The Good: When he did show, he fixed things. Turns out the the box where our phone stuff enters the house had a bad seal and water was getting in there and there was some corrosion. Also, the subswitch thing out in in our back yard sits too low in the ground and was accumulating water. Our circuit happened to be on the lowest possible pair, which was getting it even wetter. He cleaned things out and fixed it all and things sound clear.
However, it's fucking annoying that we had to wait a few weeks for this until we got our inline service restored, because none of this was covered under inline service. It was all AT&T's end of things in the first place, but the last tech they sent out here (on a wet day) clearly couldn't be bothered to do a thorough job, apart from reporting a short that must be somewhere in the house.
Still, it's working properly now. I've had a day off to myself, which is both fine and dandy. I spent the afternoon pulling together a "Supernatural" playlist, consisting of classic rock tracks that have played on the show. Even incomplete, it's nearly three hours of music. I've no idea what to do with it, but it served as a decent puttering around project.