Ma Bell's error at the junction box.
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 10:37:46 -0500 (EST)
So I've arranged for the lady with the pit bull to keep it from mangling
the phone guys, and leave her gate open, so they don't have to scale the
wall. So my phone line should have been hooked up when I got home, right?
And when I tried dialing my number from work, I got my voicemailbox, so
that seemed to work (but doesn't involve any wiring anywhere near my
As I walk through the door, I step on an envelope (because I'm still not
used to getting my mail in my door), and notice it's from Bell. It's a
"welcome to our service" kind of thing.. so you'd think it would all be
set up, right ?
I walk over to the phone, pick it up, and my line is not connected.
Fuck. I pick up the cell phone my step grandparents left at my house
accidentally, and call the service number. I get a message saying that
their normal business hours are something till 7pm. I look at my pager...
I just checked the clocks of 2 different computers (my workstation and my
ISP's shell machine), both of which are synched to atomic clocks, and both
of which say my pager is one minute FAST.
"Okay, so I'll call the service line when I get into work tomorrow."
As I stumble out my front door, on my way to the train, I notice a piece
of paper stuck in my mail slot which, if it had been actually pushed all
the way through, I would have picked up with the envelope last night.
"Dear Telephone Customer: The telephone company installed a plastic
housing called a Telephone Network Interface Device on your home today."
I didn't need to read any more.
I didn't used to have one of those. I didn't used to have any way of
testing if the connection to the house was good, to see if the problem was
elsewhere in the wiring.
There's no way in hell I can bring myself to call bell and complain that
things don't work without plugging a phone directly into each one of the
rj-11 jacks that I know are in that modular box to test the external
wiring to verify that the problem was external. It would totally violate
my sense of cluefulness.
At this point, it's Approximately 9:04am (not actually very approximate).
My train arrives at 9:16. It's a 6 minute walk from where I'm standing to
the train. The next train doesn't come for another hour. I really do not
have time for this.
But... it's my phone line.. my means of contact with the outside world... I
can't deal with just waiting another day.
I run back inside and grab my phone (which I am now hugely thankful I got
a plain boring corded phone that doesn't need to be plugged into an
electrical outlet.. mental note to always have one on hand), unplug it
from my computer, and run outside, locking the door behind me. I find the
modular phone interface thing, right where I expect it. It's held shut by
a screw. Fortunately, I had my gerber multi tool on me (!).
Opened the box, noticed the internal wiring was connected to the 1st of
the 3 modular jacks.
Popped open the 3 connections.
Plugged the phone into the 1st jack, and got the same thing I did inside.
Plugged the phone into the second jack. I get a stuttered dial tone.
"Hmm... the phone lady said if I had a message in my voicemail I'd get a
stuttered dial tone... and I had left myself a message in my voicemail..
this is good."
Dial mom's number. IT WORKS!!. Left a message.
So the phone company connected my house's internal wiring to jack #1, and
the external wiring to jack #2. IT DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT.
But it's a simple matter of unscrewing 4 screws, moving 2 wires, and
screwing 2 screws back in. This I can do. So I'll be able to contact the
outside world when I get home.
Of course, I had to run to the train. With my phone. But I did make it.
They did the same thing to me when I got my line at my mom's house. The
house had been wired for an extra line, because my step dad used to have
one provided by his employer. All the phone company had to do was hook up
an external line to the existing internal wiring.
They hooked it up to the wrong jack in the modular box that time to.
That modular box used rj-11 jacks on short wires, so I was able to just
cross the modular jacks over.
The box I have now has jacks on rigid hinges. That's fine, I'll just have
to wire it properly instead of kludging.
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