Friday, May 15, 2009

Oru Baffroom N Howss Adbvwnetru, 17 Again

On Monday morning, I phoned Suddenlink up again and was told a technician had already been assigned to me and would be coming by somewhere between 1p and 5p. At 3:30, he phoned and asked me what the problem seemed to be.

"Well, a big storm came through early Saturday and took out the modem," I said.

"What's it doing?" he asked.

"Nothing. It's dead," I said. "There are no lights on it whatsoever." I'd explained this to at least three other Suddenlink people and was kind of annoyed that none of them seemed to believe me and that they appeared to have not at least made note of my crazy claims for the guy in charge of fixing the problem.

"Is it plugged in?" he asked. Now, had he been there in person, I would have had to give him a long slow burn expression, but I imagine he does have to deal with people who are THAT dumb on occasion. I explained that, yes, it was plugged in and I had, as instructed by the Suddenlink tech help person I had phoned on Saturday, pressed the reset button a number of times to no avail. He said he would be out shortly and asked directions to the house.

Now here's the thing about directions to our house...

We moved to Borderland almost one year ago this month and no sooner had we moved into the house and had alerted all of our utilities, credit cards and magazine subscription-providers to our new address than the post office sent us a note saying that the address was changing to something completely different to comply with local emergency 911 service regulations. Essentially, the little four house cul-de-sac just off the much larger neighborhood main road became its own street. (And on that note, the street address changed from one that was plenty atmospheric to one that was well and truly bland; akin to if our address had formerly been on "Nightshade Lane" but then changed to "Dust Drive.") Still, we complied and alerted all our utilities and credit cards and magazine subscription-providers again. Trouble is, even after a year, no one BUT the post office can find us on a regular basis. It certainly doesn't help that there are still no "Dust Drive" road signs to actually help people find us should they make it up to our street, nor that the major databases uses by FedEx, UPS, Google Maps, etc. don't show us either. In fact, upon not being able to locate us recently, FedEx had contacted the local Emergency 911 to ask them the location of our street and were told that 911 didn't know either. Mmm, can you feel the love, devotion and security?

Because of all this, we've now become accustomed to giving directions to everyone and have simplified it by telling people that as soon as they turn onto Nightshade Lane they are to drive until they see houses on the right, the third of which is us.

"So, drive to the top of the hill and then the third house?" the technician said after I'd relayed the above directions. Never mind that my neighborhood is nothing but rolling hills and one could really argue where the "top of the hill" is, as opposed to all the other tops of the hills.

"No," I said. "Once you're on Nightshade, you drive until you see houses on the right and then we're the third one."

I then went outside and, after a few minutes, watched as he drove right past all four houses on the right and on up "the hill."

"Hey, you drove right past us," I said, after phoning him back at the number he'd phoned me from.

"I thought I was supposed to go to the top of the hill."

"No. We're the third house on the right."

Once the man had finally arrived in my driveway, he seemed to have a lot more on the ball than I'd initially given him credit for. He explained that our interruption in service was one of hundreds in the area and he and his brethren had been working nonstop. He took one look at the dark modem, pressed the reset button a couple of times, unplugged it a couple of times and saw that, just as I'd been telling Suddenlink for three days, it was dead.

"Aw, man," he said. "This is going to take four hours."

Whoa, I thought. Here I had expected it to be a simple switchout of equipment. Surely he didn't mean he'd have to be here for four hours? Turned out, this was not what he meant. Instead, he said it was possible that it would take four hours for the folks at Suddenlink central to get all the information from the old modem piped over to the new one. I could definitely live with that. He installed the new modem and phoned up his HQ to tell them to turn it on. He then said, "Do you have anywhere you have to be right now?"

"No," I said.

He then explained that if I didn't mind, he wanted to wait until 4p to see if SL HQ could get at least most of the connection reestablished by then. He said there was a chance it would take four hours but there was also a chance it would only take four minutes, it just depended on where I was in line. I said this was fine, then realized it was only 3:45, which meant we would probably have 15 minutes of waiting ahead of us during which I'd have to make small talk. To pass the time, I told him how our lack of internet had given us plenty of non-distracted time to put in our garage work bench and finish up some new bathroom renovations. That took all of thirty seconds, though, so I then described some of the problems in installing the new bathroom light. He commiserated with me on the difficulty of installing tile correctly and how renovations generally suck. Eventually, I realized I probably needed to shut up about the renovations, because sooner or later it wouldn't make any sense not to show them to him and that would mean leading him through our bedroom, which is still a total wreck.

At 3:59, both the internet and phone returned, just like we'd hoped and both worked.

I have to say that despite the delays in repairs, I am still quite happy with my Suddenlink service. As far as utility companies go, they've always been quite nice on the phone and on the rare occasion that I've had problems, such as some initial dropped calls with the phone service, they looked into it and fixed the problem. In fact, they've already offered me credit for the lost service due to the blowed up modem.

I still haven't seen Star Trek, though.

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