Saturday, October 22, 2005

Settling anew and some complications therewith

Okay, so I am starting to feel settled in my new apartment (I've been living there 3 weeks as of today) but for the fact that my mattress hasn't been delivered yet. I'm still sleeping on my couch.
That is expected in 2 weeks, I believe. Or it might be 3. Doesn't really matter, this couch is comfy enough to hold me that long, and it has a nice cover on it, so it isn't even non-hygenic for me to be sleeping there.
I should also mention, before I go to far, that my apartment complex is under construction right now - they are doing improvements to the outside of the building. Which is nice, but has the somewhat negative side-effect of none of the apartments having numbers on the outside wall right now. I'm in building 4, and while the building number is clearly on the building, I can see how one might have trouble locating my apartment. This, and the fact that I do not yet have a home phone (more on that later) add to the feeling taht I am not completely settled.
I also don't have a dresser yet. Which is okay, I have a big closet (or two) and lots of hangers. (And a shelf above the hanger bar in both closets for underwear and socks, and things that don't hang well) but this is a little less convenient than a dresser. I don't have a proper entertainment centre, either, but a few 5 foot long 2X8's and some bricks are handling that quite nicely.
So, it doesn't quite feel entirely like home yet, kind of like I am still floating a bit, but that feeling is dissipating day by day, as I do all the normal menial tasks, like cooking meals, taking out garbage and doing laundry.
At least I do have a computer desk, with internet connection working now. Getting that internet connection was a pain. Down here, there is one company (Brighthouse, who I understand is a WB subsidiary) who offers cable and internet packages. I chose to go with Earthlink as my ISP (it really doesn't matter - I am going to stick with gmail as my e-mail address, so any of the three they offer will work. I just knew I wasn't going with AOL) and also ordered HBO and Cinemax. After the first Birghthouse-contracted tech (who arrived on time, at the very beginning of his 3-hour window, much to my shock, coming from Toronto, where such a thing is unheard of) got done, I checked my internet and watched some TV. A little later in the day, I realized that my digital channels (HBO and Cinemax) were not working. I e-mailed Brighthouse and got an appointment set up for the next day.
That technician (a different one) arrived (on time again!) and installed a booster right where the cable came into my house - before the cable modem. The digital channels looked good. I'd be able to watch movies and such to my heart's content. Unfortunately, he made a little mistake when installing the booster, and blew my cable modem. Not a big deal, he had another one in the truck. He went and got it, and installed it, and we still couldn't get a connection. So, he called in to the office, to get them to send a clearing signal to my modem, at which time they informed him that there was an enormous outage in the Brighthouse network.
Okay, I had to go out anyway, so I told him "that's fine, I can just check it out later when I get home." I got home kind of late that night, so I didn't check it that night, but did look in the computer room and noticed that the modem was off, which was not how I had left it.
The next morning, Tuesday, I hooked it up. It worked. Yay! 10 minutes later or so, however, the modem shut off. I reset it, and it lasted about 6 minutes this time.
I went in to work, and e-mailed the nature of the issue to Brighthouse, asking them to set up an appointment for the following Sunday, between 8am and 11am to come replace the modem. I told them at the time "I have no home phone right now, so don't bother calling ahead - the last number you have on record for me is a hotel I was staying at." They replied, and the appointment was set. Keep in mind as you read the entries below that each time I spoke to someone, or e-mailed them I explained the problem: the modem shuts itself off after a brief period of connectivity.
Flash forward to Sunday, 7:30 AM. I put an 11X17 piece of paper in my windown that said, "Brighthouse, this is Apartment 4-11" with an arrow pointing to the door (just in case they were unsure of which apartment the window belonged to.
Flash forward again to Sunday at 12:15 pm. I am at the local Publix grocery store, on a pay phone. "Hi, I was supposed to have an appointment between 8 and 11, and the tech never showed up."
"OK, let's see what happened there. Hmmm... it says he called and the number wasn't valid."
"Yes, I mentioned in my e-mail when placing the original call that I didn't have a home phone, and there would be no point in calling ahead."
"Oh, ok. It also says there were no numbers on the building so he couldn't find the apartment."
"Then he missed the 11 by 17 inch sign in the window?" I said it with only a touch of irony - I wasn't really mad here, just a little irritated, as I did have other things to do.
"I guess he must have."
"Okay, so what do we do about this?"
"Well, let me talk to my supervisor."
"Sure. Thanks."
... On Hold ...
"Sir? My Supervisor put you in the 'All Day' queue."
"Which means what?"
"It means that there will be a technician there before 6pm."
"Well... okay. I guess that'll have to do. Thanks."
"Is there any thing else I can do for you sir?"
"Nope. Thanks."

So, I head back to my house to wait, but also put another sign up in another window. Now, it was a pretty windy day, and I had no tape in the apartment, so it was clear to me I couldn't take my preferred solution - to put a big sign up on the door. And I didn't dare go out and buy tape - I might miss them.
Okay, now it is 6:20 and I am back on the same pay phone.
"It appears that the tech cancelled the appointment."
"I... see. And why did he do that?"
"Well, he tried to call and..."
"Yeah. Can I speak to your supervisor please?"

So, then I am online with a supervisor - a nice guy, who seemed to genuinely feel bad that I was stuck in my house for 10 hours waiting for a tech that never showed up.

"Okay, I will put you at the very top of tomorrow's 8am timeslot."
"With a note to not bother calling, since there is no home phone, and will not be until I am done with this issue, since I am going to be using VOIP?"
"Okay, thanks."

Flash forward to 11:15 the next morning, finding me at the same pay phone. (I waited that long, because I figured these techs might sometimes re-arrange their load to make their time more efficient.)

"Yeah, still no tech." This to another supervisor - I was too mad at this point to deal with another front-line person - they didn't get paid enough to put up with me at this point.
"Hmmm... let's see here... he cancelled the appointment."
"Let me guess, he didn't notice the note not to bother calling, tried to call and the nubmer was invalid, then he came by, failed to notice the two 11X17 signs in the windows saying what apartment it was, couldn't find the apartment and so cancelled it."
"Ummm... yes, that's what it looks like."
"Okay, so what are you going to do about this?"
"Well, I could put you on top of the list for tomorrow morning..."
"I work tomorrow. And, now, put yourself in my shoes. Despite the fact that last weekend, two techs were able to find my apartment, this appointment has been cancelled three time in two days because the tech cannot find it. If you were me, do you think going for 4 times in 3 days is the best solution?"
"Well, no..."
"So you're telling me that I will be another week without internet because you people can't replace a modem?"
"Sir, if you'd like, you can go to a Brighthouse office, and they will replace your modem."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"If you are sure it is the modem, you can just take your current modem into one of our offices, and they'll replace it on the spot."
"Where is the nearest office?"
"Given your address, there is one at (names location less than 10 minutes away)."
"Okay. At this point, I would love to go over there, and spare myself another 13 hours of sitting around waiting for a technician to not show up."
"And I've also credited your account with a $20 credit because the tech was late."
"What are you're office's hours?"
"They're open until 5:30 today" there was a note of surprise or something in his voice - I think he actually expected me to be greatful at this point that they had just paid me a little less than $1.54 an hour to wait for them.

Half an hour later, I had reliable internet access. And only 5.5 days longer than it should have taken!

Now to figure out why Vonage hasn't delivered their adaptor to me yet.