Thursday, November 19, 2009

Technology is helping me again

I really wish it would stop doing that.

It’s the phone this time.

Actually it has been the phone for almost two years now but it comes in waves. Sometimes all those wonderful ‘features’ are the problem.

When I grew up (oh here she goes…) in the 70’s, a phone was physically attached to the wall. Possibly if there was a second phone in the house it was ‘portable’ in the sense that you could carry it into another room and plug it into a phone jack there (assuming there was a phone jack there and probably there was not) and then use it, but you were still tethered in place by a cord. Maybe, if you parents really loved you, you might have had a princess phone in your room, which was sleeker and lighter & usually had a longer cord so you could roll around on your canopy bed and hang upside down off the side while talking to your best friend about what this guy said to this girl about this other girl (we didn’t have BFFs back in the day. We had to use whole words). If they really really loved you they might have had a second line put in JUST FOR YOU! My parents didn’t love me that much (no phone in my room, no canopy bed and certainly no second line) so I had to stand in the kitchen, where the phone was mounted, when I was on the phone. Eventually a long cord for the handset was purchased and I could sit on the floor in the hall. But due to the house layout everyone could here exactly what I was saying.

It was hell.

But no one in my family ever stood in the kitchen listening to a vague distant ringing while shouting “Where the hell is the phone?!?!” and sometimes I sorta miss knowing exactly where the phone is. Today for example.

We have 2 portable phones. We got them because it would be convenient to be able to wander around the house while talking, which it is. And there is no jack in the kitchen or the playroom and it' would be handy to be able to just take the handset with us so we don’t have to keep getting up and going to the other end of the house when the phone rings. Which it is. But 75% of the time we leave the phone where ever we were when we finished speaking so we still have to get up and go get it – assuming we can find it. It only rings 4 times before the answering machine comes on and sometimes that is not enough ringing to find even one handset. Especially when both of them are later discovered in the towel closet & no one can remember even being in the towel closet.

One of the helpful features of our portable phone set is that it scan a couple of bands for the best frequency when you answer the phone. One of those frequencies is the one the wireless router uses. So about half the time if you answer the phone you cut off the internet. There is no way to tell it to stop doing this. You can have it rescan once you realize it has cut off the router but there is no way of preventing it.

The problem we hadn’t foreseen at all is one of power. There is no battery back up. The phone unit runs on electricity so if the power goes out, so does the phone. Meaning I can’t call the electric company to tell them I have no power. We only get cell signal in one corner of the house where the cell booster lives and it runs on electricity. So in order to call the electric company I have to go outside in whatever bad weather is happening and stand on the highest ground I can find and hope for a bar on my cell. Also due to a recent weird wiring issue the phone base had to be plugged into the jack in the living room instead of our bedroom. The nearest electrical outlet is one that is on the switch. So we can never turn the lights off completely in the living room or the phone won’t work.

In the past week I have lost one handset completely, even the locator beep doesn’t turn it up. The phone is currently cutting out my internet connection about 85% of the time. I absentmindedly turned the living room lights off twice on days when I was expecting phone calls and only realized when wondered why it had been so blessedly telemarketing call free all afternoon. And the power went out yesterday morning. I asked DH to call me at 9am because I had an appointment & a dead cell phone so no way of knowing what time it was. Both of us forgot it wouldn’t matter if he called me because the phone wouldn’t work.

I swear I am going to go buy one of those old school wall mount phones off of ebay & run a jack back to the spot on the kitchen wall where there originally was a phone mounted in 1978.

8 comments:

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Hey I grew up back then too :-))

Wall mount phones were great because you had to talk, you couldn't "multi-task"! Was that a word back then??

I like your blog and am following you from MBC!

Kel said...

We're so 1990 here - our phone is just regular. It plugs into the wall and the handset is attached to the base. Holy Retro, Batman! I sometimes wish I could have something more whizzy and modern, but your story makes me glad.

SciFi Dad said...

We have a backup corded phone in case the power goes out. I got it when I was single and the battery died on my cordless, and just kept it.

As for the auto-scanning, that's why we stay clear of the 5.8GHz phones. DECT all the way.

SciFi Dad said...

Doh. 2.4GHz.

helena said...

I come from those days too. And my grandparents had a special seat with a little table that the phone sat on in the hallway.

Meghann said...

This story is so funny, but not funny at the same time. Technology is suppossed to make our lives easier, but in this case it didn't work! I was always taught growing up that you should have at least 1 phone in the house that is a normal plug into the wall phone JIC the cordless isn't working! I still live by this rule!

Too Many Hats said...

LOL - had to laugh at your re-enactment of 70's phone usage - I so remember the long cord, you could end up wrapped up in it if you had a tendency to move and twirl alot while talking, not saying that ever happened to me. We have 2 portable phones and one old fashioned phone.

Too Many Hats said...

LOL - had to laugh at your re-enactment of 70's phone usage - I so remember the long cord, you could end up wrapped up in it if you had a tendency to move and twirl alot while talking, not saying that ever happened to me. We have 2 portable phones and one old fashioned phone.