Starting Over From Scratch

Guess who had a birthday this past week?


Guess who got a brand new phone for his birthday?

Not David.


Not that I planned on getting a new phone. Frankly, I’m embarrassed about the whole thing. I sure didn’t want to spend the money, but it couldn’t be helped. Also, I suppose things could have been worse. Thankfully, it wasn’t my car that died. *Knocking on wood, throwing salt over my left shoulder and making the cross sign*

Obviously, I thought I had more time with my Galaxy S7 phone. Otherwise, I would have already done what I was always going to do over these last three years. I had the opportunity. There just never seemed to be the right time. Mostly, I just wasn’t thinking; and, of course, I had that delusion about time. In hindsight, what a lame excuse.


My phone died last Thursday, September 23. May it RIP. It was a re-furbished phone, one that AT&T sent me as a replacement when my original phone died three years ago. What can I say? It was a great, hardworking phone and I miss it.


What I learned three years ago is that we backup our photos onto our computer at home on a regular basis…so we don’t lose said pictures in case our phone gets lost, stolen or destroyed. I also learned that we keep a file on the computer as well as a hard copy of important phone numbers and email and physical addresses.

Three years ago, I also remember thinking that I’d get a new, upgraded phone and transfer everything long before my S7 was put out to pasture. I’d stay ahead of the curve.

But did I really learn any of those lessons?

If I had, I wouldn’t be writing this.


The real frustration is that as my phone was dying this past week, I didn’t even realize it. Looking back, the first indication that anything was wrong happened after it went through a systems update. After that, my phone took a little longer to turn on. Typing was a bit of an ordeal. Sometimes when I was looking up a website, my phone sent me somewhere altogether different as though it were confused. Some of my settings had inexplicably changed. The phone also felt warmer than usual; not exactly hot, but it’s as though it were running a fever.

At 7:00 AM on Thursday, the phone was fine other than the mild cold it seemed to have caught — fever, irritability, brain fog, lethargy. It crossed my mind that I was going to have to take it into a repair shop or maybe Best Buy so someone could show me how to change the settings back to the way they were prior to the latest software update. I never got the opportunity.

By noon it was all but dead. I couldn’t turn it on even though I knew it was fully charged. It was still on the charger.


On Friday David and I took my phone to the repair shop. I didn’t panic. I had faith.

The young guy at the phone repair place was surprised that it was sooooo aged.

Really? It was only three years old by my calculation. Okay, it was refurbished, so maybe it was a little older. But it probably wasn’t more than five years old. Of course five years ago, repair guy probably hadn’t hit puberty yet.

Repair guy thought he put things into perspective for me when he told me that my phone was a Samsung Galaxy S7. He emphasized the S7.

I already knew that. And?

He said that the newer phones were in the 21’s.

In just a few short years, they were into the 21’s? How did that happen?


After a short chat, young repair guy thought my phone was valiantly trying to deal with an automatic systems upload that was never intended for a model that only had 3G capability and that was…well, basically obsolete…like me mine. In short, my S7 gave up the ghost trying to stay relevant, which fried it; the equivalent of a tech heart attack, I gather.

Repair guy said, “That’s what happens when the old try to keep up with the new.”

Is it wrong that I wanted to slap repair guy?

He told me there were data retrieval services available, but that’s a very time-consuming and expensive process. He didn’t know anyone, and he guessed that the starting price would be around $500 and then go up from there. Then he tried to sell me a refurbished phone.

David politely got us the hell out of there.


I suppose I’m lucky I even have a new phone, even if it is an older model. Okay, let’s face it…I’m sure it’s already obsolete even though we just bought it. I’m gambling that it will work longer than it takes me to pay it off.

The AT&T store we frequent was out of the Samsung phones they had on display. In particular, we looked at the A32 model, which seemed similar-ish to the capabilities I had on my S7, but with more RAM — at least this is what was determined after the sales associate asked what I use my phone for. I hadn’t thought about it much, but I use my phone for everything these days. Doesn’t everyone?


What I should have said was that I need a phone that will let me know that it’s going to die  BEFORE  IT ACTUALLY DOES SO I CAN DO WHAT’S NECESSARY TO SAVE MY DATA! I NEED WARNINGS AND FLASHING LIGHTS NOT SUBTLE FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS!




The AT&T sales guy was able to find us a store in Dallas that still had three A32’s in stock. He said that since the pandemic, their store was constantly out of phones. Apparently, there’s not only a chip shortage but a shortage for the material mined to make the chips. The break in the supply distribution chain has created major delays in getting product to the consumer. AT&T guy thought it would take another eighteen months before things were back to the way they were pre-pandemic.

Eighteen months? According to young repair guy, by that time, everything currently on AT&T’s shelves will be ancient and unusable!


When we got to the Dallas AT&T store, David and I were told that they didn’t have any A32’s left. I thought David was going to blow a gasket. He explained that the AT&T guy from our city sent us to this location, had even called to say we were on our way… After David’s rant, the Dallas AT&T associate disappeared for what felt like forever before she finally came back with a box in her hands. She said that it was on hold for us. She just didn’t realize who we were. Thank God!


Saturday, I didn’t even feel like picking up this shiny new communications device. Eventually, I had to. Someone had sent me a text asking me to call them ASAP. I had no clue who they were, so I had to text them back with, “Uhm, who are you, again? I explained my situation…how I’ve lost all of my contact info, photos, texts…everything really…I’m pretty much having to start from scratch.

After that, I spent the afternoon pressing buttons agreeing to terms from Samsung and Google and God knows who else. What I’m agreeing to, I haven’t a clue. But I need to be able to use the damned thing, so sure…whatever they want at this point. I just hope I’m not selling my soul in the process. I could be and absolutely not know it. Either way, I’m only agreeing under duress and pray that if it comes down to it, my defense will hold up in Court or…on Judgment Day.

And passwords…so many passwords! Hopefully, I’ve pressed all the buttons that say, “Remember my password” because I sure as hell won’t. If I haven’t, I’m headed for more trouble.


So far, I’m able to check emails on “Endora.” Yes, I’ve named my new phone Endora because I like the name. Deal, y’all. I’ve also managed to log into Face Book…don’t ask me how. Where Twitter and Instagram are…who knows.  I’ll just keep pressing buttons until things happen.

Lauren gave me a lot of phone numbers from her contact list. Ryan gave me the ones he had as well. He typed up a page with phone numbers, along with their corresponding person and parentheses around the description of who that person is to me. So the list reads something like, “Phone number, David (husband); phone number, Grandpa (father); phone number, Lauren (daughter),”  just in case I wasn’t sure who these people were. Aw! I have great kids!

It’s David’s phone, however, that has the gold mine of info I need. That’s going to take a few hours to go through. Hopefully, members in my writing group will also hook me back up with their info. There are people from my past, though, who I haven’t spoken with in literal years. Unfortunately, those numbers are locked away in my old, like-nu but mostly dead, 3-5 year-old, geriatric phone.


That old phone, btw, is now safely stored in an open Ziploc bag along with its charging cord and a note that will remind me in a few years of why I put an old phone in a Ziploc. I’m going to start stuffing it with money on a weeklymonthly… whenever-I-can-find-a-little-extra basis until I have enough saved up to hire one of those expensive retrieval places. This will probably take years, so the note is going to be relevant as my memory fades…and it will.

In the meantime, I have good news. I discovered a vast majority of my pictures on my One Drive back up. Who knew I even had that on my old phone? Or the new phone? What a relief to see those familiar faces come up on my A32 Endora. Again, how that happened, I haven’t a clue. Of course, the other photos remain waiting in my Ziplocked, Galaxy S7 time capsule with $1.37, a charger cord and a note enclosed. Fingers crossed they remain safe.

I feel like weeping.


So, Wayward Friends, I hope this has been an important learning experience for us all PSA. As the saying goes, it all comes down to location, location, location aka backup, backup, backup. Also, as we age, we shouldn’t try to compete with those young’uns, apparently. Irrelevant, indeed! We need to kill the young bastards off while we still have the chance. No. No we won’t. That would be wrong. Wouldn’t it?

Seriously, though, whatever you’ve put off, please consider taking care of it today. Remember…time is not on your side no matter what Mick Jagger wants us to believe.







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Sparkle Y’all,


25 thoughts on “Starting Over From Scratch”

  1. Finding the sweet spot for backing up is a Thing, too. We responsibly have a NAS thingie where we always back up our stuff – pics, important bits, all that. It’s just a shy little box with two hard drives sitting in our closet, doing its thing. TWO hard drives, in case one goes bad. But guess what? When you pack that sucker up and drive it to Vermont, unpack it, and plug it in, and the Internet says that pattern of flashing lights on the front just means “system failure,” you can def feel like having a tech heart attack. Thank goodness it was the box itself (shell out another $149 at Amazon, ugh), and the two hard drives were fine. So I bought ANOTHER portable hard drive and copied all that onto it, too, and put it in our fire safe. A backup of the backup. So we’re good from fire and earthquakes, but what about floods? Top of a mountain, probably okay. Wait, hurricanes. Tornadoes. What about those? Cloud storage? $$$$? See what I mean?

    So take a deep breath. Some of that stuff is lost, but it isn’t. If you took a picture, it means you were there and that moment is still yours. And there is value to years of feeling able to rely on your trusty S7 without worrying about it. Don’t knock that. 🙂

    • Lille,
      I totally get back ups to the back ups. I have an external drive and we have Carbonite, which I think is like cloud storage. That’s my hope, anyway. Apparently, I have One Drive on my phone…which I had no idea until this new phone. Of course, once we’re attacked with EMP’s, we’re all doomed…including cloud storage, I presume. But we won’t worry about that…much.

      I’m glad you’re settled into your Vermont home with few mishaps. I have no idea what a NAS is, but as long as you do and it’s working for you…that’s great! Is that like a server? LOL…Don’t answer that! As if I even know what a server is.

      All I know is that any systems failure is not good. Not good at all! Glad you had that extra back up, my friend!

  2. Having just gotten a new iPhone, in spite of not wanting one because my old one isn’t that old and would be fine if Apple didn’t insist on changing everything every twenty minutes, I feel your pain. I also understand wanting to slap an IT guy, and it’s always a guy. There are women who work in IT, of course, but it’s always a guy that says that one thing. I remember the headache that was Windows 7 and even most of the IT people said it was terrible, but That One Guy shut down all discussion by telling us it was new and new is always better and he didn’t want to hear any more complaints because, you know, it’s not like it’s an IT guy’s job to fix things.
    I think it’s wonderful, though, that you named your new phone Endora. Now I picture it wearing a flowery muumuu and calling you “Derwood”. I wish you both a long and happy life–longer than what I’ve had with my new iPhone which, twenty minutes after I took it out of the box, was basically an 8-track player.

    • Christopher,
      IKR? I was just researching and it turns out that phones are supposed to be replaced every two years. If that’s not effed up, I don’t know what is. And if your new I-Phone is equivalent to an 8-track player, I’d say my new A32 aka Endora is equivalent to a Betamax. By the way, congrats on getting a new phone! Also, we must be getting old. Do you remember the days when getting a new phone was a joyous occasion? Now, it’s only worthy of blog therapy. LOL. Hugs, Mona

  3. Ha! This made me chuckle and I needed it this morning, but the meme made me laugh out loud because it’s hilarious start to this very informative PSA. Seriously though, having a phone die is no laughing matter, and I hope that once you’ve transferred all your info over you learn from this experience and don’t do that ever again….lol

    I know its not funny, but once I became a convert to all Apple products, I started storing things in this “cloud” that everyone was talking about. This miraculous cloud that stores everything, every bit of your treasured info. But alas, I don’t have THAT MUCH info I need stored, what can I say? I have no life. And a belated Happy Birthday to dear David 🙂

    • Huntress,
      I’ll be sure to let David know! I think the problem with some of my pictures is that they pre-dated any kind of “cloud” back up…so they never were. I know it’s not October yet, but that meme/gif…whatever the hell it is…seemed appropriate for both this post and to get this fall season started. Glad it made you laugh, my friend! BTW, if you want your soul “psychedelicized,” start the first song, “Time Has Come Today” and then go back up and watch “Grimmy Reaper” gif. It’s as though the two of them were meant to be. Anyway, that’s good for an extra giggle. Hugs, M

  4. It’s funny because when I get a new phone all my account info is saved, so as soon as I log in it transfers all the data. But honestly, I don’t know if it’s some voodoo magic I set up years ago and completely forgot about, or if it’s a Verizon thing. All my contacts, photos, apps…everything just comes up. But outside of that I hate phones and am impressed that yours worked as long as it did. Three years is my phone life expectancy…

    • LA,
      That is called living your life the right way! I think I’ll still be headed out to Best Buy. I still can’t comment on blog posts from my phone because of the issue I had…right after that systems upload…which I contacted you about a little more than a week ago. I think I’ll ask if I can get the kind of service your phone gets. I’ll just let whoever helps me read your comment here and say, “I want that, please.”

    • Sherry,
      And you know what? Those stored in your memory are safe from Mother Nature’s rages, systems fails and EMP’s. 🙂 Mona

    • Boo,
      Oh, Woman! Yep, that’s tough. Hopefully, you now have some kind of automatic “cloud” storage/back up. Hugs, M

  5. Thanks for the PSA – God only knows how old my phone is…it’s an LG 5, so I think it’s geriatric. I will backup everything tomorrow. But yes, usually Verizon is able to transfer everything…but then again, my phone hasn’t actually DIED…so I don’t know if they can transfer everything from a dead phone. I really need to look into getting a new one (I hate that, especially since they nixed the “free” upgrade) since mine rips through the battery in no time flat.

    • Gigi,
      So both you and LA endorse Verizon. I wonder if it’s too late for us to check into them? Oh, and please do back up everything…but maybe Verizon already has you covered. Fingers crossed, my friend. My biggest bugaboo with all of this is…what’s with this idea of having to get a new phone every two years…at least that’s what I just read online? What term did you use when we discussed refrigerators? Hold on…ah, yes…“planned obsolescence.” It’s like disposable clothing. Wear it once and send it to donation. Who has the luxury of doing that?!!! I was reading about it and it’s a whole thing, apparently. Not for me, though. Anyway, if companies are having trouble getting the material necessary to manufacture the computer chips…which has created a phone shortage…how does it make any sense to make phones that only last a couple of years? Don’t get me started! 🙁 …Hugs, Mona

      • Yes, planned obsolescence has crept into just about every aspect of our lives. It’s maddening. How’s this for planned obsolescence – I just had a t-shirt delivered from Target. I’ve worn this shirt a total of three times…it already has holes in it! The shirt was only $8 so the cost per wear has been met but the fact that I only wore it three times irritates on SO many levels.

        I don’t know about pictures and whatnot – but I believe Verizon automatically backs up your contacts to a cloud; which they can then transfer to your new phone. Any apps you have on the old one is something you would still have to do manually.

        • Gigi,
          Only being able to wear something three times would irritate me, too! I actually looked up “planned obsolescence” yesterday and what an eye opener! Unfortunately, there’s not much the average consumer can do. However, if I had the money, I’d sue Samsung for whatever it cost to have my pictures and other info fully retrieved from my S7. At the very least they could have given me a heads up. Ugh.

    • Sarah,
      Oh no, this has happened to you, too?!!!! Actually, I was just doing a deep dive into emails on my home computer to find the phone numbers of my Oklahoma cohorts. Thank God for that! I’m hoping everyone’s kept their old numbers. And you’re right about the purging. There are some photos and some info though that I’d rather have. It’s like I’ve gone all Marie Kondo on my phone…but way too far. So I guess the question I should have asked above is: how long do you keep your phone before you replace it with a new one? I want to think that most people don’t trade it in as frequently as the “internet” advises, which is every two years. Which I learned after my phone died. Doesn’t two years seem ridiculous? By the way, you’re right…the best ones return! 🙂 Hugs, Mona

  6. Ah yes, another reason I’m happy to not be a part of Smartphone Nation. The planned obsolescence of these so-called “cellular phones” is so short, that you pretty much HAVE to upgrade every few years or end up with a glorified paperweight (if they’d even hold down a piece of paper). You can still drive a ’57 Chevy today, but a smartphone from five years ago is nothing more than a modern antique. RIP Galaxy S7…

    • ES,
      You don’t have a cell phone? How does one live without in 2021? Even when mine was dead and I had no working phone for a very long 24 hours, I found myself reaching for it. I kind of had a panicky feeling when I realized…I had no phone! Ack! At present, I’m thinking of my poor S7 as a time capsule rather than a paperweight…but I suppose it could do double duty. I still have stuff I need from that phone…one of these days. Trying to recreate all of my information and setting up stuff has been a nightmare! Well, you know, I wrote about it above. LOL. Anyway, my hat is off to you, sir, for living in the 21st Century without being enslaved to such ridiculousness! BTW, I think planned obsolescence needs to become obsolete. Have a great rest of your week, my friend! Mona

      • I haven’t been a fan of cell phones since the brick days. My Mom finally forced a flip phone on me in 2006, and when the service was terminated two years ago, I happily went back to being cell free (Not that I didn’t go months without even turning it on when I had it). It probably helps that I have zero interest in social media (The REAL kind, blogs aren’t social media), which is what most people seem to spend most of their glued-to-the-screen time doing. Long live the 20th century!

  7. Egads – what an ordeal!

    My girlfriend and I have what I call “value phones,” – inexpensive Galaxy J7s that are pushing four years old. Very little storage and not many pixels on the camera. I sometimes joke that it’s 1/2 a pixel.

    This post serves as a de facto wake up call. Most of my stuff is saved to Google and can be retrieved on a new device, but still – scary that there is rarely any advance warning of a phone’s impending demise!
    Thanks for sharing, Mona!

    • Roger,
      I aim to serve! So do you take pictures with a camera that doesn’t do anything but take pictures? I have one of those. Where it is at the moment…well, I’m sure it’s safe! 🙂 Not sure where I would be able to get quality pictures since our Wolf Camera shut down years ago. Mona


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