Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Hi, all. It's been a week or so since I last posted but the explanation for such is quite simple: our computer caught a virus and we had to naturally take it into professionals to have it removed. Costly.

Although we've had it back for a few days now, I've simply been enjoying some much needed quality time with Ed, making some equally much needed changes in my life and dealing with other kinds of viruses: my world is seemingly full of euphemisms.

Ed works in Los Angeles, easily and hour to an hour and a half drive from where we live, more often than not it is much more depending on traffic. He's been working six days a week and on M-F he is gone from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There is much work that needs to be done and he is currently the only one in his department that can do it. Due to this, we've been able to not only catch up on bills, but are paying for B's school, eating a little better and trying to build our savings.

All those things are, of course, good. What is not good is the toll this is taking on Ed. I make a point to feed him only healthy food. He'll be 48 next month, has high blood pressure and a job that's digging him an early grave -- it's my 'job' to counter all those toxins in his life with doing my part for him: home cooked healthy meals, a clean house, laundry that is done, etc.

We also make a point to spend an hour or so together every evening before he goes to bed watching our favorite shows and/or hanging out in the garage watching the boys play pool, which Ed enjoys also. Everyone needs something to help them unwind.

I knew, though. I didn't want to see but I did anyway. I could see that Ed was unraveling.

Was it greed that provided my rose colored glasses and thought process? "If I just do what I need to do, then Ed will have the strength to keep going, too...."

Monday morning Ed didn't go to work. He rarely calls in and when he does, he typically gets an earful from me about responsibility, accountability, what happens when he returns to work (even more work piled up) and yes, money.

This time I laid off. I just let it happen knowing that one day off isn't, of course, enough. However, with the weather nearing triple digits again, he spent the day buying us portable air conditioners as neither of us can withstand a hot, nasty triple degree summer again with no A/C where our house is even hotter inside than it is out. Ed did his research and found a good deal and managed to stay under budget and the boys helped him execute in getting the main one up and running.

Not much of a day off.

So, Tuesday morning comes and Ed wakes me up at 4:30 asking if he could stay home again. Without going into details so as not to infringe on my husbands privacy let me just say that there was a breakdown and my grieved heart overcame my need for stability as I worried about Ed's.

So, yesterday he slept in, played a little pool, watched a movie on DVD ("Dan In Real Life" with Steve Carrell --EXCELLENT MOVIE!) relaxed and got us some lunch while I went to my neurologists appointment and bought a few groceries (including some fresh summer fruit which is now in abundance).

I could tell upon my return he was better. He just needed to vent and not think about anything: not do any chores, not put in any work orders, not have people demand a single thing of him other than what I wanted on my burrito.

He was in better spirits and whatever happened early that morning obviously needed to. In my groggy state I heard a man who's exhausted and desperate.

The solution has yet to be figured out: work less, compromise, delegate -- we don't know.

But I do know what signs to look for in Ed and if need be, I'll make the decisions for him and his own betterment -- no one else's: not mine, not his company's.

My rant has only just begun -- that's cute, though, that you thought I was finished. :D

Adding to our troubles, a few nights ago, B's Jeep was broken into and his sub woofers stolen. This Jeep that he's put so much into is like a bad penny -- one damned thing after another. So, he bought some used sub woofers and Ed and I paid to have an alarm system put in his Jeep.

But, wait...there's more.....

Ever get stuck in a rut because you don't like change? That's me. I'd rather stick a needle in my eye than to learn something new. While I enjoy reading a great deal, it's merely for pleasure as I'm simply not one of those people who craves knowledge, everything I know I'm quite happy with. I'm not exactly a dumb bunny: I know who Diane Arbus is and David Greenglass. I know the play Abraham Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated was called "Our American Cousin", I know 'Sweetwater' was the very first band to play at Woodstock, I know how to spell Mississippi and that 1+1 makes 2.

What more do you people want from me?

So, after seventeen years, I have finally had it with 'Charter Communications', our cable company, and am switching providers. This means not only new cable, but also phone and Internet.

Must've been pretty drastic and really bad customer service that led someone like ME to seek out change after almost twenty years with the same cable company.

It was.

What do you consider free?

Free to me is those samples of the latest crackers and cheese whiz we get at the supermarket from the nice lady in the apron.

Hmm. Can't think of anything else. Sad.

But I know what isn't free? Our 'On Demand' channels and I resent the people at Charter telling me that it is a 'free service' they provide for their customers. It isn't.

Ed and I have the full cable package because we don't go out much at all. Probably even less than most people I'd say.

I like being at home as long as I have everything I need -- enter cable.

Ed and I have favorite shows we watch on cable T.V. ('The Ricky Gervais Show', 'Nurse Jackie', 'Tudors', 'U.S. Of Tara' just to name a few) and if we can't catch them when they're on or if we forget to DVR them, well, we can then catch them On Demand. That's what it's there for, that's what we PAY for.

However, for the past two months or so, our On Demand has been only working part time. Every other day it is on the fritz ("Error Code 204 -- we apologize for the inconvenience....") and about once a week at least I've had to call and/or have a technician come out to try and resolve this. We've re-booted, switched out our HD cable box, I've talked to supervisors, customer service and technicians.

Nothing has been resolved and the issues remain.

The catalyst for me was speaking yesterday to a nifty supervisor named Mark. After explaining once again what our issues are and that all I really want is for it to work as it should, he then proceeded to tell me that On Demand is a free service and that in essence (and I'm paraphrasing here but this is the gist of his 'point') I'm lucky we have it at all -- and if my other services are working fine then what's the problem? Why can't I just watch my shows when they come on? Um, because I have a life, that's why and because we are paying for something that we should be able to utilize. That's how commerce and democracy works.

I know this because when Ed and I had to scale down last year during our financial troubles, we had to rid ourselves of some premium channels and when we did so, those premium channels weren't available for us On Demand, either. Fair enough. You get what you pay for.

When we later took advantage of an offer by Charter to have the full package for a lower cost, those premium channels were once again available to us On Demand. So, don't tell me they're 'free' -- they're not.

Furthermore, they should work. Again, that's what we pay for and I resented this schmuck, Mark, not only telling me otherwise but inferring that I should be happy with the toys I have and not complain.

That's all, brother. I was done right then and there.

Ed works too hard, too long and spends way too much time away from home for our money just for this asshole to tell me what we should be grateful for.

It's almost like he was saying: "So, your wagon has one broken wheel, big deal -- you still have three good ones!"

It was sheer audacity.

So, while Ed got on our house phone with AT & T, I got on my cell phone with Charter and finally explained to them that after seventeen years, we were switching companies and why.

I spoke with two representatives who were mortified at Mark's behavior and apologized profusely all the while I'm standing firm, appreciating their efforts but making it clear that nothing they can do at this point is going to change my mind.

I told Kassie, a very nice supervisor there, that most everyone I have spoken with has been apologetic and I told her what I told them; "Apologies are all good and well, I just want a solution. I just want this problem fixed once and for all" and they obviously couldn't do that.

When I think of how many times they've been out here and how long I've spent on the phone trying to resolve this, it really came down to being a no-brainer.

So, thank you to Kassie, Adolfo and Ron at Charter for their time, efforts and empathy. It was too little too late but your time and efforts were appreciated.

Some things, whether you like it or not, are worth changing in exchange for peace of mind and the small cost of high aggravation being removed from your life.

This is what I learned this week. I didn't want to learn it and fought against it. But I obviously needed this lesson in my life.

There are exceptions to every rule, even mine.

Wishing you all peace.


Brooklyn Book Lover said...

I can relate. My husband is also burnt out. He now works 3 jobs so I was not surprised when he said "We NEED to take a vacation". Although I got a knot in my belly thinking about the money a vacation will cost, I knew my husband needs and deserves one. So, with his health much more important than my financial worries, I did not voice my concerns about finances. Instead, I said "Sure honey, a vacation is just what we need". :-)
I hope your husband is feeling better.

Katie said...

re: cable --- I ditched cable years ago and went to satellite. I use Directv and it's great. It's cheaper than cable and the customer service is nothing short of amazing. We pay our bill on time and we will get 6 free months of movie channels AND $10 a month knocked off our bill. If you are interested I can give you my account # and you can get $100 credit (and I will too!) Oh my - that just sounded like a commercial - but I'm happy with the service... =)
Sometimes all we need is a day or two to decompress...and it does wonders!
Sending positive, relaxing vibes out California way -- stay strong!

Bossy Betty said...

Lots going on with you. Hope the hubby bounces back. It's so hard sometimes to support someone and let them go through his process, even though you know it's the right thing to do.

Steven Anthony said...

hey friend, i miss u. it sounds like you had alot going on.....i am sending big hugs, love and good thoughts to you and yours

luv ya

Meeko Fabulous said...

What company did you end up going with? Love you! :)