Thursday, February 24, 2011

Changing Your Tracfone Number: My Experience

The Plug
I'm a proponent of prepaid cellular because I'm just not that attached to my phone. It's not an emergency-only phone. I'm just not much of a "chit-chatter", so 900 minutes can last me a whole year (costs $120) and there aren't any other phone plans that can beat that yet. My husband uses double the amount of minutes I do and it's still a great deal we haven't been able to find elsewhere.

There are some down-sides to Tracfone. For one, there are some really spiffy phones out there that Tracfone just doesn't offer... yet. (I'm sure they'll be offering android phones eventually.) For another, customer service is all overseas, so if you don't understand people with accents, you'll be in a bind.

Changing the Number
This Monday I began the days long effort of changing my husband's Tracfone number. We're in the process of moving and wanted him to have a local number to keep from having a roaming rate eat his minutes. Tracfones are pretty inexpensive and even free with an airtime card, so why would we bother changing the number on his 4-year old phone (from the ice age, really)? It gets an analog signal, and there aren't a lot of phones anymore that pick that up. Case in point: when we are driving in the wastelands of the West, my husband's phone can pick up an analog signal to make calls with and my phone, just a few months old, cannot. We like that analog capability, so we want to stick with it for as long as it works.

On my first phone call to customer service, I used my husband's phone, thinking that that might help with the change. Shouldn't have bothered doing that. I used 15 minutes and really didn't need the phone to do it. So, start smart, use a landline. On my first call, I told them what zip code I wanted my number changed to, the costumer service rep gave me a number to dial as soon as I was off the phone that would make the change. Easy. I dialed the number and was told to hold while they updated my phone. I heard a loud beep for a few minutes and then it stopped. I was supposed to wait an hour for changes to take place. I waited 24 hours just to be sure. Nothing. No new number, but now my husband's old number no longer worked, so he couldn't make calls.

Tuesday I called costumer service again. (They are very nice.) They had me push a bunch of codes into the phone on the prepaid menu under code entry and then said to wait again for an hour for the changes to take place. I had to wonder if the rep just wanted to get rid of my because he couldn't solve my problem.

Called again on Wednesday. I spent a long time (30 minutes) on the phone entering different codes into the phone. Then I was told that my phone had an error on it and it would take 24 hours to clear. So, call tomorrow. They gave me a ticket number that I was to refer to when I called back.

Called on Thursday. I gave the rep my ticket number right away. I think that helped, because she seemed to know what was going on and what had already been tried. She didn't ask me to punch in codes I'd already done a handful of times. She had me punch in one code and then my phone automatically shut off and turned back on and it had a new number on it! Yippee! It took a long time, but it's done. And we can keep our old Tracfone.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Old Vinyl Floor Transformation

When we were getting ready to put our house up for sale a month ago, we found ourselves carefully deciding what was worth spending money on fixing. We really felt like something needed to be done with our vinyl kitchen floor. The cost of putting in a new vinyl floor wasn't too awful, but the time that it would take to remove the old vinyl prep the floor seemed too daunting for our limited time frame. So, I took a good look at our floor. The problem with it isn't that it is out-dated, it just had has a lot of scratches in it that dirt was stuck in, making it look really dirty and dinged up. I wondered if I could give it a face lift and make it shine. Our floor is a no-wax vinyl floor, so I figured that I wouldn't be able to put wax on it. I was wrong.

After doing some looking around online, I found that many recommended scrubbing down the floor with a vinegar/water solution (I used a 1/1 solution) and then waxing it to seal the scratches. The price of wax was about $9 and the scrubbing would just take time. It took A LOT longer than I anticipated. I srubbed the floor for a total of 7 hours. I had a large scrub brush, medium sized one, and a toothbrush... all helped with the job. I used an old towel to wipe up the dirty water as I went. My arms and upper back were killing me by the end. But I persisted because the scrubbing with vinegar really was doing an excellent job. I had attempted to scrub the floor in the past using commercial cleaners like Mop and Glo and Pine Sol, but they just left a sticky film on the floor that only attracted more dirt.

After scrubbing, I gave the floor a few good passes with a clean mop and straight water and then dried it with a clean towel. The most amazing thing was seeing how the clean the towel was after I had rubbed it across the floor. The floor was totally clean. Next, I applied 3 coats of vinyl floor wax (allowing 30 minutes to dry in between coats). Now, not only is my floor clean, it shines and it looks A LOT better... to the point where I feel good enough about putting it up for sale without replacing the floor.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Metal Snap Removal, In Case You Were Wondering

I was wondering why my son hadn't worn the new pants I bought him months ago. He told me it was because the snap kept coming undone. Okay. Makes sense. So, a faulty snap... I figured it was a loss. Then I thought that maybe I could take the snap off and replace it with a button. Now, I know there are tools out there that you can buy to remove snaps, and while I'm sure they are great, it turns out a simple flat head screwdriver will do the trick! Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are some detailed instructions for the process:

How the Snap Removal Went for Me
I will say, that some care needs to be taken to make sure you don't hurt yourself in the process of removing the snap. Now, I had an auto mechanics teacher back in high school that told us never to use a tool for something it wasn't made for. So, don't call it a screwdriver, call it a pry bar. Pry away from yourself and your hands (we always says this, but one one always does it). I did it on surface that I didn't mind scuffing. The trick is to bend one side of the snap away from the other side that it is fixed to. The result left a small hole where the snap had been. I used a scrap of fabric to reinforce the area with the hole, sewed on a button and made a button hole for it. Worked! And I probably only spent 20 minutes on it.

Had the boy try his pants on... and he barely fits them anymore! Rats!