Sunday, February 14, 2010

Officially Part of the 21st Century

I like my computer and my new Cricut. I like the freedom that women have to pursue any career, including that of mother. I've even warmed up to some of this century's music. But one thing that I've resisted--not quite kicking and screaming, but almost--is getting a cell phone. I have LOVED not being reachable at times. I figure the voice mail on our home phone was good enough for anyone who wanted to talk to me, and I usually got back to them within the day. Sure, it would be nice to have a phone to get help in an emergency; but since the other 99% of the population has a phone on them, I didn't think it would be too difficult to get that help if I really needed it.

A few things have changed.

I was standing in line at Wal-Mart's checkout a few weeks ago when the power went out. The lights came on ten seconds later, but it took nearly 25 minutes for the phones and registers to come back online. I had to borrow an employee's cell phone to ask my friend to pick up #5 from preschool. My own phone would have been nice.

My kids are reaching the age of hanging out with friends for long hours, and it would be nice to have one number to reach them at instead of memorizing all the friends' numbers.

Plus, I very often find myself thinking about how I would react in situations involving an emergency or an attack on someone. For certain, a cell phone would be handy there--not to mention a taser, but I'm not ready for that yet.

It all came to a head yesterday, and I had to make a choice. Kent and his business partner upgraded to iPod touch phones, which meant there was an extra phone for me. Again I resisted and insisted that I didn't want one, but their plan includes service for five phones regardless of if there are five people to use them. So I swallowed my cell phone pride and accepted this little thing. I justified it in my own out-of-the-box thinking: it's the perfect size for a door stop the next time I need one.

I'm still holding out on Facebook and Twitter though! I just can't bring myself to complicate my time any further.


Charlotte said...

The thing I love best about cell phones are the ability of my kids to get a hold of me easily. They memorize out cell phone numbers before the home one. That way I can leave for the day, or go out with Peter at night, and worry the kids are trying to reach me. Plus I love to text Peter when he is at work and he can see the messages when he gets a minute.

Sylwia said...

i find it a little disturbing that a company that raises money for orphans upgrades their cel phones to touch iphones...that's why i never give money to these "charities". i only trust our church not to waste the money i give them...

Mary said...

Charlotte--Kent keeps reminding me that it's only fair he is able to reach me as easily as I can expect to reach him. I suppose.

Sylwia--A Child's Hope Foundation does not provide cell phones (or any other perks) to its employee/board members. Kent has been only part-time with the foundation for a few years now. He and a friend started their own for-profit business during the rest of his time about a year ago. They are now at the point where they needed phones that had calendar and internet capabilities. They got a really good deal on the iPhones, and their business is paying for that upgrade. Ironically, upgrading and putting their phones on the same plan saves $20 per month over having individual plans.

Sorry to leave such a long comment, but this is a point that I believe is important to Kent. Charities have to make public the way they use their donations and how much goes toward their actual cause versus operational costs. I don't know the exact numbers, but ACHF has a much higher percent going toward its projects than most charities do. (I'm sure Kent can explain that better than I can.) I hope that helps.

Mary said...

One more point...(sorry, but this is an important topic to me).

ACHF has been very good about using funds for what the donor intended. Unless a donor specifies that their money can be used for operating costs, including payroll, ACHF uses the money directly for its programs: giving cash to orphanages, buying them groceries, purchasing building materials, etc. Volunteer time is what runs most of the foundation's work.

Sylwia said...


i'm glad to hear that the foundation is so careful about not wasting money. and also that when a donor specifies that he/she only wants the money to be used for project that the foundation honors that. i'm glad there are other charities in the world other than the church, because so much more service is needed. i genreally don't know who to trust with my money. so i stick with the church.

but i still have the question about the iphones? why not old used phones, super cheap or free? my husband uses a used old cheap phone, with no features, that's cracked. and he is a doctor so believe me, he uses his phone a lot. he says he makes do with his old phone just fine. if a doctor can do that, then why not someone who works for a charity foundation?

you are right, i did not mean this personally at all. i was just taken aback that it was Kent's company who was sponsoring this. but maybe it was Kent's other company?

Charlotte said...

My husband's company requires all the doctors to have internet and email capabilities on their phone. And they use it all the time.

If a doctor doesn't see the advantages of a technologically advanced smart phone, he may need to rethink his choice of phone. There are thousands of beneficial applications to help any medical practice available to smart phones.

Sylwia said...

yes charlotte, my husband is well aware of the benefits of having a fancy phone for his medical applications. we just choose not to spend money on them...

mindy said...

Like Mary said, the iPhone was for Kent's other business (I know, because my husband is the partner in that business). I know that they spend a lot of time in meetings and are away from their "offices" a lot. Could they get by without the smartphones? Yes (they've been doing it up until this point). Will the smartphones help them be more efficient and effective in their work? Yes. Plus, even if you don't approve, in the business world there is a certain amount of credibility with looking "put together," and being able to access important information wherever you are.

We all make choices about how we will spend our money. And when it is truly our own money, then it is our choice.

Mary, now we can talk FOR FREE! ;o) I'm sure you'll be calling me ALL the time now. *wink*

Mary said...

See! I knew a cell phone would complicate my life! :) Actually, Sylwia, you are echoing a lot of my reasons for not needing a cell phone. Why spend money on a phone when I already have a home phone?

I don't understand all the details of this new plan, but here are the basics.

Kent and two friends started a business last spring called KDK Information Design. (You can find out more at They were using their own, basic cell phones and paying individually for their plans. Lately, their limited time is packed with client meetings. They needed a way to keep track of scheduling and appointments as well as to access email and the internet while they are away from their computers during day. They also need to synchronize all that with each other. The iPhone can help them multi-task and thus save time (so they can be with their family instead of the computer when they come home).

When they compared plans, they found that putting everyone on one plan would be cheaper than the total of what they were paying individually for their old phones. And AT&T knocked the iPhone purchase price by about half with the plan they got. The cost savings will pay for the phones in a few months. The plan provides service for five phones, which meant there was a phone sitting around unless I use it. We will pay the business back for my use, since it's not a business expense. (The only thing that sold me on this new plan is that it will end up saving us money. So how nice that it also helps Kent run KDK better.)

For personal use, a very basic phone worked great for Kent. (I will now be using the old basic phone with no features.) But the new phones will let Kent and his KDK business partner maximize their time and serve clients better, while also saving money overall.

For his work with the charity, Kent just uses the land lines at the Child's Hope (donated) office space. A cell phone is not really necessary for that part of his work life, which is why I would never ask them to pay for one.

Basically, Kent has way too much to do in way too little time. I'm grateful our family is his first priority and that he is finding ways to not let his work life steal time from us.

Mary said...

Mindy--You put that well, and apparently beat me to it while I was typing my own comment/looking for art supplies for #4/consoling #3 over a broken toy.

Yes, someone in the business of helping clients make the most of their databases and technology definitely needs to demonstrate that they themselves optimize their own technology use. (Talk about a run-on sentence!)

About "talking all the time"...I have yet to turn my phone on! Someday when I have to call 911 for something, I'll hit that power button. ;o)

Mary said...

I know I'm way off the topic from my original post, but now the part of me that got the Business Mgmt. degree is curious.

Charlotte, does your husband work for a private hospital or a state-funded one? Do they reimburse for the smartphones that they require, or do they figure the compensation for their doctors is enough to cover that? Sylwia, your husband is a military doctor. Does the military require any of its medical staff to carry cell phones, basic or otherwise? I can see the obvious benefits of a doctor having a smartphone, but then the issue of the government's budget comes up. I just wish we took better overall care of our military. With that, the service men and women deserve the best healthcare our country can give them. I know nothing on this topic, so I wonder what your opinion is. How does military healthcare rate with private healthcare?

I hope I'm not opening a can worms here, and maybe the question is too broad. What do you think?

Sylwia said...


first of all when i was typing my second response, i did not read your first one because i thought it was the same as the email. then when i read it, it explained that the foundation was not providing it. sorry to reask the question again.

anyway, as far as the military goes, yes his work does require him to have a cel phone becasue he has to be able to be reached day and night. we have to pay for it ourselves. they do provide a pager, but the pagers belongsw to them. they give the pagers to whatever doctors are on call. the doctor does not get to keep the pager.

they are not required to have internet on their phone, but they are required to check their email often and respond. so it's a inconvenience to get to a computer, but my husband still thinks it saves time because people who have internet phones waste a lot of time on them. so even though they are supposed to save time, they really waste time, at least my husband's colleagues do.

another thing that the internet phone would be great for is looking up drugs and dosages. heaven forbid, a doctor would have to look in a book or actually have to walk back to his desk and look at the computer. again it's inconvenient.

it's interesting, not long ago my bishop gave a talk about our conveniences and how they are not always good for us. so i guess having a few inconveniences isn't going to kill my husband.

Charlotte said...

Peter's company is a private doctor owned group that contracts to emergency departments. The cell phone and cell plan can be paid for from their yearly business expense account. As can our high speed internet. As the head of the department Peter would be unable to travel without an internet abled phone because he has to answer questions and problems immediately. Would they have just dealt with things in the past? Sure, but that isn't what is expected today. We just dealt with using outhouses in the past, too. We can go out and do things as a family and he can still do his job. He has to be able to access schedules, written policies, patient flow numbers, employee lists, and other sundry things everywhere he goes. And they usually can't wait until he happens to check messages and has access to a computer.

Anyway, my point was that just because someone else doesn't choose to pay for a convenience doesn't mean they should be shocked and lecturing that other people do.

We use my iphone all the time as a family. Say we are out and about and decide we want to go to the movies- I can look up what and when is playing at the nearest theater to us at that moment. We google questions the kids ask that we don't know. We also settle arguments instantly. I don't need an iPhone, but I love it and I can afford it.

Mary said...

Thank you everyone for your input. Charlotte's last comment got me thinking about my own spending habits and beliefs. I have some thoughts and questions to put out there and I hope to get differing opinions to help me define some things for myself. Sorry I'm being so vague. I don't want to introduce my new questions on this post, but I'll publish a new one soon that I hope will be grounds for a good discussion that could potentially have big influence on my life. Thanks friends!

P.S. My word verification for this comment is "maryngsb". How random is that to have the first part be my name?! "...ngsb" probably stands for "now get some bchocolate". :)

mindy said...

hahaha!! What, praytell, is bchocolate? I think you totally deserve Achocolate. :o)

(My word verification is "sanstia" which sounds like a yoga position.)

Min said...


I'm kinda sorry you gave in to getting a cell phone. I still wish I was cell phone free even though I love my cell phone. A cell phone is very, very convenient, but once you get one, you become quite dependent on it unfortunately. (it will happen, just wait.)

I wanted to be cell phone free, but gave in after having a siuation like you described - but in my case, there wasn't a person to borrow a cell phone from. Also, (and you'll likely hate this comment) I love texting. For me, texting is more convenient than using a cell phone for talking. (so when you finally give in to texting, let me know but don't knock it til you try it and be sure to learn predictive text).

And to join the heated discussion, some occupations greatly benefit from having internet and other capabilities on their phone. In fact, I sometimes question businessmen who don't use the available technology to improve their services, knowledge, efficiency and reachability.

Oh, and one more thing, PLEASE learn how to put your phone on silence AND how to silence it quickly when it's ringing. I am irritated by people who sit in meetings and let their phone ring because they confess they don't know how to quiet it.