Where Have I Been?? I’ll Tell You Where I’ve Been…

Yes, yes, I was at camp, we all know that, and I have more fabulous experiences to share with you.  But Thursday night, I came home after an incredibly long day, determined to blog about it all.  We left camp, I took Amy to physical therapy and dropped her off  while I raced home to get her soccer registration papers, then raced to the bank to make a deposit and then raced back to physical therapy to pick her up so we could race down to Alabaster for a soccer meeting.  I was literally drooping with exhaustion.

We were there until 8:30 and finally, when it looked like the meeting was winding down to nothing but chit chat, I collected my daughters and left.  When I got home, I got them to bed and then collapsed in front of the computer to blog.  But when I tried to connect to the internet, nothing happened.  Strange, but it had rained, I reasoned, and maybe the connection was goofy.

I unplugged the modem, waited a bit, and then plugged it in again.  Nothing.  I unplugged the modem, turned the computer off, waited a bit, and then plugged it back in again.  Nothing.  I was feeling much aggrieved by now.  After a long day, all I really wanted to do was play Pogo and unwind.  Instead, I had to go and wash clothes because there was nothing else to do.

In the morning, I tried it again and it still didn’t work.  So I called upon Habib.  Habib is the faceless, anonymous cable technician who lives in remotest Yemen and has been hired by Charter for $5.00 a month to answer tech support questions for suckers like me. 

Now mind you, when he answered, he tried to tell me his name was Dennis, but I recognized him as Habib right away.  He asked for my issue and I told him my modem was fried.  There was a moment of silence.  “I am sorry, can you repeat that?” he asked.

“My…modem….is….fried….” I intoned.  “It….does….not…..work.”

“Ah, I think I understand,” he replied.  “I believe you are telling me you are having problems with your internet connection.  I can help you with this.”

Great, he’s a brain surgeon.  Five minutes of my life already wasted. 

“Look, please don’t tell me to unplug the modem,” I said.  “I’ve already done that like four times and it doesn’t work.”

“Well, of course we have our procedures we must follow,” he informed me coldly.  “Let me get your information please.”

He verified all of my information, including my name, address, social security number, height, weight and favorite color, and then he was ready to beging trouble shooting.  I turned on the speaker phone and sat by the computer, prepared to perform life saving maneuvers.

“hmmmm,” he said presently.  “There is no signal going to your modem.  Let me put you on hold for a moment.” 

Charter has the worst elevator music ever.  They have some tuneless piece of crap no self-respecting ice cream man would play.  It repeats over and over again until you are ready to puncture your eardrums to get some peace.  But I waited anxiously, ready to be reunited with the cyber world.

Dennis/Habib came back on the line and said “I am sorry, I am having a bit of trouble with my own computer.  Would you mind holding again?”  HA….serves him right!!

So I waited some more, using the time to make lunches for the day and fix water bottles, and various administrative duties like that.  Finally he came back and said “Can you read me the MAC number on the bottom of your modem?”  

“The what??” I asked, confused.

“On the bottom of your modem, there is a number; please read it to me.”

I read it to him and he put me on hold again.  By now I was getting annoyed and was ready to obliviate him and his camel, but I held on, hoping for some resolution.

He came back again and said cheerfully: “the reason there is no signal going to your modem is that MAC number has been reassigned to someone else.  We can’t disrupt existing service, so you’ll have to get a new modem.  Now I’d like to review your services with you!”

“Wait a minute,” I said, stunned.  “What do you mean it’s been assigned to someone else?”

“Well, that number has been give to another customer and their service has been activated.  We can’t disrupt existing service.”

“Ok, fine,” I said slowly.  “Thanks for your help.”

“Now I would like to review your services,” he said hopefully.

“Dennis, I am canceling my services, so there is no reason to review them.  It’s not your fault, you’ve been very nice, but I have to go now,” and I hung up the phone.

I fumed and fretted and stewed, to no avail.  What did he mean he couldn’t disrupt existing service???  Someone disrupted my existing service to give it to someone else!!!  I just replaced the damn modem and now I was supposed to replace it again??!!!  I resolved then and there to get DSL.

But….on Saturday, when I called again, I got a different answer.  When Oscar answered the phone, I immediately asked for supervisor.  Oscar, who seemed a lot more savvy than Habib, cooly asked for my info.  I gave it to him waspishly; I was spoiling for a fight and did not want to deal with another technician.

But I told him what Dennis had told me and he asked for the MAC number so he could check the problem out.  Within ten minutes, he had it resolved.  Apparently, Friday was Dennis’s first day off the oasis and he did not know how to fix problems like Oscar.  I sobbed my thanks in his ear and then made the mistake of asking if my account could be credited for the two days I had gone without service.  He said of course, flagged my account and then sent me to billing.

Whereupon I was greeted with a thickly accented,  mumbled “Oh My God…oh….gonna have to put you on hold just a minute” and then elevator music.  I used to work in customer service and that is very bad form indeed.  I waited in confusion, as more minutes of my life trickled away like sands in an hourglass.  Finally, she came back and apologized, saying “I was having an attack of de sneezes you know.”

I gave her my information AGAIN and she began analyzing my account.  All I wanted was an adjustment, but she decided to go over it with a fine tooth comb.  “I see you have basic cable for xxxx, and expanded basic for xxxxx, and you have a box for xxxxx, and, hmmmmm, I see you made a payment of….now why is there $.96 left?”

“Um, I probably underpaid it?” I asked in confusion.  What did this have to do with my credit?

“Jes….Jes….hmmmm….and you paid this on this date…”

“Um,” I interrupted, “I just need a credit.  I’ve already been on the phone for thirty minutes.”

“Jes, but only two minutes with me!” she said waspishly.

Well, excuse me, I thought to myself, but your sneezing fit took at least two minutes, so I’ve been holding longer than that!!!!  Of course, I said nothing since I am a nice person.

Finally, after ten minutes of hemming and hawing, she gave me a $7.00 credit.  I’m not sure it was worth it, but it’s done. 

So that is the tale of my internet woes and why I have not been blogging.  It is all part of the Charter cable/Conservative Republican/AARP conspiracy to suppress my blog, the last outpost of truth and free speech!!!!   I’ll get you Habib, if it’s the last thing I do!!!!!   



  1. Posted June 17, 2007 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s crude to laugh at someone else’s misfortune, but since I’ve been there and done that several times myself I feel justified in just GUFFAWWWWWING since you have such a talent for humor. Anyway, I’m happy you are now back on duty.

    Carry on.

  2. Renee
    Posted June 17, 2007 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Repeat after me, “I will get DSL.”

  3. Joe
    Posted June 17, 2007 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    BellSouth (soon to be AT&T, I suppose) rocks. They’re offering some great package deals these days, too. Welcome back!

  4. Teensy
    Posted June 17, 2007 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I love my DSL through Bellsouth.

  5. Kiki
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    We have DSL–never had a problem yet…ha ha. Didn’t you want to hear that again?

  6. Dennis-Habib
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Did you like the Barry Manilow elevator music playing while I solved your issue? I picked it out just for you.

  7. Posted June 18, 2007 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Um, DSL. That is all.

  8. dailydiatribes
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Ok, so what I am hearing is that I need to get DSL….does Habib work for Bellsouth which is the new AT&T? thank you Don, I love you too!!

  9. Posted June 18, 2007 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Yes, my love, even this old skinflint finally split for DSL, BellSouth Ultra style (there are more expensive styles). I didn’t really want it because I’m too old and decrepit to even keep up with dial-up speed, but the lady who occupies the bedroom across the hall insisted on getting it so she can gab on the phone for hours while I flirt with the likes of you on the internet. :-))

    Habib’s grandfather works for BellSouth.

  10. Teensy
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know about Habb b/c I have never had to call anyone with my DSL. Never had a problem before. Wow my eyes hurt from reading the small print!

  11. Mojo
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Teensy on this small print! It’s pitiful I have to hunt for my reading glasses to partake of your blog. (Not really, but I bet I will have to do so very soon!) Meredith, being among your youngest loyalists, just may be the ONLY one who doesn’t have to do the same!

    BTW, Habib sidelines with Dell…you must speak with him if you wish to order printer cartridges via phone. I hung up on four Habibs just yesterday. Each time I tried back, I so hoped Bubba would answer! I finally ordered on-line.

    They are getting more and more American/Anglo with their name choices. One was Dave, one was Steve…the truth is, they each had driven their ox carts to work. 🙂 (While listening to “Midnight at the Oasis” on their iPods, I am sure!)

  12. Posted June 20, 2007 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Not to beat a dead horse, but you can get basic DSL from BellSouth for ten bucks a month if you’ve never had DSL before: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19305115/

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