The other night a client called to talk business at 5:15 pm. Now I don’t know about you, but if I were a businessman calling a soon-to-be single, work-at-home mom I probably wouldn’t call at dinnertime. But that’s just me.
I was in the middle of making spaghetti and my kids, plus one, were playing in the house. It took awhile to clear them from the kitchen, but quite soon I was carrying on an adult conversation about my freelance work. That is until I heard water running.
I asked my client to wait while I checked on my kids. Sure enough they had turned the hose on in the middle of a fair-sized patch of dirt on the side of my house. The water had been on long enough to flood an area big enough for an alligator. A giant, mutant alligator.
“Sorry,” I told my client. “My kids just flooded my yard.” Now I’m not sure, but when does proper phone etiquette require you to say, “Is now a bad time?” Apparently not after your children flood your side yard. We continued our adult conversation about my freelance work.
That is until my children invited a stray dog into my house. And not a tiny, yip-yip dog, but a large golden retriever (yes, it too was the size of a giant, mutant alligator).
I asked my client to hold on while I chased said dog through my house and out the front door. This lonely beast, and the four children who had invited it in, all left muddy footprints from one point of entry to the other.
“Sorry,” I told my client. “My kids just let a stray dog into the house.” Now I’m not sure, but is this the point at which proper phone etiquette requires you to say, “Is now a bad time?” Apparently having a big, stray dog romp through your house like the Pied Piper followed by four muddy children does not warrant it. We continued our conversation.
That is, until I realized that only three of the children who were now romping outside with the muddy dog were fully clothed. Yes, people, my youngest son had stripped naked and was running down the sidewalk, a trail of clothes behind him.
I asked my client to wait while I collected my naked child, brought him into the house and planted him in front of the television. “Sorry,” I told my client. “My son was running around outside, naked.”
I waited, again, for that fateful question. Nothin’. At that point we were able to finish our adult conversation about my freelance work without being interrupted by as much as a boiling pot of spaghetti noodles.
Just so you know, I’ve since looked for the manual on phone etiquette that determines at exactly what point you ask, “Is now a bad time?” I couldn’t find it. But I did find one on common sense and it plainly states: “If, during an important phone conversation, your children flood your yard, invite a stray muddy dog into your home and then chase it down the sidewalk naked, you are required to tell your party, ‘Now is not a good time. Can I call you back?’”