A Tale Of Two ISPs, (or… As You Don’t Like It Very Much)

Short version… we moved.

That might be enough information right there to explain my extended absence, the dead weblog, the missing newsletter, my MIA status on the Think Sideways boards.

Long version…

… we had an opportunity to get back to a place we missed, to our family, to our people, and the window on that opportunity was already closing when we discovered it, so within four hours of my husband finding it, I was on the phone hooking things up to make it happen.

No, we hadn’t actually been planning to move… but we’d started thinking about it.

One week later, everything that could be signed WAS signed and we had gotten rid of 66% of everything we owned, because we were going to a place that was half the space for twice the price, and we had too much stuff for the house we were in. We still have a house to either sell or rent, and we still have to go back and take care of that, but we needed to move fast, and Matt and I have proven to be adept at making opportunities happen.

So about three days after we signed all the rental stuff, on Thursday, March 5th we boxed, packed, and moved ourselves (acquiring an astonishing variety of bruises and scars in the process), and drove for close to nine hours on one tank of gas each (he drove the moving truck, which had a really big tank, and I drafted the truck, and got 43.5 mpg out of a three-year-old Chevy Cobalt, thank you very much, and we did it without stopping for so much as a bathroom break. I had three sips of water on the way, and the kid and I sang 100 Bottles of Beer on the wall at one point to stay awake and alert.

We didn’t even let anyone but my daughter and son in the Air Force know we were moving until we’d already done it—and them we let know the day before we moved. It was a big surprise to my husband’s folks when he called them from here. ๐Ÿ˜€

In THEORY, everything was ready to go when we got here. Electric and water were on—we’d transferred them the day we got the okay from the rental place. I’d transferred phone service, had an appointment for Internet to be hooked up the Tuesday after our arrival on Friday, and we were bringing our Dish box so we could watch hockey.

Friday, March 6th, my daughter and her husband came over, and the truck that had taken us three days to load took two hours to unload. We spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, getting started on the boxes, and by Monday, there were recognizable spaces in the house, though my office was Extra Box Central.

And the electric and water were spiffy.

Internet? Not so much.

AT&T sent out a guy on Tuesday, March 10th, to hook us up to phone service, and when he didn’t mention our online service, we asked about our DSL.

DSL? He didn’t have a work order for that.

After some calling around, he and we managed to get him a work order. But at the same time, he discovered that the phone line to the house had been cut, so he came back the next day and dug us in a new one. And he hooked us up for Internet. Our modem would be arriving by UPS on Thursday 12th, we were told—sorry about the confusion.

Thursday, no modem. We called customer service. Oops, it was still en route. We’d have it Friday by five.

Friday? No modem.

Matt sat on the phone with the the United Nations of AT&T for over an hour, discovering that while AT&T customer service had us in their system, AT&T tech support had no record of our existence, no record of a modem being needed (or sent), no sign that we were in any way due for anything except being put on hold a lot, which they did a SPECTACULAR job of doing, by the way, while frequently sending Matt back to customer service, who sent him back to tech support…

Wearied of the AT&T run-around, he called Comcast, and set us up for an appointment. The earliest they could have someone out was Tuesday the 17th.

I did what non-secure business-critical online things I could to keep in the loop on HollyShop and Think Sideways (while Margaret and Craig kept things actually running) while parked in a chair at Books-A-Million (YAY! Millionaire’s Club… free hot-spot internet!), but what I dared to do was very limited. I don’t know what sort of security they have, and I didn’t feel like taking any chances to find out.

Tuesday 17th dawned, and the Comcast guy showed up right on time. Awesome.

Starting working with our wiring.

Only there was a problem with the cable.

Long pause on our end.

The cable into the house had been cut by the same sidewalk repair doofus who’d also cut the phone line. They were going to have to send out a guy to dig in a new line.

He came on Friday 20th, at about 7 pm, worked for three hours, and mostly had the line dug in, but not buried. He’d be back on Saturday, he said, and we’d also have the cable modem guy back on Saturday, and he’d hook us up.

Saturday it rained like a bastard all friggin’ day. Nobody came. Nobody could come. Weren’t nobody going to do nothing in THAT weather.

People get finicky about working with wires and electricity while standing ankle-deep in water beneath a sky that’s opened up on top of them like God’s Saint Bernard when he stops holding it in…

Go figure.

MEANWHILE, we were still calling on and waiting for our modem from AT&T (Yes, we were keeping all our options open. Are you kidding? You see how well this is all going?)

In THEORY, our DSL modem from AT&T was being overnighted to us, and would arrive on Monday, March 23rd.

And in fact, it showed up at around noon. Guess what the UPS guy said.

“Gee, I sure hope they sent you the right one. They almost always send the wrong one out to this area.”

With a heart heavy as lead, Matt set up the modem.

It didn’t work.

But that was okay, because Comcast had the modem guy coming out between 11-2 to hook us up.

Nevertheless, Matt called tech support. At least this time they’d heard of us. They informed him that the line wasn’t supposed to be provisioned until 6 pm that night because it was a new order, and that we’d have to wait until then to try it. Matt nicely let the tech guy know that the order had been in since March 3rd. A bit nonplussed, the tech guy said just to wait until 6 pm to try it, and if it didn’t work then, they’d troubleshoot it.

The Comcast line guy came out and buried the rest of the line. The Comcast modem guy missed his 11-2 appointment, and we called, and they had no record of the appointment, even though I’d called earlier to confirm it, and they’d had a record of it then.

They set up a new appointment. Today. Tuesday March 24th. 11-2.

Deeply unhappy, we decided that we were probably never going to get working Internet.

And then an astoundingly perky-sounding AT&T guy called and said he was outside manually reprovisioning our wire (an unscheduled house-call—holy crapnoids, Batman), and would I please check to make sure the modem was plugged in correctly.

I did, and it was, and not too many minutes later, the thing lit up like Christmas. The AT&T guy cheered. (Honest to God, he cheered. I’ve never seen a phone guy get too excited about anything, so this is worth noting.) I cheered. I called Matt on the cellphone and HE cheered.

He was out getting stuff for dinner because Becky and her husband Tony were dropping by for dinner, but when he got home, he did the whole advanced router set-up thing to secure our system.

And this time, finally, it worked.

Online at last.

No more Books-A-Million hot spot. No more total media blackout.

The Comcast guy is coming today. Well, that’s the theory, anyway. Yes, we’re going to have him set up the cable modem, too. We’re going to test both services for at least a month, and then we’re going to choose one.

After which, the one we didn’t choose will no doubt prove to have been the superior service. That seems to be the way this has been going.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have turned into a team that has apparently heard of hockey, have fired the abysmal Renney and hired the promising Tortorella, have gotten Avery back (their stupidest recent mistake, aside from hanging on to Renney and Pern way past their expiration dates, was letting him go in the first place)… and we haven’t seen a single game of their turn-around.

After the AT&T and Comcast debacles, we’re too afraid to call Dish.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

11 comments… add one
  • Ann Mar 25, 2009 @ 21:45

    Congrats on the new home. Sorry to hear about the internet troubles. Can’t wait to see the pictures (I already have office and garden envy *g*).

  • tambo Mar 25, 2009 @ 11:24

    Welcome home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • manic247 Mar 25, 2009 @ 6:43

    You have my sympathies, I moved recently it ended up taking nearly two months to get an internet connection set up, I had it working for a month before my computer decided it would rather not work anymore, quietly shut itself down and has refused to come back on ever since.

  • Texanne Mar 24, 2009 @ 14:08

    Wow. Makes me feel so guilty for the easy time we had in moving from LA to Dallas. Not.

    I’m so glad you’re back. That you’ve returned to your people, however you define them.

    And my sister and I (both Marines) came home one Christmas to find that our parents had moved. To Hell. That must have been Christmas 1968 or 1969. They had sent us a hand-drawn map, but Dad had to venture out into the cold dark to fetch us anyway.

    Congrats on the new digs, much luck with selling the old one, and envious kudos on getting rid of STUFF.

    Tx

  • LadyQ Mar 24, 2009 @ 13:38

    Oy!

    Glad to have you back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • smyersdvm Mar 24, 2009 @ 11:45

    Ye gods!

    That beats any bad service story I’ve heard! Glad you’re finally wired again.

  • elsie_at_ease Mar 24, 2009 @ 10:28

    Congrats on the new place, and welcome to the wonderful world of “customer service” … ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ComcastMark Mar 24, 2009 @ 10:27

    Congratulations on your new place! I am sorry we missed the first appointment. I would like to make sure that the service call is completed successfully today. If you are interested in my assistance, please send me the phone number associated with the account.

    Best Regards,

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

  • hollylisle Mar 24, 2009 @ 10:21

    “That was quite remarkable to walk up to the house trailer they had been living in .. and find an open lot.”

    Yowza. And THAT was why we let the kids both know a bit in advance. We didn’t want my son to drive down and discover in that manner that we no longer lived there. (Letting my daughter know meant we had unpacking-the-truck help as an added benefit.)

    The move was fast. Matt with his Air Force experience and me with my gypsy family upbringing know how to run a move, by gawd. Once I get caught up on the ton of work I left undone, I’ll post a few pics of the new office and yard.

  • TinaK Mar 24, 2009 @ 9:59

    What an insane time! I’m glad you moved safely and finally have internet! Its pretty amazing that you were able to do that in such a short time!

  • eTraxx Mar 24, 2009 @ 8:09

    We didnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt even let anyone but my daughter and son in the Air Force know we were moving” ….

    In 1971 I came home from Vietnam was going to surprise my mom and dad. The problem was that they had moved. That was quite remarkable to walk up to the house trailer they had been living in .. and find an open lot. Me with my duffle bag.

    Anyhoo. Glad you got everything straight finally even though you had to fight with the Three Stooges & Company to get it done.

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