* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

File Under 'If It Ain't One Thing . . . .'

I stayed home again yesterdaykmjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj (a little hello there from Bonzi the cat) and got a solid bit of work done from my home computer.  Last night, I drove 15 miles to visit with an old friend who, even tho we live this close to each other, I hadn't caught up with in MONTHS!  I had warm fuzzies when I left her and got back into my cold, dog-filled car - it was good to talk.

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.

Yeah, well.

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.
  1. A special, strong antennae (called a Yagi) is mounted (on the roof) and directed towards the nearest cell tower*.
  2. 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.
  3. With special cables, a very simple (iPhones don't work!) cell phone is attached to the booster.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.
If all those connections are properly made, and the Yagi antennae was turned, juuuuust so to draw the most bars on the cellphone before it was bolted into place, I have telephone service.  *Ironically enough, even though the Yagi is pointed at the nearest U.S. tower, it bounces in the valley below and shoots back past the house and connects with the nearest Canadian tower!  Go figure!  Ergo, I have an international calling plan on my cellphone because, every time I call out, I'm, technically, calling from Canada!  Fortunately, when YOU call me, you're still calling a U.S. number.  Whacky, huh?

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?!!!!!


  1. Quote: If it ain't one thing...

    It's at least two or three (or ten) others! If only there could/would be a stretch of time where only ONE thing went wrong!

    Here's hoping that soon you'll arrive at a point in time that has you writing 'it was a boring week' (what bliss - at least for a bit)!
    I said to my mum just a few days ago that boredom is highly under-rated lol

    Keeping my fingers crossed that RadioShack will have you back in contact straight-forwardly (and soon)!


  2. Good gawd. I envy your apparent grasp of all those cables/technology. My eyes started to glaze over right after, "Yagi". It's interesting how we seem to like being in the middle of nowhere, but get antsy if there's no connection. Or, others get antsy for us ;o)

  3. holy crap. I couldn't think of anything to say LOL! Your mom must be flipping out about now! I can send tin cans and string...

  4. I confess I couldn't follow everything it takes to allow you to have phone service. But do you have reliable internet access? I've used Skype, and when you call computer to computer, where each party has an internet connection, it's free.

    You can also call someone's phone, using Skype, and pay about 5 cents per minute, maybe less.

    It's good to have options.

  5. Faye, I have said that SO many times: "how wonderful it would be to have the OPTION to be bored"!!! ;)

    I've run across a few women in my time who'll say something like, "Oh, you know, I had to start volunteering at Good Will because I was just so bored around the house."

    Are you freakin' KIDDING me?!

    Nice to know that (apparently, since they're bored!) every inch of their home is spotless, all the laundry is done, the dogs are manicured (no taking them to the dog groomer), and they're grinding their own flour for homemade bread and making every 3-squares-a-day completely from scratch! Give me a break: "so bored at home"!

    And, yes, RadioShack DID (think Hallelujah chorus) bail me out!

  6. Susan, you made me laugh! It really wouldn't bother me (I don't think), not having a phone (I hate talking on it). But, as I said, there are those emergencies . . . and the nerves of others to consider. ;)

    And, the apparent comprehension about the phone system is nothing more than necessity. Although, I will admit that whenever anyone in the family gets a new piece of electronic equipment, I'm usually the one doing the set-up. Just one of those things I was born with, I guess. Now, the conversion between watts and volts and amperage (the electrical system), I can't wrap my brain around for the LIFE of me!

    Linda, remembering Skype is a good idea. Only problem there is that everyone else would have to have Skype on their computer (if they didn't have a phone). I guess I haven't really explored the idea a great deal to be sure, but, due to the living situations of many folks up here (computer on limited times and/or no phone), I just don't think it would be practical. But, you're right: I SHOULD consider it as a back-up plan. I wonder if my Internet connection would be fast enough . . . ?

    If the prices ever come down, a satellite phone would be an option, too.


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