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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Edison Doesn't Live Here

While I was off my feet, several people sent me cards, emails, or called to check on me. Thank you! I love you guys.

I have to apologize to those who tried calling me. Apparently, I am one of the hardest people in the world to reach by phone. When the real estate agent brought us to this property, we thought it odd that we couldn't make a call when we were in the house. We dismissed it as a bad signal and didn't think about it again.

I came back to the house a few days later to make a checklist of things I needed done in each room. While I was there I also brought a list of phone numbers for utility companies and other services we wanted started.

Imagine my surprise when I realized every other word was a crackle. Weeks later, Greg bought me a signal booster but it only helped marginally. Since the day we bought this house, if I wanted to have any substantial conversations, I had to go outside.

We could install a land line, but since neither of us like to talk on the phone much, it seems silly to add another monthly bill.

We could install Magic Jack, which uses the computer--only if you've followed me long enough, you know even a slight breeze knocks out my satellite connection (like all this week). No computer, no phone.

It's inconvenient to talk outside, but at least I don't have to climb a telephone pole like Eddie Albert did on the old tv show, Green Acres.

I don't really miss phone conversations, but my mother is horrified that I live this way. She gets even madder when I cut our conversations short--especially when it's hot, or rainy, or cold. Sorry, mom.

So if you want to contact me, use email. It's not immediate, but with few exceptions, it's more reliable than the phone.

Country living has some definite disadvantages. Communication is at the top of the list. Having to drive long distances to shop or visit friends is a close second. But when we list the pros and cons, I'd gladly give up the phone for the chirp of birds and the occasional crazy woman yelling at a coyote to get away from her chickens. (Oh, wait. That's me.)

Could you live without a phone? Would you want to?


Darke Conteur said...

The only reason we have a landline phone is for emergencies and Sithboy's friends. Otherwise, people email or get in touch with us on our cell.

Angelina Rain said...

First, I want to say that I hope you're doing well. :-)

Now onto the phones. I could probably live just fine without a phone. I do most of my phone talking in the morning on the way to work because it's an hour long drive and I get bored. Besides that, the phone is pretty useless to me.

Angela Felsted said...

We don't use the phone very much, but I have to admit it comes in handy during emergencies to have a land line. We like our land line. Never mind that it's outdated.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: Cell is my only form of emergency communication. But if all else fails, I call my neighbors.

Angelina: Thanks, hon.
Greg does the same. He calls me at a set time everyday, (so I know to be outside when he calls) and we chat on his way to and from work.

Angela: The land line is the only reliable form of communication during most storms, but when we had our hurricane in east Texas, the only thing still operating were the cell towers. We still lost connection regularly, but the land lines were completely severed.

In the end, the one thing we counted on was a hand-cranked radio to know what was happening in the outside world and where to find supplies.

Nadja Notariani said...

My brother bought a beautiful home in Western PA that has absolutely no cell service! We call it the 'dead-zone' after those hilarious Verizon commercials from a few years ago.
A new cell tower is going up near their property...and they're hoping to finally be able to use their cell phones when home! When I travel to visit family, everyone now knows that I will not receive any messages/calls/texts until I drive about two miles or so from his home. Then my phone starts 'blowing up' with all the missed contacts...Ha! ~ Nadja

Anonymous said...

Hope you're able to get around better and are feeling more like yourself.

Email is my preferred mode of communication too, but more because if you call me we likely won't be able to have a conversation over the wee beasties :) We just got rid of our land line. Oldest beastie is getting a cell for his birthday next week and the others can use mine as needed. Even then, we use the text feature on the phones more than making actual calls, LOL

Marianne Arkins said...

I grew up without a phone. And electricity. And indoor plumbing. I was intimately familiar with outhouses and chamber pots.

Of course, that was in the 70s, so we weren't so reliant on technology then. Not sure if I'd like to live that way again, but at least I know that I *could*.

Glad to "see" you back!

Mike Keyton said...

I have my daughter's cast off cell phone - a delightful shade of pink - which I never use. Rarely use the landline either. It's nice being unavailable. As long as other people can deal with emergencies :)

you sound more chirpy - metaphorically. Not hinting at any chicken tendencies. Keep your chin up.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i hate the phone. I worked in a few call centers in my time, and though i was good at it, it really ruined me for talking on the phone. The only people i even remotely like talking on the phone to is my twin and my mom. But even then, i'd rather just wait until i see them in person.
Texting is a godsend imop

LD Masterson said...

Just out of curiousity, can you text from inside the house? I discovered on various Red Cross disaster sites than texting doesn't need the same type of sustained signal as a voice call. Might be an option if someone needs to get a hold of you in a hurry (when you're not in your e-mail) without sending you into the yard.

Maria Zannini said...

Nadja: Hubby and I live 300 miles apart, and we have to travel through several miles of dead zone, so I know exactly how that feels. We time ourselves, so we know about when to call each other. Most of the world thinks that we're all connected, and it's surprising to learn that there are still areas that are unreachable through conventional methods.

Raelyn: That makes sense to me given your brood. You have other responsibilities. I'm the same way in that I will be out of pocket for hours at a time. I can't simply stop what I'm doing to chat. Everything has to be scheduled.

Marianne: I've always envied that experience of yours. Like you, though, I find the older I get the more I'm willing to limit the off the grid experience.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Chirpy is better than being called a chippy. :) I need a picture of you with that pink cell phone. For blackmail purposes only.

Sarah: I am not savvy enough to text. My kid brother texted me once to tell me his baby had been born. It took me two days to figure out how to call up the text.

Linda: See above. I've never tried texting. Hope I never need to either.

L.G.Smith said...

I have to laugh at this post. I hate the phone. I'll completely ignore it when it rings. Drives my husband nuts. He'll dive across the room to answer a call. Me? I shrug and keep doing what I'm doing. It's just a telemarketer anyway. And if not, they'll leave a message. :)

Angela Brown said...

I am ashamed to say it, but I probably would miss so many things I take for granted. The phone being one of them. Just having it nearby is a comfort.

I'm such a spoiled rascal. May EMPs not be used by any persons to reboot the world.

Dru said...

I could live without my phone. I always tell people the best way to reach me is through email.

Cate Masters said...

Well I'm not going to complain about our phone connection now! I do have to avoid certain parts of the house while dialing out, but at least it eventually goes through, lol
Glad to hear you're improving! At least enough to chase the coyote. :)

Maria Zannini said...

LG: I don't think I can ignore a ringing phone, but if the caller ID has a number I'm not familiar with, chances are it's someone trying to sell me life insurance.

Angela: I come from an era where we went whole days without knowing what our friends were up to. I kinda miss having that sort of isolation.

Dru: I think you and I come from the same era. :)

Cate: It does sound rather ridiculous when I say it out loud. At first it bugged me, but I got used to it. At least it's quiet in my house.

Sarita said...

It's so good to have you back. I'm glad to hear you're doing okay.

I could easily live without a phone. My friends and family would go nuts, though, if they couldn't reach me. The answering machine usually picks up around here.

Hope your week is going well.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I admit, I got a little panicky when I couldn't get a hold of my mom this morning. Back before cell phones, I think I would have shrugged and figured she was busy, but now that she can carry her phone anywhere, I assumed something bad. I don't want to not have my phone, though.

Doreen McGettigan said...

We have not had a land line for years. Crazy because we have "the bundle" that includes phone; tv and computer but like you the land line here just never worked. We tried so many different phones and then just gave up. Luckily our cells work in the house.
I'm with your Mom on this one my youngest daughter has ONLY a cell phone with texting. No calling. I freak out that I cannot talk to her or my granddaughter's. I am sad that they have had to cut back so much and her husband is VERY proud and will not accept help. I may have to get them a cheap land line or something for Christmas!!

Maria Zannini said...

Sarita: I suppose people worry about us more when we're alone. I appreciate it, but I like the silence around me.

Barbara: That's just it. We are so used to accessing people instantly that we forgot the old days (which weren't that long ago) when we depended on snail mail and regular phones without all the extras.

Doreen: A phone is a great gift. My kid brother bought my mother a cell phone (and pays her bill) and it's one of her favorite gifts.

Live Out Loud said...

Naw, I need my phone. I've got family all over the place and couldn't imagine not being able to pick up a phone whenever I want and talk to them seconds later.

E-Mail is great, too but I like to hear the voices of my loved ones.

When I lived in Anaheim, CA I had to either go outside or sit on the bathroom counter and contort. It was either or.

Glad you're feeling beetter!

Maria Zannini said...

Live Out Loud: Ref: bathroom counter

Now don't you know that would be a TERRIFIC scene for a book. I'm glad I'm not the only one having to do contortions to hear people.

Live Out Loud said...

That would be a good scene!

Marian Perera said...

I could actually live just fine without a phone. But separate me from the Internet for more than a day, and I would be a sad panda.

Though I suspect I'd get a whole lot more writing done under those circumstances...

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I love that. Sad panda.