The Week of the Vonage
On the day of the deadline to get 3,000 miles from United Airlines for ordering a Vonage phone system, I signed up. We had been looking into such a system for a few months. It’s a broadband-based system that’s considerably cheaper than AT&T, even though we stopped the AT&T long distance feature and all other “extra features” years ago. We used the cell phone for long distance and phone cards to call France. With Vonage, we get caller ID and a bunch of other features including free long distanceâ€”even to France!
The orange box arrived on Tuesday. I didn”t open it.
I opened the box on Wednesday and read the instructions, seems simple enough. But I found other stuff to do; I wrote and posted The Best Meatloaf of All Time on eatsforone. Meanwhile, we have no phone. Vonage had notified AT&T that we switched and were keeping our same number, and AT&T turned us off.
Thursday, I was actually busy. I worked at the San Francisco Film Society and hosted the First Annual Un-Anniversary Party, marking the closing of the bookstore. I served K-Paul Meatloaf (The Best Meatloaf of All Time) and a Cook’s Illustrated Classic Green Bean Casserole and we had a great time. And I got to show off the big TV on Thursday Night Football.
Friday, it rained, after nearly two weeks of beautiful, clear and cool weather. I read the Vonage instructions again and then procrastinated by backing up certain computer files to the external hard drive, downloading the .Mac Backup program, eating lunch, taking a nap, and going to the post office to pick up a package from Eric and Alison.
I was totally paranoid about shutting down stuff, unplugging stuff, adding wires and a router, plugging in stuff and turning stuff on and nothing happens and nothing works and I don”t know what to do.
Anyway, I sucked it up, powered down, connected a wire to the Vonage router, connected the phone to the router, turned on, and everything worked fine. I called Carol to announce that I was talking on Vonage. It took only 10 or 15 minutes, most of that was moving stuff to get to the plug strip.
Whew! I cooked Fettuccini with Lemon Crab for dinner.
But I wasn”t done. There’s the matter of hooking up the wireless base station, which will be located in the bedroom, so we can use our other handsets.
I plugged the cord into the Vonage router, picked up the phone and got a recorded message; “You have plugged into an incorrect outlet. Check your service plan at our website or call blah blah blah.”
Just as I got on the Internet, a nice lady from Vonage called wondering if I had received my package and if everything was okay. Serendipity. I allowed as how I was talking on my Vonage phone and told her about plugging in and getting that message.
“Oh, the second port is for a second phone number. We can arrange that for you,” she said sweetly. I explained I just wanted to plug in a wireless base station. She said, “Oh, just use a splitter.”
That’s easy enough. Saturday, after a day in Berkeley for brunch with a friend and some schmoozing at Builders Booksource, I went to Radio Shack and asked the eager clerk for a splitter and a telephone extension line. He went to the appropriate wall and handed me two packages, which I bought. I didn”t feel like messing with it right then.
Sunday, the 49ers were the afternoon game, so after breakfast, I opened my Radio Shack packages to discover that I had a phone line rather than an extension, two male connections, no female.
Back to Radio Shack for the “Modular Line Cord Extension.” I ran the line from the Vonage router up the doorframe to the guest bedroom, across the top and down the doorframe to our bedroom, connected it to the “Modular Line Cord and lead it around the bottom of the door frame to wireless base station. I secured it with pushpins. Good.
I plugged the “2-Outlet Modular Adapter” (splitter) into the Vonage router, or tried to, the router has a raised edge around the back, and while it would accept a regular phone plug, the splitter was a little bigger; wouldn”t fit.
Back to Radio Shack for the shortest possible line cord and a coupler, another ten bucks. Line cord to router, coupler, splitter to coupler, phone cords to splitter. All phones work. Whew.