Thursday, September 5, 2013

NEW ENTRY 9-6-2013 
          And on the Seventh Day, I arose and was Resurrected unto the Internet.  With 81 emails to peruse (Facebook has no way for them to be sent in any kind of digest form, thanks so much) and he is liberated from his cave.  The Rock he rolled away was Fairpoint, and a heavy rock it was.  Let me give you some idea – but first – let me say that it is good to speak to you again, my “friends”.  Most of all, to my Friends, darn it.  That’s right.  The people with whom I’ve “had a face-to-face”.

          [I cannot stand these modern language quirks, changing slang which obscures and  does not clarify.  It is a source of great annoyance to an old grouch to see phrases like “They’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” or “It’s a win-win situation.”  In the first case, one would have said, “They’ll wait and see what happens.”  In the second case, one would have said, “Everybody wins.”  Is that difficult?  Thank you. “At this point in time” indeed – what were we ever to think: at this point in space?]
          It is as Easter, and I have emerged from my Egg.

          It’s been a long time.  I wanted to have this tirade over with, because as I write this, the mighty Fairpoint boulder in my path still will not budge.  Every day I call them, saying “where’s my service?” and they reply, “It will return to you at your new address today or tonight.”  So far, empty words.  But when they finally come through, I’ll have this written so I can post it right away.  I yearn to surf the Internet once more.  I wouldn’t mind having my fucking phone back either.

          Let me fill you in, my Friends and “friends”.  I knew I was to leave my old place by Thursday August 29th, so that I could clean the emptied apartment on the 30th, and have the landlord inspect it on the 31st, and on September1st I’d never return to my old place.  Thursday was the day to get everything (furniture and boxes) which were too large for me to carry alone in my many car trips (about 15) throughout August.  (The System dictated that I pay rent on two apartments for one month, at the same time.  Ho ho.  They engineered my solicitation of a Grant from a community organization which rescued people with various housing emergencies.)  I knew I’d better get going, because I had a lot of Stuff.  Too much stuff.  So much stuff that I had to get rid of about half of it to fit into my swell new apartment.  So for the entire month of August, I’ve been moving and doing little else.  Well, really nothing else except eating and sleeping, and not too much of either.
My basement storage in the old house (built 1900) was the size of a garage.  Many things had I stored there.  Over the dank years, books grew musty, and whatever would not fit into my apartment would brood for years (8 in total) in stacks, rows and layers of boxes, five gallon cans (long story), milk boxes (in case of flood), shovels and mops, the landlord’s tools he never retrieved in all this time,  and lots of stacked windows and doors (his).  A charcoal barbecue on four legs, an extra desk, an extra rocker (obviously left out in the rain a while, it was mostly good for getting splinters – swell 1920s design though), a squirrel trap (needed only once, thank goodness), a cat-carrier with the handle broken off (convenient!), my bicycle and bike-rack, broken cinderblocks, about 500 copies each of two of my CDs, hundreds of music magazines from decades past, important issues of The Times (the passing of Frank Sinatra on page one, etc.), Interview, much of my art from phases past (every submission, poster, and leftover from 13 issues of Big Fish  (a literary magazine my brother and I put out in the early 1990s); my drawings, collages, tiny sculptures spot-welded in my spare time in a body-shop job in 1985 (long story there); and my daughter’s boxes of personal items too heavy to travel with her on the plane to Cleveland, Tennessee last year.
Lastly, a half dozen large boxes of sentimentalia left in my care by default from my parents’ Florida condo, which my son Joseph and I disassembled and sent North after Dad split the scene in early 2000.  By default I mean: my brothers wished for some items, my son wanted to drive their low-mileage Buick Century back to Colorado, and I wanted a few things too.  I had the moving company send them their choices (Joseph of course drove his away), gave lots of furniture and dishes and lamps away, and kept the rest to dispose of later.  Are you sentimental? Are you a packrat?  (Guilty.)
          So – for this move I had to make some really tough choices, knuckle down and bite the bullet, get there somehow, and make lemonade out of life’s lemons.  Actually I have been drinking a lot of lemonade these days, since cider is out of season for a while.  And a lot of this August move was during a heat wave. (Newman’s is on sale at Shaw’s – must go tomorrow, last day of sale.)
          Most interestingly, I feel as if the Old me packed the boxes, and the New me has to unpack them.  I must say – what a jerk.  Would you look at the junk this guy saved?  And this is after his making “tough choices”!  What a wimp.  Many many more things are going.  I’ve got it up to here, people.
There’s a table down in the community room, off the laundry room, where items are displayed for Free, and those who wish take them.  My unused sleeping bag (long story) only stayed about 5 minutes.  Curtains, tapes, CDs, a fancy hatbox holding a top-heavy glass bowl my insane ex-girlfriend left in a cupboard (perhaps that’s a bit harsh).  I certainly made my own mistakes in that affair – but I never brought 30 pounds of chicken feed to an apartment with no chickens, in case I ever had chickens again during my lifetime.
          AS I was saying, I knew I had to take the Furniture and bed and all, and start sleeping at the new apartment, my magnificent Palace of Boxes, on August 29th.  So I called my dear DSL, Fairpoint, and asked them to switch me over on Friday the 30th.  I had to take the computer apart and put it in boxes on the 28th, but I knew, or thought I did, that it could be up and running at the new place the following day.  I might not be able to re-assemble it until the 31st, but I did have to box it on the 28th, so I called Fairpoint up and asked about Saturday the 30th.  They said that if they didn’t do it on Friday, (because of the holiday weekend), it would have to wait until Tuesday, so I said, “Okay, do it on Friday!” and they said, “Okay, Friday it is!”  We each wrote it down.  (I thought.)
          On Friday, I picked up the phone to call my brother.  He’d helped me move the previous day. I had 3 excellent helpers (Bob, Peter and Kevin, my trinity of brains and brawn) with a U-Haul 14 footer.  I will tell you of them, and moving day, next post.  $90 plus tips, basically – astoundingly cheap, as befits a fellow like me who is astoundingly cheap.  But every number I called resulted in a timid, quietly recorded English as a second-language message saying “outgoing calls cannot be made from this telephone.”  Then another louder and more assured voice would say, “This is Fairpoint.”  And then the robot would ponderously announce the choice of buttons to press.  Then, “Is this in regards to (previous tenant’s number)?  If yes, press one, if no press two.”  I faithfully pressed two.  It then asked what number I was asking about, and I told it. 
After an eternity on Hold, I spoke with a woman who told me that the phone was scheduled to be installed at my new address next Tuesday.  “What?” I politely shouted.  I explained that we had agreed on Friday.  She replied that the form she was reading said Tuesday.  I was taken aback.  When, after several such calls, I asked to speak to a supervisor, I returned to Hold Limbo and was finally rewarded with a fellow who seemed to have even less to say.  He wasn’t sorry, he offered no suggestions.  I then grew hot, and demanded their mistake be fixed as soon as possible.  I wanted credit for the missing days of service, and to speak to someone who wanted to help.  He had nothing to say.  I said, “Well, let me speak to the President.”  He hung up on me. 
I guess it was my fault – I used the word “goddam”.  I think that qualified as “clerk abuse” and got him out of the conversation on a technicality.  Poor lad - after all, it wasn’t his fault.  In addition, he was in no position to help.  He was also in no position to express that he was sorry, which was infuriating.  But, no one cared.  Some say Customer Service is a thing of the past, but they still call themselves that. 
          The next time I called, I was assured that service would resume on Tuesday.  I was told I could then find someone to complain to, and to converse with about their truly unacceptable mistake. 

          Tuesday came and went.  I write this on Wednesday; it too has come and gone.  I called Fairpoint early this morning on the (thank god) free phone for tenants’ use off the community kitchen in the basement.  After traveling through Hold Limbo once again, and the tedious selection of generic choices, I spoke with a human.  She assured me that the Dispatcher had re-assigned my re-connection to a service person, who would come today and flip a switch in the basement(!).  It could happen anytime up to 5:00 PM – in fact, service might not resume until as late as midnight.  (I hoped they didn’t enforce such long hours on their people – my son is a Comcast serviceman in Denver, and he has told me some real Stories.)
          It is now 11:06 PM, and I do not have phone or internet service.  I write this in anticipation of the inevitable re-connection of my phone and internet. When I do get them, which I pray will be no later than tomorrow, I shall post this on my blog and put a link to it on Facebook for all my faces to see.  I will have returned from the dead.  (I will still be Jewish, though.)
          In the morning, I will call them again.  Again, both the customer service person and I will tsk together, and wonder how things went so awry.  And then, when finally I am online again, I can go to the Fairpoint website and attempt, from this remote outpost, to rip them a new one.
          In the meantime, I have been unpacking, rethinking, judging distances for the wires I will HAVE TO BUY AND TACK UP ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE APARTMENT MYSELF which I feel I should not have to buy.  When I switched to Fairpoint from Comcast, the wires were already installed at the old place.  But, they said that if they had to “set foot” in my apartment they would charge $99.  I’m sure they’re considering that a Service, but somehow I feel I have been dealt a Disservice. 
          I must add though, in conclusion, that it may have been a blessing in disguise (an ugly one) because I have had much more time to unpack and become the new Me on my little isolated island.  Soon, I will rejoin the mainland.  It will be good to be back in the World.

          How have you all been? 

          Well, it is now Thursday night.  This afternoon, an intelligent, charming, competent service-man knocked on my door.  I greeted him, and asked, “Is this going to cost $99?”  “As soon as I step in,” he said, and smiled.  Then he said no, it wouldn’t cost anything.  He came in, and marveled at how complex the situation is here: the phone jack is nowhere near an outlet, and these days a landline consists of a charger and a handset, so the phone jack needs to be somewhere near an electrical outlet.  Here, that is not the case.  I had to buy a 50 foot wire at Radio Shack to string around the kitchen, up and down the opposite wall to where the modem would be.  We shook our heads in disbelief.  I had to use a ten foot wire for the phone, in order to reach an outlet for the charger, also. 
          He went about his business, just as if I’d paid $100 for the hour it took him to get me connected again.  We both knew that it was not an extra service, because without that visit there would be no service here.  He was a very nice guy.  When he left, I had my 81 new emails and my telephone.  Just this morning, my brother Ken had come by to see if I was okay – they hadn’t heard from me in days.  Imagine!  That was nice of him, and he came up, and I showed him my new place.  Now both brothers have been here.  Nice place – all agree.  

          I hear the chimes of midnight.  That means I must leave you.  Goodnight, dear Friends (and strangers).  Why don’t you leave a comment?  or “Follow” me.  My blog has been read  over 1000 times, but I have no followers or comments.  I guess I just don’t Have It.  But thanks for coming, and my next post will tell of moving day.  I took pictures of the empty, cleaned previous apartment in the late afternoon sun of last Saturday…dreamy.
          But, not as dreamy as this place will be once I throw out about 4 cubic yards of memorabilia and irrelevant items of sentimental attachment.  Yellowing New Yorker cartoons from decades past?  Please.  I need room to move, to stretch out, to pace, to have people over, to gaze out the windows lost in thought, to build a new life in the here and now.  But, as I said, it’s midnight.

New Charlie.

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