Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

Now that this blog has made itself comfortable in its new home on Blogger, it seems like a good idea to explain the origins of the title, "Steingruebl World Enterprises." Many of our readers will no doubt be surprised to learn that it is a name steeped in history, tradition and misinformation.

Our story begins in the summer of 1997, when Andy left his collegiate stomping grounds of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago for the suburban splendors of Evanston. Getting phone service installed is always somewhat of an adventure in Chicagoland. No matter how you feel about public utility monopolies, there is simply no predicting who had your phone number before you did. In Andy's case, the previous owner of his new phone number had been the newly defunct Australian Consulate in Evanston. Apparently, the Australians had finally figured out that Evanston was a bizarre location for a diplomatic outpost and upped stakes.

The new routing of the phone number didn't seem to phase many people. Many, many people called for consular advice. Most were nice enough, a few were belligerent. The real issue was that they all kept calling, and calling, and calling.

A full year later, Heather enters the picture. "Don't be scared away by my answering machine message,"Andy says. Heather calls, gets the machine, and hears the following message:

"Hello, you have reached Andy Steingruebl. This is not the Australian Consulate, repeat NOT the Australian Consulate. Messages for the Australian Consulate will not be returned, because this is not the Australian Consulate."

This was actually great conversation fodder for early dates. Eventually, Andy and Heather moved in together and Heather got to field a few of these interesting calls. One man, upon learning that he had not reached the consulate, asked for advice on banking overseas anyway. Another woman thought Heather was just being coy and tried to get actual consular type information out of her by mentioning people she thought should be mutual acquaintances. This sort of thing continued for quite awhile. Finally, after Andy Steingruebl and Heather Schmiedeskamp became "The Steingruebls" they changed their answering machine message to the following:

"Hello, and thank you for calling Steingruebl World Enterprises. We have recently completed our acquisition of the Australian landmass: Australia is now closed. If you wish to leave a message for the Steingruebls, please do so after the beep."

Believe it or not, we STILL got messages for the consulate. In fact, we continued in our consular double life until after we'd been living in Chicago for six months and the phone company had finally stopped telling callers where we could be reached.

So, Steingruebl World Enterprises. We haven't really bought Australia, otherwise we'd have got around to visiting Uncle Peter and Auntie Roni and Cousin Geetha and Auntie Kiwi in neighboring New Zealand. A quick googling reveals that another person has inherited our old phone number, and that at least one website out there still tells people that it's the one for the Australian Consulate in Evanston. Steingruebl World Enterprises is happy to pass the torch.

2 comments:

Peter said...

Personally, I'd have called the phone company and had my phone number changed faster than the proverbial dingo with a baby...

Sorry, I actually just wanted to use the "faster than a dingo with a baby" line.

Peter - President & CEO Schmiedeskorp Enterprises.

Jaya said...

When I moved to Massachusetts, my phone number apparently had previously belonged to some establishment called Twin Cities Towing--odd, since I always thought the Twin Cities were in Minnesota...

I never got any calls for them, though.