Friday, February 21, 2014

Out With the Old, In With the New

NOT my junk corner

We have had a problem for years with our internet provider, who shall hereafter be referred to as @#$$% Ma Bell. Their charges have skyrocketed while the speed of their DSL connection and dependability has plummeted. And almost every bad storm we have, winter or summer, we lose connectivity to the internet. Finally, Google Fiber made Kansas City one of its rollout cities, and for almost two years, I’ve been waiting for Google Fiber to make it to my “fiberhood” so I can say a less than cordial good-bye to @#$$% Ma Bell.

Two weeks ago, the Google Fiber crews finished connecting to my house—what a racket of drilling into my foot-thick brick exterior walls!—and made an appointment with me to come inside and do the interior part of the installation. That appointment was for yesterday.

As it approached, we realized that the point where they would bring in the cable lay in what’s turned into our junk corner of the family room. That means decluttering and moving things and cleaning, oh my! (I find those things much scarier than lions, tigers, or bears.) We found things we didn’t even know we owned hidden under the don’t-have-a-place-for-it-right-now-so-I’ll-just-set-it here-temporarily mound. (Please tell me that at least some of you have one of those!) Like a never-used, decades-old cassette tape player. Not much use anymore, unfortunately. And no one’s admitting to placing that machine there now.

Furniture must be moved out of the way to create room for them to work back in the corner by the electrical outlet, which means moving other furniture out of the way to make room for that furniture and moving other things—like my spinning wheel—out of the way to make room for the second batch of displaced furniture. It’s kind of like falling dominoes with bookcases, tables, and spinning wheels—and lots of stray books, boxes from my son’s Iowa home, and of course, forgotten tape players.

As I write this, we’re about to head into the final battle with the junk corner in anticipation of the advent of Google Fiber in the afternoon, so as you read this, I should not only have reliable, low-cost internet but a newly clean and organized junk corner. A win-win for everyone, yes?

Now, confess. Do any of you have a junk corner hiding in the depths of your home? How do we let this happen?

LATE ADDENDUM: As the very nice Google Fiber guys were about to finish the installation, a power transformer across the street exploded with a huge bang and blue-sparked light in zig-zag waves like in a comic book or graphic novel. The whole neighborhood lost power for many hours just as it was starting to snow. So my husband, son, and I trekked to a local coffee shop for warm shelter (I'm still recovering from pneumonia, and I can't do cold.) When it closed, we drove out to a suburban 24-hour restaurant with central heating until my answering machine clicked in and told us they'd finally fixed the neighborhood power. As you read this, I will still not have Google Fiber. They can't return until Saturday. But it's almost here.

COMMENTS (I still can't comment so I'll have to edit to respond--isn't that crazy?)

Pam Hopkins, don't you think it's a human trait to put things down somewhere "just for now" and then forget about them as we get busy?

Mary, I had an overfull bookcase break and topple in my office/fiberart studio last year. What a mess! I'd send you the tape player, but I've already freecycled it. I am so looking forward to being able to call AT&T to say, "It's over." Cancelling landline, too, and going completely cell, which I never thought I'd do, but they've driven me to it.

Ritter, thank you for all of this information about Ooma. I'd never heard about this before. It's definitely something I will be checking out. I really appreciate it!

Ah, Faith, I'm not talking about the garage that's too full of stuff for a car. Some things are just too shameful. *sigh* I didn't mention that every spare space in our house is crammed with boxes, bins, and eztra furniture recently moved from out son's home in Iowa. Unlike the junk corner, that's not a normal aspect of my house. (He's found a job in the area and will be getting his own place once he digs out of the debt in which months of job-hunting left him.)


  1. love it . . . our computer area is our "junk corner" but it's an entire, though small, room.

  2. Oh, I can so relate. I have renamed my spare room the Room of Requirement because of the many times I've retrieved whatever anyone needs from there, but just this morning, some makeshift fruit crate bookshelves toppled over. I picked up half . . . I'll get back in there soon. If we were close, I'd take that cassette player from you . . . all of mine have developed a "click, click" so my storytelling tapes have no player. You might offer it on Freecycle . . . I gave away much that way before the last move (and should have done more ;-)
    I still need my AT&T land line for my Valnet internet account, but I experience similar delight when I called to cancel my cell phone. I knew Consumer Cellular would have done a notification, but I wanted the pleasure . . .

  3. Several years ago we told AT&T to kiss our sweet you-know-whats goodbye and switched to satellite wi-fi. But since I work from home, we purchased an Ooma unit at Staples and use that for our home phone. We plugged it into our router, and then plugged our home phone base into the Ooma unit. Our calls come in just as clear as before (no one we've talked to has ever been able to tell any difference between Ooma (with VOIP) and our old AT&T. Our Ooma account costs less than $4 a month, and we have even more bells and whistles than we did with AT&T--Caller ID, Call Waiting ID, built in voice mail we access with a press of the button, and if we're on a call and another comes in that we can't take, Ooma routes that call to a temporary second line (no additional cost) so the caller can leave a voice mail message. The unit itself is kinda pricey at $150, but we saved that cost in less than 3 months after dropping AT&T phone service alone. Also, there's a Premier service I can add for $10 a month that not only allows me to block any calls I want, but will send my voice mail messages to my email account and I can listen to them when I check Gmail. Finally, Ooma has one other nice option I'm going to look into if I ever start traveling a lot or working outside my home--they offer a add-on to their unit so you can carry your home phone with you. If you have the device and you're away from home, all you need is a wi-fi connection to be able to answer your home phone from anywhere.

    Okay, this is too long, and I'm sorry, but I wanted to speak up because we found this option much better than only using our cell phones. Enjoy the new service, and feel better soon!

  4. We have a whole garage plus two closets filled with stuff we need to go through and weed down. Hell, we still have boxes we brought from Kansas City in 1984 that we haven't unpacked in the garage.