It's alive! Old becomes new with a little ingenuity

Published: 11/17/2016 11:00 AM
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BY JENNA WASAKOSKI

THE NEWS-ITEM

jenna_w@newsitem.com

Trends spin the globe. This week it’s fancy charm bracelets; next week it’s cozy leggings.

I don’t “roe” nor do I own any jewelry plucked from the pages of a catalog at a jewelry party. I’m just a pain in my tendencies to rage against the trend machine most of my life. Which isn’t to say it’s not OK to follow them. If you want to “roe, roe, roe” your leggings gently through life everyday, that’s your thing.

It’s weird but, there’s this thing, where people can have a difference of opinion, but not hate each other for it. I would never anger the masses of LuLaRoe fans. I’ve felt them; they’re soft. I’d just rather buy cheap leggings and blow my money on $25 eyeliner. We’re all different.

The only trends I fall for are typically makeup and hair related. I like authenticity; things from eras passed. But sometimes I become so enamored with old things, they circle back around to “cool” again. The trend boomerang effect is nothing new, but once in a while it knocks on my sense of style’s door.

I love free stuff

Just two days following my July fourth birthday this year, my childhood friend, Mimi, contacted me via Facebook offering at no cost a vintage rotary phone she found in her mom’s attic. And, let me tell you, it was amazing. She made sure it found its way to me and it’s been on display ever since in my dining room.

It’s 2016, so I had no landline, therefore, the phone served as ornamental since July. Then, I decided to get internet through a provider who required I get a landline in order to get a deal for $50 a month with no overages (I stream a lot, so I need unlimited internet). So, sure, fine, I’ll take a landline. If nothing else it will be a means for me to locate my lost iPhone I had in my hand five minutes ago.

So, long story short with the service provider, after the blunder of hooking up my landline to my neighbor by transposing north for south in the service address and a few threatening phone calls to fix everything, I was up and running. Internet is fine, and now I have a landline to which I hooked up a $6 phone I found at the Dollar Store.

I’ve used it once to talk on the phone, around 20 times to find my cell and about 487 times to say “Put me on the do not call list,” since apparently my provider farms out their numbers to home security and electricity-scamming companies.

Literally, the next day, I couldn’t believe my house phone was ringing! So exciting. I ran. I haven’t heard that for years. But wait, I only gave one person my number. Telemarketing.Ugh.

So, it was more of a curse than a gift, but then it hit me.

Although there were only three sprig-like wires at the end of my vintage phone’s cord, surely there would be a way to make it work with my new landline.

Lady MacGuyver

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGuyver, for you youngins) has nothing on me, let me just tell you. Although I’m not sure I could dismantle a bomb with a clothespin and a piece of chewed bubblegum, I can, my friends, rewire a phone.

Not the easiest task, mind you, but a task I tackled late Tuesday after work. Equipped with a tool box which, for some unknown reason, has inside a pair of wire cutters (which I once used to extricate a bellybutton ring from one of my best friends when we were in our 20s), I was ready to operate.

Thanks to Al Gore, one can find instructions for almost anything online ­— usually YouTube. Want to put up some dry wall? YouTube it. Want to try a fishtail braid in your hair? YouTube. Appendix burst and needs to come out? Go to the ER, but, for the most part, there are many things the Internet will walk you through should you have the brain capacity to follow simple directions.

As I typed, “how to rewire,” into Google, popular suggested choices were “your house,” “a trailer” and “your brain,” which made me pause for a moment and think.

But, stubborn as I am, I glazed over during the first video I started watching. This needed to be done now. I don’t have seven minutes and 16 seconds. I know there are wires in the phone cord I found and there are wires at the end of my vintage phone cord. Three of those wires match in color, therefore, connecting them would surely get the phone working.

So, with the skills of a surgeon, a tool box, tweezers and cuticle scissors, I successfully stripped and subsequently connected the red, yellow and green wires, plugged that baby in and heard a dial tone.

The black wire? I have no idea what that one does. It’s not connected to anything, but by all means, I’m not implying black wires don’t matter. I’m certain it has a perfectly amazing purpose in modern phone wiring.

So, I did it. I called it (OK, so it doesn’t audibly ring, but let’s celebrate the little victories) and it worked when I picked up. I rotary-dialed my cell phone and it rang. What a world we live in. I felt alive again. Again, if I could do a cartwheel, this would be another appropriate instance, but sadly (someone teach me), I cannot. I instead twirled my poor cat, Lux, around and kissed her on the forehead to celebrate my great victory as I beamed with pride.

I’m kind of cool again

Stemming from curiosity, I again took to the internet to see if a store like Urban Outfitters — notorious for stealing ideas and overcharging for basic things — was hocking vintage phones for an ungodly amount of money.

I kind of expected it of them, but instead I found on what used to be one of my favorite sites, ModCloth, multiple phones almost identical to mine ranging in price from $59.99 to $89.99. There was even a purse mimicking the look of a vintage phone for $107.99.

So, just when I thought I couldn’t get any more lame and out of the circle of what’s in vogue, turns out, I’m kind of trendy and maybe even a little cool.

The real moral to the story is, beyond dangerous things like surgery or dyeing your hair, which should be left to professionals, don’t underestimate yourself. You’re likely able to accomplish many tasks with step-by-step instructions readily available at your fingertips.

Now, does anyone know why it’s not ringing? Email me.

(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item. Her lifestyle column appears Thursdays.)

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