Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Dead, Jim

My cell phone is dead. Last Thursday (today is Monday) afternoon I had sent a couple of text messages and noticed the battery charge indicator had dropped one of its 3 bars. Normally, at least with my previous LG phone, the remaining bars would take hours if not more than a day to discharge before it began panicking and telling me to CHARGE NOW. My current phone, an LG900g, a blackberry-like phone with a wonderful little keyboard (texting is so much easier now!) dies quickly when the first indicator bar vanishes. Unfortunately, I put my phone down on the table and forgot about it for a couple hours. When I finally picked it back up to plug it in, it had shut off. No problem, happened before, plug it in, charge till full and bingo, good for another 3 days. Not this time.

Even plugged in it would not turn on. I did all the usual things they suggest. I took off the back cover, removed the battery, popped it back in. Plugged it back into the wall. Nothing. Did that a couple times. Plugged the phone into a different wall outlet. Nothing. Opened up my never used car charger, went down to my car and plugged it in. Nothing. Well, crap.
LG990g and its cute lavender argyle cover.
I googled the problem and found a couple mentions of similar problems with other people but no real help there. My phone is only 4 months old so I figure it must be under warranty. I then checked Wal-mart's website for warranty information since I bought it from them. Couldn't find anything. So, since my cellular service is with Net10, whom I've been very happy with, I went to their website and tried to report the problem. No can do, you have to have your phone turned on to be able to input these Code Entry numbers they send. Obviously, that wasn't going to work. So in their help menus, I saw a forum. I joined. I then posted 5 messages, the first being the main "It's Dead, Jim" message and 4 more more because it's a requirement for private messages to even work. At this point it was close to midnight so I went to bed.

Next morning, checked the Net10 site, lo and behold, 2 replies from 2 different help staff. Mainly they wanted to know specifics. I was pretty sure "phone is dead, will  not charge" was pretty specific but I went through it all again to make them happy. So though I hadn't any plans to go to town, I got the dogs walked, including my neighbor's (who was working days), dropped his and then mine off at my other neighbor's and went to Alpena with my phone to Wal-mart. Turns out according to the customer service desk, cell phones only have a 15 day return policy with them. I don't want it returned, I want it fixed. So I went to the cell phone desk in the back of the store and hung around 10-15 minutes waiting for the gal who worked it to get back from lunch.

I explained my problem. She took a look at the phone, got a new one, opened the package pulled out a battery and popped it in. Voila, working phone! But they don't sell batteries. They could sell me a new phone, and then I could pop the old battery out and the new one in. She'd even sell it to me for the $29.99 I paid for it rather than the new price of $39.99. She said the Verizon store might have the battery but would probably charge more than the phone cost me. As I thought about it, she took her phone and went on ebay and found the same battery for $3. So I decided I'd go home and check Amazon first.

Since I was at WM I figured I may as well get the gardening supplies I needed. Got a few, plus some mustard, and heard the optometry center announce an opening for an eye exam. I thought what the hell, I was overdue so got my eyes checked, dilated and new glasses selected and ordered. Then I left WM got in my car put on my sunglassed because the glare in my poor dilated eyes was awful even though it was cloudy, and turned the key. Took 3 tries before it caught. Decided it might be a good idea to head back to the farm where I had seen Hal driving his dad's tractor, and where I had borrowed his mom's cell phone. (I was already suspicious about the car because it had trouble accelerating from a stop and up hills, the main reason I borrowed MIL's cell phone, just in case.) On the 17 mile drive I had to pass a slow moving Pepsi truck doing 40 mph. My car barely got to 45. I got around the truck and slowly got up to the 55 mph speed limit but at every stop sign things became worse when I tried to accelerate. As I was turning into the farm road, Hal sent a text that he was on his way home. I flew past the farm house heading toward his camp (as much as one can fly on a slick muddy road with an engine that is sluggish and saw his car turn down another road. So I called him and got him to come back to the farm. I returned my MIL's cell phone and then started home with Hal following. Things got progressively worse.

There are lots of hills on Hubbard Lake Road and every time I had to climb one the car got slower and slower and sounded like the engine wanted to break apart. I swear I heard clanking. Eventually, my speedometer barely registered. I figured the fuel pump was going. Hal thought it could be that or the fuel filter. He wanted me to get it home so he could check. Never made it. Half way home it finally died. Hal pushed it off to the side while I struggled with the steering wheel and brakes which no longer had power supplied to them, of course. Then we transferred everything from my car to his truck and headed to the repair garage in Lincoln. We got there by 4:30. The owner called another garage to send a wrecker. Sometime today (does anyone in car maintenance work on weekends any more?)  they will looks at the problem and call Hal on his cell since mine is still dead and we have no land line.

But what about the phone? When I got home Friday night I went on Amazon and found OEM LG batteries for $3.36 and free shipping. I bought 2. Apparently buying 2 gave it a shipping cost of $1. That is still damn cheap! In the meantime the Net10 people wanted my address to send me a free battery. So now it's a race to see whose gets here first. So I'll have 1 phone and 3 batteries. If it was the phone killing the battery early because of a faulty wire, etc, then I'll have plenty of spares. If not, maybe I'll need my next phone to use the same batteries. Waste not want not.

So though I am car-less and phone-less, at least I still have the internet where I can rant about my misfortune.

Ah, Hal has come home. My fuel filter and fuel pump are shot. And dropping the fuel tank will destroy the leaky gas tank filler neck that the dealer wanted to replace a couple years ago along with a bunch of other stuff for $2000. We declined and never went back. This is only going to cost $678 and change. Well, it's still cheaper than a new car.

My car may actually be fixed before my phone is. huh.

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