Monday, April 30, 2007

Arch Nemesis'

I don't feel much like writing anything important today. I've been pretty sicky over the weekend and am just starting to feel a bit better. No biggie...just lupus crap.

Living like a senior citizen...disability...fixed income and all that...sometimes makes you act like one. I haven't quite sunk to the level of obsessively writing letters to the editor, but I get close sometimes.

My good, good friend and right-wing nutter, Jane asked me if I really had the peace that I seem to have here with my little farm and simple existence. I do, mostly. The things that bother me here are different from the things that bothered me in my previous life. Lack of money, mostly. But I do have two arch nemesis'.

The power company and the phone company.

The AT&T/Bell South gripes me because they won't do anything to upgrade our phone lines here so we meet the standards most of the rest of the country enjoy. I'm not asking for high speed access...I just want dial-up that can connect at 56K. I can only access the Internet at 26K because the phone lines are so ancient. I've had several go-rounds with them over the years just to keep that standard in place. Sometimes they let the lines get so bad that you can't even connect. I'm thinking about asking the local representative what to do about it. I know it's just because they think we are a bunch of slack-jawed hillbillies who are thrilled to even have a telephone. But it gripes me. It really does.

Of course, we pay full price for this substandard service.

And they lie. The phone company...they lie like dogs.

But they are a nemesis simply because they are a large uncaring, soul-less corporation bent on sucking every last bit of profit from the masses.

The power company is a bit more amusing. When I first moved here, I tried to sign up for their program for social security beneficiaries. It's not a big deal. It just allows you to pay your bill when your SSDI check comes through without getting a late fee. I'm religious about paying my bills on time.

I went round and round with them about this for months. They had neglected to say in their program that it was only for little old ladies and not for the disabled. They had definite ideas about who they wanted to offer the program to...despite the obvious ADA legal ramifications of doing that. I finally did get the program, but only after months of bizarre "Who's on first?" conversations and emails to the president of the company.

So last week, I've just completed a 2000 word article and am about to save the damn thing when the power goes out. It's a sunny day, no wind...there is no excuse for the outage except perhaps some car vs. mountain accident down the road. I lose my entire article.

I stomp out onto my porch in my bathrobe at 3 p.m. and let flow one of my articulate sonatas of profanity...one of the perks of living in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Newport Utilities featured prominently in the refrain of said sonata of profanity.

I look over and there, sitting slack-jawed in his truck, is a workman for Newport Utilities staring at me.

I stared back at him. Then stomped over and looked around at my meter. There is another workman standing at the box looking at me like venison in headlights.

"What are you doing??!!" I say in the exasperated tone of a mad, mad woman.

"We changin' the meter." They say.

I go into a tirade of my five hours of work that was just lost and how I'd now be stuck for another three hours reconstituting an article I'd already written and that always takes the edge off my writing doing that. And why couldn't they just knock on my door and let me know they were going to cut the power? Basically stuff way above these guy's level of comprehension that they don't care about anyway.

"We sorry."

I grab my one aggressive cocker spaniel and frog march him into the house. I send off a nasty email to the company telling them how boneheaded I think it is that they don't have a policy to inform customers of non-accidental power outage and that I expect to be notified if it happens again...blah, blah, blah...not interested in hearing any justifications, just do it...blah, blah, blah.

As some of you know, I am a legendary insomniac. I gave up fighting it but it means I keep odd hours. So, two days later, I'm jarred from a deep sleep at mid morning by the same guy I went round and round with during my first bout with Newport Utilities.

He's calling me to either apologize, tell me they said they apologized, tell me it is a standing policy of theirs or to get the last word in. Not sure.

Bless their hearts.

So, Jane...yes, there is peace on the mountain. But take my advice and get your place rigged with a solar hybrid system with net metering. Yes, it's a bit "crunchy" and smacks of my hero, Al Gore...but trust me on this one. The idea of seeing my meter run backwards is better than sex.

Phone company...you are on your own.

6 Comments:

  1. Erica said...
    Not to leave a completely unoriginal comment, that required very little thought--seeing as all manner of originality and thoughtfulness was zapped right outta me as I was reading that rant (which, strangely, I could identify with completely)--remind me, Rosie, to never, EVER piss you off.
    Oh. And I think hillbillies are really smart. At least the ones who I know are.
    Manerva said...
    You get 'em Rosie! Hope your feeling better.
    Anne Johnson said...
    I know all of this from living in the country. One peal of thunder and our power would be out all day. One flake of snow, three days. I haven't lived there since dial-up came in, so I wouldn't know how bad it is if I didn't read you. So thanx for the rant.
    seejanemom said...
    Utility meters spinning backward better than SEX?

    Man...I CAAAAN'T WAAAAIT!!!!

    And thanks for the linky love...
    erin ambrose said...
    yes yes i hear stories from my neighbors when i venture down to the post office about how the power was out for this many days or that many days and that is when i'm glad for my dinky but reliable solar power set up....i'm oblivious to power outages.

    only time i'm outta power is when a dog or sheep trips up in the wires beneath the panels or when i watch too much stupid tv in the dead of winter.

    i do miss vaccuming though...and a washing machine...and a fridge.
    only wealthy hippies have the money for that kind off off grid life.
    but hey at least i'm not paying a bill to mine and suck dry native land.

    i'm so sorry about yr essay rosie...i woulda yelled a bunch then cried like a baby.
    Galadriel said...
    Oh yes, we feel your pain. "Clay Electric: the wind blows, the power goes."

    We had a weird experience here with dialup and DSL. When we moved in, there was no DSL, so we were on dialup. We got terrible speeds over the modem, less than what you get now. We weren't slated for DSL for years yet.

    After about 6 months, we saw a sign proclaiming "DSL now available" 1/2 mile down the main road. We called to get it...we couldn't get it. We & the other farms on our street raised a huge fuss, eventually complaining to the consumer services commissioner.

    That finally got us some results: we got DSL. Turned out they only had to change one switch on one pole between us & the hub. But they weren't planning to make that change for years? I don't get it.

    And now we get decent DSL, even though we initially got something like 12k baud on dialup. No new lines, no major change of equipment.

    'Course it all comes crumbling down when the wind blows and the power goes, but hey.

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