her bathroom, I blew my nose five times and covered a Q-Tip in liquid foundation (to give the appearance of orange wax) and then promptly bid her farewell for the evening and waited for this call.

14. “Hello Heidi. This is Nanie. So I want to thank you so very much for the birthday package. I was so excited because at the time I had a sweet attack, and when I opened your package I immediately took one of the brownies and ate it. Oh, it was delicious. Thank you so much. It was the nicest gift I’ve ever received. I thank Joe too. Who did all the baking? Wonderful baking. I’ll come to your bakery shop again. Have a good day, honey. And thanks again.” ♥

- From my Nana, who will celebrate her 28th birthday Feb. 3.

PS. Happy 34th birthday to my Opa!

12 Responses to “At least when voice mail piles up it doesn’t collect dust.”

  1. 1
    Rebecca Says:

    This is so cute! Now I have to listen to my voice mails! I love the one your mom left you after you go engaged! The Olivia one is hilarious too. One time, my friend left me a voice mail and ended it with, “oh yeah, how do you preheat a toaster oven?” It was so random!

  2. 2
    Ricci Says:

    i don’t know what to say besides this is great. And i think you should name your daughter Olivia.

  3. 3
    Joe Bardi Says:

    “… I’m actually eating the chicken from Wednesday night. It’s OK. I’m not saying — well, you know … I love you.”

    God, I really wish I knew what the hell I was “not saying” at the end of this message.

    PS: I can do the Harvey’s walk in 90 seconds flat.

  4. 4
    RO Says:

    Hey Love-
    I should leave you a voicemail talking about my new muscles -so that you transcribe it on here and the whole Lance world knows I’m getting buff.
    JK…anyways.. my voice still cracks when I talk about your wedding..unless of course I talk about:
    a. your wedding rod.
    b. Heelya and Brian in that pool.
    c. the look on Joe’s family’s faces when they saw Heelya and Brian in that pool.
    d. that sweet potty picture we took at the school house salon.
    e. the hankerchief
    d. anything else whitty and funny we may have said..or silly pictures we may have taken

  5. 5
    reb Says:

    hah! i can totally hear nana’s voice…

  6. 6
    Delilah Says:

    The curse of the Mac is official!

    I loved this post, I can related and sympathize as a fellow pack-rat. I have shoes boxes dating back to kindergarten filled with every note I recieved in grade school, dried flowers, old candy packaging, stickers, interesting rocks….you name it! By there is a method to the madness, I generally can locate what I am looking for in the mess :) I find having a scrap book helps too for glueing in all those notes, newspaper clippings and transcribing messages…the blog too!

    Oh and FYI Jack wants to name our nonexistant kid Olivia! Ha! I was leaning more toward Simone after the famous french feminist Simone de Beauvoir!

    One more thing- ewwww q-tip?!?!?

    Have a fabulous week miss!

  7. 7
    heidi Says:

    Delilah: Olivia makes me think of the youngest, sassiest little Cosby. Man, she had a mouth on her.

  8. 8
    Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com Says:

    I’m a total voicemail packrat, but it never occurred to me to transcribe them. TRANSCRIBING THE VOICEMESSAGES! BRILLIANT!

    Seriously, where would I be without you?

    Also, your sister is awesome. All of my siblings leave the exact same voicemails: “Hey Sarah, it’s (insert name here). WHY DO YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE IF YOU NEVER PICK IT UP? That is all. Call me back in a month if you check this. Otherwise you’re lame.”

    They never leave cool things about nonexistent baby and girl bullmastiff names.

  9. 9
    Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com Says:

    Now if you’ll excuse me. I NEED TO TRANSCRIBE SOME VOICE MESSAGES.

    Seriously, inspired.

  10. 10
    Angel Says:

    So funny. I never check my voicemail. I tell people that’s why God invented text messages. I mean, if it’s really THAT important you will figure out a way to get in touch with me. I have a message on my phone from 2006 or 2007, I can’t remember which, that is a total wrong number drunk dial at like 3 a.m. from some random dude in my old hometown. He proceeds to bitch my phone out for laughing at him and talking smack to his girlfriend with some girl named Charity, and then proceeds to tell my phone to stay the hell away. No problem. Also, I love it when voice mails from my mom go like this: “Angel? Are you there? It’s your mom….pick up if you are there?” Seriously. She doesn’t get the concept of a voicemail. She still has an answering machine at home. As payback, I leave looooooong rambling messages on her machine when I know she isn’t home.

  11. 11
    http://ceciliacook.pixnet.net/blog Says:

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?

    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution
    and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems
    different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but
    I had to ask!

  12. 12
    heidi Says:

    Cecilia – I’m on Word Press. The template is so old I’m not even sure what it’s called anymore. I customized it with a little help from my web savvy cousin, Word Press guru Reb. You’d be surprised how customizable WP templates are. There are hundreds to choose from. I’m sure you can find something easy-on-the-eyes. Welcome to the blogosphere. It’s a strange and beautiful place.

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