The Hundred Year Fiasco

It was July 5th. The morning sun had not yet broken through the clouds as I groggily fired up the PC.

The tower hummed to life as all of the familiar lights flickered. I let the computer wake up while I brewed up some coffee and toasted my english muffins. The air was full of buttered bread, coffee, and small shadows that began to creep across the floor as the sun poked out between the clouds.

I sat down at my computer chair, munching on my muffin and sipping my cuppa. I typed in the password and waited impatiently as I fingered crumbs off my plate. A finger was still in my mouth when I looked up at the screen and saw it..

No. Internet. Connection.

My mouth dropped open and my finger fell to the desk. My eyes grew wide and my heart began beating a little faster. All of the usual withdrawal symptoms.

Wait… this can’t be right. I climbed under the computer desk, A.K.A. dust-bunny land. Down on all fours in my pajamas, I began a frantic check of the wires going to the modem and computer. Was it plugged into the jack?

I sat up and sighed heavily. I’d have to recycle the power to the modem. For such a small chore, it seemed a huge dread. It only took a few minutes, if even that, but they seemed to drag on.

I followed the age-old procedure of unplugging the power cord, the dsl cord, and then the ethernet cord. I unplugged the jack. I waited the horribly eternal one minute and then plugged everything back in.

Nothing. All of the lights were green except for the important one. The DSL light was totally red.

Shit.

I decided to try restarting the computer, this time sighing and tapping fingers while it rebooted. Acid kicked up in my mouth. This shouldn’t have any impact on whether the modem is working, but it was a last ditch effort.

No.Internet.Connection.

“What the fuck?!” I’m sure I had woken half of my neighbors, but I didn’t care as much as I should. I had no internet! They’d understand.

 


 

This is how my day started. Well, maybe not *exactly* how.. but it gets the point across. I didn’t have a lot of time to mess around any further with the blasted thing since Hubby and I had to get to work. I figured it was just another “outage”.

Oh how wrong I was.

I contacted my internet provider once I got home. I spoke with a lovely woman who said that a technician had been out in the area recently and had “accidentally” turned off the internet for our entire area.

Fucking Christ.

She assured me that our area was being rerouted to another server, but if the problem continued, I should call back after 6pm that night.

It continued. I called back. And then I realized that everything I had been told was probably a lie.

At 6pm, the alternate customer service reps take over. I actually got the same customer service rep that I talked to with the last outage. She was very helpful the last time.. not so much this time. Everything I said was met with heavy sighs and a strained voice that said every word as if she were speaking to a toddler.

She had a very thick accent and I couldn’t understand her very well. I’m sure this is what was causing her distress. It took about five repeats from her end before I realized she wasn’t asking for my company address, but my complete address. I felt like an ass for repeating that I was not a business. Ugh.

The longer we spoke, the more furiously I paced. Hubby started following me around asking if I was okay and rubbing my shoulders as I made fists in the air.

“No, the only red light is the DSL light!” I roared into the phone. I had answered the question a million times. She would click off to put me on hold and then click back on, probably with a question she had already asked me. I knew that she knew what she was doing. At least, she did last time. Why was she doing such a horrible job this time?

Despite the problems, I finally got an appointment set up for a technician to come out.. in a week. I hung up the phone, infuriated. Not just at the long wait, but also at the obvious miscommunications taking place. Hubby calmed the situation with the notion that in a week, it would all be over and we would have the internet back.

Again, we were very wrong.

The week came and went. No technician showed up.

I called back on my lunch break to make sure I would get ahold of a primary CSP (customer service representative) . I got a CSP that seemed honest and that I could understand. He apologized for the obvious inconvenience. (Was that all it was? It felt like I had lost a limb.. maybe I was being dramatic..)

Apparently, my inside wire insurance had been removed and then re-added to my account.
Gee, I wonder who could have done that.
For some reason, the system thought that meant the tech appointment had been cancelled. He put me on hold and contacted the technician supervisor to get it straightened out. I got another tech appointment. Another week’s wait. I was just happy to have an end to this nightmare.

He assured me the technician would be there on Thursday the 21st, and only after I was off work. I breathed a sigh of relief.

To calm the wait and our fraying nerves, we spent the hours after work for the week playing Solitaire and watching YouTube videos on our phones. What was the point of having a computer if there wasn’t any internet? Oy.
I was getting increasingly good at Minesweeper and Hubby had found some Pen and Teller magic show.

That Tuesday, I went to pick up my husband from work, just like every other day.. but I found out some grim news. Our landlord had gotten ahold of my husband while he was at work. He asked about an internet technician. It was Noon when he texted. It was Tuesday the 19th.. not Thursday the 21st.

While I drove home, Hubby called the internet company back, again, and explained the situation. The CSP assured him that the appointment was still set. Apparently, if a tech is in the area for a call, they will swing by and see if they can knock it out instead of having to make the drive later on. It seemed feasible.

I didn’t hold my breath, but I hoped the tech would show up on Thursday.

On the 21st, I sped home so I could do a quick clean of the place before having to speed back into town to get hubby, and then speed home again to get there before the tech (hopefully) showed up.
I sucked up dust-bunny-ville with a powerful cyclone (A.K.A. Hoover) and pulled everything away from the modem and wall jack. I picked up Hubby and we both waited, with half-baited breath.

At 8pm (an hour after the cutoff point), we admitted defeat and went to bed.

The following day after work.. well, you know the drill by now.

The CSP I spoke to, still a different one than all the others, apologized profusely. She said that the only thing she could do was to set up another .. yeah, you know.

This time, however, we set it up for early morning on Saturday. The CSP put in the notes that we would absolutely not be home until then. I wasn’t sure if it would make a difference, but I was grasping at straws here.

I explained this to Hubby as we drove home. We both agreed it was a good idea. He had to work all day Saturday, but I would be at home. Neither of us dared to ask if the notes in the computer would actually keep a tech from stopping by at a more convenient time .. well, convenient for them, anyways. We were too superstitious by this point. We had become internet jaded.

Once home, Hubby and I sat around in the living room, soaking up the air conditioning. I sat in the rocking chair, petting the cats. Hubby was eating and watching Pen and Teller on his phone. I hate Pen and Teller.

Suddenly, he popped his head up.

“Uh, we have internet.”

I jumped out of the chair, cats racing to all corners of the room as if a tornado was going by.

“WHAT?!”

We both looked at the modem. All of the little lights were on and were green. Even the DSL light.

“How did that happen? Did a tech come out and not tell us?” I checked the windows. No tech vans.

Hubby shrugged. “We should keep the appointment in case it goes out, again.” I nodded and rubbed my greedy little hands together. “Mmmm, sweet internet,” I whispered. Hubby slowly backed away and retreated to the bedroom to watch more Pen and Teller.

Ah, two problems solved. Life was good.

Spock Mode Activate!

When I was younger… I know. Ugh. “She’s going all the way back to then. Pass the chips, Earl, it’s going to be a long read.”

Seriously, it’s going to be okay. Just hear me out.

Ahem.

When I was younger, my family called me “Ms.Spock”. I was forever saying, “That’s not logical,” to the point that it drove people crazy. I have not lost this gift *cough* annoying habit.

It tends to rear it’s ugly head when I’m browsing my social media feed (I’m looking at you, Facebook!) and I see those sickeningly sweet quotes. You know the ones. They’re in creative fonts and are plastered across pictures of serene fields, or flowers, or laughing children.

presntpastfuture

Because you are a special snowflake.

Ahh, that’s the stuff. Cliched and soppy saying? Check! Serene field and bonus sunset? Double check!

Here’s the thing that immediately pops into my head when I read this: “It takes 80 milliseconds for the human brain to process anything so we are constantly living in the past. This makes no sense.”

That’s it. Not, “Awww, that’s totally on point! We should all make the here-and-now more enjoyable.” Nope.

lifeblessing

The alliteration just killed me. I am totally not stressing anymore, though, since I don’t have a heartbeat. I guess it worked.
Seriously, I guess your catchy and rhyming phrase has totally changed my life. I now see the error of my ways! Oh how wrong I ..

You get the idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have emotional responses to these things.. every now and again. I’m not a total robot.

blessinglife.jpg

Fuck you, buddy. Seriously, just back the fuck off and take your rose-colored glasses with you. No, I don’t want to hear about how I can reach enlightenment. Do you want to hear about how I can make your head reach the ceiling with one kick. No? Buh-bye, then.

I’m not bitter. I swear. Just sick of seeing these memes.

People! Stop with the memes!

dragoncat.jpg

Unless it has cats in it. Cat memes are always acceptable.  It is totally logical.

Thank you and good night.

Moving On

It can be hard to move on. Whether we’re moving on from a break-up, getting fired, or a familial fallout, we can get stuck in over analyzing things.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can be good to go over they “Whys”. There’s a proven problem-solving method called “The 5 Whys” and it can help get to the bottom of a problem to find a better solution. It kind of works like this:

  1. Why did my girlfriend leave me? Because I wasn’t satisfying her emotional needs.
  2. Why wasn’t I satisfying her emotional needs? Because I didn’t know what they were.
  3. Why didn’t I know what her needs were? Because she never told me.
  4. Why didn’t she ever tell me what her needs were? Because we both had different schedules and never spent time together.
  5. Why did we both have different schedules? Because we had to go to work and help family and friends.

So the underlying problem isn’t that he wasn’t meeting his girlfriend’s needs, it’s that they weren’t making time for one another in their busy schedules. Now he can move forward from constantly asking, “What did I do wrong?” to “What can I do differently next time?”

But sometimes, moving on can be difficult. Even after we go through the “5 Whys”, we can still ruminate about the things that happened. Even when these things are not our fault, we can feel that familiar pang in our chest that is reminiscent of regret.

When we start to feel regret over the situation and are struggling to move forward, we might try avoidance strategies to put ourselves into a conscious state of denial. Although this can help at first, it can lead to more emotional build-up and more stress. In the long run, this can actually lead to taking longer to moving on.

“Well then, what’s the magic secret to ‘moving on’?” you might wonder. There isn’t one. It’s just a daily reminder that you are doing the best you can, dealing with the emotions as they arise, and constantly tweaking your coping mechanisms to replace the now unhealthy ones with newer, healthier ones.

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of stress and I’m finding it difficult to keep my anxiety and melancholy in check.  Getting outside and walking in the sunshine, making short trips to places that aren’t terribly crowded, and cleaning seems to be this week’s way of dealing with things. Throw in a bit of reaching out to trusted individuals, having awesome pet buddies, and playing games with the Hubby, and my anxiety is.. manageable

Just remember, even though you may feel as if you’re going through hell, try to handle things the best you can. It’s not fair to lash out to others who are trying to help. I know, sometimes the ‘help’ seems more of a hindrance. Tell them. Communication is vital in this scenario.

Whatever it is you do, just keep moving forward each day and soon.. it will all be an unpleasant memory.

Quirks

So we all have our own little quirks. Some of us can’t stand to hear words mispronounced, some of us have to make sure the pillows on the couch are arranged just right, and some of us have no quirks (which is quirky in and of itself).

Me? I have social issues. Yes, that’s right, it’s quirky!  I swear.. Anyways.

Let’s start off with the most obvious one – I have facial recognition issues. Actually, I just have memory issues. It all stems from that time I hit my head, yadda yadda yadda. Long story short, I have memory issues. There are many times that I stare at someone and my brain goes, “Hey, you know that person,” but I go, “Are you sure?” This leads to me staring at someone I’ve met before as I pass by them and then, when their back is to me, going, “Hey So-And-So! Nice to see you!” At which point they turn and look at me like I’m a freak. Well, that part might be somewhat accurate, but it’s not done on purpose.

In a similar vein, I can also forget what I’m talking about and who I’m talking to mid conversation. That’s right. I will suddenly hold my hand up and say, “Wait, who are you? What are we talking about?” Awkward pause as my brain tries to figure it out and the other person weighs whether I’m crazy or just rude. “Oh yeah, I remember now. Continue.” This has led to a lot of people just not wanting to talk to me and, let’s be honest, that’s fine with me.

Another social “quirk” I have is not really caring to take the time or expend the energy to piddle-paddle around other people’s emotions. I know, I know. Many people say I’m callous or uncaring. The fact of the matter is that I just don’t get it. If you want something, ask for it. Say so. Don’t allude to it in a vague sense and then say I’m rude for not giving you what you wanted or “asked” for. You didn’t ask, you made passive comments. Don’t do that. ASK!

I also don’t like to put up with the some people’s attitudes that they should be treated differently for whatever reason. We all have things to deal with. Anxiety, Depression, physical pain, stressful situations. I could go on and on. We all have these things. They are not an excuse to demand that other people ask, “How high?” when someone says, “JUMP!” So stop. Seriously, just stop.

I am nice. I swear. I go out of my way to help people and I try to be polite. There are times people mistake this for weakness, flirting, or (for some strange reason) they think I’m mocking them. I’m not. I’m trying to be nice. As a result of this, people can start to get pretty shitty. They can take for granted the things I’m doing and then get upset when I stop doing them. Let’s face it. If any of us are going out of our way to do nice things on a regular basis and someone starts to take it for granted, we’re gonna stop doing those things. I will also start to be curt with people that I was formerly nice to if I find out they are: talking about me behind my back, continually being rude to my face, or ignoring me. I tried to be polite, you were rude, no more need to try and be polite.

Last, but not least, my voice. I tend to have a softer voice. People can have a hard time hearing me. Don’t make fun of it. Don’t ignore me because you’re tired of asking, “What?” I will speak up. My volume and vulgarity will increase 10 fold in a matter of milliseconds. Just don’t do it.

 

Okay, I think I’m done complaining for one morning. I hope you all are having a great first day to your weekend. (See, I can be nice.) I think I need to get all of this printed on a t-shirt as a disclaimer for interacting with me. Meh, that wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

Pet Peeves 101

I have a lot of pet peeves, but who doesn’t? I like to try and come up with creative solutions to not only help me cope in these situations, but also to explain to the peeve perpetrator why their behavior is annoying me.

  1. Let me show you the right way to do that.
    know it all
    I hate this mentality. There are many wrong ways to do something and there are many right ways to do something. I like to combat this one with math. Yup, math. I ask the peeve perp, “What’s two plus five?” I get a weird look and a slow, drawn out answer. “What’s three plus four?” A quicker answer. “What’s nine minus two?” A smartass answer. “You just did that problem three different ways and got the same answer. There is no one right way, there are just different ways.”
  2. “If they want to come to our country, they should at least speak the language.”
    ellis
    I really hate bigotry, and this is just another form of it. I like to use this chance to showcase my very limited knowledge of another language. “Como?” or “Pourquoi?” I get a confused look and they ask me what I just said. “Learn to speak another language before you put someone else down for not being able to do so. It’s not simple and they may not be here for their own convenience.” Et cetera. I might lecture at length based on how much of a bigot they are. I tend to get on my soap box when this one happens. I try to remind this person that America is a country based on both stealing and murdering the people who were originally here as well as taking in immigrants from other countries.
  3. “Poor people should just work hard to get more money.”
    poor
    Ugh. Having been on both sides of poor before, I know both mentalities. This is just another example of holding onto a misconceived opinion in order to feel in control about one’s surroundings and circumstances. I tend to ask questions like, “What would happen if your house burned down?” “I have insurance for that.” “Does it prevent the house from burning down?” “No, but it will pay me.” “Does that replace all the memories and things lost?” “No.” “You may be able to plan for the future, but you can’t prevent things from happening. There are people who do not choose to be poor, they were born into or are facing circumstances they cannot control.” This really only works on people who aren’t bull headed. If someone has the mentality of “sucks to be them”, then there’s really no getting through to them.
  4. Gossip.
    Blah blah blah

    I hate gossip. I’ve been guilty of it myself, but I always regret it immediately. Whenever I feel those strings pulling at me to open my mouth and try to bond with someone by degrading another individual, I think about how that person would feel if they were standing there listening. Not everyone does this, however. I usually just walk up to two people who are gossiping and ask, “Is it gossip time?” Mouths drop, looks get exchanged. “I can’t believe you just said that.” “Well, I’m sure you’ll talk about it as soon as I’m out of ear shot.”
    OR
    “You’d make a lousy housekeeper, Mr.Gossip.” “Oh, why’s that?” “Because a Housekeeper is expected to keep their ears open, and their mouths shut.” I usually follow this up with my own personal experience as a Housekeeper (How people forget you are there or say things to you that you wouldn’t normally hear. With keys to locked up places so you can clean at night, you walk in on things and have to apologize and never tell anyone.)

  5. I can’t tell if that person is a man or a woman.
    trans
    “If you’re interested, ask them out. Otherwise, it’s none of your business.” *Please don’t get all worked up about it not being their business anyways. I agree, it’s nobody’s business what’s between your legs, who you’d rather sleep with, and why you are or aren’t attracted to whomever you are. BUT, the point gets across to them better when phrased this way. I’m basically saying that if they aren’t positively interested in this person, shut up – I don’t want to hear their negativity.*
    Another way would be to say, “I don’t know, why don’t you go ask them?” They will usually snort and say they couldn’t do that, it would be rude. To which I ask, “What do you call what you’re doing now?”
  6. Making jokes in non-jokey situations has always been a peeve of mine. It’s strange, then, that I married someone who does just this. I don’t try to combat this one. This is the other person’s way of coping with a difficult situation and it’s not my place to take that away from them. When someone does this, I acknowledge that they are feeling out of control of something and tend to politely ask if we can talk about it in seriousness.

That’s all for Pet Peeve 101, today. I’m sure there will be more. If your peeve is having someone talk about their peeves, I guess you need chocolate right now.

Today, I am proud of myself.

It has been a rough day. In all honesty, the last couple months have been difficult. I had to leave my job due to unsafe working conditions. I have found another job since, but only just recently.  Here’s the problem: I filed for unemployment and am being bounced around through loopholes.

Here’s the deal-io: I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a nice lady from the unemployment office. I am being serious, she was very nice. She only put me on hold to read through my case and whenever I corrected her on something, she said, “You’re right, let me try to make more sense of this.” She finally went and got her supervisor, who enforced a loop hole and she was no longer able to help me.

It was difficult. We are not currently drowning in debt collectors, but we are just barely keeping our necks above the murky waters. We have had to extend our bills out to the maximum amount of time before late fees are charged. We have sought public assistance programs and will need to again, shortly. Still, things could be far worse. We still have a roof over our heads, food in the pantry, and we are both now working so this situation is certainly temporary.
The thing is that I earned that unemployment by working. I had to leave my job to prevent any further physical harm from coming to myself. It was not just a “I’m sick of having to work, I think I’ll draw money off the system” type of deal. It was a difficult choice, but I believe I made the right one. Jobs can be replaced, fingers cannot.
Having said all of that, I was very distraught when I got off the phone with the nice lady. I threw myself on the bed and sobbed, loudly. I could hear my neighbors murmuring. They were probably wondering what on Earth was going on. It only lasted 5 or so minutes, but I continued to cry for a good hour afterwards.  Taking a shower, reading, and trying to get proactive about the situation has helped, but I am still fighting the urge to curl up in bed and sob.  Despite this, I am proud of myself.  Why?
Because I have not allowed this unfortunate situation to overwhelm and engulf me. I am going to get a huge stack of necessary papers together and physically go down to the unemployment office, where things will be straightened out.  I am not going to mope around the house all day, I have things to do. I am an adult and I have responsibilities. The good thing about this is that it is very distracting and helps me realize that life does go on.  Even if it turns out that I do not prevail in this situation, life goes on.
Still, I have learned something. I believe it is time to leave Indiana. The labor laws here are atrocious. Corporations are favored over individuals. It is a highly depressed are due to this and other situations (such as addiction being treated from a criminal standpoint instead of a mental health one, a very gender biased public assistance program, and a piss poor educational system).  It is high time Hubby and I took a good look at our lives and how negatively impacted they have been because of this. When we are able to move out of the area, I would rather go to a state with better labor laws, better social programs, and a much better educational system.
Lesson learned, Indiana. You are not worth the negativity.

Frankly My Dear..

You know the rest. But I do! I do give a damn!

I came home from Mom’s and grabbed the mail out of the mail box. There was a flier from one of our state’s congressmen.  I didn’t really think anything of it because we tend to get fliers from congressmen whose district we are not in. We tend to get them a lot, actually. I was ready to throw it in the burn pile, but morbid curiousity took hold of me and I read it. I READ IT! Ugh.

govment

It was a thick, high gloss flier that had a perforated area you were supposed to detach and send back. It wanted you to check off all the things you thought the state government needed to focus on. National Debt, Job Creation, and Border Security were just a few options. I went to grab a permanent marker to make one big “X” that would cover all the check marks, but something grabbed a hold of me. I snatched a pen from the pen pot and started writing in the “Other” section. I told my congressman about how piss poor employment is here in Indiana. That job creation wasn’t the problem, employment at will was the problem. A so called “right to work” laaws had paved the way for companies to treat their employees like disposable commodities instead of human beings. Turn over rates, accident reports, and job dissatisfaction is on the rise. Something needs to be done now!

laborlaw

I looked over my sentences that were peppered with exclamation points and shrugged. It would either get thrown away at the congressman’s office, or I’d get contacted for being aggressive. Either way, I had done my part, right? Wrong. I turned the flier over and noticed something at the top right hand corner. There was a little box. Inside that box there were four words, “Place Firstclass Stamp Here”. What?! This flier was franked.

I had heard about this on the news. Franking in America (this is my new  favorite phrase BTW) is the process of stamping an envelope to state that the postage is paid for.  There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a good method. It’s not so good when government employees start franking mail with taxpayers dollars, however.  The flier I received had been franked by a machine, with one of those “First Class Postage Paid” markings. next to a pre-sorted marking.  This means, the money to send it to me came out of my own pocket, as a taxpayer, and now I was being asked to use my own money to send it back.

postmark

WHAT?!

Oh L no. Homey don’t play these games. If I was going to have to use my own money to pay for the postage on the return trip, I was going to be saying a lot more. This is probably how I am going to spend my evening: drafting a well written letter to my congressman about the perils of treating individuals like throw away razors and treating companies like human beings. In between bouts of politically-fueled ire, I’ll work on my afghan to ease tension. I think I’ll probably have to use more than one stamp to send him the book I plan on writing, but at least it (hopefully) gets his attention more than a few measly check boxes.  I hope not to get so much attention that I get labelled dangerous and thrown in jail, but I did always wonder what the inside of a jail cell looked like.

The nerve.