Wednesday, February 20, 2013

AT&T's Old House

← I might have been better off moving into my favorite Polly Pocket compact.

I still have my compact, which was found at random on the ground one sunny day in 1994.

I couldn't believe my great fortune, I had wanted that compact since I first heard the PTA make a formal complaint about it. You see, the little blue see-saw has a secret. If you place a regular Polly Pocket on the see-saw with the Fairy Polly, and then teeter her really fast, the regular Polly will be launched into the air after 7-8 teeters, making Fairy Polly the owner of a cleverly disguised catapult.

The PTA moms hated the toy, and accused Polly of being a murderous 7 year old, and a bad influence on the other kids.

So naturally, I wanted this toy.

But no store carried the little lavender compact, so imagine my surprise when not only did I find it lying on the ground, totally intact, but it came with a second, regular Polly, just the right size for launching. I'm happy to report that I still have the compact and both Pollys, despite hundreds of launchings.

Why do I bring this story up? Because most of the places I've lived in ~ just like Polly ~ feel compact, full of holes and bursting with surprises.

And just like "Regular" Polly, those "surprises" are not always fun for the surprise getter.

Since the summer, my internet has done a fantastic job of cutting out on me. When it first happened, it took the phoneline with it. because just like dial-up, DSL goes through the phone. And the wireless service in my house goes through the DSL modem box... which goes through the phone. I keep getting the feeling that for as fast as we're running with technology here, we're still not going anywhere.

So anyway, I had a few months where my landline crackled and popped. This led to oh I dunno, 100 phone calls to AT&T.

"Go online, we have the solution there."

... Gee um... if I don't have any internet... how exactly am I going to get to your website??

This always led to plenty of dead-end conversations with people ~ who had English as probably a third language.

"Yes I can see that you are having a problem. A problem is what you are having. We have established that you are having a problem. Thank you and have a good day."


Now the phone was fixed for a while, but the internet was still popping in and out. So from the summer until yesterday, I had the internet cutting up left and right. This is inexcusable.

Every time the weather gets slightly bad, it cuts out. If someone from AT&T climbs one of the poles and plays with it, the internet kicks on just fine ~ for three hours. Then it's out again.

The wind blows ~ it cuts out.
It rains ~ it cuts out.
It snows ~ it cuts out.
A dog sneezes ~ it cuts out.

Then we started having a ton of suicidal squirrels. I don't know what their problem was, bust aside from drowning in my pool, they also kept gnawing on the line and shocking themselves to death. If you have no idea what this looks like, there's a ton of Squirrel Snuff films on YouTube, all of them with the same issue. Maybe they're coating the lines with licorice now. Who knows?

So now we're in late February, and this is still going on.

Monday, we get another tech guy to come over. Without even saying his name or badge number, he shoves his foot in the door.

"Hi! I be from AT&T. I'm here to reset your password to match what I wrote down in my book."

Suspicious much??

Wow AT&T I have no idea what you're teaching your techs lately, but you should know that your dude just passed Creepy Guy 101 with flying colors.

So Mama explains the problem, and sends the guy outside.

Couple of hours later, he says he'll be back to replace a wire. But he swears we'll have internet for the night.

... Not only did we have no such thing, he somehow managed to jack up my phone too. Perfect, now it sounds like I'm deep frying popcorn AND I can't stay online. Thanks for that. >_O

So while the phone is crackling, Mama calls AT&T, letting them hear all the static on the line. And since the landline is dropping worse than a cell phone signal at a rave party for Boeing Airplanes, this turns into repeated calls to the conglomerate.

From what little I can gather, apparently he never should have said he'd be back with a new wire ~ because that's not his job. His job is to troubleshoot internet, not mess with the wires. Great. You sent the wrong guy for the wrong job, and he's creepy too. Thanks for that.

So yesterday afternoon, AT&T sends another truck out. This time, the dude goes in through the house, and searches the property.

He comes back with a blackened cord. This is the phoneline, and it's older than my house. Here's a timeline.

Starting in 1820, my city started putting in cords and attaching them to poles, insisting that they wanted the town to be ready for the "future". At some point, the phoneline was added.

1915 my house was built around the cords, and the pre-existing phoneline was attached. Originally this was meant to be a farm house.

Sometime after 1915 but before 1920, a tub and toilet were randomly added to a room that was intended to be either a closet or a tiny bedroom. The window was kept, despite it being directly on top of the tub. The tub and toilet were only added because someone thought it would be more "fancy" to have plumbing.

Sometime during the 20's, a shower head was added, and then the room my bed is in.

Sometime after the stock market crash of 1929, all hopes of this ever becoming a true farm were lost.

At some point, an attic was kind-of built onto it. I say kinda because it's unfinished, and is actually one half of the master bedroom. You can't go in without a mask, because the floor is made of 6 beams of wood and a ton of lung slicing fiberglass, the latter of which was added when pink panther became a spokesman.

After World War 2, the electrical sockets were modified. In case you're curious, the house still has it's outdated red and yellow stick-out wires. Yay.

Then sometime in the late 90's, early 2000's, a drunk, dyslexic "handyman" named Danny bought the house from the little old lady who had lived here since birth.

Shortly after purchase, he screwed up the floor tiles, put in new stairs ~ upside down and backwards, and then turned the light switches upside down. My house is full of NO/FFO switches.

Then in 2003 a car slammed into the front of the house. A porch was added to cover up the damage.

A year later a second car slammed into the porch, prompting Danny to build a replacement porch. It's enclosed and totally hollow on the bottom.

Sometime after that, and I have no idea how this happened, he stripped the phoneline half-way, and then braided it (you read that right) with 3-4 other cords that are attached to... well nothing, actually.

The cord was then placed near a newly built vent, where there used to be a coal shaft. And then he took a nail gun and blasted the house inside and out.

I wish I had made that up, but sadly this is all true.

So AT&T replaced the old cord, refusing to let us have the antique. (I'm searching eBay for it, that thing must be worth something.) And the internet stopped kicking out.....

.... Until 5 hours ago.

I need to move.

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