I gave my mother-in-law cordless phones for her birthday because that’s what she wanted. I picked a middle of the road model – I didn’t figure she needed six handsets since she’s the only one in the house.
I bought a set of phones for my family a few years ago and got 4 handsets. I thought this was such overkill – we already had several landlines so where would I put all those phones? But it was a good deal so I bought them anyway, and we always had a phone handy when it rang – for the first week. Then my daughter took a handset to her bedroom and it got smuggled up in her comforter and was never seen again.
My son took one outside and lost it – either that or a raccoon got a hold of it. Raccoons like electronics – and flip flops. We found one of my daughter’s, half chewed, in the crotch of the tree the raccoons like to hang out in, along with coins, plastic toys, a keychain, and assorted other by-products of young children. Which left us with two phones, and neither of them work anymore because the batteries won’t hold a charge.
The family took my mother-in-law out to dinner, then I offered to go to her house and set up the phones. It wouldn’t take more than 20 minutes I figured, but you know where this is leading, don’t you? I’m going to tell you anyway. I get there and we have tea, which was nice and wonderful except my eyelids kept drooping because Mexican food makes me so sleepy, and decaf tea was like drinking a sleep aid.
After the same amount of time that I could have taken a nice nap, we went to the computer room to hook up the phones. I had already charged them for her – 16 hours of fighting off my kids who couldn’t stand that there was a new “toy” in the house that they couldn’t play with.
Turns out the phone I’d be replacing had a power cord that was wrapped together with several other cords all neat and inaccessible. I had to spend an inordinate (long) amount of time getting the cord out of the tangle, then had to put the new power cord back into the tangle and wrap clamps back around them. But I was soon successful at getting the phone plugged in and the telephone line to work.
That’s when the headaches started. I don’t know why gadgets have to be so complicated. I finally had to resort to the instruction manual, which in and of itself was complex enough. My mother-in-law busied herself pushing buttons so that different things lighted up on the phone and occasional interesting noises came out. She went through ten ringtones that sounded like fire trucks, Christmas bells, and police whistles. Who would choose such annoying rings without being tortured into doing it?
We got the ringtones back where we wanted them, set the date and time, though this took many, many tries, and got all the caller ID entries erased because I kept calling with my cell phone to test the latest rings and volumes and racked up quite a few missed call messages on the display of the phone, which was distressing us both. We couldn’t figure out how to erase them, and the manual was being quite obstinate. Finally we found the passage buried on page 496 and followed the instructions to the letter, which was a long process of pressing the menu key, then the delete key, then the key to the city, and the caller ID key. My 20 minute setup had turned into two hours.
When it was all said and done, it was, indeed, all said and done. The phones rang melodiously, the caller ID field was cleared, and we were both exhausted but happy that we saw the job through to the end.
So now my mother-in-law has three new phones, two of which are in her TV room because she doesn’t need another phone anywhere else but we had to do something with it. She’s delighted. As for me, my ears are ringing. Yuk. Yuk. I couldn’t resist.