Broken Phones, so on the move

It?s been slim pickin?s on the Technically Speaking blog these days, price now hasn?t it been. Well, information pills we had an interesting adventure over the weekend, that has change the dynamic of this week drastically.

We?re moving.


Now you might say, “Didn?t you move less than 2 months ago?” (In which case, you?d be right.) Yes. We did move two months ago. Now we are moving again–at the risk of alienating our siblings who get to help us move again. (Thanks Jonathan and Rick!)

So, if you are a A Mighty Wind fan, you are probably asking, “Whaa Haaapened?” Well, let me tell you.

If you live in the greater Salt Lake area, you are already aware that last week we were hit by a couple of rain storms in succession. Salt Lake had more rain last week than in like the previous month or something. Well, starting on Wednesday, there was a really bad humming sound in our telephone. By Wednesday evening, the phone had stopped working completely. We unplugged all the phones in the house, and tried them again on Thursday night. Still nothing. The rain continued to pour down upon us. (While it sounds like I’m trying to set a mood with the rain, it turns out it is actually related to the story. Read on…) By Friday morning, I was sick of not having a phone at home, so I called the phone company. They informed me that if the problem was between the box and the street, they would fix it for free. If, however, the problem was between the box and the house, there would be an eighty dollar fee — just for having come out. If we wanted to fix the problem, there would be an additional fee.

Trying to be a good renter, I decided to call the landlady and let her know that there was a problem, and to ensure she would pay to have the phone fixed. I mean, I want to have a phone line in my house, but my wife and I both have cell phones, so I wasn’t going to pay eighty dollars to find out that the problem was in the wiring, and still not have a working phone line. Besides, I think it is the landlord’s responsibility to provide a working phone line in the apartment.

It turns out that I am actually an awful renter, apparently according to my landlady’s perspective. See, when we mailed our rent check (admittedly a few days late; no good excuse, really) I included a list of things that were wrong with the apartment. These included: (1) The fridge (an early 1980s model) is in bad condition. There is frost that develops around the front of the freezer, and the door doesn’t hang right, and thus doesn’t close properly. It also makes a weird bubbly sound that I can’t identify. On top of that, the shelves on the door are all broken or missing, thus making the doors for both the freezer and the fridge useless storage. (2) There is a floorboard in the bathroom that is collapsing. When you step on it, you can feel it sinking beneath you. Asking to have these things fixed, are for the most part, apparently unreasonable requests that I shouldn’t expect to be fixed in an apartment that rents for less than 500 dollars a month.

To the landlady’s (who will remain anonymous, so we’ll just call her I. Peterson — no, no, how about Ilean P.) credit, she did ask somebody to come out and look at the fridge, and about two weeks after the rent check was mailed, the fridge door actually closed mostly properly. Now it closes, but has a tendency to pop back open occasionally. However, as to the doors, we were told that the fridge is “big enough,” and that “you don’t need the storage space on the doors anyway.” Besides, apparently “renters just take with them whatever they can get a hold of.” Okay. Renters are now stealing early 1980s era vintage fridge door shelves. I hear they are hot items on eBay. As for the sinking floorboard (which is probably due to rot, and should be fixed sooner rather than later), it has never been mentioned since, and won’t ever be mentioned again. At least not by us.

So, back to the broken phone. On Friday I called a certain Ilean P. to see if she would pay the eighty dollars if it were charged. She was unwilling to commit to paying for it, simply saying, “Well, we’ll see what happens.”

Christina was unwilling to accept that answer, and called her back to pin her down. Ilean was not to be pinned down. She kept saying “We’ll see what happens.”

Christina would reply, “Well there are two options. Either (1) the will find the problem to be theirs, and they will pay for it, or (2) they will decide the problem is in the wiring in the house, and we will be charged eighty dollars plus repairs. If they decide the problem is in the wiring in the house, will you pay to fix it?”

“Well, we’ll see.”

“What will we see? What will happen that will affect your decision on whether you will pay for it or not?”

“Well, we’ll just have to see what happens.”

Christina pressed the issue until Ilean confirmed that if the problem were in the wiring it would be something that “I [Ilean] would have to take care of.”

Right then we decided that we didn’t want to stay in the apartment any longer. Now we have been branded as the late-paying complainers, and from this time forward, we would never get a repair request taken seriously. Besides the fact that we are unable to communicate with our landlady without pulling out every last hair in our heads!

So we went and found a new place to live. We found a little duplex in Midvale that is at the end of a private lane, at the end of a dead-end road. There is a beautiful yard with mature trees, and a spot for a garden. We talked to another renter, and she said that the management has been wonderful about fixing things and getting things taken care of. We met the landlords who were very nice, and very excited to see us as potential renters. We thought about it all evening Friday, and Saturday morning (after looking at 3 or 4 other options) decided that was where we wanted to rent. It was Friday evening when the rain stopped.

By Saturday morning, the ground was dry and the sun was out. And miraculously the phone had started working again. I called the phone company right away to make sure that if they hadn’t already fixed it, they didn’t send a technician to fix the phone — because then we really WOULD have to pay the eighty dollars. Then I called Ilean to tell her that we would be moving out in eight days.

On Sunday, when the rain started again, the phone line died again. I’m not even going to call about it. It’s not our problem anymore.

2 responses to “Broken Phones, so on the move”

  1. Paul:

    Hey, it’s Theron. Finally found your blog.

    About the phone: There should be a box where the line from the phone company meets your building; that’s the official demarcation line for what the phone company is responsible for.

    There should be a modular jack that you can plug any phone into. If that works, then you know that the problem is the inside wiring. No $80 to pay.

  2. That is true, but our box was an older style, (and it had phone lines from four different apartments) and didn’t have a jack to plug the phone into. I actually took one of our phones out to try it. The whole box was exposed, and I’m sure that is where the problem was. So my question is this: what if the problem is in the box? Whose responsibility is that?

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