Whole Lotta Trouble

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Location: Wheatland, California, United States

I'm a mom. I'm a civil servant. I have a sense of humor, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Things I've Learned in My Absence

Yeah, I know. It's been almost a month. But, it's been an eventful month, if anything else.

We got our tax return back, and decided to put in more cement. We were originally going to do most of it ourselves, and have a couple of guys do the "finishing" work for us (ie - smoothing out the cement, etc). Then, we took a good look at where we wanted the cement poured. Right behind our pool. We kept getting visions of a wheelbarrow full of cement going in. So, we decided to bite the bullet and hire a contractor. The guy we had talked to told us he could start in about 2 weeks. No problem, I thought. Enough time to check out all his credentials, etc. He showed up the day after I called him (after I left the house, and hubby was home alone, natch). So, he started. Great, right?!! Well, maybe not. When I got home that night, I realized our guy didn't have a contractor's license. Shit. I was in full panic mode the following day when he was scheduled to pour. Luckily for us, though, everything turned out okay. No cement in the pool, and we have a nice new front mini-patio. However, let this be a lesson to everyone out there - check everything out BEFORE you call.

Then came the debacle with AT&T. Now, everything we have phone-wise is through AT&T. Local, long distance, Internet, the works. We even had cell phones through them until we moved out here a few years ago (this town has NO cell phone reception whatsoever). Anyway, sometime in late February, I tried to log onto the Internet. The modem dialed the number and . . . nothing. No awful sound, no clicking noises, nothing. It just sat there. Looking at me. I tried again. Same thing. I even shut down the computer, and restarted it, and tried again (basically, my answer to everything computer related), and it still just sat there. So, I tried to call Worldnet services. Naturally, it was after hours, and no one was there to take my call. Of course! So, I pulled up the settings to our internet, and was able to find a list of alternate numbers in our area code. The first number I chose connected me to the County Clerks Office. Not much help with the internet connection there. It was then that I noticed we had a "back-up" number. Cool! I plugged that back-up number in, and VOILA! Internet! Go me!

Wait one month. I get my phone bill. What is normally about $100 for our three phone lines and internet suddenly jumped to over $2,000. I nearly fainted. It seems our back-up number is a toll call, and since we connect to the internet almost the entire time we're home, we raked up a ton of toll charges. Naturally, I changed the number back to the original number that wasn't working back in February, and it's working just fine now. Then, I called AT&T. After being transferred from agent to agent, one division to another, explaining multiple times what happened, I finally talked to a gentleman who told me that there would be an investigation, after which, the bill would be credited. No problem.

So, I waited, and about a week later, the investigator calls. He asks about what happened, so I explained again. Only, he wasn't as nice as the guy I spoke with before. In fact, he was downright dismal. I asked when it would be credited, and he informed me that it probably wouldn't, since I input the number myself. I tried explaining that it was the back-up number listed on my account, and he tonelessly informed me that it must have been a number we input, and that we were supposed to call AT&T whenever we change it to make sure it's not a toll number.

So, I wait for another week to see what the outcome will be, and (naturally) no one calls me to tell me anything. So, I called last week. Again, I was transferred about a dozen times. Seriously, I was on the phone to the phone company for over 2 hours. All these people kept telling me that there was nothing they could do. I would have to pay the $2,000. I just kept asking for the next person up the ladder. I even had a supervisor hang up on me. And I wasn't even being rude!!! I was just asking for an explanation, and she was trying to tell me that she didn't have to explain their inner policies, and when I calmly told her that since it obviously affected me, that it wasn't an inner policy, the bitch hung up.

Finally, I spoke with a very wonderful person who told me I would most likely have to file a claim with the PUC before anyone at AT&T would do anything. But, she was going to try to at least see if she could get the charges billed out at a lower long distance rate, and told me she'd call back the next day. Naturally, she didn't. I waited a few days, and called again. Interestingly enough, the second person I talked to was able to get me a "one time only" credit for the entire long distance snafu. I'm thinking the lovely person who I spoke with a few days before mentioned the complaint with the PUC on my record, and they were able to all of a sudden fix the problem.

So, the next thing I learned is that no matter what everyone at the phone company says, there's always SOMEONE who can give you a credit. As long as you have about 6 to 8 hours of free time (or happen to be a government employee) to spend on the phone.

I've learned that Spring Break is most fun spent with your kids doing everything you don't normally do, but want to. Like roller skating and mini-golf and going to the zoo.

I've learned that I need to have dates with my husband more than once every 2 years. It's SO much fun.

I've learned that there's a reason I will probably never be a manager. I have very little tolerance for people who refuse to think. I'm very direct, and don't show people the respect they think their positions deserve. But, they can suck it up. Don't care. I'm enjoying myself too much.

I've learned that when I tell women I know that I'm not going to dye my hair anymore, they take it worse than my husband does. Now, I've made this decision because, essentially, I'm lazy. I hate dying my hair. It's a hassle, and I end up getting dye on my floor, and over my counter, and inevitably, I miss some part of my hair and end up looking like a freakish calico cat. And, after watching my mother's hair go from luxurious and thick to thin and balding, let's just say that I'm a little concerned about putting anymore chemicals on my head than absolutely necessary. Plus, whenever I visit my rheumatologist, he always asks if I've noticed any bald spots yet. Kinda disturbing. Sooooo . . . probably by the end of the year, I will have a full head of salt-and-pepper hair. I don't think it's going to look awful, but I'm posting a picture so you can decide for yourself.

Finally, I have learned that even though it's just a wiffle ball, when it's hit by an athletic 5 year old directly at your mouth, the son of a bitch HURTS!!!
And, now that it's 9:00 PM, I need to get my kids bathed and put to bed.

Until next time everyone!