The Phone Cord, She is Gone

Dining Room Progress via

Dining Room Progress via

So, while I’m convalescing with my head cold and waiting to feel better so I can start plastering the fireplace, I’m still chipping away at my dining room buffet project.

You may wonder why we move so slowly on projects. Of course we have the usual reasons: budget, time, et cetera. But the other reason, which I suspect is common, is fear. A little thing like moving a phone cord can easily become a much larger project. You open a wall, you have no idea what you’re getting into. I speak from experience (*cough* leaky faucet -> whole house rewiring project *cough*). One or two of those, and you get a little DIY PTSD.

Case in point, the phone cord in the dining room. You probably didn’t notice, but the other day when I showed the dining room, you could see the phone cord stapled to the wainscoting and up to the phone.

Dining Room Progress via

See? No? Here, let me help you:

Dining Room Progress via

It’s been like that since I got the phone for Christmas a couple of years ago. Not a big project, but since it involves opening walls, Mr. Magpie had been avoiding it. I hadn’t really needed it before, but I have finally reached a point where I am ready to plaster and paint in there, and I kinda wanted the cord to not be there! 🙂

After some deliberation about options, Mr. Magpie decided to work from the other side of the wall (no wainscoting). We got lucky and the phone cord came down from the attic, so we didn’t even have to splice it, just reroute it to where we needed it.

Dining Room Progress via

Amazingly, he did that in about an hour and a half, then patched the wall back up and everything when he was done! That’s what I call extra bonus service. Often we don’t have time to patch the hole, too, and then the hole sticks around for ages, too.

The hardest part of the whole thing was getting a short little phone cord to plug the phone into the wall socket. Nobody carries them anymore! People didn’t even know what we were asking for. One person asked if we really meant USB cable. A friend finally gave us one out of their cable stash. I guess we’re really going old school here!

Here it is done:

Dining Room Progress via

And it looks even better if I put my one finished chair (with white legs instead of the unpainted brown), doesn’t it?

Dining Room Progress via

I really need to do the legs on the last three chairs.

So now I have my little red phone, and my little pink chair, and we’re all set for long chats with friends.

Dining Room Progress via

And yes, we have a land line. I know that’s kind of weird in today’s world. For years I didn’t bother, I just had my cell. But I’m notorious for leaving my cell phone at the other end of the house, and my parents needed us to be able to respond immediately. So we got a land line. And you know what? I’m so glad I did. There’s something sort of cozy about knowing that someday my kids might be able to call me, no matter where they are or what they’re doing, and this red phone would ring and I would answer. And I would sit in the pink chair and hear about their lives.

Not too soon, of course.

As for my dining room, how that the cord is installed and the buffet cabinets have been polyed, I can work on the doors and drawers now, but more importantly I can start plastering the walls. Between this wall and the fireplace, I guess I have a lot of plastering in my future! 🙂 Good thing I enjoy it.

What about you? Do you get nervous about aspects of a project and get stalled? How do you overcome it?

~Angela :-)

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  1. Barbara H. says:

    I still have a land line, too. I’m in the Appalachian foothills and have a metal roof, so my cell doesn’t work well in the house. There’s a green wall phone, no doubt original to this late ’50s house, in the kitchen. It has the long curly cord like yours, but if I start to move too far away, the phone cuts out until I move back close. Sigh.
    I’m “this close” to having a shower in my master bath – the add-a-shower type that I will probably only use occasionally. It’s been a long haul between trying to do it piecemeal without a kit, finding one in an old hardware store, and then having to change the spout once again. It may be a couple of weeks before I firmly attach the shower head and try it out. Thank goodness for the shower in the guest bathroom! I find if I don’t rush myself and allow myself time, often something comes up that makes the delay a good thing. When it’s time, or I get too disgusted, I’ll get to it.

    • Oh my goodness, Barbara, that green phone sounds amazing! So cute! I agree with you that sometimes the delay makes things worth it. I *still* haven’t made any significant progress on my guest bathroom — but maybe I’ve finally figured out how I want it to be? Maybe? Good luck on your shower project! ~Angela~

  2. I hadn’t noticed the cord, but I had litteraly drooled over that adorable red phone in your dining-room pictures!
    I get very, very nervous with every project, because I’ve had some many misadventures while redoing the cottage! And it’s only the beginning!

    • Exactly!! You never know what you’re going to find when you start on a project. Could be easy (like my phone cord), or SO NOT (like my bathroom at the old house). It’s an adventure! 🙂 ~Angela~

  3. Tammy Soave says:

    Oh I DO understand about not starting something for fear of what lies beneath. My husband will estimate how long he thinks something will take and I have to remind him to double the time because something unexpected always seems to happen. I have been stalling on recovering my dining room chairs because of an experience with the kitchen chair project! I’ve had the fabric for 8 months now! But, I’m just so afraid to start ripping the old stuff off. But, the sooner I start, the sooner I’ll be done. It’s on my list.
    Your imagery of the land line phone is very exact! I have two grown daughters living out and about and the youngest away at college. My middle daughter lives clear across the country for us in coastal Texas. The other two always call me on my cell, the middle one? ALWAYS on the land line. I think it makes her feel physically connected to home, like she is somehow still there with us all even though she is really far away. At least that’s my theory!
    My land line hangs on the kitchen wall in the same place it has for 23 years. More than a few times I have melted the long, curly cord as I have stretched it across the island cook top while chatting and preparing a meal. LOL

    • Oh Tammy, hearing about your phone and it’s melted phone cord and your daughter calling — it just makes me feel so warm and cozy and connected. I really feel that connection with the land line. I’m sure it’s nostaglia on my part, but it’s palpable. We always had a wall phone in the kitchen growing up and so there’s just something right about having one now. Good luck on your dining room chairs! You can do it! ~Angela~

  4. We still have a landline, too. We aren’t ready to give it up yet – too many places connected to that number and my sweetheart doesn’t want to give it up. The cost to keep it is minimal because we have a ‘bundle’ deal – so we still have a ‘weird’ phone, too. I don’t get nervous about projects because my sweetheart has had so much experience with a lot of things and he always has a good way to do the projects right. They look wonderful when they are finished so I can relax and not worry!

    • Adrienne, you are so lucky to have a husband with tons of experience! Mr. Magpie is pretty handy, but we have a tendency to jump head first into projects and then figure it out later. Sometimes the figuring it out part takes longer than we think it will! Ha! It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one who’s attached to their land line! 🙂 ~Angela~

  5. Pink chair, wainscoting and red phone. That’s the money shot. We just recently hid some tv cords and it thrilled me. It’s the simple things. I’m a simple girl.

    • Me too! I almost didn’t blog it because it’s such a little thing, but it was such a huge thing for me that I decided to share anyway. I’ve been waiting years for that! 🙂 ~Angela~

  6. It’s the “little” things that get to me, too. I have one oddly sized wall switch that still has a beige cover on it, even though I switched all of the other covers in my kitchen to white. I’m on the never-ending search for the perfect cover but in the meantime that beige one irritates me every time I walk by. Glad you were able to solve your little irritation! 🙂

    • Sue, funny you should mention that beige switch plate! Guess what color the switch plate in that corner is? Yep. Beige. You can see it from the front door and I really, really don’t like it. Hopefully I can fix that soon, too! 🙂 ~Angela~

  7. I don’t know if you will see this comment since it is an old post. My hubby is thinking of installing a land line after he retires. He has a hearing aid and cell phones just aren’t very good for the hard of hearing. We have my old phone from the 50’s (my childhood phone)—we were using it sometime in the last ten years so I know it still works. It is on my blog this week. Anyways, I was wondering if the phone companies still offer rotary dial service. Yours is a rotary right?!

    • Hi Kim! I don’t know about the rotary service! I know it used to be that they had to offer it, but I don’t know what they do now. Our phone is actually not a rotary phone, it just looks like one. It’s designed to look like an old fashioned phone but instead of a dial the little numbers are push buttons. We found it at the thrift store, but I know that various places have sold them over the years. Let me know what you end up doing! ~Angela~

  8. Just saw this post and I love that phone! While my husband and I have cell phones, we both wanted a land line too. Sometimes cell reception is not good and I always like knowing that we have a back up. Besides, I love the 1940’s era and have a silver and a black kettle phone. Love! They are not the original ones(my mom has an original one) but I still love them. 🙂

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