Losing your connection to the world

Susan Manzke
Susan with two phones: one broken and one working, well sort of working.

It started out of the blue one Saturday. My landline rang, but the caller ID did not show who was calling. It just read “Incoming call.” When I answered all I heard was a scratchy sound. Far in the background was a tiny voice that turned out to be a junk, spam call. I didn’t mind missing that at all.

It could be that the incoming call was at fault for the bad connection. I then tried calling my daughter Rebecca but couldn’t connect with her. I could hardly hear a dial tone.

I thought this malfunction would be short-lived. Things like this happened before and resolved themselves without any effort of my own.

Emails were written to my children to tell them to call my cell phone if they needed me.

Weekend messages to the phone company went to a recorded answering system. After getting through all their upfront messages, they said to call back on Monday or use their website to contact them. It wasn't helpful at all.

My WiFi comes in through my phone line. That meant that it was messed up, too. Once in a while, I’d have my internet connection, but then it would switch off. The message on my computer said to check my modem.

The modem was fine. The phone landline wasn’t and it affected what the modem heard, which was a bunch of scratching.

I wrote my column for the week, but couldn’t connect long enough to the Internet to email it. That’s when I bundled up my laptop and headed for Seymour. There I parked in the Muehl Public Library parking lot and connected to their WiFi—it is usable from the outside by the community even when the library is not open. That’s how I sent my column to my editor at the Wisconsin State Farmer.

Car-E the cat is trying to get Susan’s attention away from her broken phone.

On Monday I used my cellphone to connect with the phone company again. Each time I had to suffer through their long beginning virtual greeting and messages. The fun part of looking for help was when my call got dropped. Once I was on hold, or thought I was on hold, until I realized I had lost the connection with the phone company.

I tried again. Again, I suffered through the long lead-up to getting connected to a person. Eventually, a man with an accent spoke. He said he couldn’t hear me—I was on my working cellphone—and he hung up.

I was becoming frustrated. My fifth call finally connected me to a helpful woman. After working with her, she set a repair time for Thursday. 

One evening, my sister-in-law called and called my home phone but couldn’t get through. My cellphone even failed her. As a last resort, Ginny called my daughter Rebecca to check on me. Rebecca called my cell phone to tell me. That’s how I found out Ginny was worried about me.

Luckily, I could reach Ginny on my cellphone. It was late evening. She had been ready to drive out to the farm to check on my well-being.  It was good to know she was looking out for me.

You don’t realize how much you miss something until it isn’t working.

After a long week without good phone/internet connections, the repairman showed up on Thursday, at about 7:45 am.

He told me he thought it would be an easy fix. I had my fingers crossed.

Three and a half hours later, my phone and internet were up and running. It hadn’t been an easy fix. After analyzing the problems, the lightning which occurred here a month ago had been the beginning of my landline problems. No idea that was the last straw that made a mess of my phone.

Yay! I could connect with the world again. I definitely felt grateful that my phone and WiFi were back to normal.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.