Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the tag “ice storm”

AT&T: How I Learned to Stop Internet and Love Tech Help

A few miles south of the Canada/North Dakota border there is a field in which cattle roam among the remains of a Depression-era farm, three sides of an ancient barn leaning nearly perpendicular and the crumbled circular foundation of a corn silo the only evidence of a life or lives long gone.

Or are they?

Look closer.  That crumbled foundation is a clever disguise hiding the rumored-but-never-proven Top Secret Headquarters of the AT&T Customer Service Department.

Deep below the earth are two pale, thin men.  Men who spent their high school years winning the Science Fair and inventing robots to do their Spanish homework.  Men who, despite their most sincere efforts, could not fathom the intricacies of asking a female to the Prom, reduced to quivering, slavering mutes.

These are the few, the special, the cream of the technical service industry crop, carefully vetted by the “Home Ec” teacher, in actuality a member of the top echelon at ATT Customer Service.

Years of secrecy, years of scrabbling up the TechServ ladder, learning to play those life-or-death politics, the two men became a team so bonded, so close they finished each other’s sentences, “Thank you for calling AT” “& T”.  Seamless.  Desperately plotting, playing the dirty warfare of TechServ, they eventually triumphed.

Finally they landed in this North Dakota field, 20 degrees below zero, wind screaming, blinding snow blowing sideways; a moment etched forever in their collective mind.  This was their nadir, their Olympic Gold, their Stanley Cup.   Down, down they descended, thousands of feet, emerging from the elevator into a brightly lit hallway, Muzak softly playing their team song, “Muskrat Love.”

Daily they review US hot spots.  Is there an energy crunch?  Snow/ice storm?  Season Finals or the Golden Globes?  Tax time?  This morning they peered gleefully over the reports, clapping their fish-belly-pale hands and bouncing on their little toes.  “OH, lookie, um, ‘BENJAMIN'”, one tech squealed, “ICE!  SNOW!  Hundreds of thousands affected!”

“Benjamin” trilled, “Oh, um, ‘SAMUEL’, how awesome!  And – it’s  Monday too!”

“Benjamin” and “Samuel”, clutching their AT&T 1998 “A Team” mugs full of weak, tepid tea, headed to the console, all the while sighing happy little squeeeees.

The console was blinking like the Rockefeller Square Christmas Tree and the boys knew very well what that meant, millions of customers pressing 1 for service, 2 for billing, 3 for a new account, painstakingly entering their 10-digit service number on the minuscule screens of their cell phones, only to be asked to re-enter the number for security purposes.  A happy little shiver went up their spines and they giggled.

OH, no – it always happened.  As good as the boys are, and they are the best, someone always manages to get through eventually.  It’s usually an accident although mashing the zero button 32 times will always work – but few people know about that one.

“Thank you for calling AT&T customer service where we are here to serve your customer needs may I have the number about which you are calling?”

“Thank you.  And is there another number I can reach you should we get …”

“oops,” they giggle, remembering first grade and that incident with their underwear.

The boys know there are always a few – usually the ones who’ve had far too much strong coffee – who will return, and they are prepared for that.  It’s not for nothing they are here, sealed below the earth forever, turning paler and paler, marking names off in the 10,000,000 Baby Names for Your Child book.

“Thank you for calling AT&T customer service where we are here to serve your customer needs may I have the number about which you are calling?”

“Thank you.  Is there another number I can reach you should we get disconnected?”

“Thank you.  What seems to be the issue today?”

“Thank you.  I understand that you are saying you have no service?”

“Thank you.  I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue.  Please hold one minute while I test your line.”

“Thank you.   I have tested your line and have determined that the issue is that you have no service.”

“Thank you.   I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue. Have you unplugged everything, stood on your head, stuck carrots in your ears and whistled ‘Dixie’?”

“Thank you.   I see that you have indeed stood on your head, stuck carrots in your ears and whistled ‘Dixie’.   Am I correct that this did not resolve your problem?”

“Thank you.   I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue.   Please unplug everything again, this time count to 100 in German and turn three times clicking your heels.”

“Thank you.  I see that you have indeed counted to 100 in German while turning three times clicking your heals.  Am I correct that this did not resolve your problem?”

“Thank you.  I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue.  Oh, please, Mrs. Clarke, please don’t make that noise.”

Benjamin snickers.  He hears the Keurig engage and the sound of a thumb being sucked.

“Thank you.  I’ve scheduled your service appointment for Thursday, Juvember 32nd.  Thank you for calling AT&T, I hope I have been helpful.  You will soon get an automated phone call to determine the level of service you’ve received.  Please consider giving me “Excellent” in every category as anything else will not count and my paralyzed child, Little Timmy, will starve.  Have a nice day.”

BSOD

While I would not be the first to admit it, because I am very happy wallowing in my own misery, there is something worse than BFOS, and that is the BSOD.

BSOD

Which, unfortunately, I woke to last week.

They do a have a few things in common, the most obvious being they are both a huge pain in the a$$ followed by the 2nd most obvious, you are jumping on a merry-go-round right here and now in a vain attempt to find any solution.

My current vain attempt to find resolution on the Falling Off Butt is a trip to a Neurologist which will happen Tuesday. I don’t want to but have been mercilessly nagged by friends and family for weeks to please make an appointment which I finally, grudgingly did. If he comes within 20 feet of me with a steroid he’d better never plan on having children.

Being my own IT department at Chez Terrilee’s Running Club Secretary’s Top Secret Laboratory, I quickly triaged the situation.  Upstairs at one end of the house:  The dead or dying laptop.  Downstairs at the other end of the house:  The still useful desktop.

Here’s a thought:  bring the laptop downstairs and try fixing it there, next to the working computer.

But, no, that never, in six hours of running back and forth, occurred to me. First I’d google the most recent error message on the desktop and run upstairs to implement that fix. Then I’d run downstairs to google the next step, run up the stairs, run down the stairs, six hours. The next day I could not figure out why my knees hurt so much. Finally it occurred to me I’d done six hours of a stair workout…in Uggs.

Anyway, eventually I came to the realization that nothing was going to help so I held a pillow firmly over the screen until it quit kicking. Resolutely, sadly, I closed the lid on my laptop for the final time and stuck it in the Closet Of Death. We all have one, the closet where you stick everything you no longer need but have no idea what to do with. I thought I heard a faint whirrrrrr and sigh as I dropped it on top of that ugly quilt someone gave the twins when they were babies. They probably quilted it while watching Top Gun. You can’t really say too much good about color combos of the 80’s, not that I wasn’t extremely grateful for the quilt at the time. Now I just do everything beige. Light Beige, Medium Beige, Beige Beige. It’s boring, but I won’t look at pictures 20 years from now and say, what the h@ll was I thinking? Because everything will be beige including me, and I won’t be able to see anything. The pictures won’t paint a very colorful history of our family, little beige squares stuck in a photo album, but there will also be no evidence of my poor taste, evolving hairstyles and expanding waist.

There’s something else that might be worse than BFOS, and that is the BPOD:

BPOD

Swim class, or as I like to think of it, Torture, is on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Last week I spent Thursday putting the laptop out of my misery, and this past Tuesday I spent eagerly awaiting the highly touted ice and snow storm. I was less eager than usual because I had not taken time to buy several loaves of white balloon bread, 13 gallons of milk and some firewood being sold by the side of the road out the back of an old red pickup truck to use in our gas fireplace. Fail to plan, plan to fail. The cats glared at me accusingly. “What kind of mom are you?,” I could see them thinking. Meanwhile, the television screamed.

“RIGHT HERE, ONLY ON THE BEST STATION IN TOWN, NEWS CHANNEL ZIPPY, THE LATEST UPDATE ON SNOWMAGEDDON 2013!”

“BOB! TELL US THE LATEST NEWS CHANNEL ZIPPY WEATHER UPDATE ABOUT ICE AND SNOW AND POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES!”

“WELL, BILL, AS YOU KNOW, HERE AT NEWS CHANNEL ZIPPY WE ARE CAREFULLY WATCHING OUR WEATHER UPDATES WHICH INDICATE ICE AND SNOW AND POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES!!! STEVE, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US?”

“WELL, BILL & BOB, HERE AT NEWS CHANNEL ZIPPY WE ARE CAREFULLY WATCHING OUR TRAFFIC WEATHER UPDATES, WHICH INDICATE ICE AND SNOW AND POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES!! IN FACT, SEVERAL CARS HAVE ALREADY WRECKED ON THE FLY-OVER IN JOYFUL ANTICIPATION OF ICE AND SNOW!!”

“WOW, BILL & BOB & STEVE” SOLEMNLY INTONED NEWS CHANNEL ZIPPY ANCHOR SALLY SUE, “WE ARE SO GRATEFUL FOR YOUR DEDICATION TO GETTING OUT ALL THE LATEST NEWS AND WEATHER UPDATES ABOUT SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-MAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGEDON 2013!!!”

I tried to turn off the TV but apparently at the hint of ICE AND SNOW the television becomes sentient and immediately stations itself on NEWS CHANNEL ZIPPY. You can beg and plead but you are not going to see anything other than large words superimposed over photos of last year’s SNOWMAGGENDON 2012 while Bob joyfully exclaims the worst that could possibly happen, so I kept watching, anticipating, ready for the power outage so I could try to rewarm my coffee over my dad’s old Zippo lighter, but nothing happened. No snow. No ice. No power outage. It was like being five and getting clothes for your birthday. And while I watched and anticipated, swim class passed me by. Darn.

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