Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Odds and Ends, Again

There is plenty I could write about today. I could go on and on about Comcast, the extraordinary 28-hour outage that lasted from Monday night to Tuesday night, and the total lack of communication between this company, whose very reason for existence is cable communications (they have the local monopoly), and its customers during a time like this. For me, lacking phone, TV and internet connections was an irritant. It's not a stretch to imagine some for whom it could be a crisis. The best Comcast could muster was a mostly unintelligible acknowledgement of the "trouble" in the introduction to its automated answering system, including the words "repairs will be made as soon as possible." Updates were put up at their convenience, and they were equally information-free, except for a change in the time it was recorded. Speaking to a live person was no more enlightening. One poor soul I spoke with couldn't even see a record of a problem, even though the communications system of which he was the human representative had already acknolwedged it. All I was hoping to find out was, what's going on? Given the extraordinary duration of the outage, I didn't, and still don't, think that was a lot to ask. But 'twas never to be. I found out we were back on line when I picked up the phone and got a dial tone. I got the name and address of the company PR official responsible for this area. I may write a letter, but this venting may end up being enough. Life's too short to keep reliving its painful moments.

I could write about the return of cool weather. We're headed only for the mid-70s on this mid-June day in Washington. I had to put on shoes, socks and a shirt with sleeves to ward off the chill. I'm not complaining--in a bit I'll be out in those unseasonable temperatures schlepping composted leaves in a wheelbarrow around the yard.

I could write about Steve's job situation. He found out yesterday he didn't get the in-company job he applied for. He was one of two finalists and they went with the other one. But there was good news, too. He spoke with his financial advisor yesterday, as well, who showed us a way out of the unlit tunnel we thought we'd be in if Steve found himself vested but with only a few years' work credit: annuitize. Whoda thunk? Brains with expertise are so great to be able to call on!

Well, looky there--I wrote about all of it!

Happy hump day!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ralph,

Welcome Back!

Write the letter - all of us need to speak up more often. I've thought of cable internet as we've been having trouble with dial-up for close to two weeks (since the first of the severe storms and the provider tells us it is because we have outdated modems). Mmmph! If we can stay online some of the time - why not all of the time?

Anyways,I've rejected the cable packages because of the expense and the concern of losing the service. A family member lives in a semi-rural area and when their system goes out it is often two-three days before it is back. It doesn't bother them except for the loss of the cable tv.

Very interesting news about Steve. Often the old adages prove true that where there is a will there is way. One door closes - another opens.


Ralph said...

Linda, great to hear from you!

You're right, of course, I should write the letter. Give me the day and let me see if I can compose something in my brain while I'm doing mindless work outside. I agree they need the feedback.

But as to high-speed internet etc, I have to admit I love what it allows me to do and I'd have a very hard time going back to dial-up. Phone service is cheaper by far...the only money we probably waste is on too much TV service....(we don't have the very highest tier of service but we do get more channels than we ever watch.) If Verizon ever got its Fios system here, with its undergound fibre-optic cables, I'd be very interested.

Mim said...

Thanks for the message again about downloading the songs to my computer. What an extra benefit you've given us.
Now to Comcast... we had two power outages like you've described here in central VA with Comcast. poor service, no reason for the outages,bad customer service response,putting us on hold.
Where we are here we decided to switch to DSL through Verizon for our computer lines. We decided if this happens again we can do without the TV but NOT the internet!!
So there you have it. Oh and we've written two letters, but no response. So by taking my computer business elsewhere, as have almost everyone on my street we'd like to think it matters but somehow it probably doesn't.
Doesn't sound like you have this option where you are.
IT is very frustrating to say the least.

Kat said...

I too could never do dial up. I'd fall on my sword first. I download and rip so much music I'd be sitting here all cobwebbed before they'd finish.

My TV cost with Comcast is huge but I have all the movie channels and have HD. They are my extravagance.

We've been lucky here as Comcast has been reliable. The only time we lost service was during the last hurricane, but losing electricity often around here is another matter.

Eclecticity said...

"I could write about the return of cool weather. We're headed only for the mid-70s on this mid-June day in Washington. I had to put on shoes, socks and a shirt with sleeves to ward off the chill. I'm not complaining--in a bit I'll be out in those unseasonable temperatures schlepping composted leaves in a wheelbarrow around the yard."

Ralph, did you forget your pants again? ;-) E.

Ralph said...

Eclec, why else do you think we have to get out of here so fast?

Anonymous said...

What's with all the power outages up there Raff? I don't recall when we lived there that there was a problem, here there always is. Florida storms take out our power weekly. But we have bright house and they are excellent at service calls.

Ralph said...

No kidding, Z&M! This year has been one for the record books around here for power outages--although Comcast's problem will never be explained, I'm sure. May have been power-related.....

Storms here are becoming more violent. They can be of short duration, but come with very strong bursts of wind that can reach 60-70 mph. They break limbs of the aging tree canopy in older places like Arlington, and the limbs break the wires.

Anonymous said...

Global warming has come to Arlington, VA. I have friends who complained too about outages in Falls Church and they sold out when they retired and built new in Culpepper. I visited them last November and it's a new construction explosion down there.

Ravel said...

Please, Ralph, don't fall on yr sword. Let us know you better before that...
At home, me & hubby prefer not to put all our eggs in the same basket. Despite the fact we have no cable for our TV, we kept one phone company and took another company for Internet. We can't lose all at the same time... what would be life without electronics?
Comcast sounds like when you call yr gouverment... imagine, we have 2 here!

Ralph said...

Ravel, I just said that very thing to friends at dinner. Some companies are so big and bureaucratic they're just as unresponsive and cold as governments. And they're the only game in town....well, we could separate the services again like you guys have, but having just the one bill for everything is quite convenient.

Nan said...

While I am sorry Steve didn't get the position that he wanted, it sounds like the good news may be the best news of all!

Ralph said...

It does take a huge load off, Nan. We know at least we can be comfortable with just a bit of cutting back, which is normal. Now the only hurdle is the real estate market, and that'll just have to take care of itself.