It's been a week. It's one thing to be self-employed and have to deal with health insurance. It's a whole other thing to get sick.

This was my week to be sick. I knew it was coming on late last weekend. By Monday noon, I was done for. I tried to do a job Friday afternoon, and I shouldn't have. In between, I could get maybe 30 minutes in, then I'd crash. Not a profitable week. Not a good week.

On top of that, I lost a couple good jobs through my own... oh heck, pick a word. I have an old phone number that I don't use, one that was my original business land line. I had been using a different cell number as my main number since 2005 since I spend so little time in the office. The old number has been ported to a cell number and the message on that phone gives my current number and asks that you call it instead.

I had a call this week from someone who did just that. They called my old number, then called my current number (864/506-4701). During our conversation, they said they left a message on my old number, and I realized I haven't checked that number in months. So I panicked, and checked it. Luckily there were only three messages, going back just a couple weeks. But two of them would have been nice jobs.

I used the old number on so many printed documents in the first four years I was self employed. Apparently some of those documents are still out there, and in spite of our global instant electronic information age, some people still use Rolodexes and address files. Heck, even the Internet stores stuff like old phone numbers forever.

I don't know why I kept the old number active. I guess it was in case I needed another phone line. But as soon as I can, I will have that number disconnected. And it is my fault for not checking that number more frequently. But why would someone listen to the message and not call my new number? Is it because we are so used to phone messages that we don't listen to them? We just wait for the beep?

Craig DeWitt, PhD, PE, is president of RLC Engineering LLC in Clemson, S.C. Craig has a PhD in engineering and specializes in wood, moisture and indoor environments. He has provided inspection and consulting services for over 20 years.