I don't know exactly when it was I decided that having a land line in these cellular days is akin to listening to music on an 8-track tape player.
It might have been -- and, now that I think about it, probably was -- when I was crawling along in our mouse-infested crawl space, tracing two phone lines that lead from our outside Century Link box, looking for chew marks or other signs of a damaged cord.
The exercise came to seem more and more unnecessary to me. Even surreal.
Here I was, proud possessor of an iPhone and Macbook Pro, each entirely detachable from all things cordlike, breathing mouse poop fumes (or so I imagined) in an attempt to figure out why our land line had suddenly developed an annoying scratchy hummy sound.
After finding what looked like it could have been a mouse bite in one of the lines, I searched in vain for someone here in Salem -- Oregon's capital city -- who could replace/repair a residential line.
We'd already had a visit from a Century Link repair guy. I'd plugged a phone into the box on the outside of our house and heard the same scratchy hum. That made me pretty confident it was a Century Link problem.
But the repair guy told me that I'd neglected to disconnect both phone connectors in the box, and that when he did this, the outside line sounded fine. He was right. So it was either pay Century Link $100 an hour to look for the inside line problem -- which the repair guy said might be easy, or might be difficult -- or have someone else do it.
Turned out that I couldn't find anyone who handled residential land lines. Commercial, yes. But not residential. I got the impression this was a vanishing job description, sort of like technicians who replace tubes in radios.
So that got me looking outside the box. Or rather, crawl space, because the idea of having our home phone service dependent on mouse-chewable lines came to see really archaic to me. There had to be a better way.
A bit of Googling found it: Verizon's Home Phone Connect. Per its name, it uses the Verizon cellular service to connect your home phone device to the World of Phonedom.
Our Verizon store agreed to let me try it out for two days to see how we like Home Phone Connect. After day 1 it's working fine for us. Super easy to set up. My wife thinks the sound quality isn't as good as our land line. I disagree. But I have no problem with talking on my iPhone, whereas my wife thinks it sounds like a cell phone.
Which, of course, it is. As is the Home Phone Connect, sort of. Meaning, Verizon cellular brings a signal into the house, then you plug a regular phone into the back of the device.
Costwise, there wasn't anything not to like.
The friendly Verizon store staffer figured out that we'd end up paying $10 less a month if we added a Home Phone Connect contract onto our Verizon bill -- if she changed our iPhone data maximum downward quite a bit, since we weren't using anywhere near the gigabytes we were paying for.
Plus, a tablet came with the deal at no additional cost. So now I'm the possessor of a Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I like this Android device. My wife has an iPad, so I'm familiar with the Apple tablet world. The Ellipsis is much more akin to the iPad than I thought it would be.
And since it was basically free, I'm OK with the Ellipsis 7 not being perfect. It has both cellular and wi-fi capabilities, which is nice.
Our ADT security system doesn't require a land line, and we can ditch our Century Link home phone service while keeping the DSL contract. So if my wife finds the Home Phone Connect sound quality acceptable, we'll be land line free pretty soon. Our current phone number can be transferred to Home Phone Connect once we're sure we want to cancel the land line.
I'll feel like we've joined the 21st century. Like I said, mice teeth shouldn't come between us and a decent phone connection in the year 2014.