Ever since the ex was here to repair the chimney and cellphone attenae, the phone has not been working properly. Not because of anything he did but because of the various settings that exist between the mass of cords and contraptions that are required in order for me just to HAVE phone service up here! So, in an attempt to rectify the situation, I finally attacked that project when I got home last night.
I didn't break anything that's now broken, and I know it was just a coincidental thing . . . but now I have NO, zero, zip, zilch, nada, nuthin' phone service. Now, as long as I have Internet access, this wouldn't bother me a bit on a daily basis, but there are those emergencies (i.e. calling Mom and Dad to sob out that Annie Blue had just been killed). Plus, I know Mama Pea would go batty if she couldn't check up on me at will. ;) (Of note, almost the first thing out of Mom's mouth when I called them on Monday - they'd both gotten on the phone - was, "Honey, do you want us to come out?!" No concern for the 1-hour, one-way trip. Mommies and Daddies, no matter how old we are, are awfully good for that kind of love and support.)
I took a picture of the phone set-up several months ago, and have had a post about it "in the can". Kind of. It's in my head, not actually written. But, in lieu of writing that post now, I'll try to give a brief description of what it takes to get phone service at Swamp River Ridge.
- A special, strong antennae (called a Yagi) is mounted (on the roof) and directed towards the nearest cell tower*.
- A super heavy cable, from the Yagi, comes in to the house and attaches to a low, flat, heavy box which is a booster. A reception booster, if you will.
- With special cables, a very simple (iPhones don't work!) cell phone is attached to the booster.
- By more special cables, specific to the cellphone, that is attached (in two different places) to a little translator box called a Dock 'n' Talk. (For anyone counting, the cellphone now has three wires coming out of it, and so it needs, for obvious reasons, to stay in one permanent location - you don't pick it up.)
- Attached to the Dock 'n' Talk is a regular (big sigh of relief!) house telephone. It can be a wall-mounted phone, it can be a portable phone with a base.
So, last night, in the process of trying to fix the system so a call would travel through the entire conglomeration and ring at the house phone** and change the outgoing message (many people had recently pointed out that the greeting still reflected that the ex still lived here), the cellphone part of the equation went belly-up. (**Calls were, mostly, going to the cellphone and stopping there . . . so I wasn't getting calls here in the house and didn't know anyone had called unless I thought to check the cellphone's voicemail!)
The cellphone (battery) starting going "ticktickticktickticktick" super fast, sounding like a bomb was about to explode. And, when I reconnected it to the system so it could get power (vs. using the bad battery), it caused the whole mess to go "click-a-click-a-click-a-click" like it was shooting nasty little electrical pulses through the whole she-bang. Not good. And, it (the cellphone) wouldn't turn back on, whether connected to power or not.
The upshot of this all is that the cellphone seems to be DOA. In its defense, though, it has lasted nearly 5 years, I would guess, so I really can't complain about that. The challenges I foresee in rectifying the situation lie in the fact that I'm not sure I can even GET a simple enough cellphone anymore (with all three of the required wire attachments). And, when (not if, I hope!) I find one, I'll need to do the research required to find the appropriate cables, specific to the new cellphone, to run between it, the booster, and the Dock 'n' Talk. Oi vey. On the up-side, maybe there's been some fantastic technology that will either simplify the system or improve the signal!
So, with that, hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work . . . and RadioShack, I go. (Fortunately, there are a few of us in similar circumstances in this large county, and the folks there are somewhat familiar with these issues.) 'Course, this is going to cost money, and, have I mentioned: I STILL haven't gotten that first check (due, when was it - in SEPTEMBER?!!) from the divorce settlement?!!!!!