This is one of those days when I think owning your own home is a stupid, stupid idea, and that my life would be so much better (easier) if we lived in a nice condo or apartment somewhere, with a super to take care of stupid stuff. Then again, having gone through the process I'm about to share with you (aren't you the lucky ones), I'm not sure that having the super would have maid a difference.
This morning, when I picked up the phone to call this service company who is billing me for services I told them to STOP doing two full weeks before the date they claim the provided service.... I got nasty static instead of the soothing dial tone that land-lines offer. Sigh.
I assumed that this means that someone (read some child) had left a phone off the hook somewhere.
I went to every phone in the house, verified that it was either "off" or properly "hung up" depending on its wired or wireless condition. All phones are fine. Still no dial tone.
Unplug the wireless phones, both from the power and the phone jack. Stand looking a bit foolish for a minute to give their little inner computers a chance to reset. Plug it all back in... Still no dial tone.
Now... I do have a cell phone, but I am loathe to use valuable minutes calling the phone company -- I just know I'd eat up a good half hour what with the multi-layer phone menus and sitting on hold. I turn instead to the computer (thanking myself for not succumbing to the temptation to swap out the cable TV-tied service for phone-tied service). Our phone service provider has a lovely website through which (if you can make it through THAT multi-layer menu) you can trouble-shoot connectivity problems. This is where I started wanting the super.
Step one.... gather up a working phone, and go outside to play with it.
You take the phone (one that plugs into the phone jack -- like everyone still has one, right?) and go outside to hunt for a wee gray box. Luckily, I have not one, but two phones that still plug into a phone jack. I've had them longer than I've had my law degree. So... I took the one that hangs out on the first floor, and went outside to look for the wee gray box.
Yep... it's that little box behind the bush. I squeeze in behind the bush, strategically place my vintage (well, not quite but close) phone on the handy dandy air conditioner unit (what? We're not using it for anything else right now),
And face the box.
And open the panel to reveal....
Proof that we have two phone lines. Nope, neither one is working, but I only bother to check the top one. I took out the plug that goes into the jack, and replaced it with the plug for my vintage phone.
Upon lifting the receiver of the vintage phone, I found a dial tone. Lovely. This means that the problem is, allgedly, somewhere INSIDE the house. And these days, that means that I (the homeowner) am responsible for the repair costs ... even for doing the repair.
This has amazing potential to create angst. "How the #$%^&*() am I supposed to find the problem??" or "You want to charge me WHAT???"
Heck, even without that it irks me some. Time was that they'd just fix the phone, you know. Time was when they were responsible for all the wires, right up to the phone itself. Heck, when I first got phone service -- they provided the phone! But when the gummint decided that allowing Ma Bell to have a monopoly on phone service was a bad thing, that all changed -- and the phone companies lost ownership (and thus responsibility for) the wires inside our houses. (I learned that historical detail from my phone guy).
But... I am a woman who trusts stuff like this very little. I assume that ifi I PAY for "linebacker" service. Ya know what that means? That means that the handy dandy phone guy is came here to fix my phone. In fact -- he came while I was typing this up (and thus within an hour of my placing the request via the internet).
They won't come until you play outside in the snow to do that test thing ... which test my phone guy (Barry), of course, repeated upon arrival. He has confirmed that the problem lies within the walls of ths house.
I'm hoping that Barry can solve the problem soon. We don't have voice mail -- just an answering machine. We're luddites I guess. Anyway, anyone calling me today will not be able to leave me a message. I'll be here though... knitting away.
Updated to Add: Barry discovered the problems. 1) one of the cordless phones had developed a short. That short meant that even when it was hung up, it told the phone lines that it was "off the hook". And 2)... the second line was out becasue the last time the cable guy was here, he shoved things back in the communication box so that there was a grounding bit touching some part of the phone stuff... grounding out the line. I am SO glad that I didn't have to pay to learn that it was the cable guy's fault!