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About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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cellwater

Summer Blog Day 6: Cell-o-Pain

cellwaterThe text read as follows:

‘Reed went in pool with phone, Heading home to you. Have fun.”

There was glee in that text. The glee of an older brother rejoicing that it was not his phone heading for a rice coffin.

Of course it had to be the nicest phone in the house; the iPhone 6. Why couldn’t Drew’s old, cracked iPhone 4s sink to the bottom of the water, never to reappear? That thing is like the Timex of phones; it has taken a licking.

But. It. Just. Won’t. Die.

Seeing how this was not our first rodeo and all, we have a dedicated tub of rice just for electronics. The ghosts of many a soggy device reside in that container.

Reed looked a little terrified when he walked in. I instructed him to get the case off which he did with shaky hands and we buried the phone amongst the grains and snapped the lid shut.

I think I saw him bless himself. I didn’t have the heart to tell him there is no patron saint of iPhones. If there were, they would have their work cut out for them what with all the cracked screens and toilet mishaps in suburbia.

Reed stumbled back up the hill to the pool, squinting against the harshness of this new world without cell contact.

I began the deep dive for the AT&T receipt that would prove I purchased insurance a mere two months ago when I got his phone.

I found it and exhaled loudly when I spied the line that said Premium Insurance. As I searched, I had started to doubt myself because I couldn’t remember any details about the insurance itself.

I would learn later there was good reason for that. AT&T didn’t know any details either.

After the requisite 24-hr rice bath, we called it. Time of death 9:30am. Only one mourner came to pay tribute to a life span short-circuited. Reed looked downtrodden as we headed out to AT&T.

It was like his gut was telling him this would not be resolved immediately. That he would walk out empty-handed. When you are 12-years old, being empty handed was incomprehensible. A sure social suicide.

His gut was right. We walked in, explained what happened and listened as the salesman let out a low whistle. As I suspected, there was no mention of any of the water sucking machines Reed told me about. He handed the phone back with a brochure for the insurance company. All that “stuff’ was outsourced.

Ouch!

In-house good. Outsource bad.

Once home, armed with the brochure, I immediately went to the company’s website to begin the process of getting a replacement shipped.

I whipped though the first few screens; giving me misplaced confidence. The website wanted the last four digits of a SSN. Well, I purchased the phone so I put in mine.

Wrong.

Then, I put in my husband’s.

Bingo.

Ok, so now at least I knew which one of us the system considered the account holder. The next disclaimer was confusing to me. It seemed that the insurance company was going to ask me security questions. But, they weren’t questions predetermined by me. You know the general, name of your first dog kind of thing. They were very specific to say they had nothing to do with the incident, loss or the phone itself.

Hmmm, ok.

The multiple choice questions all contained info that neither of us would ever include on a security questionnaire, Height on driver’s license, former addresses and other creepy Orwellian stuff.

And I got two out of three wrong. What the what?

I knew that making it difficult was probably their way of weeding out fraud. But people, people, people– you just don’t get it.

Criminals have all the time in the world. Fraud is their J-O-B.

Normal people with lives and legitimate careers do not have time for this crap. You are actually weeding out the honest people because we are soft. White collar citizens who just want to be able to text their kids at the pool.

So, I thought like a total poser. I used my husband’s SSN but then answered the security questions as me.

Voila! I was in. But it was still unnerving just how public your public records are.

What followed was a series of document templates that needed to be filled in and uploaded or faxed. All very official sounding. Affidavit of Loss, digital picture of driver’s license and on and on.

I got hung up on which driver’s license to submit since this super secure system has mashed up our info so were each half-invested in the process.  I sent them both.

Two hours later, I had sent everything off. In the meantime, the insurance company had sent me 3000 emails. I had to look at all of them to determine which one had my deductible and link to get this phone out with overnight shipping.

Finally, I got confirmation that payment had been received and we were in process. The jury is still out on the insurance. It was cheaper than buying new but it ain’t cheap.

I instinctively reached for the phone to text Reed and tell him the good news but stopped myself.

I texted his brother at the pool and it read as follows:

“Tell Reed his phone is on the way! Oh and if you drop your phone in the pool trying to tell him—you’re on your own, I can’t go through that process again

Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.

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