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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Do you still have a land line? July 6, 2006 9:00 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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Have you done away with your land line yet? We have a land line that is mostly for the kids. I use it because it is more clear than my cell at times and conveniently located beside my workstation with a nice headset. We are horrible about checking it for voicemail. There are actually two lines. One is the primarily line and the other is a line dedicated to the children and a fax machine. We mostly use the fax machine for making copies. This setup runs me roughly $80 per month (which is nearly $1000 per year!). The primary reason for keeping it is that I’ve had the main number for over a decade. Even people that haven’t been in touch with me in years can call me. By the same rationale I used to hang onto a post office box that took me nearly a half an hour drive in one direction to get the junk mail out of it. In the same vein, the primary caller to the land line is the ever present bill collector.

Yes, sometimes I have a hard time letting go. Today unless I miraculously pull $200 out of my hind quarters, that piece of nostalgia goes away forever. At least I have the convenient excuse of telling people "we only use our cell phones" instead of "my cash flow is so screwed up that I can’t hang onto basic utilities."

As I write this, I become increasingly comfortable with the idea of simply arming each family member with their own cell phone (3/7s the way there already) and never again using Hellsouth (aside from their relationship to Cingular).

Watch for this weekend’s followup installment: Learning how to live without electricity!

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1. kristyk - July 6, 2006

We don’t have a land line anymore. Because we had a business and DSL, it was costing us around $200 a month. Ouch. And we never used it except to fax things. As soon as we switched the internet to cable (now $40 month), I had the phone turned off. I don’t miss it at all. We have had our cell phones for ages and still have the plan we started with: 3000 anytime minutes and unlimited night and weekends for $39.99. At that price, it is cheaper than our landline!

2. djuggler - July 6, 2006

That is a savings! I can add a cell phone for the remaining two unconnected older children for $9.99 /mth each and throw on $4/mth insurance (they’ll use it) and still be cheaper than the landline with much more convenience.

Then I’ll create a Upoc group for the family and we can periodically look like a family of super heroes or government agents with our electronic leashes simultanously beeping “Dinner’s ready!” beep beep beep beep beep

3. AT - July 6, 2006

I’m in the same boat, I got rid of our land line about 5 years ago and haven’t missed it. In fact, the house we live in now we bought after our great disconnection, and has yet to see Bellsouth stop buy. Got the cells and the cable modem for outside communication.
Right now, blissfully, we’re not late on anything, and can EVEN afford the occasional pizza.
This may sound horrible, but I love the posts where you bitch about money, because thats a biweekly problem at our home as well.

4. cathy - July 6, 2006

The last few weeks without the landline we haven’t had anyone calling a 10 p.m. to talk about programming and wake the babies.

5. Dean - July 6, 2006

I like the land line for the 5-nines of reliability — pick up the phone, even without power, and you get a dial tone 99.999 percent of the time. But given your current situation, I’d drop it. And besides, someone who hasn’t called you in several years to know that you have 1) this blog, 2) multiple cell phone lines, or 3) email, maybe you don’t need to talk to them anyway.

6. Latte Man - July 6, 2006

It is not a bad idea, although I am sorry about the reasons it has come about. Don’t forget Skype Out is also Free (within the U.S.) ’til the End of the Year, and/or you can get a free phone number from AOL Phoneline (part of the latest AOL IM) and get a free incoming phone number.

7. djuggler - July 6, 2006

“This may sound horrible, but I love the posts where you bitch about money” Then you are going to love one I’m drafting! 🙂

I’ve always been torn. I was raised to not air dirty laundry. Until I hit college, I was a fairly secretive person. However, the lifestyle I have chosen is challenging and I’d like to share the negative as well as the positives. I want people to hear about the quality time with the kids, the ability to work peculiar hours, and so forth. But I’d also like to tell people about the bill collectors, the scare tactics, the threats, the catch 22s, the misinformation used to keep people economically in line, and the challenges of wearing so many hats (programmer, sales, a/r, etc) to manage cash flow.

8. djuggler - July 6, 2006

LM: Love skype! Haven’t heard about AOL Phoneline. Will have to check it out.

9. Eric - July 6, 2006

In a related subject, I left you a voicemail on you cell phone today. If you haven’t already checked it out, you may want to give it a listen. BTW…I am one of the people that still has your land line # memorized…I just figured out years ago, that it is not the best way to reach you…and I definitely know NOT to leave you a voicemail there. 🙂

10. djuggler - July 6, 2006

Coincidentally, I was power cycling the cell phone earlier and neglected to turn it back on. Checking vmail now!

It is sad that our technology has gotten to a point that we have to reboot our phones.

11. LissaKay - July 6, 2006

If you do still need a phone line in the house, look into VoIP. I got VoicePulse here, it piggy-backs on the Comcast HSI, and has been pretty darn good. It costs $25 a month for all the bells and whistles, with unlimited long distance. There are limited LD plans for lower cost. I added a second virtual number to the line for my kids’ friends to call. I have faxed across this line, and that went fine too.

On the bitching about money thing, I too am in the same boat. I would be posting on my site, but my Ex (the cause of much of my $$$ woes) reads it, and uses everything I say against me. But I feel your pain.


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