Friday, April 20, 2007

Cell Phones of Life

I got a new cell phone today. Well, acutally it is not a NEW new cell phone but one that belonged to BIL2.

Last year, in the interest of consolidating phone bills and taking control of the cell phone monster that threatened to swallow several members of the family, Sister number one decided we would go with Cingular and have a family plan. Surely, four of us could not use over the generous number of minutes provided for in a month. We got four nifty little phones. Because I belong to the bottom end of the cell phone totem pole, it was decided I could have a phone on Wed. and Friday and other times when I would be out driving somewhere. At other times, I was to share the phone with either of the parents who needed to be off driving somewhere. Since we usually didn't all go anywhere together, this worked most of the time.

Last week, the BIL2 (not to be confused with BIL1) happened to run over his cell phone with a pickup truck. The phone worked--with one minor detail--there was no viewing screen to see what number you dialed, or even IF you'd dialed. As BIL2 must have a new phone with minutes, the decision was made to give me the old phone. So--I ended up with a phone of my own without a view screen and my own amount of minutes. Which isn't as bad as it sounds. It works, it rings, it calls out. It doesn't take pictures or anything fancy, but it still has a working clock---one hour behind. Even with math being my worst subject, I can do the addition.
If I had any complaints about a second hand phone it's that it's LOUD, very loud and cannot be turned down. (Being driven over by a pickup does something to one's innards, don't you know?) So anytime it rings everyone within twelve blocks is startled out of whatever their doing by a loud, jubilant "Hallelujah Chorus!" After I got use to the jolting aspect of it, I rather enjoyed the ring tone. It sure got my blood circulating.
Today, it rang a lot. Not many calls were for me. My BIL had forgotten to give anyone his new number--so all the calls were for him. I'm not sure many people quite believed me when I said that I now had his phone. While most people had heard of second hand clothes, they couldn't really wrap their minds around the second hand phone concept. I spent most of the day explaining, yes, this was D's phone but it was now, NOT his phone, but mine. No, I did not know his new number. I wonder if he planned it that way??
Picture on top is of Emma, coloring her first Easter eggs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle. . . .

As most of your know (after listening to my complaints for so long), I have had major internet problems for the past few months. Although some of the details are fading from my mind, I figured I'd offer a small recap here for anyone who might make the same mistake I did.

Rule of Life number 1: Never buy a phone service from someone who had a former life as an Elvis impersonator.

Last year, I got roped into what looked like a good deal. Phone and cable with one provider and one bill. DIGITAL phone and cable. Having always wanted the Hallmark channel, I went for the lure of lower priced services and having what I'd craved. It did bother me some that the man I bought the service from had jumped from career to career and never seemed to stay with anything for long. But, always willing to help anyone impove, I thought I'd try it and see.

Rule of Life number 2: Never buy anything over the phone.

Yes, I did. To give him credit he did answer all my questions. (Wrong answers, but hey, he DID answer.) Would my dial up internet work with digital phone? Sure, sure. (No. NO!) Would the bill stay low? Sure, sure. ( NO! No!)

About a week after I signed up, the digital company came and installed everything. They did not however provide any one in the house with anything written. It took us a week to have someone come back to show us how to use the darned remote to watch the digital cable. That we disconnected after a month since we did not buy the DVR option and couldn't tape anything on our video recorders which had to be disconnected to hook up the digital box. We kept the digital phone because it was still cheaper. . . . until the first bill came in.

Heated conversations with the provider gave me the first glimmer of something wrong--they had no package deal THAT cheap. I'd been connned. Okay, get back to the guy who sold it--oh, sure, sure, they had that deal, he'd talk to his boss. I got the first bill lowered to the cutrate price but they were NOT happy.

It went downhill from there. After a couple of months of wondering WHY my internet kept disconnecting every few minutes (and doing everything under creation to FIX my PC), I came to a conclusion. Could it be the digital phone does not work with a dial up provider? Simple question but complex answer. No one seemed to know the RIGHT one. I finally got in touch with someone at Time Warner who said I should have read the disclaimer that dial up and digital do NOT mix. She kindly offered to read it to me over the digital phone which I planned to yank out of the wall at the first opportunity. I declined her offer.

They did send out a tech man to see if he could figure out the problem. Oh, gee, the digital modem was fried. They replaced it. It didn't fix my internet. Called them out again. After calling four of his supervisors, the tech man admitted the awful truth--they could not guarantee that their digital phone would work with dial up and didn't I want the nice, high speed internet?

Then began the search to find another phone company that would give me back my dial up and take out the digital. Got another jolt when they said the digital company had to RELEASE the phone number I've had since 1976. Lose my phone number? NO NO NO! In the end, after several agonizing months of sheer frustration, I have my phone number, my MSN and I'm back in the saddle again!

Some people will think it's nutty to want to keep my MSN and dial up. Well, that's what I wanted. Didn't want to have to change my email addresss for the umpteenth time, nor lose the dial up. I LIKE DIAL UP!! Having used road runner (the fast connection at the library), I don't find my internet access that slow at all. It's bad on downloading pictures, true, but not totally horrible.

And so, I'm back. The only time the internet disconnects is if someone calls on the phone----but, there's an easy solution for that. I unplug the phone!