Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bye bye, Charter Internet

Frontier is coming to my house to install DSL in one week. Woo hoo. Once I set up my appointment, I called Charter.

Would you believe the "disconnect services" line had the most polite and intelligent customer service rep I've ever spoken to from Charter? There's some irony there, I'm sure of it.

She asked me if I had had problems with the service. I told her. Man, did I tell her. I was extremely polite, composed, and thorough. She offered to give me a free month ($50) if I didn't disconnect. I said no thank you.

DSL may or may not be slower, that remains to be seen. But at least I might be able to reclaim one more piece of my sanity by never dealing with Charter Internet support again.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Camperdown Elm Tree

(coffee, internet, sleeping boy... check check check)

There was a sign in front of this freaky tree in Port Gamble which read:
State Champion Camperdown Elm
It was in 1640 that the "Earl of Camperdown" in Dundee Scotland noticed a branch growing on the floor of his elm forest. He grafted it to a Scotch Elm tree and it took hold producing the first Camperdown Elm. The Scotch Elm is the only root mass the Camperdown Elm will grow on. The tree is a mutant and cannot self produce. Every Camperdown Elm tree in the world is part of the original and they must be grafted to a Scotch Elm to get started. When the graft starts to grow, the Scotch Elm branches are cut off, leaving only Camperdown Elm. This magnificent tree depends on humankind to keep it alive as a species.
This Camperdown Elm is the new state champion. This tree was planted in 1875. It measures 20 ft. in height with a 26 ft. crown and a 7 ft. circumference.

Proof: Humans love a freakshow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Washington Weekend (part 1)

I have internet. I have coffee. I have a sleeping baby. I am thrice blessed. And so, Washington.

While I was in Florida, Dave called and asked if he got a 4-day pass if I could come out to Washington (state) to see him. I said I would love to. So we got reservations made, made arrangements for Ben to stay with Shultz's for a few days and Grandma & Grandpa Nelson for a few days, Missy to stay with Shultz's, and eight days after getting home from Florida, I was back on a plane to Seattle.

I arrived, I picked up the rental car and I drove to Ft Lewis, about 45 minutes south of the airport. We had lunch and hung around post until his Chief Warrant 2 promotion ceremony. I got to put the new rank onto his uniform. That was very neat. I wish that I had been able to get his hat back on a little better though.

Once leave started, we headed to Poulsbo to The Green Cat Guest House. What a beautiful place. I can't say enough good things about the property and Ken, one of the owners. We absolutely loved it there. I would have loved to stay there longer, and see more of Poulsbo. Hopefully some day we can go back.

I still have internet, and I still have coffee... but my other blessing is awake and ready for some attention. More later...

Rant Over! Time to Catch Up...

The only thing Irish about this boy is his hometown's school mascot. But Happy St. Patty's day anyway! At five months, he now loves to sleep on his tummy- more precisely, he loves to sleep on his face. He's getting much more steady when he's sitting up. And he loves books, music and listening to people talking.

Scum Sucking Bottom Feeders.

Well, my intention was for my next blog post to be about my trip to Seattle. But we interrupt that fantastically happy post with a rant about your friend and mine, the cable company.

I hate them. $^%!$*& Charter. Did you know that JD Power ranked customer support across ALL companies, and all three major cable companies fell into the top ten WORST? More evil than lawyers, more evil than insurance companies. Their customer (dis)service? If they were Aetna employees, they'd be fired before the ink was dry on their timecard.

I can't even remember how many times I've called technical support in the last 72 hours. Each time I had unique, but painfully bad, and incorrect service. It turns out that they have a support center in Mexico City. It turns out that English skills are not a priority. After being given incorrect information for the third time, I asked for a supervisor. This supervisor told me that she had the most technical knowledge of anyone at Charter. But there might have been a language barrier. She might have meant to say she was a middle management drone who could read a script more carefully than the people under her.

So, I called the City Cable Coordinator because I was told that's where I would file a complaint. It turns out that internet falls under the jurisdiction of the FCC. So if I don't like it, I've gotta take it to the Feds. Interesting. I had a very nice talk with the Apple Valley Coordinator, a very friendly and chatty man who agreed that it would be more fun to have my internal organs pulled out by rusty hooks than to try to get internet technical support. Another interesting fact? Cable companies DO NOT have any kind of non compete agreement. What they do have, thanks to our friends at the FCC, is a setup where all of their lines are their solo property. So for another cable company to come in, they would have to run all new underground lines side by side with the existing company's. Very expensive, so it really doesn't happen. This practice is not legal for the phone company, so why does the cable company get this deal? Good question.

I was told that either my modem was broken or my lines were bad, both of which absolutely could not be fixed without an onsite technician. I was given an appointment time for a technician to come to my house next Thursday (my internet would be down for a week, so much for working!) Then I was told they set me up with an appointment yesterday, but that turned out to have been a lie (shock). I now have a confirmed, set in stone appointment for today between 2 and 4 pm.

So imagine my surprise when I went into my office this morning and saw my modem was working.

Cable company, heal thyself.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunny Sunday Walk

Wordle: Sunday Walk

In Florida, we walked every day. I want to keep up with that habit. So today I loaded Ben into the stroller, and took Missy for a walk. I have to check the distance of the short loop, it's somewhere between 1 and 1.5 miles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A fun time was had by all.

We had a very uneventful flight home from Ft Myers yesterday. The weather was predicted to be all sorts of nasty in Minnesota, but when we arrived it was above freezing and misting. So there was time for my parents to get home and for me to pick up Missy before the winter storm arrived.

While we were in Florida, we went to outlet malls and thrift stores, a preseason Twins game (they won!) went to see the manatees, went to a flea market, went to Walmart too many times (push the blue button to get your receipt), went to cousin Patty's, went to Rib City and Skip One and Vincenzo's and Icabods, went on a lot of walks, fixed things, did sudoku puzzles, swam in the pool, read, and took naps. The trip was splendid and exactly what I needed.

Benjamin now rolls front to back and back to front at will, and has decided that sleeping on his side or tummy is the way to go. He also started figuring out his pre-crawling skills. He spent a lot of time with Grandma & Grandpa, and loved to touch the little waterfall in the pool, just like Grandpa.

Now I need to upload photos to get them printed, and think about putting some food in my refrigerator!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Just Hangin' Around Florida

We had been searching thrift stores for a Johnny Jump Up, and yesterday at a children's consignment shop, we found two! It's a good place for Ben to sit and play, and it will fit in my suitcase for the trip home.