Monday, December 13, 2010

life without a landline

A few days ago, our internet connection eloped with our phone service. No invitation, no warning, they were just gone, baby gone. (We use Vonage, which piggybacks on the internet connection.) We lose our internet connection every once in a while, but it usually fixes itself within minutes. But after several modem reboots, and no sign of improvement, I finally whipped out the trusty cell phone to see if I could get a connection. I could! Hooray! But only when standing out on the deck, in 12° weather. Brrrrr. Eventually I got through Comcast’s automated crap, in which they try to sell you on additional services before finally allowing you into the inner sanctum of Live Human Beings (LHB’s). Do I look like the kind of person who wants the special NFL package? Me? The one who has twice scored a touchdown for the wrong team? Grrrrr. Anyway, I finally got the LHB, and she waved her magic wand, and diagnosed the problem as the modem. As in, no internet and no phone until this was fixed.

Since we were about to take off for a visit with Kevin’s family over the weekend, we figured we could survive the two days it was going to take to get a technician out. He showed up this morning. Turns out we had problems on all levels, ranging from the modem itself, to the connection on the roof where the cable comes in off the pole, to the pole itself. He dealt with the first two. He swapped out the modem, and then got up on the edge of the roof to position something properly that had been held together with…I kid you not…a bungee cord.


WTF?! I’m not sure which of the various contractors and technicians we’ve had out to the house over the last year fixed something with a bungee cord. And how did neither of us notice? This is in full sight of several windows.

Anyway, we’re back in business.  And – special bonus! – the technician reminded me to do something I hadn’t bothered to do with this TV, which we’ve had for just over a year now – let it scan through the system and look for all the channels it can get. Because guess what: our cable provider doesn’t bother to encrypt its signals for the three networks and a bunch of others. Not the digital, and not even the high definition digital. So all of the sudden, we get excellent service! Which we don’t pay for! (We canceled our TV service because we worship the holy trinity of Netflix, Hulu, and Just Read a Book.)

So THAT was cool.

Meanwhile, the weekend. The great thing about family is, the opportunities for warm, personal connections with the folks who’ve known you the longest.


Yep. Here’s Kevin and his brother Tom, bonding by ignoring one another. That’s just like me and my sibs! Hooray! The following night, we practiced doing skype video chats while sitting within sight of one another. Geeks! Geeks!



I showed my nephew how to do self-portraits. We had a great time!

Oh, and I used the Garmin Forerunner 205 for the first time. Thanks, Cousin Emily, for telling me about how it was on sale for 167% off at amazon!


I had mixed success with it. My goal was to program it to beep after seven minutes, wait a minute, beep again, and lather rinse repeat that for the amount of time it would take me to run five miles. (You know, cause I take those walking breaks.) So, wading through the teensy menu screens, my first thought was that would count as “an alert”. Ah, silly me! I dutifully programmed it to beep after what I thought would be seven minutes. There was something in there about 1 minute, too, so I figured I had it all figured out.

Off I go. Pant, pant, pant. I glance down at the thing as minute seven approaches…approaches…and goes right on by without beeping. Shit. I start punching buttons. Grrrr. Then all of the sudden, beep beep beep beep beep beep. It’s not stopping. beep beep beep beep SHUT UP! SHUT UP! I HATE YOU! Grrrr. I turned that puppy off, all the way off, and back on. And it still remembered exactly where I was on this run – it hadn’t reset the distance, the time, or anything. But at least it was quiet.

I rummaged around in the menu system some more. And that’s when I realized that what I probably wanted was under “Training” – “Intervals”. AHA! So I set it all up. But I must have messed it up – because nothing happened. By now I was kinda pissed off, but I really didn’t want this to ruin my run, let alone my day. I resolved that I am a college graduate, and I can read, and I will figure this out, and in the meantime, I’m gonna RUN, so that’s what I did. I didn’t figure out how I’d messed it up until my cool down walk. (You have to click on the little “Done?” thingy.) On the plus side, I know exactly how far I went, and learned how when I’m running along a busy street with no sidewalk and no shoulder, I pick up my pace quite a bit. Who knew?


This baby has more features than I will EVER use, but it’s a step up from my previous interval assistant.

AND, it’s just in time for treadmill season!






In other news, we actually set foot on the Island of Manhattan on our way home, to visit with more of Kev’s cousins and what not, at Macy’s, where one branch of Kevin’s family is in its third generation of employment. The last time I ventured forth to The Big City was 2004. I’m a hick, what can I say. Here’s proof of my bravery:



That’s Macy’s. P1030759

I got a kick out of this parking lot – it’s a lot like the drydock facilities at Newport Beach in California, where my brother keeps a Zodiac.

OK, this country girl is going to go watch her some “House” on free high definition TV, thank you very much.

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