June 25, 2011


The phone company brought several trucks to our neighbourhood last Friday for preventative maintenance. After they left, we lost our dial tone until the following Friday.

Fixing our line took five hours, three trucks and several technicians. The cause? Damaged wiring houses away.

Not everything has a dial tone to tell you something is wrong.


Since everyone in our family has a mobile phone (and the monthly bills to prove it), a landline might seem unnecessary. Wrong. We
  • missed an important call from overseas
  • missed the date change for a school event and arrived a day early (much better than a day late)
  • missed ... who knows what else? Telemarketers couldn't reach us with their latest greatest offers

Plan B

The alternatives (mobile phones and email) were not suitable substitutes. If you called, the phone rang and rang. You might think the problem was with our answering machine and eventually stop trying. You might not bother contacting us in other ways even if you knew how.

As the days passed, we started experiencing an unsettled feeling of loss. We took phone service for granted ... until we lost the dial tone. We almost missed the telemarketers.


How strange to value the bird in the wood more than the bird in the hand. Yet all too common. We most value
  • extra keys ... when we're locked out
  • batteries ... when there's a power failure
  • fire extinguishers ... when there's a flame
  • medicine ... when we're in pain
  • insurance ... when there's a claim
To get protection when we need it, we need to prepare in advance. Getting ready now gives us peace of mind. That's worth more than we realize.

No Dial Tone

When you pick up your phone and don't get a dial tone, you know there's a problem. What if there's no obvious sign? Dead batteries look fine. Your spare tire inflater looks fine. Your fire extinguisher looks fine. You can't be sure they'll perform when you need them even if you check them. Having extras might help. Medicine has a "best before" date. Replacing the old according to a schedule may be the solution.

Intangibles are even tougher to check. Your investments and insurance may look okay. You might not know how to inspect them yourself or who to trust for a review. Relying on the salesperson is less than ideal without ongoing signs of trust. Is what you sold me still right for me? You can guess the answer.

Scheduled preventative maintenance can have side effects. Yet it's essential.

Gotta go. The phone's ringing.


Podcast 123 (3:57)

direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes

PS After the phone repairs, a technician said we may have problems with the wiring inside our house. They'd be willing to take a look ... for a fee. No thanks. We had enough maintenance for now.

No comments: