I don't know about you, but when I first heard the expression "smartphone," the image that popped into my mind was that of Maxwell Smart talking into his shoe phone. That corny show was a favorite of mine in my impressionable youth. At that time, some of what we're currently living was still sci-fi ... back when they told us that some day people would be able to see each other as they talked on the phone. Skype anyone? FaceTime anyone? It seems that nowadays, if you can imagine it, someone has already invented it!
I'm not really interested in getting a smartphone and all that goes with it. I mean, which one would I even choose?! Here are just a few of the choices:
Our daughter Nora has a friend who attended a wedding in Guam shortly after getting a smartphone. What she didn't know was that, when the phone was on, it would be updating once a minute for the entire week she was there. She sent about 10 texts and made two 5-minute phone calls, limiting her usage, knowing the rates would be undoubtedly be much higher from there. But still, when she got back home and saw her next bill, she was in total shock. It was for more than $37,000! When she pleaded her case with her service provide and could get nowhere with them, she contacted a local TV station — 7 On Your Side — for help. By putting the spotlight on the craziness of her situation, the folks at channel 7 WSPA were able to get her cell phone service provider to eliminate all those roaming charges from while she was in Guam.
I am not doing this post because I am considering getting a smartphone. Au contraire! (pardon my French....) We are not newbies to cell phones, but we are pretty basic, no-nonsense users — Becka phones, and I phone and text. Yesterday was the end of my contract with Verizon (Becka's is up in late December. At first we shared a cell phone that Becka had most of the time, in case of emergencies. After a while, though, we added a phone for me and eventually dropped our land line, hence two different contract dates. Our old land line number is now the line for our DSL. For our TV we have an antenna in our attic. (Wow! How low tech can you get?!) Our kids all had cell phones before we did, as I recall. Nora and Mark were both single and on Verizon. Megan and Jim were on Sprint, switching to Verizon when their contract was up, so we would all be with the same carrier. When Nora married Topher, she switched to Sprint since he had to have that for his job.
My current quandry is, in the mystical world of possibilities out there, what should we do now that my contract is up? With our daughter Megan and many other family members, who have Verizon, living out of state, we wonder if we should stick with Verizon for those calls that don't count as "minutes." But there are cheaper options out there. We really aren't interested in having a data plan. We are living nicely without it, and I know that if we ever had it, it would be hard to give it up. It's funny how luxuries, once acquired, become "necessities" that are never enough for us insatiable beings.
Do any of you use Straight Talk? For only slightly more than what we're currently paying, we'd have unlimited talk, text, and also data? Or since we already have DSL with ATT, should we switch to ATT and get U-verse with TV, internet, and phone, with their low, introductory rates guaranteed for only 12 months? How much is it after one year? Or should we just keep doing what we're doing with Verizon for cell (seeing if we can get a lower rate), DSL for internet, and our attic antenna for TV? Or are there better options that you use and I haven't mentioned? And if we stick with Verizon, should I go to a non-Verizon store to re-up my contract — I know I could do that at Costco, Best Buy, and other places. Which is best? I really would like to hear from my readers on all this — satisfied and unsatisfied — realizing that I probably won't be able to answer each e-mail or comment.
Becka and I enjoyed two weeks up north seeing family and friends that we don't get to see often. Our travels took us all the way to Cheboygan, MI (near the top of the mitt) where we stayed with friends from here in Greenville who have a summer cottage on a lake. While visiting we saw the elderly couple with whom I boarded one year as a single teacher. On our way there, we stopped at a Tim Hortons in Gaylord, MI, and were surprised to run into three people from BJU! Two are teaching colleagues, and the daughter of one of them was my student both semesters this past year. Megan, Drew, and Maddie came back with us this past weekend. We're enjoying this extra week together and wish Jim could be here too. He'll come to pick them up this weekend so we'll get to see him for a little while again. I meant to get a picture of the three grandkids together the other evening, but I forgot. We'll do it when we're all together later this week. I'll post more pictures next week.
For those who'd like to see pictures now, here are some pictures of the kids individually, thanks to aunt Nora's new iPhone and Facebook.
Drew and uncle Topher playing Wii...
Here are Megan and Maddie, after Nora tried out the image editing feature of her phone.
I'll be back at you next week with more shameless grandpa pictures!
"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination." — Ronald Reagan
For people who like peace and quiet: a phoneless cord.
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