On Saturday, I mentioned that the phone wasn't working, but that the buttons made tone noises. It seemed really weird at the time, but I couldn't make sense of it.
In the shower this morning, I was thinking about this problem, and it finally occurred to me that the phone was behaving exactly as though it was off the hook. A mild wave of nausea passed over me as I contemplated the task of rewiring all the phones.
I let my mind drift, and suddenly something clicked. I went into mental steadicam mode: starting in the front yard, through the front door, down the basement stairs, into the back part of the basement, and zooming right up to a telephone sitting on top of an old board that had been nailed across two rafters. The phone was, of course, off the hook.
I remembered seeing this phone during our inspection, but don't recall if it was off the hook or not but I can only guess that it was.
I mentioned this odd vision to M. this morning, and as I walked to the house after work to meet her there, my cell rang, and the originating number was the house. Sure enough, she had found the phone and was calling me from the new phone.
So now, infinity minus one things left to worry about.