Friday, May 28, 2010

Technology - Our Fickle Friend?

On Wednesday, my telephone began to act strangely. At first, I didn't realize anything was wrong with it. There was a brief half-ring and then nothing. When I picked up the phone, there was a dial tone. That happened three or four times. My Internet connection which uses the telephone line, worked so I thought there was no problem. But - I didn't hear from The Viking. He always checks in with me by phone at around 11 a.m. So, I called him.

"Your phone's not working," he said.

I called B*ll Canada , and after a horrendously long wait and repeated recorded assurances that "your call is important to us," my call was answered by a person.

"We can send a service tech between noon and 6 today. If the problem is in your equipment, there will be an $89.00 charge, plus tax" he said.

That long time-frame conflicted with my previously made plans. So, I agreed that the technician could come on Thursday between 8 a.m. and noon. (Why can't they have two-hour time windows?)

He arrived at 10:45 and set to work.
"Where's the main telephone jack?" He asked.

I wasn't sure. I know there are three jacks in my apartment. All of them are behind furniture. He checked the one behind my bed. That wasn't the main jack and since it was connected to the jack behind filing cabinet, both were ruled out of contention. There's also a jack behind the china cabinet.

"I never use that one," I pleaded.
"Well, " the tech said "it could be the main one."

The china cabinet is filled with china and crystal and couldn't be moved unless it was emptied.

Then - fortunately, I had an intuitive flash.
"There's a weird thingie in the front call closet. It doesn't look like the usual phone jack cover, but maybe the line comes in there."

Thank goodness I was right. Then I held my breath while the technician wriggled and jiggled - the lines inside the box. He explained that in an old building like this one (old? It was built about 25 years ago) sometimes lines inside the conduit touch other lines, or something.


I pictured the lines groping each other in the dark. Yes, sometimes my imagination gets me into trouble.

Then he tested the line by calling my number with his cell phone. It worked.

So, now I'm reconnected with the world. However, I worry about what those pesky lines are up to, down there, where no one can see them.

I also worry about what I'd do if the phone line died and couldn't be repaired. I could get a cell phone but I would lose my current Internet service provider. That would be a huge pain in the neck. I might have to consider Internet connection through the cable company. That would be more expensive.

Technology is a wonderful thing, when it works, and our dependence on it ever increaseth. But it can be fickle.

Do you have a technology story?
p.s. I had planned to write about the horrendous cost of the G-8 and G-20 meetings, and about Harper's continuing disregard for Parlimentary democracy but at the moment, I am too enraged to comment on those issues. So, you are safe from another rant, for now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beep, beep. Beep, beep.

It was a weird week. But then, weird weeks are becoming quite frequent events around here. I finished my pen-for-hire assignment at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. It was due Tuesday afternoon. Nope, I'm not a slacker, my client always has last minute stuff to add. The weird thing about these writing projects is that I never see the final product. I send the parts that I write and edit to my client by email, more sections are added by the architect, and other folks. The resulting document is sent to a typist who does all the special formatting (yay for that) and then it is copied and distributed to the relevant decision-makers. Sometime in the future, I may learn the result.

I had hoped not to worry about plumbing for quite some time, because I have already made a big money sacrifice to appease the plumbing gods. However my kitchen sink had a go-slow tantrum. An application of Drano and dire threats have forced it to behave but I won't turn my back on it, lest it decide to spit at me.
This was also the week I decided to wash the bathroom walls and ceiling and my arms have not forgiven me yet.

The Tim Horton's outlet, which is less than two blocks from my apartment has signs up that say Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream. It's not in the store yet. It wasn't there yesterday - they told me it would be in today - and it isn't there. This is unfair. I want the right to go in there and see the ice cream and then not buy any. It would preserve my record for the week. I went to the mall yesterday. I seldom do that but I wanted to find slippers for The Bear, of course I was not successful. People may be getting larger, but it appears footwear isn't. Where are the size 12-13's? Nowhere. About 120 percent of the time, mall stores don't have what I want.

In between these events, and when I'm not dreaming about plumbing taking revenge, my bedtime reading is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, the historical novel that won the Man Booker prize in 2009. It's a wonderful fat book -with no calories attached.

And, somewhere in the back of my mind, my little Nash Rambler fiction car is very quietly going - Beep beep. Beep beep. Now if real life would kindly stop making a ruckus, and blocking the road..... the Muse might arrive.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

What Would Gigi Do?

Gigi was our family nickname for my mother when my grandsons were younger. It's short for great-grandma. She died when the boys were still quite young, but her influence is still with us.

Sunday is Mothers Day so she is in my thoughts a bit more than usual, but not in an overly sentimental way. She was pragmatic about most things and extremely practical, both by nature and because she had to be.

When I have to make a decision about whether to do the boring practical thing, or the want-to-have-fun thing, her voice pops into my head. Sometimes I wish it wouldn't because her advice is usually - do what you should do, and not what you wish you could do. That's why I have a new heating and air conditioning system and why I won't be visiting Montreal this year. But, that's okay because my apartment will be cool on even the hottest days and the system will pay for itself, over the next umpty-umpteen years.

Thanks for the advice, mom.

I'm buying myself a lottery ticket for Mothers' Day. What are you planning?