Someone had too much time on their hands …

… er, paws.

Well I couldn’t resist doing a quick post about today’s somewhat amusing event with my corded landline phone. I thought it was especially relevant in lieu of yesterday’s post touting technology in the workplace. This is a tale about tech in MY workplace, a/k/a the kitchen table, where I’ve parked myself since I began working from home.

Now, I may be handy with computers, but phones and their technology, not so much. In fact, I concede I am truly not much of a gadgets-and-gizmos kind of gal at all. I hate to read manuals and often scour YouTube to watch an abridged version of a lengthy how-to manual.

My kitchen table ceased being a place to dine many years ago. I have a Dictaphone, a speakerphone, smaller phone, radio, gooseneck lamp and my laptop placed around the table. This is my “office” – we’re not talking anything fancy here. I like the speakerphone which comes in handy when I need to troubleshoot computer problems at work with our IT guy, or checking voicemail and transcribing messages for my boss when he is out of the office on vacation or business. On occasion my boss will call in some dictation, so I put him on the speakerphone. About a month ago, he called and there was massive static on the line and we had to hang up. It lasted a few days and went away.

Yesterday he called me at 4:00 p.m. and we chatted briefly. About 6:00-ish, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the small phone had a red flashing light and the speakerphone’s caller I.D. read “line in use” – sigh, both were red flags for a dead phone, so I picked up the receiver and there was no dial tone.

I realized I had to contact AT&T to alert them my landline was kaput. I am likely the only person in the neighborhood with an AT&T landline. Most folks are on an internet provider bundle or use their cellphones. So, I was probably the only person with a complaint.

Creating a repair ticket at AT&T’s website was interesting. First, you must give an alternate phone number for an AT&T tech to contact you. No problem, that would be my cellphone. I have a cellphone which I carry with me while outside the house, but I never use it – it is just for emergency purposes only and I also have OnStar in my car, so if I end up in dire straits while driving, I push the blue OnStar button, or use the cellphone to call the Auto Club number.

Long story short – I NEVER use my cellphone and I never call myself, so I had to go find my cellphone number from my annual loading of minutes bill to put the contact info into the repair ticket.

Next, a brief description of the problem was needed. Well, brevity is not my strong point, as you all know, so trying to condense my issue of static and no dial tone into just a few characters had me being creative – “dead phone” and “I work from home” seemed to work best.

I got the repair ticket completed, pressed submit and received a confirmation a few minutes later. I waited an hour or so, and, with the phone still dead as a doornail, I hopped onto the AT&T website to check the phone repair status. I typed my logon/password to access my account, then went to the status area and needed to use the same logon/password and was told my password was wrong. (I used it just a few seconds before … just sayin’.)

Finally, I figured out a workaround and my phone was already being tested – “great” I thought, I don’t have to stay home for the repairman on this last sunny and dry day before tonight’s three-to-six-inch snowfall. Sadly, the phone was dead when I went to bed and when I got up as well.

This morning I turned my cellphone on to await the call and was filled with some trepidation, having never taken a call on this phone. It is different than my last phone and I had to buy this one when AT&T no longer supported the 2G phone I had for 15 years. This time the password worked and as of 7:05 a.m., a tech was “on it” meaning I was still hopeful for a walk. Then the cellphone rang and I hurried to answer it … two rings and it went to voicemail. Oh no, I never tackled the cellphone voicemail before, but I managed to push all the right buttons and discovered a typed voicemail message (not a text) that the tech was on his way and would see me shortly.

He arrived, we chatted and he said he would try multiple fixes before coming inside to repair the phone port, to ensure it was AT&T’s issue, not mine. This necessitated checking the box behind the house and two places where the phone equipment is housed. I heard him leave in the truck and return twice. He was walking around on the roof which annoyed the neighborhood dogs. Finally, the phone stopped blinking and I picked up the receiver and there was a dial tone.

He soon knocked on the front door with a big smile on his face. “Ma’am, your phone should be working now” he said and I replied “yep, I saw the light go off and tested it – so what was the problem?”

“Squirrels – they are my best customers, as they like to chew the insulation on the wire, so the torn coating allows moisture to get in and damages the phone wire. You are not the only one to have this happen, believe me!” I laughed and said “many years ago my boss had a fax machine in his home office and AT&T had to bury the phone cable because they were out three times for chewed wire repairs.” I continued, saying “I want you to know the peanut shells you see scattered on the sidewalk are from me. I feed those little buggers every day and they do this to me? I must have fed them late one time and my tardiness was not up to their standards (or they were very hungry) and tried to eat the wires!” He laughed out loud at that. I continued, saying “at least you didn’t have to climb and crawl all over in the snow – good thing it was today.” Another big smile and he said “it’s all in a day’s work Ma’am – no worries” and then he left.

Thank goodness my outside internet cable is a very heavy wire because internet interruptions are not great when working from home. Good thing I have a forgiving nature with my furry friends that I feed here at the house, but I’ll warn them to cease and desist! After all, I wouldn’t want all the robocallers to get a busy signal when they bug me, which is pretty much ALL DAY LONG, despite having put the number on the Do Not Call Registry back in 2003.

So, my day was a little squirrelly – how about yours?

[Squirrel meme from Pinterest]

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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46 Responses to Someone had too much time on their hands …

  1. Joni says:

    That was cute! And after all you’ve done for those squirrels – I think you should try and find the suspect – no more peanuts for him!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      PS. the squirrels chewed through the wire from my friends outdoor Xmas lights, which she had just strung on her porch the day before…..so what’s up with them eating wires? Perhaps they think they are licorice or spaghetti or something edible….

      Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        I wonder why too Joni. The tech was very nice and seemed amused by the reason for the problem and just said they chewed the insulation on the wires. My boss said to be happy it wasn’t wires attached to the engine block in the car as that is common too. But I park in the garage, so no worries there. I am going to have to Google around and see if the consensus is the squirrels are hungry or bored? Here in my City, it’s more likely the Christmas decorations will get stolen as opposed to wires chewed on by the squirrels. The Facebook crime forum I follow has many incidents of holiday decor getting stolen. I hope it is not just because I feed them?

        Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Joni – I wasn’t going to do another post since I had just done the lengthy one the night before, (and it would have been published earlier in the day, but I was waiting on the blogiversary banner to come up). Anyway, it was too funny of a tale to pass up given the recent post about technology in the workplace and every other post I do is about squirrels. I should have mentioned my grandmother’s experience when they got in her attic many years ago. She lived in an old section of Toronto (Lansdowne and Dundas Avenues – you may be familiar with the area, since you went to school in Toronto) and the houses were attached. Unfortunately, one homeowner got squirrels in the attic and others ended up with squirrels too. She was not happy about it and it was costly for an exterminator, but she was just happy no one up and down the street had bugs. I may have even told you that story when you had wasps.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The same thing happened to my parents in Florida!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am learning it is just as common as the AT&T tech said … I didn’t ask (perhaps because I am not sure I wanted to know), but do the squirrels get electrocuted up there from doing that? There have been stories in the news from time to time where squirrels get into a DTE (our energy provider) building where there are many wires and they chew them and it causes a power outage, but the squirrels are electrocuted and their bodies are found at the scene.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes they do. I read they chew on the lines to sharpen their teeth. If they touch the transformer while chewing on the line they say they are electrocuted.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s what I’ve heard too Diane and a blogger wrote that they’s gotten his car electrical wires, but the newer cars have a type of insulation on the wires that the squirrels really like – he quipped that he was glad he had an older car. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. J P says:

    It isn’t always fun and games for the squirrel – one tried snacking on the wires to a power transformer at my old office and got himself cooked as he cut power to our building and several others in the immediate area.

    But yes, we have had our share of squirrel issues. I never feed them, but have 3 black walnut trees which do so automatically. But it hasn’t stopped them from eating all of the under hood insulation from my car *and* chewing up part of the rubber hose for the windshield washers. Let’s just say the squirrels and I are not on great terms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      You know I think I read that post about the walnut trees and the squirrels or fellow blogger Joni mentioned it to me as she knows I am a squirrel devotee. When I e-mailed my boss to ask if his ears were ringing about mentioning his fax machine wires getting chewed three times, he said “be glad it is not the wires to the engine block” so now you mention squirrels getting into your car. Well, does your car insurance cover damage by squirrels because if it was damage to your home is this like an “Act of God” since squirrels are a natural occurrence? Sorry to hear about your issues and I can’t blame you for not liking them.

      Like

      • J P says:

        Good question on the insurance claim, I have never tried to submit one. I have read that some modern environmentally friendly insulation on automotive wiring is like candy to squirrels. One more reason to keep my old car!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You should ask, but perhaps that is a homeowners’ claim if it happens on your property? If you have the bill, I would try to do it. If that is the case, that squirrels like insulation on the new cars better, I am in luck too – my car is 10 years old (but only has 7,000 miles on it).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean says:

    Robocalls are evil. We still have a landline here, but are thinking of getting rid of it. However, like you, I’m not into using my cell phone [that has been foisted on me by society]– so I’d have to up my game on it if the landline goes away. Glad yours is fixed now and that you have a story to tell about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes they are a pain Ally and do you get robocalls on the weekend, because I never do and that amazes me because I get at least 15 calls a day during the week and the phone rings incessantly. If you pick up, they’ll only call back. I do not have voicemail on my landline. I just don’t get a lot of regular-type phone calls period. However, lately I’ve been getting robocalls with my name and phone number showing in the caller I.D. which unnerves me a little since I have an unlisted number. When I first had to upgrade to a 3G phone, I got a voucher from AT&T, so I went to the AT&T store and decided to get an inexpensive smartphone. I hated it and I practiced sending texts and making/receiving calls with my neighbor, using her like a guinea pig. More times than not, the calls were dropped, as the phone message said I did not have enough data room and I could not get the “swiping” to work with ease. I went and got a flip phone. I do text to friends and my boss using my computer to their cell – that works like a charm. When I am done working, I will likely go to smartphone only as I’ve taken interzone and long distance off my landline and it is still almost $60.00/month. We have Comcast phone/internet at work and it goes out all the time, so I’m not impressed with that idea at all. I almost didn’t do another post as the recent ones have been long, but as a squirrel devotee and having just mentioned ‘high tech in them workplace” I thought it was a story that had to be told. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sandra J says:

    Perfect photo to go with your post. He just has a look of, I am to cute for you to yell at me. I had a smile and a chuckle throughout your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had the same issue at my last house multiple times. They finally had to replace the wire because the splices were too many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That’s just amazing – it turns out that several people are responding the same way – either them or their relatives had the problem. Were you feeding the squirrels at that house too Kate? I know you feed them now. It does not mean it is the few squirrels that we/I feed either – there are about six regulars who show up every morning for peanuts at my house.

      Like

      • I have always fed the birds so yes I fed the squirrels (they are a package deal!). I didn’t give up feeding the critters though. In my book they had to come up with either tougher cable or a way to protect it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I agree with you Kate. I can’t understand why they would not have a tougher cable either. Yes, the squirrels have to be a package deal (otherwise they will definitely take everything for the birds as their own “feedbag”). The squirrels, cute as they are, have no scruples!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Tazzie says:

    Oh thank goodness it was there side of the phone that was the cable was chewed. You would think if it was such a big issue, costly to them I imagine,that the phone companies would cover the cables with a chew proof material.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I agree Tazzie – in fact the longer that it took the tech to discover the problem, I was sure he was going to have to come inside and then likely that would be MY problem then. I would think they would use a better product with a “chew-proof” covering too. Thank you for following my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice post☘️☘️ you’ve got a great blog. You definitely worth my follow 🌺

    Like

  9. Laurie says:

    Wait…what? After all you do for the squirrels, all the peanuts, all the Nutter Butters, all the oreos on snowmen, EVERYTHING you do for them, THIS is how they repay you? They chew through your phone line? Bad, bad squirrels! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with you Laurie. The AT&T tech just laughed when I said that and now I think I should have asked if all the lines he repairs due to squirrels chewing on them were in homes were people that fed their furry friends. It turns out that a few fellow bloggers have had the same problem or knew someone who did. Apparently squirrels’ teeth constantly grow and they must gnaw on things to whittle them down. Well, do it somewhere else please – like on a tree!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        Yes, like a tree! One of the clients I deliver Meals on Wheels to feeds the squirrels like you do. I will have to ask him if he has noticed them chewing the wires.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I am finding a lot of people have had this happen Laurie. I remember you mentioning this gentleman to me before. It was so cold here yesterday that the squirrels did not come to collect their peanuts when I stopped at Council Point Park before I went home and when I got home, none of the peanuts were touched – it was very cold yesterday (yes, I walked … no snow/ice to drive on and minimal on the pathways).

        Like

  10. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Dear Ms. “Squirrelly”…………………………..I just love the Opening Squirrel picture!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Well, I hope the ‘hood squirrels never take a notion to bite those cable wires, although those wires are quite thick and near the ground behind a bush. The AT&T tech said the squirrels like to chew the covering on the telephone wire they must get bored in their nests. They were nervy doing that when I give them peanuts and treats!

      Like

  11. 😂😂 Oh no bless, the little buggers. After all the peanuts you spoil them with ❤. I am glad the problem was fixed x

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Me too Zena – yes, the nerve and the guy laughed when I said that, but it was true! A few weeks ago when I made the snowman, I left carrots on the base of it and for a “nose” – the carrots were going to expire so I took some out with me and put them on the sidewalk – went out this morning … they were all laying there. Guess I have to threaten “no peanuts until these are eaten up!” Kids! I am glad the problem was fixed too and I understand from fellow bloggers that they’ve had the problem plus problems to their cars as well – apparently squirrels like chewing on the insulation around car electrical wires!

      Like

  12. Eliza says:

    I’m glad it was repaired. Reminds me of when you have to go online to report internet problems- ugh, no internet to do that…
    Love, light, and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Seems we are nearly in the same camp with cellphones and technology. I, too, am basically fine with a PC (I won’t say what version) but when it comes to the “smart”phones, forget it. I still love the landline (sans robo callers)!

    It appears I should be thankful that our squirrels only eat the bird seed rather than our cables. 🙂

    Like

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