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New phone, new world

We’ve reached that point in the year where I’m phoning it in.

Uniform slightly too small? Tough. You’re wearing it. Stain on your white polo shirt? Put a sweater over it. The same thing in your lunch for the eighth day in a row? Tough. You’re eating it.Your winter jacket is filthy? Tough. By the time it gets through the wash cycle, the weather will change and you won’t need it, so wear it dirty. Bed times? Schmed times. Sleep, don’t sleep. I don’t care.Daylight saving time screwed up what little semblance of a schedule we had. Normally, we’d get a little bit of a reset with Easter break, but thanks to Stella, that won’t be happening. Instead, we will cram holiday festivities into what will end up being a regular weekend, and the insanity will increase. So, we’ve got to dig in and whatever it takes, let’s just get to June.Now that I think about it, though, “phoning it in” is quite a dated metaphor. As I look down at my phone, that is currently downloading emails for work, sending texts to other swim coaches about our upcoming championship meet, maintaining my grocery list, holding about 200 photos of my kids dating back to Christmas, doing my banking, and reminding the Wonderful Husband that he has to pick up the kids tonight, I think “phoning it in” might actually mean the opposite of what it used to.A few weeks ago, my phone died. My phone had been in the process of dying for about a month, but I was in denial. It was getting more and more difficult to charge my phone.At first, I thought it was the charging cable. With how that gets dragged around and stuffed in pockets and purses, a loose or broken wire seemed a likely culprit. I sneakily switched chargers with the wonderful husband, who admittedly takes much better care of his devices than I do, but it didn’t help.Turns out that it wasn’t the cable.I Googled “why won’t my phone charge?” (on my phone, of course) and discovered that a dirty port is frequently the cause. Considering where my phone has been, a dirty port also seemed very possible.So, I got busy following the recommended procedure, and let’s just say, “Wow, that was gross!”And, what do you know? For about three days, my problem was solved. Phone charging crisis averted, world saved! It didn’t last. I wiggled it, and jiggled it, and twisted the charger, and managed to find a semisweet spot where it would start to charge for about three minutes. I walked around with a battery level that hovered around 15 percent for another week.Finally, one Sunday night, it was toast and no amount of witchcraft could bring it back. Since I also rely on my phone as my alarm clock, I did not get a very good night’s sleep and that added to the joy that is Monday morning.Luckily, the meticulous wonderful husband (did I mention that he takes much better care of his devices than I do?) had an old phone that I would be able to transfer my phone over to, but I had to hit up the phone store to get that done. As luck would have it, when the sales person at the phone store attempted to charge my old phone, the little bugger charged right up. I was sorely tempted to grab it and run, but I knew I had already squeezed way more life out of than I deserved, so I let the inevitable proceed.Wow, am I glad I did. It’s only a model or two “newer” than my old phone, and it’s certainly not the latest release, but a model year in cellphones is a light year of improvements and enhancements.Now I can get both my personal and my work emails to come through my phone at the same time. I think I have more than double the storage capacity, so I can keep my pictures from Christmas and not frantically delete the not-so-good ones as I try to capture a few Easter egg hunt photos.Much to my friends’ dismay, I can now send them stickers and gifs in text messages.We’ve all seen the meme about having a device in your pocket that has access to all the information in the world and we use it to look at cat memes and get into arguments on the internet. I am absolutely guilty of that, but it’s worth it. Smartphone technology allows me to stay up to date with urgent work items, at the same time that I’m sitting through gymnastics class.It’s not always ideal to have to juggle both, but sometimes it is necessary. This weekend, phone technology will allow me to be at one swim meet with most of my swim team, but yet in constant contact with another swimmer, who is swimming at a different meet. Her mom can even FaceTime me in so I can watch her race, and give her some feedback.So, I’m going to go back and clarify my statement. Phoning it in these days means going nonstop and getting it all done. I guess I’ve reached that point in the year where I’m “flip phoning it in.”Liz Pinkey is a contributing writer to the Times News. Her column appears weekly in our Saturday feature section.