Setting Up A New Phone? Not So Fast!

Those of you who are lucky enough to work from home recognize it as a mixed blessing. It has its upside, but there are a few frustrations too. Networking and communications technology can contribute to those frustrations.

My wife recently admitted needing a new phone. She had been using an iPhone 6 since forever, and it was starting to show its age. It would mute itself at awkward times during her business calls, and it had long since given up the ghost on Bluetooth connectivity in her car.

I’d been talking up my new phone, and the dollars I was saving on a new plan. Finally abandoning a misplaced loyalty to her carrier, she ultimately consented to order a new phone through my plan.

A few days later, it arrived in the mail. Much excitement ensued. We eagerly tore open the box to reveal one of the latest technological marvels that Apple had wrought.

It was shiny and black and new. But it was also dead. The work of loading it from the Cloud and transferring the cellular account lay ahead of us. I fully intended to do that for my wife, given my familiarity with the new carrier. Foolishly setting that task aside for later, I was content to return to my fiction writing, oblivious to the unfolding catastrophe downstairs.

Remember 9/11? A report was commissioned by Congress to expose the failures of why the CIA was caught so badly off-guard when the terrorists’ planes crashed into the Twin Towers. One of the conclusions was a failure of imagination. I imagine stuff. Then I write it down into hopefully-coherent stories. Sometimes it’s pretty weird.

But I could never have imagined the blood-freezing events of the next few moments.

On my way downstairs to the kitchen, I noticed my wife on the phone with her new cellular carrier. Of course, she was anxious to get her new iPhone working. Should’ve anticipated that. Oh well, what harm?

In front of her, the new phone lay disassembled.

Holy S***!

For some inexplicable reason, Technical Assistance at the new carrier was talking her through the disassembly process.

I came over and noticed that the phone screen showed an error message:


Well, duh! That’s because the SIM card was sitting on the table.

I got on the phone with the tech assistant to confirm that removing the SIM card was indeed part of her plan. OMG! I thanked her for her time and signed off in a way that bordered on impolite.

After a few fumbling false-starts, I managed to reassemble the phone. Then, with just a modicum of difficulty, I got my wife’s phone settings loaded from the Cloud.

On to the phone-number transfer!

Included with the new phone was a checklist of information one would need before calling to activate it. Because I’d been to this rodeo before, I’d already prepped my wife about what to collect. Confident that I had everything I needed, I made the call. After the initial pleasantries, the conversation devolved into a staccato Q&A session. Here’s a summary. (“Check” means that I had the answer.)


  1. Name?                                                                         Check
  2. #?                                                                                Check
  3. Old Carrier acc’t #?                                                      Check
  4. Transfer code #?                                                          Check
  5. NRC license # for nearest nuclear plant?                       Check (been to this rodeo b4)


So I’m sailing through the process and congratulating myself that I even had the ridiculously irrelevant information the letter didn’t mention I’d need. But then came


What day of the week were you born on?


I quickly and smugly answered, “Thursday” before realizing the question was asked with my wife in mind. I could hear those annoying TV game-show “wrong answer” buzzers going off in my head. Then I imagined a board game when the roll of the dice lands you on a square that commands you to go back to Start. Bugger!

All right, that was a slight exaggeration. But I truly suspect that a certain amount of aggravation is extracted as part of the sale price. In the end, we got the phone up and running, and life is back to normal — for now.

Hmmm. My computer could stand an upgrade. I shudder to think what I’m in for when that happens.

Have you wrestled with upgrading any tech recently?


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