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Goodbye Old Friend

The phone revolution has finally caught up as we decide to cut the cord this week.

This is my own BLOG and not a news story, not the opinion of anyone else, my family nor the station.

Well, it's been coming for quite a while now, and though I had been planning on doing it in two months, Nature has moved that plan up a bit.

We got a power surge at my residence yesterday.  It may have been a lightning strike, I don't know, I was away, at work.  But it doesn't matter.  The effects are the same, as our cordless phones don't work.**** (Stay tuned for a surprise ending!)

About a year and a half ago, the same thing had happened, and I bought the family another new set of cordless phones with answering machine abilities.  Just after I did it, I realized that I had invested in a system that was dying.  I had wanted to consider cell phones instead of our land line.

My wife had bought us all cell phones about 5 years or so ago, and every family member has become quite dependent upon them.  Granted, my phone is not smart, but an older flip phone, and that's alright for me.

Recently, I have come to value the ability of a smart phone to display radar and search the web, but I can still live without that.  Perhaps my employer will come around to see the value of supplying us with a smart phone that has matching earpiece jacks, a display screen for radar and picture capability. But until that happens, I'll stick with my trusty flip phone and text.

But back to our home phone:  Now that the cordless phones have failed, I am faced with the same decision again.  Should I replace it or junk it?  A couple of years ago, it occurred to me that if I didn't have a corded phone plugged somewhere in the house, I could be missing calls.  And that's what happened this morning.  The one corded phone kept ringing and ringing and finally woke me up.  But I didn't get to it fast enough and they hung up on me. But then, I noticed the cordless phones around the house had not rung.

We had been planning to perhaps terminate our land-line as my kids graduate from school and move out.  After all, if we have answering capability on our cell, who needs the land-line and machine?

The answer is, we do.  Remember, cell phone technology is dependent upon power being supplied to the cell phone tower nearest you, and upon your being able to recharge your phone from the wall socket.  When storms come through (like a duracheo) and take out the power, your GTE or Frontier phone would still work (unless phone lines were blown down).  The phone company has its own power supply and has been EXTREMELY dependable over the years.

And that is one very good reason for keeping your land line or wall phone account active.  Another is the fact that  you've paid your bill every month for years and that account is a great credit reference.A third is that your land line account number is attached to every part of your life...your employer, your family, the dentist, doctor, bank, checks, cable TV, cell phone, DVD rental... virtually every application you have ever filled out, ALL required or have your  wall phone number attached to it.

So, if you suddenly turn it off, you are no longer accessible through that means. While you think that's OK, what about the parts you've overlooked?  How about your credit card account? Paypal account? Pizza delivery or ordering? Amazon dot com? Car loan, house loan? Repairmen, service calls and police calls. Caller Id can pinpoint your 911 call in seconds, in your home!  In short, there are a hundred ways that you rely on your phone and that long-standing account that you never notice, until after you turn it off.

Now, it's wise to change with the times, but just to be trendy or fashionable, that's another thing. I don't need to keep up with the Jones if it's going to cost me double or triple what it might cost to maintain my phone line.  But when you move across country or out of your parent's house, that's the time for change. These are times when young people carry their own phone instead of a land line. (Hope they don't drop it or loose it!)

But last night, Nature moved up the schedule, and with a single power surge, fried our phone, and today I'm turning it off... no more wall phone service anymore.

It's a sad thing when you say goodbye to a trusted and loyal friend.  I just hope I don't come to regret it..

***CODA:  After calling the phone company to discontinue our land line, my wife looked at the cord and concluded that the surge protector hadn't done it's job.  She flicked it on and off and though the power came back up, the phone would not connect to a land line.  Later in the day, I looked behind the desk that supports the phone, and noticed something odd.

 There were no wires in the phone jack.  Pivoting it away from the wall, I discovered that the cord to the base phone was unplugged and laying on the floor.  I pulled it up and shoved it in, and like magic, all our cordless phones worked perfectly.... they had only lost their physical connection to the phone line.  No one is confessing to doing this, but I'm looking very suspiciously at the cat!

So, now I'm back to square one. Do I let the disconnect order go through in two weeks, when our service runs out, or do I replace it with something else... or just let it all go?  Our cell phone contract doesn't run out until October, about the time the kids go to college. So I can make a decision about cell phones then.  But what do I do now? 

Decisions, decisions.

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