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[Re: "What Are We Waiting For?" July 7]

After five weeks of doing the polite phone thing on an almost daily basis ("I'm calling to check on our installation--yes, I'll hold"), I sent a lengthy E-mail on June 22 at 4:54 PM to the president of Ameritech Illinois, the CEO of the parent company (SBC), Governor Ryan, our senators, Tribune columnist Eric Zorn, and the Tribune beat reporter. I felt a little silly, but sometime between about 6 PM and 8 PM that evening, our phones miraculously began working. (I was greedy; my husband and I requested two lines, as he runs a construction business from home.)

During this time, when so-called smart homes are under development, allowing users to microwave popcorn from Madagascar, my husband and I were unable to use the Internet or the fax or the phone. During this time I also apparently received several very cheery voice mails from Ameritech, starting nearly two weeks before my scheduled move date, "welcoming me to voice mail" and describing all of the wonderful options offered by Ameritech voice mail. Naturally, I only was able to pick these up once the phones were actually installed. I also was asked by at least one service rep, when inquiring about the status of my installation, "Are you interested in additional services?"

Several days later after the phones were installed, I did receive a very nice and very apologetic voice mail from Amy in Ameritech's executive offices. She offered to waive the $55 installment fee.

We never did receive an explanation. They told us it was due to "a broken cable," "problems with the cable," "problems with the front office," "the storm" (weeks after the actual storm), and "lack of a cable."

I plan to buy the best cell phone I can find.

Janice Somerville



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