I had my first taste of Comcast today. Generally I delegate those calls (and any to the IRS) to my husband because he is infinitely better natured than I (or maybe than me – I wonder about but am feeling too raw to resolve the grammar issue. IF I had Internet service, I could commune with Grammar Girl and figure it out. Alas, I don’t.)


For starters—and by that I mean for the first hour—I attempted to call and resolve my intermittent Internet issue.


I called the customer support # provided and punched in all sorts of numbers—you know the drill–#1 for English, the last 4 of the SSN. I am not sure if the subject SSN is mine or my husband’s. On the first call, I report his, then, for good measure, on my second call, I cite mine.


I press #2 which indicates I do NOT want to complete a customer support survey at the conclusion of my call because I know I will use bad words if I do. The automated voice asks why I am calling. I tell it. It “didn’t get that” so I tell it louder. No dice. Once more it “didn’t get that.” I want to scream, “Clean the wax out of your ears” but I know it has no ears, much less wax. I now shout any and all words synonomous with intermittent Internet service. Roget would be proud. It tells me to wait. I do. Then it tells me I need to call another number.


I do. And I repeat all of the above but guess what? At the end of my regurgitation of information, it tells me this number is out of service but helpfully recommends a third.


I call the the third. We go through the same identifying info. For the third time, I assure them I don’t want to complete a customer service survey at the conclusion of the call, and finally get a very sunny individual who tells me all is well with my Internet service. Au contraire. Although I remind her that the problem is not NO service, but intermittent and slow service, she continues to happily report that I currently have an Internet connection.


I give up and go to the online chat option. Linda is assigned to me; I am cranky. Linda asks questions; I am snide. But over the course of several minutes and multiple trips to the basement to report on modem qualities, Linda establishes that my Internet connection is “less than optimal.”


AHHHH. I feel vindicated. Linda says she will refresh something. I grow excited. The Internet goes out, then reappears, apparently refreshed. I grow confident. She then tells me I must trundle back downstairs and stick a “non-metal” object into the reset “slot” to reset. I am surprised and disappointed that a refresh standing alone was not enough, but I can taste success so I am willing, although concerned. I asked what kind of object she has in mind. She keeps her cards close to the vest. “Whatever fits.” Curiousity alone drives me out of my chair, down to the basement to see the aforementioned slot. As I travel, I wonder—bigger than a bread box? Like a credit card? Is that metal? Oh I know it is not, but what of the strip? Is that metal-like? Will I be electrified as a result of Linda’s instruction? Maybe the reset calls for a playing card. A knife? NO, NO! A KNIFE IS METAL. Suddenly it seems like all stickable objects in our home are metal. How can this be? In this age of plastic, surely we must have a plastic something we can use to reset?


I have now reached the modem. I scan the backside for the reset “slot.”


What the hell? This is no slot. This is a hole about the size of a large paper clip tip. NO, NO!!! METAL!!! A pen? NO, NO. METAL! My mind is blank. I panic that Linda is headed home. I must act fast! I briefly consider getting a step stool to access the 300 wooden skewers I bought on three separate 100-skewer purchasing occassions thinking I would skewer things. I just mentioned them the other day to my sister and we agreed that this summer at the lake breakfast, lunch, and dinner must be “on-a-stick” to address my glut of wooden skewers.


Time is of the essence, however, so I grab a pencil and stab it into the reset “slot.”


I kill our Internet connection. Success? Linda is gone now, our chat “interrupted.”


I say bad words. I wait for the Set after the Reset, but in vain. I try yet another 800 #. My representative observes that I have no service. No shit, Sherlock.


The worst thing wasn’t that I called to complain of intermittent service and after three calls and one online chat, it was determined by the Gods of Comcast that I DO in fact have a problem and now, in fact, I have no service whatsoever. The worst part is the script. At each turn, I grew more irritated.


Luckily, I have a verbatim transcript of my interrupted online chat available to rant on.


Here are some examples:

Linda: Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support.

I am glad Linda is grateful, because I am feeling like I’ve made more effort than one should have to make to get my Internet service working better.

Linda: Thanks for contacting Comcast! I look forward to helping you today.

I feel like we have already established how grateful she is that I have contacted Comcast. If she knew how crabby I am, she would not be looking forward to helping me today.

Linda: I’m sorry to learn that your internet connection is not stable, Nancy.

In addition to being grateful, Linda is sorry. Maybe Linda needs to talk to a therapist and refer me to someone who has less emotional investment in me and my service and more technical knowledge. Linda doesn’t know the half of it. My sanity, as well as my Internet connect, are now unstable.

Linda: Rest assured I will do everything within my means to address your concern today.

This doesn’t give me any comfort whatsoever. Without knowing more about Linda, “everything within” her means, is an empty assurance. Right now I feel like nothing is within her means except her over-empathy with my situation.

Linda: I’ll be asking you a series of questions regarding your connection so that we can better resolve this concern, will that be okay?

I am tempted to say “no” just to test Linda’s emotional mettle. Why is she instructed to ask me this? Do some people say, “No, I will mime my connection issues”???

Linda: To help us isolate the cause of the issue, would it be fine to ask you a few questions?

Although I assured Linda previously that I was okay being asked a series of questions, she now wants to know about “a few questions.” I want to explore whether the few are part of the series or are separate. Are they a separe series? Or just separate individual questions.


Tomorrow Mr. Comcast will visit between 10 am and noon. I will let you know.





“noise for the sake of noise”

I must credit my mother, not only for the title of this post, but for the concept. I will admit that as a young person, I did not understand her gripe, but now, at 54, I am with her — completely. At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney . . .

What is with the nonstop music? Bad enough we had elevator music, but now stores have music, restaurants have music, malls have music, games have music. You can’t hear any conversation, much less hear yourself think.

do not go to a restaurant to listen to a CD. If I wanted to do that, I would have stayed home with earphones stuck in my ears. I came to 1. eat and 2. socialize and that stupid music makes both difficult (oh, okay, I can eat while the music blares.)

Which brings me to sporting events. What if one could go to a baseball game and the only thing to do was watch baseball? No rockin’ tunes, no t-shirts cannons, no free pizzas based on your seat or row, the number of walks or runs or score differential. No kiss cam, no individual running around in a costume acting stupid.

When we got annoyingly loud, my Mom complained that we were making “noise for the sake of noise.” We snickered but I am not snickering anymore. Bring on the silence.

medical terminology

As a crossword devotee I am familiar with the “medical suffix” clue (i.e., -itis [as in “arthritis”], -osis [as in halitosis] etc.) See Mr. Wikepedia for more. And I am impressed by large, complicated, hard-to-pronounce illnesses. We all die sometime. Would your rather go due to a heart attack or due to a bad case of cystoureteropyelonephritis? No contest. The obit, the wake, the funeral luncheon — all more interesting if the latter.

So today’s ramble concerns the other terms medical sorts use. The ones that make me scratch my head. Here’s a few I’ve come across . . .

1. event – The last few years of my mother’s life were miserable. She was blind, nearly deaf, couldn’t walk, didn’t know us, was confused, incontinent. You get the picture. A few days before her death, her doctor phoned and announced that my mother had suffered “an event.” Like a circus? Broadway show? I know he didn’t know exactly what happened but . . .

2. void – Anyone who has ever been in the hospital knows how anxious everyone is that you void. They even measure how much voiding you voided. Don’t think of voiding then flushing your void into the void without letting them know.

3. insult – One of my favorites. Any organ, bodily system can feel insulted. Insults may stem from another organ or system e.g., your brain feels insulted from a lack of oxygen OR can suffer an insult through some outside force e.g., my head suffered an insult when I conked it on the sidewalk. I always  imagine the affected part sulking like a child. “Fine. You do that, then I do this.” Tit for tat.

4. eliminate – This is a cousin of void. The question that always causes me pause is, “When did you last eliminate?” Eliminate what? Oh, oh, yes.  Sometimes one’s elimination is referenced as if the individual is not present. Nurse looks directly at doctor and states, “She hasn’t eliminated since last Tuesday.”

I will stay alert for other disappointing medical references and keep you posted. Please do the same.




We all need a mission in life, and I have chosen one. You may think it is about law or justice, and it is, after a fashion. I have made justice my mantra as related to toilet paper and soap in the womens’ restroom. I have no shortage of work. It is a rare event to find a lady’s restroom with toilet paper AND soap AND paper towel.

My daughter observed me march from stall to cash register to inform the clerk that the ladys’ room was out of t.p. She was amused — the way we are amused when the elderly do something — but I told her she would thank me. Because of my crusade, the future looks good.

Most of my work is done at gas stations along the interstate. I visit the restroom, then without fail, note a deficiency, so hustle off to the front counter and let them know. Most of the time, they stare at me like, “What can I do about it?” Or worse, “Why would I care?” Because I then must continue the journey, I don’t know if the clerk wipes that stupid look of his/her face hustles in and makes amends, but I presume they do. Which makes me a hero. (heroine)


perils of the positive

I am not an optimist but don’t like to think of myself as a pessimist either because pessimist = bad. So over the course of time, I’ve settled on “realist.”

You may be thinking, “Why not be an optimist?” Well, for starters, I’m not. It would be like saying, “Why not be a man?”

Also optimists annoy me and I don’t want to annoy myself anymore than I do right now. The casual optimist is fine. The friend who cheers me up, for example, is more than welcome in my life. It is the others….

Several years ago I worked with someone who managed to insert “super-awesome” into emails, conversations with ease. I developed a tic just hearing it. Sometimes I just don’t want to make lemonade, I want to bitch and gripe.