The Great Cell Phone Fiasco

It’s a funny world we live in these days. She had had a cellphone of some sort for about 12 years, but before then she had managed perfectly fine without one. Had she wanted one in Jr. High? Sure, all the “cool kids” had them, but she wasn’t missing out on anything great by not having one. She had survived just fine without one. So, why did not having one now become such a fiasco?

Before they flew over to Germany for their move, they had contacted their phone carrier to determine what their options were for while they were living overseas. They had an idea, but wanted to be sure before they made any decisions. The options were pretty clear, free texting, slow data, and a per minute charge for phone calls that made them not want to make any ever again. She knew that she could call over Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and just figured that would be work out for them. A fairly straightforward situation.

But, nothing is ever as it seems.

They lasted a week without “full” phone service. Not being able to use their phones to translate from German to English while they were out and about. The maps function taking a very long time to upload. The only time they were able to connect to anything was in their hotel room on the WiFi connection. This wasn’t a huge deal for her as she was in the hotel most days due to only having one vehicle, but when they were out and about it was difficult. Then it became even more obvious that for his work he would need to have full use of his phone at all times.

The decision was made to go with a German phone plan.

Since they only had one vehicle and were trying to get the phones changed quickly, it was determined that her husband would take both her and his phones to the phone place and get them switched over. Together they had reviewed the phone plan options and decided what would be best for them. She was not worried about being without her phone for the day, knowing that when he came home (which was early afternoon at the time), she would have full use of her phone with no problems. Maybe a total of 8 hours and they would be good to go.

She didn’t know how this would affect her one app that she used to stay in contact with her nearest and dearest, so she quickly messaged her to let her know that the number may change. She told her it may be a day or two before they could reconnect, and it may mean changing contact numbers in phones.

They contacted their Stateside mobile carrier about placing their phones on hold, unlocking them to use them internationally. They were lucky to have this option and were going to take full advantage of it. Everything seemed to going smoothly. During the phone call, the customer service rep told them that by unlocking their phones they would have to do a factory reset on each device. A factory reset would delete everything on the phone and the phone would appear to be brand new again.

Her face fell and her heart dropped. A factory reset. She couldn’t believe it.

It’s a funny world that we end up storing so much on our phones. Contacts, Photo’s, Videos, Apps, Notes, the list is endless. Even people who aren’t big into phones still use them on a day to day basis. For her, her phone held EVERYTHING. Photos and videos of their children, notes upon notes for blog posts, book reviews, links for things she was interested in, not to mention all of the apps. Everything was programmed exactly as she liked.

She couldn’t even remember the last time she had backed up her phone, let alone transferred any of the photos, notes, or anything to her computer. It was going to be a LONG night.

She started by backing up her phone, although this doesn’t really save too much it would help her start the process of getting her phone back the way it was. Since it had been so long since she had done it, it took a little while to do.

Once the backup was complete she had to go through the process of importing EVERYTHING. First photos, then videos, then transferring the notes from phone to computer. She was up into the wee hours of the morning making sure everything was transferred over so that when her husband took the phone she could easily transfer back what she wanted.

The next morning, she passed her phone off to her husband confident that everything would go well and that if nothing else, she would have a working phone by the end of the day. One that would work wherever they went.

Later that day, during naptime, her husband walked into their apartment handed her her phone and said:

“Yours isn’t ready yet”

“What?!” Was her immediate reaction. This was not what was supposed to happen.

He had her restart the phone, put the new pin in (for the unlocked phone) and nothing had changed. The phone looked exactly the same as it had when they left.

“That’s not right” he said, “I had to reenter my [I-Tunes] password and do a couple other things first”.

“So you’re telling me my phone is dead right now. It doesn’t work”. She wasn’t worried, but she was worried. She didn’t NEED  a phone like most people may think. She could live without the Social Media, the internet, the photos (which were all successfully on her computer), but she had herself, two young children in a new country and no way to contact anyone? That worried her.

Her concern starting to wash over her ever so slightly, her husband tried to call her phone from his. He dialed her new number and it wouldn’t connect.

They restarted her phone. Reentered the code. The phone didn’t ask for her I-Tunes password and looked the same as it always had. Her husband dialed her number once again. This time it connected.

Relief washer over her. Her world was right again. She tried messaging her friends over the various apps that she used to contact them. Everything worked perfectly. For whatever reason her phone did not need to factory reset in order to work with the unlocked pin. She didn’t know why or if that was correct and she spent about an hour that evening making sure that everything was correct.

In every location her phone indicated the new carrier, new plan, new data. It seemed to have worked and her late hours the night before were not needed.

All was well.

***Author’s Note: I hope that you enjoyed this next installment in Utterly Ridiculous Stories of My Life. It went on a little bit longer than it should have, but I felt it was necessary to include the ending. This story is a particular gem of First World Problems, but it is funny to me as I used to never be so reliant on a cellphone. I never realize how much it really ate into my day to day from chatting to friends, to Social Media, to Music and while we have other options to get in contact with people (namely a very expensive computer), the ease of a cellphone is hard to replace. Out of all of this though I have definitely made even more of a point to put my phone down more and more and not be so “attached” to it.***

The Boarding Pass Fiasco

***Disclaimer: I have not flown since 2017 and before then had only flown as a young child/adolescent. I don’t typically fly, but rather drive or ride a train when we travel. In this case I don’t know much about the whole electronic boarding pass (or boarding passes in general other than how important they are) or how that goes.***

Whenever she had previously flown she had always been taught: “Don’t get separated from your boarding pass”, “Always have your boarding pass nearby”. It had been so ingrained in her for a few years that when it came to flying, the boarding pass was the only thing she would think about and remember. From the moment it was printed (whether at home or at the ticket desk), she would cling to her boarding pass, never letting it leave her hands, unless she absolutely had to (such as restroom or eating).

They had made it through the first flight, made it through checking in for the second flight, had a little break, and just sat down for dinner in the airport. Everything seemed to be going really easy, much easier than she had anticipated. The kids did really well during their first flight, they had played together nicely in the play area, and (shockingly) they were both eating their dinners with no problem.

“We got this” she thought, “So much easier than I thought”.

This she thought, but even the best travel days come with SOME blip in the road. It can be all sunshine and daisies.

She had managed a couple bites of her food, and a sudden thought hit her. She jumped up from the table and started frantically rooting through her bag.

“What is it”, her husband asked.

She didn’t really hear him, just continued her frantic search. She looked everywhere in her purse that she thought it could be. Opened her book, her wallet, the random papers in her handbag. Nowhere.

She could feel the panic start to rise. Her breathe started becoming shallow.

Nowhere. How could it be nowhere?! Sudden realization had dawned on her. Did she collect the boarding pass from the container that held her laptop and kindle? Was is still in the TSA bin somewhere?

“What is wrong?”, her husband asked again.

“My boarding pass is gone.”

He told her to check his bag where his and the kids boarding passes were. Not there. He suggested completely emptying her bag out just to make sure. Not there.

He told her to stay calm, this wasn’t an issue. That only increased her panicking.

This was a military organized flight- they had chartered the plane (is that the term?) to fly a whole bunch of people over to Germany. It wasn’t just a commercial flight. Would they be able to just re print a boarding pass? Did she need to go all the way back out to the ticket office? If she had to go all the way back out to the ticket counter, did her husband have to come with her (as he had to provide documentation for the original check in that she couldn’t provide).

Her husband continued to look at her and tell her that it was no big deal. This could be fixed.

She couldn’t hear that. She couldn’t sit still. She couldn’t eat. She couldn’t be calm. She needed to get this fixed and get it fixed now. She didn’t know what had to be done or how long they had to do it and with only an hour and a half before take-off she felt an even greater sense of urgency.

She took off with her bag and headed down to TSA. It had to be there, someone had to see it enfolded in the stacks of bins and turn it in. This could be a simple fix.

No such luck. The officer at the information desk for TSA told her that the gate could reprint the ticket though. She messaged down to her husband and said she was going to go to the gate and see if she could get them to re print it.

The panic was still present, but now she was doing something about. She had a first step to take.

Where they were eating dinner and where the gate was, were on opposite ends of the terminal (just about). As she walked over to the gate, she tried to calm down. She didn’t want to show up in full blown panic, but it was hard. She worried that they would have to go all the back out to the ticketing office. That no one would be at the ticketing office. That it would get closer and closer to boarding time and they would still be searching for the boarding pass. The thought of not being able to board the plane with her family had crossed her mind too many times.

She turned up at the gate they were originally given and there was no one there. She looked at the screen above the desk and there wasn’t even any information included. The panic started to rise again. All the calm that she had worked to achieve on the walk over was gone.

She started to walk back, she noticed another gate that had their flight information listed on it. Gate change, but still no attendants to talk to. She turned around and look around her. It seemed the only people that were around were passengers for various flights.

While she was looking around she happened to catch the attention of another gentleman. He passed her and something in her gut said to ask him for help.

***Ok, I don’t mean for this to get weird right then, but honestly I don’t remember what caused me to ask this guy for help. I don’t remember if he said something, I don’t remember if he was talking to someone else, I don’t know. In the midst of all the panic I forgot***

She somehow got the words out that she had lost her boarding pass. He was a little confused at first, as she had made it through security and was near the gate, but somehow they understood each other. At first he didn’t really know what they could do about it, whether she would have to go all the way back out to the ticket counter or if they could do it at the gate, but he was able to flag someone else down.

Together they were able to make a phone call to the ticketing office, put an order in for new boarding passes, and later on (about 15 minutes before boarding time) she was able to get a new boarding pass. Once she had the new boarding pass in hand, she was able to calm herself and start to enjoy her travel again.

**Authors Note: Alright, another installment in my utterly ridiculous short stories of my life. This one may not have been so fun and comical as my others, as this was a serious problem, but looking back on it- it was memorable. Deep down, realistically I knew that I would still be able to board. That they had me marked down on the passenger list and that all would work out, but in that very moment, in the midst of panicking you are not thinking entirely rationally. I don’t know that I really care to admit the amount of times I thought I would be left behind. Ironically enough, when I think about it I have a chuckle. Obviously it wasn’t a total catastrophe and it was fairly straightforward to get it fixed correctly.

 

Friday Morning Cups – 3 Things I Want You To Know About Me

IMG_7908We get asked at the start of a conversation with someone new about what we do. Who we are. I find myself answering with just the standard of, “I’m a wife and a mom.” and this seems to suffice, but I got to thinking that while those are my two most important roles, they do not describe all of me. They represent a part of me, a very big and important part of me, but that is not all I am. I am more than those two labels. So, I want to share three things that don’t fall under those labels. In turn, I’d like you to share something that doesn’t fall under a typical description of you. So…

  1. I love writing. I hesitate to say I am a writer or anything like that and I don’t particularly find that I am great at it (although I am improving), but there is something special to me about sitting down with a pen and paper and just…”word vomiting”. Spilling out everything that is jumbled in my head onto paper. Then sorting through that to come up with blog posts, stories, bits for my book, etc. in the same realm, I am an avid reader. 
  2. I’m actually a fairly private, fly under the radar type of person. Funny, huh? If you follow along you’ll notice that there are certain things I keep very close to my heart and there are several reasons for that. I am open and honest about 80% of my life and the other 20% just stays private. I also don’t really like being the center of attention, I’ll shy away from that as much as possible. 
  3. I love to be in the kitchen. This is one of those funny ones as I am not a chef, or even really a cook, I just really enjoy preparing meals, baking various items, and then cleaning up afterwards. If I’m having a rough day, I’ll step into a kitchen and cook dinner or bake some sort of treat and instantly just feel better. 

So, those are my three! What about you?