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Friday, March 8, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Heya Blogpeople,

We have been having trouble with our internet here at Hubris House. It isn't an excuse for not posting- I don't actually need one. No, it's more the circumstances surrounding the internet trouble that are interesting.

So I am a keen observer of all things outside the windows in my office and kitchen (the same view just from different floors) because this is where I spend the most time doing things that require me to wish I was outside (writing and washing dishes). 

One prominent feature of my view is the pole that holds my internet cable. Since I live in a place where heavy snow isn't a problem we have an... interesting cable installation. At one point the cable is only about six feet off the ground- the roof of our glider swing holds it up sometimes. Er, to be fair, the back yard is about 20 feet lower than the house- maybe more though it could be less; I'm not great at estimating height. It's a very steep hill for a wire to stretch over a long distance. That's where I was going with that.

Being a keen observer of things I noticed that (a) our cable developed a slouch that made it fall off the glider roof and (b) squirrels- very fat and obnoxious members of the species- liked to climb the wires and chew on stuff at the pole and (c) when the wind blew or it rained heavily we lost internet service.

Over the last month or two I called the cable people fairly regularly and tried to explain the problem. Our conversations were polite, as I try to be as friendly as possible when talking to others, but the conversations were very frustrating and not at all productive.

"Yes, I'm having trouble with my internet. I was wondering if you could send someone down?"

"Did you have the automated system send a restart signal?"

"Yes but it didn't work."

"I can see that your modem is connecting and reconnecting. You need a new modem."

"Actually I don't- the modem is fine." And it would go on like that until the wind blew just right or the cable dried out and we had internet again. For whatever reason they wouldn't send anyone.

Then it started going out all the time. I called the cable company and insisted that the problem was out at the pole and they needed to send someone to actually look at it. The last time I called I spoke to someone in the local office.

"Sir, I need the internet. I make my living from it and I can't get paid if I don't send stuff out."

"What do you do?"

"I'm a writer." I hate saying that because the conversation that follows can go in any direction.

"What do you write? Have I heard of you? Let me look you up." Then I explained that I'm pretty much invisible on the internet because I work in print media. I didn't mention that I also haven't worked for a while but whatevs. I listed out my publications and their websites in case my stuff has actually made it online then said something dumb about focusing on fiction. He was very excited. 

"When you are famous I can say that I fixed your cable and helped get your book published." People always say this kind of thing. It takes a village to sell a book I guess. Frankly my village seems to be slacking a bit, but.

"You have to actually fix it first," I reminded him. I can be very focused.

"I'll take care of it but, just so you know, it's a problem in your house. I don't think it's squirrels but you're the creative type, bless your heart." And he laughed condescendingly.

I was pretty sick of the guy by the end of the conversation but he did send a cable guy down to look at the cable.

Actually he sent a fleet of cable guys down. Not kidding or exaggerating. Every damned cable guy in the area showed up at my house.

"Don't put this on the internet," the head cable guy said to my husband as he shot a photo of the fleet. C promised that he wouldn't. "We like to help each other out." C just nodded- I assume. I was trying to keep the dogs from lunging at them (they keep treats in their pockets and the dogs really like treats) and couldn't really see beyond all the fur. 

Within the space of about five minutes they discovered that squirrels had eaten through the cable wires at the pole.

And now, thanks to an art appreciating customer service rep, I have the interwebs.

Also I was right. Ha. And it isn't actually that unusual for squirrels and chipmunks to eat wire insulation. I guess it's like rodent chewing gum until they chew an electric wire- then it's like being fried but they don't often live to warn their buddies bless their hearts

M.B.




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