Friday, August 9, 2013

Computer+Home Network+Comcast = Lizzie Borden Level Anger

Friends, when I tell you it hasn't been fun here in the past 36 hours, I mean IT HASN'T BEEN FUN.  Not one fucking bit.

It started on Wednesday night, as it was rumbling far, far away and rain was pour down outside, and in the moments when you lie in bed, drifting, slowly, into the gossamer portal of being asleep, when the bedroom lit up like a bomb had gone off in our front yard and CRACK resonated through the four walls into our very beings.

We both sat upright in bed and in the type of unison that becomes a happily married and entwined couple of many years, said at the exact moment "What the fuck was that?"

The dogs, in their room, started barking so I got up to comfort them, looked outside for damage and then glimpsed through the attic door to make sure we weren't on fire, and then approached bed, so I could follow the hubby into slumberland.

Next morning, its still raining, horrible humid, and according to the idiots that populate the morning anchor desk at WBAL-TV, heard that we had had some storms the night before. Duh.

I pull out my lap top, turn it on and "où sont les Internet?" I say to myself.   No connectivity to the outside world!  "But the television is working," says my mind.  TV, but no Internet?

So I go upstairs and check the wiring.  Everything is lit up as it should be.  No surge protectors tripped.
So I boot up my desktop, or as I like to call it "the place where the magic happens", and even it, hardwired to the network can boot up just hunky dorey fine, but no connectivity.  Mac Book Pro - no connectivity.  iPad? Nada.

"Well," I think, "poo!"

This is when I made my tactical mistake.  I called Comcast, our provider for support.

I hop through the prompts and get connected to "Bob" in the call center.  "Where are you?" I ask.  "Bob" is in the Philippines.   "Bob" finds our account and then asked what my relationship to the account holder.

"He's my husband," says I, and CLICK, "Bob" disconnects the call.

So I call back.  This is the first of seven call backs, none of which end well.  All of the script readers in Manilla want me to unplug this, replug this, move this, move that, etc., and so on, until everything is screwed up, but good.

FINALLY, I get a representative in Bangalore, a nice man also named "BOB" who tells me the cable modem is bad.  "YOU WILL NEED, TO, EH, TAKE THEM MODEM, UH, YES, MR. COOKIE, AND EXCHANGE IT FOR ONE THAT WORKS."

So I drive to Cabletown, where Comcast's office is and swap the modem, install the modem per their instructions.  I then call in to activate the modem, and the computerized IVR unit that Comcast uses and it can't find my account.

I get transferred to a woman who explain what is going on and how it has used up four of the hours on this world that God the Almighty has given me, and she says "I would really like to help you, but I can only provide support to the Western half of the United States.

We are stupefied, but not surprised.

Again we are transferred, this time to the "Executive Support Level" where I get a man, in America, named "Lou" who has the most delicious Southern drawl, and Lou activates this, activates that, reads through the memo and says to me "Do you have a wireless router that we didn't install?"

I answer yes, and tell him the brand.  Why?

"Well I'm wondering if your router got fried.  We've had storms in Lutherville, where I live, and did you have storms last night where you are?"

He's American.  He has a southern accent.  And he's in Baltimore - Joy of Joys!  I am saved!

Between the two of us, we get the desk top working.  Lou them tells me that a technician will be at the house in the morning to fix the connection.  I decide on my own to replace the replace the router because its a few years old.

Miracle of miracles it worked!  Civilization by 6PM.

So Lou calls me this morning and apologizes for my nine hours of a Chinese fire drill.

"I went back into the dump room (where they keep the returned equipment) and found your old Modem. I tested it and it looks like it took a hit through the incoming cable line.  You might want to replace that router, too."

I tell him I have and he thanks me for my patience.

My tactical mistake was thinking that just because the lights were all on the surge protectors that they had done there job.  I never once considered that something came in through the cable!

Still at 3PM yesterday afternoon, dealing with people who read off scripts, asking me to the same damned questions, over and over again, and those frustrating calls through those IVRs, I now think I have a pretty good feeling how Lizzie Borden felt 121 years ago when she took and axe and gave took care of her problem.

Thank God we don't have an axe.


  1. Cookie Borden took an axe, and gave her computer forty whacks.
    When she saw what she had done, she gave her Comcast forty-one.

  2. I feel you - I had to deploy Dick Mode for a replacement door screen. Not proud.

  3. Oh, dear. It's amazing how quickly we've all gotten so dependent on those blinking green lights, isn't it? I've been unpacking my life's worth of books over the past two weeks, thinking all the while, "when was the last time I actually used one of these?"

    And DuPree, thank you - I know exactly but exactly what you mean about such deployment, but never had a phrase for it.

    1. Well with the joint Peenee-Cookie-Super Agent Fred production, and with contractors sending me bids via email for work to commence next week, it had to work.

      I am so done with people in Manilla.

  4. And you did all this in the rain, in heels, and backwards! I'm so impressed.

    1. And the wind, blowing against me. Lets not forget that.

  5. This has happened to me. Lightning strikes the cable network and a surge comes right into your home, frying the cable modem - at least - in the process. When I returned my dead modem, I was told that every time there is a strong thunderstorm, people troop in with fried modems. Now, if there's a bad storm, I disconnect the cable from the modem. An insurance claim would be no less complicated than a Filipino service call.

    1. Comcast told me not to run the cable through a surge protector because it would slow the signal. They must be in cahoots with the modem manufacturers.

  6. We think lightning is what fried our modem last week but we had to wait for days to get a new one. You can't just go pick one up here.