Friday, September 23, 2005

Verizon Sucks

I came home yesterday to find that I couldn't go down the alley to my garage* as a truck had blocked it. I parked in front, which I hate to do because it gets so hot, and then you get the dew in the morning. I got in, and didn't feel that familiar rush of cool air. It was about 87 degrees in my house.

I called my roommate at work, and he told me that the air conditioner had been off since noon, and the power had been on and off, and that Verizon and their contractors had to cut off the electric. He didn't call them to find out what was going on, he went out to speak to the mostly Spanish-speaking men in the alley during their furious digging.

When I called, Shaniqua told me that she had no idea why anyone from Verizon would want or need to cut off my electricity. All in a tone that spoke of my extreme ignorance for calling the phone company about an electrical outage. I told her that in the near-100 degree heat that I'd need to have it back on very soon. She promised to find out what was going on, and that she'd call me back.

Meantime, I called my brother who lives just down the way to ask if I and the cats could come stay with him in his cool, cool house. He said yes, so then I went outside to say to the men in the alley, "?CUANDO?" to which one of them replied, "Thutty minute." Usually that means three hours, right?

I went back into the house, packed up the cats (pushing one of them into the cat carrier butt first cuz she won't go otherwise) and got ready to put on my shoes. Just then the refrigerator came on. I went to the kitchen to look. Yes, the refrigerator had started, but the microwave still had no power. The ceiling fan came on, so I wandered the house turning off switches.

The electrical poltergeist visited the television and started to turn it on and off very rapidly. I went to unplug the surge protector, which I thought was supposed to eliminate things like that. I went into the kitchen again, and the microwave had reverted to its facist but active state. (After the power goes out, it won't let me microwave unless I reprogram the clock.)

Then, finally all the house had power. I turned the air conditioner back down to cool off, and finally got it to a decent temperature around eight pm, and there was another surge and the power went off again for a minute but came back on. In the dark. With no workmen anywhere near my house.

Today, my phone has no dial tone. I decided to forego the massive consumption of minutes that my cell phone would experience during an eternal hold, and went to the website to send them an e-mail. Once there, they encourage the troubleshooting option.

I went through the troubleshooting steps, found out that I'd done everything already as I 'd suspected, and came across the following:

The text around the image tells people to

1. Open the Network Interface Device. You may have to remove a screw first.
2. Open the latch inside the box. Unplug the line that is not working.
3. Connect a working telephone to the jack on the Network Interface Device.

I don't know about you, but I'm uncomfortable with the phone company telling every idiot (including me) that has internet access to go outside and mess with the phone equipment. What the hell are they thinking?

I submitted a "repair request" and got an automatic response that said:

Thank you for contacting the Verizon eCenter, where we never stop working for you.
We will respond to you within one business day.

I am just in awe, really, really impressed with the customer service that tells people to go fix their own crap and then promises to respond in a day. Who'd like to join me in a toast to Verizon?

*Our suburb has mostly rear garages, and alleys that run behind the houses to access them

Monday, September 19, 2005

Calvin Reclines

I tried to keep the waste can upright, but they kept knocking it over. Now I know why. It's a fort. Calvin crawled into it and curled right up, letting me take a bunch of photos.
This one came out well, if kind of creepy because I didn't use the flash and he moved. It's interesting the cool effects you can get by turning off the flash.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Cletus!

My brother-in-law just had a birthday. We celebrated by hanging out at his house by the pool. His wife got him this great chocolate cake, and fun was had by all. Even our friend Neil, who took a nap, had a good time. I got to spend some time with my sister's baby and also with some friends I don't see that often and their children. Then my brother Brad had me drive his car home, and groused the whole time from the back seat.

My parents wimped out again, but they're worse homebodies than me. Of course, my mom did ask us to take her camera with us so she could get some photos. I think I'll hold out on those.
Brad, my brother, said that we should tell my mom that she missed the baby's first word. And that he said "Grandma." And that he said, "Where Grandma?" And then we had to say "Grandma doesn't love you anymore."

We've got a sick sense of humor, us Crowes.

Cletus and Junior

Cletus and his boy, my nephew Luke. That's the name I'd have given him anyway. He loves to swim, and his mother says that she thinks he looks like me. I like to think that I'm that cute.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


A friend of mine recently lost her stepfather. I've been meaning to write her a note, expressing my sympathy for her loss, but I've not been writing much lately. No real excuse for that, other than lots of work and stress and decompressing from said stress. I went to a website about writing, and it had some advice about writing a condolence letter. And now, having visited my friend recently, I know that I've delayed this too long and have hurt her, for which I deeply apologize.

I met Lynn a while ago. She dated my friend James right after high school, and we spent a great summer at various houses having fun. She fit in well with our group, right from the start. In some ways she took on the role of caretaker, and we were okay with that. We spent quite a few hours at her Mom's house in a small town down the road. One that didn't sell alcohol in the city limits, so we had to make a longer trip than you'd usually think to make a beer run. Her mother and stepfather allowed us the use of the house, and one of the teenage perennials, a pool table. I didn't know her stepfather well. He was kind and polite to us when we came over, even when we got rowdy, which happened fairly frequently.

The one thing that I remember well concerned a day when we'd been hanging out at Lynn's mom's house, a smaller group than usual. Someone put on some music, a little older than we usually chose. Lynn's stepfather walked up to his wife, put his arms around her, and they started to dance.

The way they danced. It didn't remind me of my parents, who loved one another but mostly swayed to music. This was different. They glided across the floor, graceful and perfect. He twirled her, and she let herself be twirled, and I remember thinking that I'd never seen people dance that well, that comfortable together in real life. They belonged together in that small stretch of time, and they knew it. You could see it in the smiles on their faces. We knew it too, and it made all of us smile to see how well they moved together. It made me wish that someday I'd have a partner like that, with whom I'd move so beautifully that we'd be like one person.

As soon as I heard about Lynn's stepfather's death, I tried to remember something personal about him. That's what I've got, and I hope that Lynn remembers that day with all the joy that her mother and stepfather felt in those moments.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Growing Apart

I learned last night at a friend's birthday party that I have managed to alienate a couple of acquaintances that used to be good friends. I'm having difficulty in deciding what to do.

You see, the friends that I've alienated and I grew apart. I tried to initiate a few things with both of them several years back, but didn't get responses and so assumed they weren't interested. But now they're upset that I didn't attend weddings or funerals or showers.

I've been to more showers than I care to remember, most of them at my job that has 50 other women. And one man. If I can avoid them, I do. When I got the shower and wedding invitations, I wasn't sure if I should feel included or insulted.

These are people that I see maybe, maybe twice a year at a party given by someone else. When I tried in the past to do things with them, most of the time they couldn't be bothered. Now I wonder why I'm expected to do friend things with people that don't treat me as a friend.

The reason I don't know what to do is that I don't like to hurt people's feelings. I honestly had no clue that these women would care about either my presence or my opinion any more. Now a third friend feels caught in the middle and has taken their pain to her heart.

I'm not asking for advice really, just thinking out loud-ish. Do I apologize, do I try to explain, do I tell them that while I used to be friends with them that I didn't thing we were anymore? My sister Jenny is better at not caring what people think than I am. I take most things too seriously and worry way too much about other people.

It's interesting how not doing something can make your life more complicated.