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Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016
The Good, The Bad, And The UglyPosted Wednesday, January 30, 2008, at 8:27 AM
The Ugly - Part of my early phone company career found me climbing phone poles to either hook up service, or repair a problem. Open wire phone lines and their supporting poles were a common site with their glass insulators and wires stretching along country roads for years before underground cable became cheaper to install and maintain.
The old phone lines with the glass insulators are a thing of the past for the most part, though I'm sure there are still a few of these original phone technology connections around. While exploring the area around the farm, I spotted an abandoned phone line with several standing phone poles. The insulators were long gone, but I decided one of those old poles would make a cool mailbox post for the farm, and would always pleasantly remind me of the hundreds of poles I climbed working for Ma Bell. I first contacted the local phone company and was informed the line was abandoned in 1962, and the poles became the property of the land owner.
Lucky me! I contacted the farmer who owns the poles and after informing him of my desire for one of his old poles, he said "take 'em all", which I replied that I only wanted one. He told me to help myself, so armed with chainsaw, a pole was selected and dropped. Only problem, when the pole hit the ground, the cross arm split. I could quickly see that the old poles were too far past their prime for my original project idea.
Plan B - I scrounged a treated pole and an old power company cross arm from the farm and using the original phone pole hardware, have made my version of an original faux phone pole mailbox post. I got to thinking that I was building a new pole and cross arm with old wood for a new mailbox...upon reflection, I bet the neighbors will wonder why anyone would go to as much trouble putting up an old looking mailbox post.
I have the post and cross arm sitting in the ditch next to road awaiting the underground utility locator to show up so I don't hit the phone cable when I dig a new post hole, and the whole works weighs a lot more than I originally planned. I'll finish up the project once I get the post installed, and I'm setting the pole so if someone runs off the road and hits it, the post should pop out of the ground quite easily.
The Good - We made appointment for DirecTV to install service on the farms house for local channels and get us off the motor homes dish. The installer and a trainee showed up exactly when promised, and I couldn't be happier with the install job.
The Bad - To put in the new mailbox post, we called the "Diggers Hotline" to have a tech show up to locate the underground phone lines so I don't hit one. They were to be here by 4:30. Shame on them for being a no show no call. Mailbox project delayed.
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