Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Offline

I haven't written anything in a few weeks, but believe me when I tell you, I have had plenty to say. You see, we now have a summer home. What a glamorous life we lead, right? No, it's not at Ocean Isle, or Outer Banks, not Hilton Head or Isle of Palms...it's actually about a tenth of a mile from our house, right here in Charlotte. And while I don't like to brag, it's a whopping 732 square feet of luxurious apartment living.

We are renovating our kitchen and master bathroom, a project that will take between two and three months to complete (everyone pray it's two months rather than three, I beg of you). During that time, we have been evicted from our house and needed some place to stay short term just to have a roof over our heads. With very few options for such a short lease, we wound up in a circa 1970s, Formica-clad, laminate floor-filled apartment, staring out at a parking lot through some groovy vertical blinds.

First, here's just some of what's happening at our house:


I have to say, all that demolished mess looks positively luxurious compared to what we have been dealing with over here in our little 732 square foot wonderland the last two weeks. Basically, we packed up what we thought we couldn't live without for the summer and crammed it all into an apartment here:


And if you think that outside looks fabulous, you ain't seen nothing yet. Let me really dazzle you with a few pictures of the inside of our humble abode.


I mean, the kitchen really is the heart of the home, right? We are certainly enjoying the beauty of this one, right down to the cabinets and drawers without any knobs or pulls, and the fact that everything seems to be miniature sized like it came out of the Barbie not-so-dream-house. With the exception of the microfridge I enjoyed in my college dorm room, I have never been taller than my refrigerator, until now.


Don't you just love how packed that little fridge is, with all of our food loving life on those sturdy wire shelves? The tiny plastic crisper drawers also come in handy, should you need to store a single bell pepper or perhaps a mini bottle or two.


If the inside starts to wear on us (and how could that possibly happen? No way, no how), we can always gaze out these beautiful blinds onto our patio area. And by patio, I mean 3 x 6 stockade fence cell. It's perfect for spending summer days al fresco, or for a prisoner who has been granted some yard time.

But by far the most frustrating and wearing part of our new summer home adventure has been a technology issue. Cell phone service is spotty at best--we have to stand by the window to have a conversation on our iPhones--and we have been without a landline or Internet for the last two weeks.

We've tried everything. Our service will be up and running for a few minutes at a time, and then just go out again completely. Time Warner Cable changed our home number and gave us a new one for the apartment, then accidentally disconnected our home phone, so calls weren't even being forwarded. We've spent hours on the phone with customer service, and had four different service calls to the apartment in an effort to get a phone and the Internet working properly. After a week and a half and about a hundred hours on the phone with the good people at TWC, even Clint lost his temper and let his frustrations fly over how ridiculous the situation has been. That's right: the usually calm, cool, and collected member of Team Stancil got so irritated he was reduced to (and I believe this is a direct quote): "What the hell is wrong with you people?" Is it too much to ask to be able to make a phone call? Or shop online? Or (gasp) watch Netflix when the need arises?

Throughout this debacle, we've had repairmen go to our home address instead of the apartment, then leave because no one was there (meanwhile, I was not-so-patiently waiting all morning at the apartment for someone to show up). We even had a guy show up two hours earlier than scheduled on a rainy Sunday morning and catch us in our pajamas. Believe me when I say, it has been a real escapade.

Yesterday we had our fourth technician come by. Since we've lived in this shanty apartment, we have gotten a new cable card, new modem, new connectors, new phone line, new cable cords....The technicians were baffled and suggested over these weeks that we may need a new outlet wired or that the whole building we are in could need a new box. Inevitably, someone will come by, work on the issue, service will work for a short time, and then inexplicably go out again. We've blamed Time Warner, we've blamed the old apartment, and everyone we've encountered has had a different--and wrong--theory about what in the world is causing the problem.

And then it happened. The technician was befuddled as to why we had such intermittent service: off and on, on and off. He hypothesized that we needed a new power cord, because it seemed that the modem wasn't getting a constant source of power. He flipped on the light in the room and bent down to install the new power cord, and then started to laugh. "Ma'am," he was chuckling, " I'm about 99% sure I just figured out your problem."

Do any of you tech geniuses know what was causing this confounding issue? Not wiring, or connectivity, not equipment issues, no interference. Drum roll, please...


The outlet that all our equipment was plugged into is controlled by the light switch in the room, and every time we came and went, we turned the power on and off, causing the phone and Internet to also go on and off. Two weeks of heart palpitating, exasperating, confusion and the answer was: don't touch the light switch. We would humbly and very deservedly accept your nominations for this year's Darwin Awards. I can't help but think about Clark Griswold and his outdoor lights in the movie Christmas Vacation!


Now, if anyone needs to reach us, we are quite busy chatting on the cordless phone and happily typing away on our laptops and iPads. Netflix is our oyster, and we are giddy to be part of the real, tech savvy world again. Just so long as no one flips that switch.

Bless our hearts.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know whether to laugh or cry! And I bet you all felt the same way :D

    ReplyDelete

Remember: brains and looks will only take you so far, but flattery will get you everywhere.