Number Three

3. You know how I said everything is harder than you think it will be?  I meant it.  Everything.  I’ve been trying to get the internets at my new place since I moved in.  My original installation date was supposed to have been September 3rd, but for some reason, I couldn’t get a signal.  I could talk to the modem all I wanted to, but it was all, “Blah, blah, blah, Ginger, I have nothing to say to you.”  I tried connecting from every jack in my house.  And there are a lot of them.  Like one in every room.  So this took awhile.  And then I went downstairs and examined the phone wiring there.  And it scared me.  That can’t be right.  What did those people (who lived here before me) DO?  And then I went outside and looked at the box on the outside of the house and was slightly comforted.  Ok, if there’s a box outside, then it’s at least somewhat possible the mess in the basement isn’t something I have to worry about.  I tried connecting directly from the box.  No DSL.  Meh.

Obviously, the whole self-install process wasn’t going to be as smooth as I’d hoped.  Since I reeeeeally didn’t want to call AT&T, I tried chatting with an agent online when I was on break at work.  Parker looked into my situation and said that my order was “stuck.”  I didn’t know what that meant, but he said he’d worked it out with the sales department and my service should now activate on September 10th.  That was only a few days away and I had plenty of other things to occupy my time/mind.  Plus, ok, I can use my phone if I need to check something online.  (Of course, I ate through my fast data in no time at all, and was stuck at something resembling dial-up speeds, which just meant I’d do a Google search and then read my book for 10 minutes, then look back to see if anything had loaded.)  Not too inconvenient.

I tried connecting on the 10th.  Nope.  The 11th?  Sorry.  By that time, AT&T had emailed me the number for a special DSL service center they’ve set up (for people just like me!), so I called that on Saturday.  I was connected to someone right away (hooray!).  I think I talked to Gloria.  She asked me a bunch of questions about what I’d tried – all of which I had anticipated – and determined that I was going to need a technician on site to determine what the problem was.  According to the tests she had run and my account information, the line was fine and my service was live.  My technician (I believe his name began with an R.) was dispatched on Sunday (wait, they work on Sundays??) and when I explained about not being able to connect even from the box outside, he went out there first to check on that.  He had some lovely testing gadgets and determined that there was definitely something weird going on with my line.  After driving around the neighborhood to find/examine the central hookup he discovered that my house was experiencing some kind of identity crisis.  The line was live, but was connected to a completely different address – one that was 2 blocks away.  So, while AT&T had started the service for the right address, it was connected to the wrong house.  Or something.  I looked at his display and marveled.  And laughed.  Seriously?

He couldn’t fix that.  He said, “I put in an order for another tech to look at it.”  At this point I was sort of wondering if I’d ever have the internets, and I said, “So, when will that happen?”  I figured he’d say, “Oh, next week sometime.”  But he didn’t.  “This afternoon, probably.  Maybe tomorrow at the latest – depending on how many guys are working and what they have scheduled.  You don’t have to wait around.  All the work they have to do is outside.  Just leave your modem plugged in and you’ll know you can get online when the green light comes on.”  Ok, then.

Tech #2 arrived maybe 45 minutes later and wandered around behind my house and over by the central hookup (which is at the corner of my yard between several houses – ComEd was playing over there, too, recently).  I thought he was going to ignore me completely, but he stopped by my back patio door on his way out and said that everything should be fixed.  I looked at the modem and, yes, All Lights GO!  Glee.

That’s one thing I can check off the list.

Addendum: The good and the terrible thing about service calls is that whole 4-hour window thing, where you have to wait around for someone to show up, and no, they can’t get any more specific than that at the time you’re setting it up.  That worked out in my favor – I got up early, planned on being around, and managed to get a bunch of things organized, put away, and cleaned while I was waiting.  I’d say that time was well spent!

Addendum 2: This is really the best interaction with AT&T that I have ever had.  No one tried to upsell me anything, everyone was extremely polite and helpful, and my problems were resolved within a reasonable amount of time.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to erase that dread I feel every time I have to call some company for help, but this experience definitely helps me feel better about their customer service.

* * *

This is a big reason (besides having a lot of other things occupying my attention) why I’ve been silent.  There’s no way I’d have typed all of this out on my phone – especially when there’s a good chance I’d lose the entire post!

Also, also, I haven’t even bothered to set up my desktop computer.  The room I’m planning to put it in needs to be cleaned, and I gave away my computer desk because I’m planning on using something else…  And I keep wondering if maybe I should just paint that room before I bother to put anything where I want it to be.  You see how it goes.  It’s one step forward and then about seventeen in circles before I just fall over dizzy with the amount of work that needs to happen before I can do one simple thing.

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