Yesterday was a long day. It was, after all, my birthday. I really only get to grossly force everyone to pay attention to me once each year, so I like to take advantage. True, I spend the other 364 days of the year trying to get you to pay attention to me, but those days don’t really count. To everyone who has played along with me, my profound thanks. To the sweetheart that send me an eCard, it was a little tacky, but I loved it. To the silly fools who left me voice mail, I love you. To the many of you that sent me eMail, you are wonderful. To those of you who blogged me, even maliciously, you made my day. To those of you who don’t know I exist, I’m sorry you’re missing it.
Our story begins with our intrepid hero sitting at home waiting for the Time-Warner cable guy(s) to bless me with blazing speed. “Sign right here,” he said. “I’ll be here between 10 and noon on Monday,” he said. I spent the morning working on something called a Packaging List Pass-Out Form. I also drank two cups of coffee. Sylvia did laundry and went to check out a gym which we might join. I blogged intermittently.
At about 12:30 I called Time-Warner and was told that there was no record of an install for my house on the morning of the 26th. There was a work order for a cable install for the 23rd. There couldn’t possibly be an install scheduled for the morning of the 26th because they couldn’t initiate a new work order until the old one was completed. Silly me. The old work order would be logged as complete by the data entry techs probably sometime shortly after 1 pm. I was told by Dee at customer Service that she would, “look into it,” and have the Installation Department call me as soon as they could.
The second I disconnected Dee, Elaine called from the Installation Department. “Wow!” I thought. “These guys are obviously on the ball. There must have been some mix-up and I’ll have my service soon!” Elaine told me that they were sorry and they would have someone here first thing Wednesday morning. I said, “By Wednesday morning, I assume you mean this afternoon, right?” Elaine, not the best at catching sarcasm, told me that, no, she meant Wednesday morning. I explained to Elaine that – at this point a delivery man came to the door and left me a basket of chocolate and candy from my in-laws in Miami – no one would be at my house on Wednesday morning and today was really the best time for them to install the service. Elaine told me that they were sorry, but the computer system (those damn computers!) prevented them from getting a password to generate a new work order until the previous one was completed. I mentioned to Elaine that I am, in fact, a computer programmer and I would be happy to go hack their system and get the required password if that would help. Elaine, again, not the best at catching sarcasm, remarked that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with my computer and she doubted I needed to reprogram anything. I said, very calmly, “Elaine, what I mean is that the fact that Time-Warner has an asinine computer system is not my fault and I will come fix that problem for you if you will send someone to my house to install cable internet service today.” Elaine, catching on now, laughed with much mirth and said she would do her best to see what she could get done manually. She said manually as if using a pencil to generate a work order was tantamount to her crawling under my house laying cable.
This is about the time that the mail came and I got my Scott Weiland CD and several bills and an unbelievably schmaltzy card from my mom that I really enjoyed.
Elaine called me and told me that Rose and Art would be here between 3 and 5 to install my cable internet service, paperwork be damned! She said this with much conviction and I thought she was a really groovy chick.
All of this happened while I was on the phone with, on hold with, talking to, and being convinced by the towing company that there was a tow truck on the way to my home to take Chris’ monster truck to the Chevy dealer. Chris called several dozen times to check on the progress of the truck. I also received several calls from an overzealous gym-membership salesman from the gym Sylvia had visited earlier in the day. Sylvia did more laundry and watched Days of Our Lives, a television show that has, in my often-voiced and regularly ignored opinion, surprisingly maintained the same level of crappiness for approximately the last ten years … at least. I also spoke with Matt from DeNome Construction who explained that he was terribly sorry that they weren’t here today to begin the termite repairs they promised us would be complete before the middle of June but that they would be here to begin work by Wednesday at the latest. Thursday, maybe. But definitely Wednesday they would begin. Unless they couldn’t make it until Thursday.
I rearranged the office to allow easy access to the walls and the computer for Art and Rose. I stood in a torrential downpour and helped Alfredo the jovial and chubby tow truck driver manhandle Chris’ truck onto a flat bed to be carried to the local Chevy dealer. No matter how difficult you are imagining that to have been, it was worse. And wetter.
I realized with horror that I hadn’t deposited the two checks I swore to myself Sunday night that I would not forget to deposit before noon on Monday.
I checked my voice mail regularly and was immediately overjoyed each time I found a new message.
All day long I was happily blasting Bruce Springsteen, Blink 182, and the Foo Fighters in the office. Art made it here at about 4:45 pm. He had an assistant who looked nothing like he might be named Rose. He wasn’t. He was a Junior Installer and this was to be his first job. Sylvia went to Publix. Art told me that as much as he would love to help me, it was raining and they would get really messy if they tried to crawl under the house and lay cable and drill holes and whatever else they needed to do. At one point during Art and the Junior Installer’s visit I had my cell phone on one ear, talking to Dan, my manager at RTI, about what I had accomplished today and what Becky needed to do still on the other project, and my home phone on the other ear telling Chris that I hadn’t yet heard from the Chevy dealer. And besides, Rose wasn’t here and even if they connected everything it wouldn’t work until Rose came to install my cable modem and network interface card. Before Dan was finished but mere seconds after Chris said goodbye, my father-in-law called to see if I had received my basket of fun and to wish me a happy birthday. Art and the Junior Installer thought that this was quite comical. They left the house. They did nothing the entire time they were here except walk around the house, making “tsk, tsk” noises, smoking, and talking about how easy this job was going to be whenever they got around to doing it.
I checked my voice mail when they departed and was again reminded that the world is a beautiful place and I don’t really deserve to be in it. If anyone is still reading this, now would be a good time to tell me that I am a great person.
Sylvia returned with $95.95 worth of groceries. The basket delivery company called to make sure I received my basket delivery. I tried to decide if 5 pm was far enough past noon to begin having a few celebratory birthday beers.
As soon as I cracked open my first, there was a knock on the front door. Rose! Rose was here with my cable modem and NIC and ready to connect me to Time-Warner’s communications network. I told Rose what had happened with Art and the Junior Installer and she was adamant that those two should have crawled under the house, rain or no rain, and gotten the place ready for her. I apologized to Rose for the incompetence of all cable installers and she called Time-Warner and tried to convince them to send Art and the Junior Installer back to my house. The people at Time_Warner assured Rose that she shouldn’t be at my house because there was no work order for my address and there were no cable installers on the way. Rose gave me the phone and I explained to Avery at customer service my adventures so far. Art and the Junior Installer refused to go along with this plan, and verified that they would return tomorrow (Tuesday) morning to lay the cable. At this point Chris called to let me know that, although no one at the Chevy dealership had any record of speaking with me and they could not find his truck on the lot because no one had delivered a truck to them except for, oh wait, you mean that great big blue monster truck, they would not be working on his truck until the morning so he would have to drive to Tampa tonight in my Rodeo. The plan is that he and Chuck will drive here, arriving at 4 am. Chris and I will leave for Gainesville at 6 am and Chuck will spend the day with Sylvia, Art, and the Junior Installer until Chris’ truck is repaired. Rose, in the meantime, has Bud’s guts splayed across my floor and wonders if I have a spare screw for the PCI NIC. I am astounded that Bud has a spare PCI slot. We get Bud back together again (Yay!) and she does everything she can do without having an actual connection. Rose thinks it is very funny that I am a computer programmer.
Sylvia cooked my favorite dinner of spicy salmon and string bean casserole. Spicy salmon is actually Sylvia’s favorite main course, and I love chicken cutlets or angel hair pasta with broccoli, but I decided not to let trifling issues like that ruin a good day. I love string bean casserole enough. And besides, I was getting some great voice mails, eMails, and interlinky lovin’.
Sylvia and I ate dinner and she gave me the CDs she had gotten me for my birthday. We went to MetroFlex to talk to Chris, the overzealous gym-membership salesman from FSU. Chris wore an FSU baseball cap, reeked of Old Spice, and had bad breath. The club was about the size of one of the locker rooms at the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center. It wasn’t very crowded though, so I suppose it will be my new gym. Working out is probably something I should be doing a lot more of lately. I need to release a lot of stress. Here would be a good point to imagine me screaming.
Although I am really more of a wailer and not a screamer.
You probably guessed that already, didn’t you?
After MetroFlex we went to Best Buy and bought the items I mentioned in the post below. Since then I have gotten on line for a second – which was a torturous ordeal because I had to convince Bud that he wasn’t yet connected to the cable internet service that Rose told him to expect – and caught lots of ICQ bleeps from several of you. I have also cursed myself for being such a farking moron that I forgot to buy an optical cable to connect my MiniDisc player to my new CD player with optical output. (The little moments of thoughtlessness like these are the only things that remind me I am human, so I get upset.) I have talked to my mom for half an hour, my dad for a half an hour, my sister for a quarter of an hour, Sylvia for about three minutes, and Chris on more than one occasion. I caught five minutes of a Chris Rock interview with Bryant Gumbel that Sylvia was watching. That Rock kid is a funny, funny guy.
It is now 12:30 am on the East Coast of the United States and I am sitting here thinking that if I go to bed I will probably not wake up when Chris gets here and maybe 27 is not too old to pull an all-nighter and goddammit I think that’s what I’ll try to do.
I think tomorrow is going to suck.