Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Legwork and Life, week of 8/1/17

I'd posited last week that I might actually have an entirely good week.  My hope was dashed when, Tuesday afternoon, our Internet service started fluctuating and dying, to the point where I couldn't do anything online.  Since I rely rather heavily on the Internet for both work and play, I was pretty upset. 

Internet Troubles...

I managed to write out a couple things for the blog that day, but didn't get much else done and wasn't able to relax by playing video games.  The problem got worse and worse, despite buying a new modem and checking all the wires and such on our end.  By Friday, when Chris and I both needed to be online for a group activity in a video game, the connection was so bad that it cut out for 45 minutes straight, disrupting the activity and frustrating us and our friends. 

After that, we couldn't get it to work for more than 2 minutes at a time... so on Saturday we called the ISP (Internet Service Provider).  That's always an obnoxious experience, because these tech support systems are designed to weed out the idiots first, and this particular ISP...  I believe it received the "You have the crappiest customer support in the US" award at least twice.  In a row. 

Because Chris is a sweetheart, and knows exactly how much I hate using the phone (hint: so so SO very much), he fielded the call and dealt with the customer support.  We got a real weasel this time, too.  Wanted to charge us $60 to send out a technician with an installation kit, to install a new modem instead of our modem, after which they would then charge us for using their modem.  Chris and I weren't have any of that, so we asked for other options.  When there were none, it was time for a supervisor.  The weasel left the phone on hold for like 5 minutes, told us the supervisor was busy, and tried to sell us the same crap.  He kept trying to tell us the supervisor was busy, and that we wouldn't get any different of service from the supervisor, but eventually, after repeated requests, the weasel transferred us to a different supervisor that wasn't busy. 

And naturally, the supervisor did in fact have different options.  He was able to send a tech out to diagnose the specific problem the next day, without an installation kit and modem, and without pre-charging us the $60.  This ISP being what it is, if the problem had been our fault, they would still have charged us... but at least we wouldn't have to call the billing department to yell at them until they reversed the charge. 

It was an entire day before the technician could make it to our apartment complex, so we were out of luck and connection for a while.  Chris had the bright idea of linking our phones to our computers, to use the phone data plan in lieu of having Internet.  This is often called "tethering" in the computer world, if it's done with a cord.  For playing a full-blown computer game, it's a horrible plan normally.  However, the game we play together has made low-bandwidth use into an art form.  It uses literal bytes per second of gameplay.  That's like sending a short sentence via text message, once every 5 minutes or so.  I have no idea how such an expansive video game, which millions of people play every day, can manage such a low rate of data transfer.  But I saw it, so I believe it. 

When the technician made it here on Sunday, the modem had been working for a short time.  I was worried he would just look at the modem, say "you don't have a problem," and leave.  Stupid as that would be, it would be in character for this ISP.  But I was to be pleasantly surprised.  The tech, a relatively reserved but thoughtful black man, took us at our word, and only stopped to check one "dummy fix."  I say "dummy fix" because we had already checked our end pretty thoroughly.  But he saw we had two other (old) modems out, and checked to be sure we had the correct one set up in the system.  After that, he went to check out the wires... whereupon he found a rat's nest of wires, apparently.  By the sound of it, the wiring in this place is very, very screwy.  When he disconnected our line of Internet, we did not, in fact, lose Internet.  So he had to go through the entire box and find which one was ours, the poor guy.  When he did, he routed it correctly and gave us everything we needed to follow up on the problem, which was not fully solved according to him.  Basically, this guy was completely amazing and I'm kind of sorry I couldn't fill out a survey or something that said so. 

Water Woes

In addition to the Internet woes, we've also been having another issue over the last few months.  Our toilet leaks.  Specifically, the cold water piping going into the toilet leaks.  This has been exacerbated by my desire to have a bidet on the toilet, to use less toilet paper for bathrooming, but the leak has basically been a problem since we moved in.  A lot of stuff in this apartment complex is old, and it shows. 

So we've had towels on the floor, and a tupperware container underneath the piping.  Some months it's unnecessary.  Some months, the tupperware fills up every day.  Between the apartment changing hands so much and the intermittent nature of the problem, it simply hasn't been addressed.  That will hopefully change soon, since this company seems to be keeping a hold of the apartment complex, at least for now.  We've put in a maintenance request, and are keeping the water line at the toilet turned off unless we need to use it. 

In the meantime, this is the second bidet I've tried.  I'd originally gotten interested in them after traveling to a foreign country and running into a couple.  They seemed smart, if odd to me.  Save paper, clean yourself off, and there are even ones that have a separate nozzle for cleaning lady parts.  The first bidet I tried didn't have any hot water hookups, which probably would have been okay if it also hadn't been far too strongly pressurized.  I didn't really appreciate cold and ouch at the same time.  Fortunately, the new one was relatively inexpensive and has a hot water hookup for the sink, so other than worrying about causing water damage to the apartment below us, it's been pretty easy and pleasant to use. 

More Self Advocates of Michigan 

The last thing that's been on my mind is the upcoming SAM committee meetings.  You'll recall, I'm sure, from last week where I was pleasantly surprised that I survived the hours of in-person meeting for the organization.  But I've also been complaining over the last month or two about a particular person in my committee who hasn't been doing their job.  That situation was hopefully resolved at this last meeting, and I expressed cautious hope that I wouldn't have to oversee things any more.  That hope has, thus far, been rewarded.  The person seems to be updating on the correct day, with acceptably good content.  So I'm relieved. 

So this Thursday I'm going to be needing to run an hour or less meeting for the committee.  It... probably... will just be a series of status updates on everyone's work, but I guess we'll see.  I've been dragging my feet on various side-projects that would be beneficial to the organization, so perhaps I could hand one or two of them off.  Also, we might have a new member or two, for the committee, depending on how things go.  The board recently added 4 new members, and I'm hoping at least one of them will opt to join my committee.  More hands, especially ones with initiative, would be wonderful... 

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