Saturday, March 03, 2012

Tornadoes and Teeth and Internet, Oh My!

(Spell check is telling me that the proper plural of tornado is tornadoes, but that looks really weird. Oh, well.)

Anyway! Hello, reader people! This is me procrastinating doing all the stuff I am supposed to be doing to tell you that I AM SO SUPER BEHIND ON EVERYTHING!

What has put me so far behind?  Well first, last week my internet provider (Mediacom, who I plan to start referring to as Mediacommunist, even though that doesn't make much sense, but witty nicknames are hard.) randomly shut down our internet service around 1am. Our internet goes out ALL the frickin' time, so I assumed it was a regular outage. I waited around till around 3 or 4, hoping I could still get some work done for the night, but it still wasn't back so I curled up with my book to read before going to sleep. The next morning, still no internet, and it was asking me to log in to my Mediacom account to activate service. We called them up, they told us what info to put in, we tried to log in, no luck. Called back and found out that they had shut down our internet because they claim someone illegally downloaded a Beatles song.


The tech support lady named a Beatles song that I wasn't familiar with, said someone downloaded it illegally, and they could restore our service once it was deleted.


I have like, every Beatles song ever, give or take, but they're all on my old desktop (and have been since 2007) which I rarely use since one of its fans needs repaired, so it's annoyingly loud. The only song I've downloaded recently is Ho Hey by the Lumineers, which I even paid my $1.29 for on iTunes like a good, upstanding citizen. (Or someone who really loves that band and wants to support them, even if it's only a buck.)

The tech support person asked if we have a wireless router, which we obviously do. (Who doesn't?) She asked if it's password protected, and I have to admit it's not. We live in the middle of nowhere, the last house on the street before a big stretch of nothing. It's obviously something I should have done ages ago, but just never really bothered with. We came to the conclusion that someone probably managed to access our wireless (although dude, they'd have to be like, sitting in the middle of the woods to do it, so I'm still flummoxed) and they said they'd restore our internet service once we password protected the router.

Ever tried looking up router password instructions with no internet?  Thankfully my BlackBerry still had service, but uggggh.

Anyway, I called back, told them we got the password set up (got randomly disconnected, had to call back AGAIN...) and got internet back. A seriously frustrating ordeal overall. Here are the major issues I have with what happened...

1) The privacy factor. How on earth do they know what's being downloaded through our wireless account? I mean, it's not like I have super secret documents on my computers or anything, but I'm not ok with my internet provider being able to name a specific song and say it was downloaded through our account. Would you like photos of the inside of my fridge too, Mediacom, so you can know every detail of my life? I had coffee and a Kashi bar for breakfast. I haven't showered yet. My 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Brown. Anything else I can help you with?

2) The way they handled it. A company with any dignity (or at least any sense of what "customer service" means) would CALL and let us know there was questionable activity on our account. They would NOT randomly shut our service off in the middle of the freaking night with no warning or explanation, leaving me unable to work that night and then to spend 2 freaking hours of my morning trying to figure out what on earth has happened. How does that make ANY sense as a business practice? Not only is it spineless and passive aggressive, it seems like it makes everything more frustrating and stressful for everyone involved. Instead of doing the classy thing and calling your customer to deal with a problem, you leave them stuck with no internet, which we all know is frustrating. Then they have to spend all morning going through endless phone menus, talking to customer service people that don't know what's going on either, etc. In general, that results in a pretty frickin' stressed out, frustrated customer. Here's hoping someone from Mediacom takes a Customer Service 101 class in the near future, because they obviously don't have even the slightest clue of how to treat people.

ANYWAY. (Sorry that turned so ranty. Another side effect of really crappy customer service is that your customers tend to complain to their friends.)

The second reason I'm so behind on everything, last week my part of the state was attacked by mean tornados. (Bite me, spell check, that looks better.)  I was chilling in bed on Tuesday night when the tornado sirens started doing their thing. That's practically a weekly thing around here in the Spring, so I didn't think much of it, but a tornado ended up touching down about a mile to the south of us, and also about a mile to the north. We got seriously lucky!

In the winter, I can see this hotel from my back deck. Luckily, the grocery store that I usually shop at, which is right across the street from the hotel, was not damaged.

About half an hour away, Branson got hit by its own tornado. There was a LOT of damage. It's kind of crazy to look through photos of the places where I grew up, seeing them smashed to almost nothing!


This is incredibly ironic because I had JUST been telling Katie about the dinosaur statue outside the Branson Taco Bell, and I almost stopped to take a photo of it for her on Monday. I sent her this on Weds instead. Poor dinosaur.

I have to admit that I may have smirked just a teeny bit over this, because I still hold a grudge against the Branson Landing for tearing out the pretty lakeside parks and historic area where I grew up to slap up a Hilton and a bunch of chain shops. On the other hand, I was sad because I'd planned to go get frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf that day, but the whole Landing was closed for clean-up. (Orange Leaf survived, thankfully! My yogurt is safe!)

I was actually really thankful that I'd just done all of my Branson errands the day before (I go over a couple of times a month to pick up items I can't find here, and generally just enjoy the change of scenery!)  I did end up seriously kicking myself because I forgot to stop at the health food store, though, and it now looks like this:

Branson, Mo.


What does the tornado have to do with me being behind on work? Our internet (and TV and phone) went out right when the storms first started (which is awesome if you're relying on for info about your impending doom), and was out from then (about 1am) until around 8pm the next day. I totally understand that, since the roads were impassable for several hours after the storm, and nobody wants repairmen risking getting hurt just to fix internet, but it still sucked, especially after having no internet for 12 hours the day before! It's been almost a week now, and my Google Reader is still at 1000+, and I can't even begin to tell you how many unread emails  have. Bleh!  (Just to add to the fun, my cell phone service ALSO went out for about 6 hours that day, so for most of the day we had no TV, no internet, no home phone, no cell phone, NOTHING.)

Reason #3 for being super behind- the dental problems I've been having to put off getting fixed since I lack both insurance and money are finally refusing to be ignored. I have a freakishly high pain tolerance- I never even took any of the painkillers I was prescribed when I got my wisdom teeth out. I have to be almost dead before I even take a Tylenol- but I've been like, curled up in bed crying from pain. It blows. I scheduled a consultation with a dentist for Wednesday, but I have no idea how I'll afford to get any work done, especially since I'm pretty sure most of the problem teeth need crowns, which are unbelievably expensive. I wish I could just get the worst tooth pulled and deal with getting an implant or something later when I can afford it, but it's right up front (just to the side of my two front teeth), so I can't exactly walk around with a big, obvious missing tooth for who knows how long, since I have no idea when I'd be able to afford more work. (I lost a filling in one of my bottom teeth FOUR YEARS ago that I still haven't been able to get replaced.)  But to cut my whining short, the pain has left me pretty down for the count, so actually getting things checked off my to-do list has been slow!

So for now, I'm trying my best to catch up on everything, even if it's slow going, and counting down to Wednesday when I can get a better idea of what needs to happen to make it so I'm not in all this pain.

1 comment:

Ronni said...

Internet providers make me so mad!

For example. We're with Comcast. We've been with them for years. A while ago, Adam got a new card which he updated with them for autopay. For some reason, even though he updates the autopay every single month, it keeps trying to use the old card. And when it doesn't go through? They shut us down. They don't call and say "hey there is a problem with your card." They shut it off. He calls them and asks why. "Your card didn't go through." And he tells them it's because they were using an old card, here is the new card, please update your systems. Adam has also updated it on their site. But nope. It never takes, and we get shut off once a month because THEY ARE INCOMPETENT.

We're only with them because everyone else here is worse!

But yes, they do know if you download illegally and they will shut you down for it. It's scary.