And the saga of our family phones is finished.

The wife gets an Iphone 5.    I hope it works for her, I barely know how it operates.   But given that she liked her Iphone 4 she should be fine.

Granny is on her own for getting a new, physical phone, but she keeps her current cheap plan and is very happy about that.

I have added a fourth line for the kids, and put a phone that will only make phone calls onto it.     Neither of them need their own phone, but at least I can hand this off to them if needed, and make calls to it.

(Accessories are being delivered from somewhere in Asia.   Yall know, don’t ever buy a charger or a case from a phone company, right ?)

And MrrX gets the Samsung Galaxy S4, taking the plunge and ditching the physical keyboard.     The point at which you have to accept the way things are, is when it becomes too difficult to hold onto the way things *were*, and physical keyboards are at that point.    I type long messages into this thing very slow and am already irritated on that score.

But the rest of the phone, I love.   The virtual keyboard behaves very well, much more precise than the Droid’s version.     The hardware must be good because everything software-wise responds with a lot of snap.    All my apps migrated with me, and they look much better on the brighter amoled screen.     It’s a lot bigger too.

So the phone is the fun stuff, but dealing with cellphone companies is important too.    After much searching and phone calls, along with threats to switch to Sprint, I got the right person on the phone who told me to do an “upgrade in place” on my account.

Apparently, what this means is the plan had two main phones, to make it a family plan.    Up to two additional phones could be added to make four total, and the two extra, are eligible for upgrade in place which is the discounted pricing for buying the phones.    So I upgraded the phones on my extra two lines (after buying the fourth line, which is the second $10 line) and switched them immediately to the main two lines.   Confused yet ?    You should have seen my wife’s face as I explained this to her.

So the idea was, you cannot upgrade the main two phones and keep the existing plan.    But you can upgrade the two lines.    And then switch the phones from those lines, to the main lines.

Getting all this to happen was a special kind of hell since something was wrong with the Iphone 5 when shipped.    This required trips to the Verizon store, which while everyone is nice, it’s not staffed very well in terms of keeping people from waiting around.    Not having my wife set as an authorized user on the account burned a lot of her time and got me in big trouble.   But after some long time investment I eventually walked out with a working Iphone and the right plan.

So I kept my previous plan.    Anyone keeping score remembers that we have an unlimited data plan; and I’ll keep that for the next two years.    In two years the phone companies could change again, and I hope that is the case with Verizon.   If not, maybe it’ll be time to switch to Sprint – if they’re still around.    But keeping the unlimited data is simply a coup, never thought that would be possible.     If you want to find out how a billing company works, talk to the right CSR’s.    They know things that the rest of the organization never had a clue about.    I know this because I’m involved in a big software project with our CSR’s.

So while I’m in trouble with my wife, I got the right plan for an extra $10 per month, and upgrade pricing for phones.    Now, time to put this to use.    I managed to get the phone rooted and am halfway through adding a hosts file to block obnoxious ads on the thing.

All you Europeans reading this, I envy you.     Your system seems much more sensible than the insanity done in America.