Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Today, Wednesday, September 30, 2009, marks the first day since Sunday, September 20, 2009, that I have been able to access the Internet from the comfort and privacy of my own bedroom.
And why is that, one may ask?
The saga began in the early morning hours of Monday, September 21, 2009, at approximately 2 or 2:30 a.m., when we were awakened by rain, lightning and thunder. It had been raining all weekend, and when the rain finally ended on Tuesday, the resulting devastation was promptly labeled the Flood of 2009. For once, WSB's announcements of "LIVE! Team coverage of today's severe weather" did NOT sound like they were heralding the advent of Armageddon.
Apparently the lightning hit something because I saw a spark in the bedroom--and I promptly got up and yanked the computer plug out of the wall.
Too late, as it turned out. When I tried to turn the computer on later, nothing happened. I was unable to take the computer in to the Geek Squad until Tuesday. There I learned that my motherboard had been fried. Not surprising. The person at the Geek Squad told me that mine was the fourth computer that day that they'd seen with the same problem.
Since there is no remedy for a fried motherboard (except to ask if you want burgers and ketchup with that), we bought a new computer.
Problem solved, right?
Wrong. Problems just beginning!
The Great Flood of 2009 not only fried my motherboard, it also knocked out my Internet service and our cable service. And it also kept Matthew home from school for two days because school was canceled! Fortunately, we had power and Matthew resurrected some DVD's he hadn't watched in a while. I also baptized and confirmed Matthew into the religion of Looney Tunes. I showed him some cartoons on a disk I have and he was captivated by Sylvester and Tweety. The latest addition to his vocabulary is the sentence, "I tawt I taw a puddy tat!"
During the week, after several tried to see if cable service had been restored, I called Comcast and they said they were unable to get anyone out to our area until that following Tuesday (which was yesterday afternoon). I asked the person on the other end of the line if that was because of the storm and they said yes. I wasn't surprised. That Monday, when I'd attempted to take Frank to his bus stop, I ended up having to drive him on the back roads to work because the road we take to the bus stop was flooded out, as was one part of the route on the interstate we'd have to take! (He did make it home on the bus that evening, and at a reasonable hour--that evening I heard some people calling into WSB that had been on the road from anywhere between two to four hours.)
So we had to wait out the weekend, with Matthew occasionally asking, "Can you fix?" and me having to say, "No, we have to wait for Comcast to come and fix the TV and the computer."
Thursday, I tried to start the car to take Frank to the bus stop and it wouldn't start. Recently, I'd left my lights on twice in the same week and had to get jump-started both times. After the second time, I went to Auto Zone and got a battery jumper--it looks like a battery with jumper cables attached to it. Well, we used that to start the car and I got Frank to the bus.
Later, when I went out to take the car in for service (which I'd planned to do that day), the car wouldn't start. Again. So I decided to jump it with the battery charger. Nothing. When I read in the directions that the charger needed to be recharged after every use, I plugged in the charger and went to call AAA. AAA came out. They had a battery charger which they used. Didn't work. They hooked my car up to their truck. Didn't work.
Finally, the lady with them looked inside my car and said, "I think the problem is that you've got it in Drive." She set the gear to park, and sure enough, the car could be jumped.
They did check the battery, though, and say it was a bad battery. So I had yet another thing for the car people to check when I took it to the shop.
I dropped it at around 10 a.m. They didn't even GET to the car until 5:30 p.m. That, again, was due to the backlog of cars they'd had because of the storm. We didn't get the car back until Friday afternoon. That was nearly two whole days without wheels.
The one advantage was that I was not in school that week, and the only places I had to go were to speech, our counselor's office, and to church on Wednesday.
Monday I started school--back at night, because I finally came to the conclusion that continuing to go during the day was just impossible.
Tuesday I went back to my ladies' group. Frank stayed home from work so he could be there for the Comcast people, who were supposed to show up between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. I got home around 1:15, just enough time to eat something before I needed to take Matthew to the dentist (tooth sealants--incidentally, he behaved VERY well and both the dentist and I were VERY proud of him!) The Comcast people pulled into the driveway just as I was getting ready to leave.
When I came home, I learned that cable had been restored--but not Internet.
Thus began the part of the nightmare that didn't end until just a little while ago.
The Comcast person told us to try reinstalling the drivers for the ethernet cables and the printer. The printer drivers wouldn't work because we now have Windows Vista and--surprise!--most of my software isn't compatible with Vista. Including the software I use for school!
We didn't HAVE drivers for the ethernet, and I couldn't figure out what to do before I had to leave for class.
This morning, I got on the phone at about 7:30 a.m. or so with Comcast. They ran a diagnostic test and told me that I would have to call the people that made the computer.
So I called Dell. I was on the phone with them for 50 minutes. In the end, they couldn't find anything wrong, either. They told me it was either the modem or the cable mount in the wall.
I called the Geek Squad at Best Buy, who told me to bring in the computer. Which I did. It worked FINE at Best Buy, and the guy behind the counter was trying to tell me that the reason I couldn't get on the Internet was because I had two anti-virus software programs installed on the computer. I kept saying, but you could hook up to the Internet with both programs on there! He removed one of the anti-virus programs and said that the computer should be OK.
Took the computer home, hoping that it was just an SCU (Stupid Computer User) error. Plugged it back in, hooked it up, clicked on Internet Explorer--nothing!!!
So I called the Geek Squad back and told the guy who'd helped me, it's not working.
Called Comcast--for the second time that day--and after I'd told him everything I'd done, he suggested that I get the modem switched out and told me that they could either send out a technician or I could go to a Comcast office and switch it there. I opted for the latter because I had no idea when a technician could or would come.
Switched out cable box at Comcast center, went home, plugged everything in . . . THIS time, the computer would NOT let me install the software for the modem!!! (I suspect it's because I have Vista.)
So came my THIRD call to Comcast.
I don't know what the woman on the other end did, but after either jiggling some wires or punching some buttons on her end . . . I got online.
Such endeth the saga of the non-accessible Internet.
I've been tempted to apply for federal disaster aid, but I don't think I'd qualify.
In all seriousness, we got off lucky. We just lost a computer and were inconvenienced for a while. Nine people died in this flood, and that's enough to put things in very sober perspective.