Installing Telephone Jacks for Dummies

The bent metal prongy things are bent wrong.

I grew up during a time when girls weren’t educated in the art of home repair. We took home ec, the boys took shop. They had tools in the trunk of their cars, we had dimes to make a phone call to AAA.

Things have changed. I’ve picked up a few things in the intervening years.

I can jumpstart a car now, although I can’t change a tire (Lord knows, I tried). I can fix minor leaks. I’m fair to middling with a jig saw; and I can wield an electric drill with the best of them. But I’m afraid of broken things with wires.

Wires are usually buried deep in the innards of something and require tools to open if one doesn’t want a broken nail. Oh sure, shoes can work as hammers and butter knives screwdrivers, but sometimes you just need something Sears markets under the Craftsman name. HMOKeefe bought me a spiffy little toolkit that I’ve given a good workout. (There are some things in there I haven’t a clue as to their purpose, but I suppose I’ll learn in good time.)

Nifty Tool Kit

So, yes. I’m afraid of wires. I watched HMOKeefe hang my kitchen light and other than holding the thing in place while attaching gizmos to watchits, I think I could handle installation of a light fixture. That learning experience emboldened me to replace the pesky phone jack.

When Verizon installed my DSL there were multiple problems; chief was the interference that no amount of filtering could eliminate. After 6 hours at my home trying to uninterfere the interference, the technician muttered a few curse words and asked if it would be okay if he “shot all the DSL to one jack.” I said, “Fine with me,” seeing how he was installing a wireless modem.

So? What are these for?

Well. If all your internet connectivity is channeled to one jack in the house, it’s absolutely critical that jack be functional. If not, you can’t just pick up your wireless modem and move to another room.

The phone cord from the modem to the jack was too short, so I had the thing strung across the room. I tripped over it one too many times. The little bent metal prongy things bent in ways God never intended and the internet light wouldn’t come on.

Uh oh.

If I fiddle-farted with it long enough and held my tongue just right, I could get everything back in place so that the internet light happily flashed.

I am an internet addict. I use the internet for news, movies, television shows, email, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and instant messaging. My friends and beloveds are scattered around the world and without internet, I don’t know what’s going on in their lives less’n I rack up long distance charges to call them.

That phone jack has been unhappy for two months. In the process of painting that room, I rung the jack’s death knell. All of my reshaping the little bent metal prongy things was to no avail.

Sigh.

See how little the Little Bastard is?

The Little Bastard (aka my gallbladder) is rocking and rolling and I feel exactly like the crap I keep throwing up, but I was starting to go into DTs from internet withdrawal. With a sense of impending doom, I went to the Lowe’s and looked at telephone installation stuff. I thought I’d managed to find the thing I needed, but it was only $3.98. I didn’t figure my entire social life and cultural awareness could hinge on a $3.98 part, so I pushed the red button for customer service.

A guy in the nifty red Lowe’s vest answered the “Customer Needs Assistance in the Audio-Visual Aisle; Customer Needs Assistance in the Audio-Visual Aisle.” [If I had to listen to that robotic woman’s smarmy voice all day, I would scream.]

I held out the $3.98 thingie and asked, “Is this what I need?”

Ta Da!!!!!!!!!!

Even in this day and age, trained sales clerks can’t read minds.

“Ma’am, what is it you’re expecting it to do?”

Now if that ain’t a loaded question.

I expect it to widen my horizons, draw my inner circle closer, enlighten me, empower me, and give me an occasional chuckle as well as provide a dial tone in my home office.

I explained the problem. H e assured me that it would make my universe whole.

He was a nice guy, so I asked about the wires. From my tone of voice, a casual passerby might have thought we were talking about female circumcision. He took it out of the package and did his best rendition of Installing Telephone Jacks for Dummies.

It sounded simple enough. I bought it and 50 feet of phone cord and went home.

After drowning the Little Bastard in Pepto Bismol, I grabbed the nifty toolkit and went to the study.

Five minutes later, I had an internet light.

It was way too easy. I’m now a whole lot less afraid of wires than I used to be although I did break a nail.

That broken dimmer switch in the dining room may be getting some attention soon.

[Home Repair Girl twirls her cape and heads into the sunset.]

11 thoughts on “Installing Telephone Jacks for Dummies

  1. Well, lookee you —- congrats! Electric stuff scares me witless.

    If you make a mistake with plumbing you get wet, but you make a mistake with electric you get dead!

    Glad you didn’t get dead AND you have an internet connection.

    I totally get internet withdrawal heebie-jeebies!

  2. BRAVO! Much applause from the Shore!
    As a kid, I had a wicked stepfather – not good wicked like in Maine, bad wicked – who made me help do repair jobs, if only to stand in a dark scary celler and hold the flashlight. So, most fix it things don’t scare me. I have 8 phone jacks in this small house (when you spend time in a wheel chair, it is good to have phones near by) and I installed 6 of them. Piece of cake… BUT – you can’t get electricuted with phone lines.
    Dimmer switch?????? I don’t think so – but I am sure we will hear how it turned out. And if we don’t hear from you anymore…
    (sorry, could not resist. electricity terrifies me.)

  3. My wireless adapter card keeps coming loose. The first time I paid $50 to find out why I couldn’t connect to the wireless network. When he said he just took it out, cleaned it and put it back in, I decided to try home repair when it happened again a few weeks later. Cept after I took the back off, (major accomplishment) I couldn’t decide for sure which little deal was the culprit. Took it up to a new shop at the corner, explained what I was trying to do, he did it carefully while I watched and if that sucker needs it again–I’m prepared to do it. Repair girls unite!

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