Susan and I are currently teleworking from home multiple days a week. Susan works from home three days a week now. I’ve been approved for three days as well, but generally only do one or two.
To get approved for this program, we had to sign a document stating that we have all the equipment we need at home to do our jobs. Work provides us a laptop, but you can’t sign up and then tell your boss that you don’t own a desk or a chair or that you don’t believe in paying for electricity. By signing up you agree that you already have everything you need at home, and that no additional costs will be incurred by the government. I’ve bought a couple of things out of pocket to improve my teleworking experience, but generally I just write those things off. Between gas and tolls it costs me $10/day to drive to work and back, so footing the bill for a better mouse pad is really a minor investment.
Because of our new telework situation Susan bought new phones for the house. They’re Panasonic cordless phones, and we bought three of them. The master phone has a big base and the answering machine built in, and the other two satellite phones only came with chargers. Only the base phone needs to be connected to a phone jack, and the two satellite phones connect to it wirelessly. For the most part I had been using my cell phone and my super spiffy ear buds for work calls, which was working great until I got a text message from AT&T warning me that I was about to exceed my minutes for the month. When that happened I switched over to the cordless phone.
On the side of the cordless phone I noticed a small headphone jack. So, it hit me — hey! — I could plug my ear buds into the cordless phone and use it hands free, just like my cell phone! But when I tried plugging my ear buds into the side of the cordless phone I discovered it wouldn’t fit. The female port on the side of the phone is too small. I know that full size (“old school”) headphones are a 1/8″ jack and smaller earbud-type headphones are 1/4″ jacks, but what I learned Monday is that 1/4″ jacks are also referred to as 3.5mm jacks, and this phone has a 2.5mm jack.
This, my friends, is where the story begins.
I found the adapter I need online, but instead I decided to pick one up locally over the weekend — except I forgot to do that, so instead I decided to use my lunch hour on Monday to run and pick one up. The moment my lunch began I flew down the stairs, leaped into my truck, and sped off like a madman down the street en route to Target. I walked as rapidly as I could back to the electronics section. (By the way, when stores see a man in a hoodie walking rapidly back toward the electronics section, security goes on high alert. Just sayin’.)
I spent five minutes finding the right aisle and another minute or two digging through the adapters they had in stock. Nothing. When an employee asked me what I was looking for and I told him, he told me they don’t make those. So, look — if you don’t know if they make something or if you’ve never heard of something, don’t say “they don’t make those.” When I told him I had seen them online and was just trying to pick one up locally, he said, “Hmmmmm… nope.” Thanks, Target guy.
Next stop, Walmart. Now, to get to Walmart I have to drive past Radio Shack. The last time I needed something (a small USB charger), I checked online and found them for $2.99. But because I needed one that night and I was out of town on travel, I went to Radio Shack to get one. It was $27.99. So while I was sure Radio Shack would have the adapter, I really didn’t want to drop $27.99 (or whatever) on one. That’s why I decided to hit Walmart first.
Same plan when I got to Walmart, by the way; walk as quickly as possible back to the electronics section, look for the adapter, save myself five minutes to hit Radio Shack as a last resort on the way home if they didn’t have one.
I find the adapter aisle and there are two dozen adapters. This to that, that to this, this to five plugs, two plus to one plug, but nothing that’ll… and then I spot it. It’s not wrapped individually. It’s boxed up with five other obscure adapters. And it’s $12.99.
At this point time is of the essence. I know (a) I can get this thing cheaper online, and (b) I’m going to throw the rest of the adapters in this box away, but with the clock ticking, I knew I needed to get back home. I begrugingly paid the $12.99, jogged back to my truck, and arrived home with just minutes to spare.
When I opened the box I found a sealed plastic container that instantly said to me, “There’s no way you’re opening this without cutting yourself.” And, I was right. Within 30 seconds I had two cuts on my fingers that wouldn’t stop bleeding. With the plastic shield penetrated, I pulled out the adapter I needed and dumped the rest in the trash.
When I went to plug the adapter into my cordless phone… it wouldn’t fit. Oh, the metal plug fits, but the phone has a tiny indentation around the hole, and the rubber housing around the adapter was so big that it wouldn’t push down all the way into the hole. Are you kidding me?
Having owned the adapter for a total of four minutes now, I did what anyone else would do. I ran downstairs, got my Dremmel out, and performed surgery on the adapter.
Because the adapter was so small I had no choice but to hold it in one hand while I ground away the extra plastic with the Dremmel held in the other. More than once I dropped the adapter (which at this point was slippery and covered in blood from the cuts on my hand), and more than once because of the tight quarters, I Dremmeled my own hand. THIS WAS GOING GREAT. By the time I was done some of the wiring was exposed and my face and glasses were covered in tiny shards of melted plastic and rubber.
I brought the adpater upstairs and of course it still wouldn’t fit in the phone, so I had to run back downstairs and do it some more. This time I took the phone with me. Duh. I whittled enough off of the adapter so that it fit.
I got back upstairs just in time for my next telecon to start. I plugged my ear buds in and it fit together perfectly. I dialed in and could already hear people talking.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hello?” I asked.
Turns out, this adapter is only for HEADPHONES. Meaning it doesn’t support a MICROPHONE. Which is the only reason I BOUGHT IT.
Into the trash the bloody thing went, joining the rest of the box’s contents.
Today during lunch I ordered another adapter, this one from Amazon.com with reviews stating that it works with headsets. Hopefully it will arrive by next Monday and I can try this all over again. Hopefully the cuts on my hands will have healed by then.
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