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gigaset 4215Ever notice how stuff – stuff like your major appliances or small electronics – just all crap out around the same time?  Or close enough to where it feels like it’s all happening at the same time?  I have a feeling I will be going (cordless) landline shopping here soon.

A few weeks ago I was mourning the fatal blue screen crash of my beloved Dell home laptop.  Yeah, she is (was) a clunker so I knew I was on borrowed time.  I’m still actually waiting for the Windows XP recovery disc they are sending me; I keep getting email notifications that the order is delayed.  Now, how could XP recovery discs be that much in demand?

Microsoft announced a few months back that they will no longer be supporting Windows XP come 2014…meaning they won’t be providing updated security patches and updates, for example.  So if any of you are hearing this for the first time, if you’re still using a computer with Windows XP, it’s time to get something else.  Come to think of it, my old Dell laptop came pre-installed with Windows XP media center edition.  I wonder if the XP recovery disc would even work…not sure how different they are.

Now it looks like I will be going cordless landline phone shopping here too.  In the picture you’ll see my current landline phone.  Meet the Siemens Gigaset 4215.  Back in 1999 through 2006, I worked for a company that got acquired by a branch of Siemens, and we became eligible to purchase Siemens products at a discount.  I’m guessing I purchased this unit around 2000 or 2001; it was before I moved into the townhouse here in 2002.  In fact, I remember needing to purchase an additional handset when I moved into the townhouse, as I now had two floors of living space!

Anyway, when I first got this phone it was much more essential than it is now. My apartment had very poor cell phone coverage, so I relied heavily on my landline.  But after moving into the townhouse and becoming more dependent on my cell (plus getting far better cell coverage in my new neighborhood), the landline took a backseat.  The Gigaset handset is very comfortable and the sound quality is great; my only gripe is that the call waiting feature does not work at all.  But with caller ID it’s easy to see who’s calling and then call them back.  Given I don’t really use my landline that much, if call waiting does pop in when I’m on another call, 99% of the time it’s a telemarketer and easy to ignore.

…Which is why I’m keeping my landline in the meantime.  Huh?  What I mean by this is…my cell has now become much more sacred to me than my landline number.  Whenever I shop online and need to provide a phone number, for example, I give my landline number.  That way I won’t get potentially bombarded with spammy calls on my cell.  I do the same with email actually – I have a separate email address that’s just for shopping online and whatnot.  I don’t worry about getting spam in it, because the email account I value most is completely separate.

About a year ago the batteries that came with my Gigaset phones started failing.  I can’t remember exactly what kind they were, but they were AA size and some rechargeable kind. I guess a dozen years or so is a pretty good run for batteries, right?  So I bravely cracked open the back case and replaced the batteries with the good ol’ regular AA types.  This has worked fairly well, but the batteries don’t hold their charges very long, even in the charging cradles.

And then one day, I found a bunch of AA batteries on sale and stocked up.  Woohoo, so I thought!  But sometimes you get what you pay for.  A few months later when I picked up one the handsets there was this awful, warm whitish gooey goo leaking from the bottom.  Kind of like watery paper mache mixed in with a little liquid paper.  The batteries were leaking!  Oh great, am I going to end up with holes burnt in my furniture and burnt skin?  Yuck!

I carefully wiped the battery chamber and the outside of the handset with a damp paper towel and put in a fresh pair of batteries.  Fast forward a few weeks and once again, the white goo came oozing out of the bottom of the phone.  What the hell is wrong with these batteries?  The other handset was also having battery leaking problems, but nowhere near the one I keep in the living room.

The next time it happened the goo was so thick it had glued the back plastic removable cover securely onto the handset and I couldn’t budge it. The batteries were going dead and I knew I wanted to change them out and clean the insides again, but no luck.  Last night I had a brilliant idea of running hot water over the sealed plastic casing, and sure enough, it worked!  I carefully removed the batteries and cleaned out the chamber with a paper towel.  Then I got a little ambitious and ran some hot water inside the unit.  Was I crazy?  Possibly.

I dried out the inside of the phone, popped the batteries back in, placed the phone in the charger cradle and…nothing.  Nada.  But then a few minutes later I heard a tiny growling sound – it was the phone rumbling back to life!  Yes!  But the rumbling was short-lived and the digital display was gone.

I removed the batteries and let the phone dry out overnight.  This morning I noticed a small metal bracket from inside the battery chamber had come loose.  I tried gently placing it back in the phone and putting the batteries back in.  Nothing.

I think I have my answer.  Time to go spend some money.