… 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]