I am typing in a Word doc on a computer that refuses to connect to the internet. Why? Because our cable and internet – for which we pay a small fortune monthly – has been mostly out of use for the better of two weeks. By better, I mean worse. As in all of two weeks plus a few days worse. As in not able to see the National Championship game for college football or two weeks of Downton Abbey or Doc Martin or the playoff NFL games. As in not being able to purchase necessities via the internet or attend online conferences or blog. As in this should not be.
Saturday afternoon, after I’d gotten out of bed, made breakfast, packed my husband’s cooler for the day, started the week’s laundry, written a grocery list and a to-do list, gone to the mall for returns and to hit the clearance rack for an additional 20 percent discount, gotten gas (a full tank for less than $25!), made the rounds and purchases at the local grocery store, and returned home to unpack and eat lunch and continue the laundry, I heard a tap-tap-tapping at the side door to my house. Then I heard the distinct sound of the doorbell. I dropped my chicken wing on my plate, wiped my hands, carefully maneuvered through the grocery bags and piles of dirty laundry strewn about my kitchen and laundry room, and opened the door.
“Is your cable out?” he asked me.
My husband and my next door neighbor had conferred enough to realize we both were having the same issues with our cable and internet. They both had called the cable company, and they both had gone through the required attempts to reboot and reconnect before technicians had visited our homes. Sometimes we thought we had a fix, but an hour later pixilation and fuzzy audio on the TV or the spinning circle of a failed internet connection attempt would begin yet again.
I told Charlie I hadn’t yet tried to turn on the TV, and he made as if to come into my house to try it for me. Oh no, I was not putting my messy house on display (better to just describe it to thousands of people reading my blog than to actually show one neighbor). Instead, I stepped outside into the 40-degree weather and told him our internet had been acting up that morning and I would, I assured him, try the cable and call him as soon as I did.
“Just call me if it IS working,” he said, to which we both silently thought, “Fat chance.”
Before he walked away, Charlie turned to me and said, “Isn’t it silly that these things we never needed before have become so essential?”
Sure enough, when I turned on the TV, I had no cable. Since it was a Saturday, and since my dear husband had called the cable company nearly every week day the past week and a half, I knew it was my turn to make the call.
I spoke with Marcus, who made me jump through the usual hoops, walking room to room checking the three TVs and their cable boxes as he rebooted them and checked their signals remotely. He was sympathetic and encouraging but unable to make a difference in our connection.
By the time I got off the phone 38 minutes and 33 seconds later, I had gotten a promise from Marcus that we were on the “priority ‘on call’ list,” meaning that a technician would come Saturday or Sunday if an opening became available, but I had no set appointment.
(I think we are on the “just appease them list”: Speak nicely, make promises, sound reassuring, and get off the phone.)
A technician never came Saturday and on Sunday morning we still had no cable or internet or a technician.
My husband received a call at 8:30 that morning.
“We have determined that your technical difficulties are due to an area-wide problem,” the recording said. “If you would like to cancel your appointment with the technician…”
And it gave instructions for canceling. We didn’t follow them.
Mid-morning we had some signal, but it wasn’t perfect. I called the company again.
“Actually, they’re working on it right now,” Brianna told me. “If they get it fixed, they will notify you. If they don’t get it fixed, they will come for a technician visit between 8 and 10 tomorrow morning.
“Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Yes,” I said. “Pray. Pray that the cable is fixed by game time today or my husband will have conniptions.”
“I’ll pray you at least have that one channel.”
(I should have asked her to pray for enough internet to post a blog.)
My husband and I decided to go for a long walk instead of watching the game, which was set to record — if the cable was working. As we returned near our home, we passed by some nearby neighbors chatting in their yards. We stopped to say hello, and Steve asked if they’d had trouble with their cable and internet.
“For three weeks!” Betty exclaimed, as she went into an extensive dialogue about her experiences with the cable company. We all shared our stories, noting the similarities. Somehow, though nothing had been solved or corrected, we all felt a little better.
Monday morning a technician did come to the house and added something to the cable “just in case it might boost the signal,” he said. It didn’t.
Yesterday, my husband saw a line of trucks working outside our neighborhood and recognized the cable company’s logo among them. So maybe, just maybe the fix is in — a good fix — and I can blog freely again. I know I was able to get this posted today. It’s a start.