marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Other Person has gotten the Dell laptop working again. The "i" and "z" keys sometimes stick or die and yesterday, of all things, the apostrophe quit so I had to copy one out of a Google search for "apostrophe", because I'm really nothing without contractions. Today the apostrophe's fine and after I sat my index finger on the "i" for a few minutes it sprang to life, as well. The rest of the keyboard seems up to speed and the laptop no longer freezes.

I didn't pay attention to what he did to fix it because I was on his tablet, because my tablet keeps freezing up now, too, but from glancing at him now and then I gather it involved taking the laptop apart, blowing some things out, re-seating other things, re-assembling it, and perhaps the chanting of incantations. The Dell cost me nothing, I've already fixed it once, and I would've tossed it rather than gone through what he did, but I'm kind of glad now that he bothered. My blog looks pretty good on it (better than it does on our tablets - those turn the page gutters an ugly dark tan color that I wouldn't have picked myself).

My replacement laptop keyboard's due here by the end of the week, but I'm worried about it being a crapshoot, so I'm keeping the packaging and will re-seal it like new to turn around and re-sell ASAP if it doesn't work out. The thing is, since the storm, my existing keyboard's bent toward the top middle, so I'm thinking it's because something under the bent part corresponding to the motherboard overheated and warped, in which case no keyboard (except an external) might ever work again.

If it does turn out to be useless, I'll need a new external keyboard because the one I'm using now has multiple dead keys, just like the laptop. The dead keys on the external aren't dead on the laptop so I've just been using both of them at once. I wish y'all could see this - I'm like a DJ working keyboards instead of turntables, which is sort of amusing.

We've lost power four times since the storm, for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Last night was for a few minutes, a few days before it was for a few hours, there was a quickie the night before that, and it was out a few hours the weekend before last. Every time we've lost power since the storm Comcast's cable modem has totally wigged out. It's always been slow - it takes a good five minutes to reboot, find its own ass, feel everything out and start pumping signal again, but since the storm you can add "find its own signal" to the list of things it takes too long to do. It has to reboot multiple times to finally stop claiming our signal's broadcasting when, in fact, it's not.

What sucks is that to our phones and computers the signal looks like it's broadcasting, and when you connect it doesn't show a yellow triangle to denote limited connection issues. But when you try to get online you can't, and when you check the network list it shows a full signal but then says next to that, "No internet", in classic, "Oh, NOW you tell me" fashion. So we waste a) five minutes waiting for the modem to reboot and decide it can do this, b) another five minutes for it to realize it can't do this and is totally lying, and c) another 5-15 minutes for multiple reboots to take place to finally push the signal back to life again.

I'm pretty sure it's a surge victim, though it was on surge protector - but there's nothing the storm didn't seem to touch - so we're planning a trip to our local Comcast office soon to get another modem so big I'll need both arms to carry it out. I'm going to hate having to swap these things out every time there's a storm.

To finish what I started the night the storm hit, I installed the latest build of Windows 10 on my now-collector's-item Nokia about five days ago. My phone restarted to install updates required to get Win10 (one tree had hit the house by then; the second tree was about to) just as the lights went out. My phone only installs updates over wifi, which didn't exist for another 14 days, so once wifi came back the phone automatically picked up where it left off.

I had to use the WinInsider app as a workaround against Microsoft's official app, which blocks my phone from getting Win10 because it's not recommended on phones with only a half gig of RAM. It's running great on my half gig, though. It's opening and resuming windows, menus, browsers and the app list faster than Win8.1 did and looks jazzier, too. The worst problems are with Edge windows - they tend to crash as much as Internet Explorer windows do on 8.1 - and with the native email app, which opens with the keyboard displayed every single time. I can't figure out why the email app thinks it's the messenger, but one press of the back button makes it go away, so it's more "annoyance" than fatal flaw.

Battery life, once the primary dealbreaker on Win10, is actually better now than it is on 8.1, so if you're an 8.1 user with just a half gig of RAM it might pay to go the WinInsider route and switch to Win10 to preserve battery life, but no, I never said that, EULAs be damned. It's helped my battery - a lot. On 8.1 I had to keep screen brightness on "low" to get the battery to last more than a few hours, which made the screen really, really hard to see because my eyes, as we know, are not the greatest. On Win10 I can get 12+ hours on a single charge with brightness set to "high", which means it would last even longer on a lower setting (there's a "medium", too).

I mostly upgraded to Win10 to use my bank's official app, which isn't available on Win8/8.1, but the one thing I wanted it for - to deposit checks, which I get a fair amount of each month - isn't working. It tells me it took pictures of the checks successfully, then says it can't read them, and gives me tips on how to take the pictures so they come out better. Reading through the tips, I can see I've done exactly what they suggest, yet the app still fails to read my checks.

The worst thing about Win10 Mobile is the News app. I don't know if I've discussed it before, but I've been addicted to it on Win8/8.1 for years. It shows lists of headlines with a tiny thumbnail next to each one. You click an item and it opens full page with larger pictures, which, if you click on those, can be pinched and swiped from full-size (like the actual size they were published at, which can sometimes be huge) back down to article size. If you swipe left you get thumbnails of all the pictures in the article, and you can swipe through those without the accompanying text, or cycle through them with accompanying text, one picture at a time.

It's the greatest app for looking at pictures, but it's MIA in Win10. You can't change picture sizes anymore - the medium-ish thumbnails found in the articles are completely WYSIWYG, which results in a loss of context because pictures are so often essential to understanding what's going on.

The other thing missing in Win10 News is the entire list of headlines. Now there's huuuuuuuge thumbnails and huuuuuge titles with loooong blurbs, so you have to scroll and scroll and scroll to see even a tiny bit of what's going on. I liked the cleaner, simpler, and for lack of a better example, Drudge Report-style lists (they're much nicer/calmer-looking than TDR, but otherwise it's the same idea) and the fact that the lists were truncated at 3-5 items per topic with no blurbs (you click on a topic name to see the full list of headlines on one page).

There's no truncation in Win10 now, just endless scrolling. It's highly inefficient, and totally breaks my reading flow.

It's gone from:

WORLD

This item
This item
This item

To:

World

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

And you can just rinse and repeat forever. It's awful.

Loose ends

Sep. 16th, 2016 12:35 am
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Can y'all tell I got Comcast back? The truck was here, according to Other Person, just after 8am yesterday. Cable and Internet were back on within a few hours. This re-hooking of our downed-in-the-storm line (has anyone noticed I haven't named this storm? That I will never name it? That it's The Storm That Must Not Be Named? It's marked as "Hurricane Hymen" on my calendar) restored service not just to my apartment but the entire building and the one to our right, which is fully occupied, so it wasn't just us going without, after all.

I called today to get the rest of the credit I was promised for the outage, which lasted 14 days - nine of those because our neighborhood's utility and communication lines were destroyed, another five because whoopsies!, Comcast forgot to hook our particular line back up. The lady who took my call was polite but mystified, because according to her, Comcast had already processed the credit in question and it was for $75, not $25, which was an earlier credit that had previously been applied, so she wondered aloud why I would keep asking for a $25 credit that had already been processed?

Convinced she was confusing this month's outstanding credits with last month's for $94 (which included a $75 credit along with many others) I asked if she'd mind if I log into my online account while she stayed on the line so I could take a look at what she was saying. She pointed out the credits would be applied to next month's bill, not this one. I checked and sure enough, in the column of credits waiting to be applied near the end of the page was one for $75, and another for $25.

THEY JUST TOOK ANOTHER $100 OFF MY BILL FOR REALZ

Folks. They've taken $200 off my bill in the last few months, essentially extinguishing my July and August balances altogether. I'm...simply astonished. After I got done processing this she informed me that while the website will say I owe however much, my total amount due is just $87, and that won't even come due for another month. I haven't paid Comcast more than $10 to keep current since sometime in July, so this is just amazing.

We had people - a husband and wife - over for dinner this weekend and the obvious lack of service at the time came up. The guy was like, "*eyeroll* OMG, Comcast, I hate those motherfuckers, they're the worst." I was like - completely serious: "Uh, yeah - I know, but they're getting better?" only to watch his face hit the floor. But I'll give credit where it's due, even if I was about to start a blog about them after they nearly drove me insane doing the exact opposite of what they're doing now - *not* giving me credits I was promised for all the snarl-ups they were pulling on us back then.

Today I called the city to find out about the credit and extension on bill payment the neighbors claimed was being offered to extended storm outage households, only to be told no such number existed and if I thought I'd reached it in error to hang up and try again. Seriously, there are no such animals. This is why you never listen to your neighbors.

It's like playing Telephone - whatever the truth might be when the first person hears it, by the time it gets to you it's a different story altogether. The truth is my household qualifies for an extension based on good payment history, length of time at this residence, and so on - but those are the only households getting them. That's just business as usual, not in honor of going any length of time without power. Even if it's - innocuous enough in nature, I guess - I hate storytelling.

As to the Great Mystery Of the Simultaneously Malfunctioning Keyboards right after the storm, I think it's been solved. Other Person now tentatively blames the makeshift battery and charger he hooked our laptops to early that morning for shorting our collective keyboard circuitry out. Which...considering I'm not a trained computer tech nor an electrician - is a plausible enough theory, I guess. He does have a volt meter and I'm wondering how it could be used to test said posited theory for correctness.

He also has a now-malfunctioning charging cable and the laptop battery must be pulled and the laptop restarted once every hour or so because it freezes up - which are all issues that did not exist before the storm. It ran like a damn top and I know it because I was the one who fixed it before I gave it to him, and I used it quite often after that - mostly as a file server so I could auto-play music on Youtube while using my laptop for other things.

As to my laptop, two nights ago I removed the keyboard, cleaned under it, pulled off the (many) affected keys, cleaned under those, re-assembled everything, re-sat all the connectors, and had the same non-working keys, so Other Person took it apart a third time to cut a sliver off the top of the keyboard cable to form a new connection to the motherboard, then reassembled everything, re-sat all connectors, and I still had the same non-working keys, so I ordered a replacement off eBay. The damn keyboard cost more than what I sold my entire HP laptop with the bad graphics chip in it for last month - which of course had a perfectly compatible working keyboard, although the left Ctrl key was dead and there was some other non-working key, I think.

In the realm of You Break It, You Own It, I had a whoopsie! of my own a few months back when I smashed Other Person's tablet on the floor while vacuuming (the vacuum hit an end table, the tablet bounced off it and hit the floor with a loud thud!, and with that I was the owner of a fairly new tablet with a badly cracked screen. Go me.). As I like to say: "I don't make many mistakes, but when I do, they're complete fuckups!" I've been so unwilling to own this tablet, in fact, it's been hiding in my file upstairs for months, but with my replacement HP malfunctioning, I've been using it to bang out a few posts.

I hate it as much as I ever did, and OMG, how I hate it, let me count the ways. But I did buy Other Person a replacement with mostly better specs and much more storage, so yeah, at least I have something, however half-cocked it might be, to use now that our laptops are all screwed up.

The city hasn't picked up all the trees. Some, but not all. So it's gone from looking like a war zone to looking like a place that had a war. It's a subtle difference, at best. Our backyard, once a thing of wildly serene beauty, is still a disaster. The front and the bit of land by the road is actual blight. I'm beginning to get a sense of what it must've been like for Hurricane Andrew and Katrina survivors in some of the worst-hit areas. Even what we went through (this was one of maybe the top 20 worst-hit areas in the county, if not the entire state) had to be nothing compared to the damage from more serious storms.

It's changed me, somehow. I think the main change is I was never afraid before, but because the storm left more trees than it took, now I'm fearful of what never bothered me, like the wind. I can't be myself. I can't forget what happened nor what could - not just how bad it was but how much worse it could be. I'm no fool, either, which is why I probably would've been gone already if I just had the funds to go play somewhere else.

The third kitten we brought in about a month ago has been scooting its bottom across the floor to wipe itself every time it takes a dump. Don't ask me how much mopping I do because I can't stand to see his skid marks on the floor. I'd been silent on the topic because I didn't want him to have to go live back outside, but then maybe three nights ago Other Person commented that all the skidding must mean Tab-Tab has worms. I'm like, "Noooooooo, nooooooo, nooooooooo, I've never seen worms in their poops, it isn't possible." All the kittens are enthusiastic coverers so I have to get to the litter boxes pretty quickly, but as long as I'm a) awake and b) home, I do catch and check almost every poop, and I hadn't seen a single worm, so I felt justified in objecting.

But, intrigued by his theory, I immediately looked online for why kittens scoot their butts and yes, worms seem to be the main reason. The cat or kitten could also just be a clean freak (it's like the feline version of OCD, and can occur even when the cat's tested negative for every worm known to humanity). (ETA: even after deworming, Tab-Tab continues to scoot his butt around, so the OCD theory might hold some water.)

Running the clean freak theory by Other Person did not result in a feeling of relief for either of us, so I started catching every kitten I could in the act, lifting them out of the litter box with one hand before they could cover while training a flashlight on their poops with the other, and still I came up dry. Yesterday looked like a rinse and repeat with Tab-Tab, this time in the upstairs litter, which meant he'd be wiping his butt on the already-rain-soaked carpet. I lifted him out, trained the flashlight in, and for once he didn't wipe his butt because I scared him so much screaming "OH MY GOD!!!" that he ran like his butt was, yes, on fire. I thought it was a piece of kitty litter, at first. Then it began wriggling and finally stuck its head out of the poop toward me. My stomach, even thinking about it now...

I'd been suspecting worms based on the looseness of some stools I've seen - but lacking evidence did not want to act. This completely re-arranged yesterday's plans, since we had to go about 20 miles out of our way to a feed store that sells an OTC that a person at the local animal control who I know recommends and says is as good as what the vets prescribe. Which was important, because one thing we don't have right now is the money to drag five cats to the vet for stool samples, weigh-ins, and prescriptions (the vet charges double for each tablet I got at the store, not to mention charges for an office visit and god knows what else).

Other Person, being a little more handy with pilling animals than I think I might be, handled the pill-popping while I stayed on hand to catch any flying bodies or pills. All the cats and kittens seem fine today.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
  • Still no Comcast. 14 days without service. We stopped being considered an outage area on Monday but that meant we were no longer important so we had to get an appointment. Appointment window is from 8am-8pm tomorrow.
  • I don't trust them to show up tomorrow. I don't trust them. I hate Comcast.
  • I'd be mad, y'all, I'd be mad, OK? Anyone who reads me on the regular knows how damn mad Comcast makes me. But they've been paying me off so well I can't complain. Like, Other Person went missing two channels last month after a serious mishap on Comcast's end where we were going to switch the account from my name into his to get a cheaper package but then they pulled a bait-and-switch on the price - after they disconnected my service entirely. Well, for that inconvenience alone, my account was instantly credited $94 - and my bill's only $99 to begin with. This month they've thrown me $25 for the storm, to be applied to next month's bill (already got an email confirmation) and they'll surely pay me at least another $25 because I'm going at least half a month without their line connected to my house, a truly absurd situation to be in. They simply forgot to hook us back up. The longer they forget, the more they owe me!
  • The day after my last post everything in the kitchen began working normally. I'm waiting on the next rain/rains to see how this plays out, because...
  • The roof's still not fixed. It's been maybe eight days since the last rain...two or three storms that were slated to hit us blew right by in the last few days, and while I've been glad for the reprieves, I'm not sure how much longer they will last.
  • The city hasn't come by yet for all the chopped-up trees.
  • Me and Other Person swept and used a blower on the parking lot, then raked our yard and the next door neighbor's on Saturday because no one else is going to and the amount of debris we were dragging inside on our feet was unreal. I used a small push broom, then picked up limbs, branches, and pine cones by hand, then used the same broom as a rake because our rake got broken by one of the neighbors (now fixed) then I bagged the leaves and smaller debris in with our household trash to save on trash bags and tossed it all in the can outside. I have no idea if the city wants storm debris in with the household trash, but after what they pulled on us after the storm, I don't care.
  • I only did the above to get some sun. It seems it's been 50 years since I've felt more than a minute of sunlight touch my skin, and I haven't even lived that long.
  • The city's supposedly offering a credit on our electric bills this month for the extended outage (if you call and ask for it) and an extension on bill-paying (again, if you ask for it). I have to try to remember to call and ask for both. The kitchen whiteboard is full or I'd jot it down on that.
  • There's some stuff I can erase from the whiteboard.
  • The landlord still owes us a hair less than 50% of our combined bills. I don't understand getting paid a hundred every few days. I mean, it works, I guess, but I can never pull the light bill together.
  • All the kittens (including the two I never brought in which sort of just wander around outside - but someone feeds them because they're bigger and heavier than the ones I've got, and act pretty chill, like their lives must be good) survived the big storm. I had all five in here the night the lights came back on. I was like, "Hey, we're having a The Lights Are Back On! party, come on in." Bowie was so thrilled. He loves his siblings.
  • All his siblings - the entire litter - are boys. How does that happen? Two are black, one's a black tuxedo, one's a grey tuxedo, one's a tabby tuxedo and all but the solid black one are tabbies (or, at least, have noticeable stripes). The black tabby's striped from head to toe, light black on dark black. Bowie has really intricate markings on his face but you can only see them in bright light - dark brown on black - with more noticeable striping on the back of his head, and on his neck and tail.
  • I want another apartment. And I hope we get one. I'm scared to live in this building because more trees could fall and I've got to get away from the trees. There are buildings even one row up that look safer.
  • I'm pissed that I want another apartment. Until the storm hit I really enjoyed this one, and I turn apartments over around here so I get to spend extended amounts of time in many of them, so I know we had the best one I've seen yet. I even loved the trees until they started trying to kill us. I don't like feeling like Mother Nature's got it out for me, but after this storm, I'm beginning to wonder.
  • In my head I wasn't staying, even before the storm. I love this apartment but it's so small. It's like every time I bring in one piece of furniture or any other big item I have to rearrange the entire place from upstairs to down to make room for it.
  • I'm getting tired of re-arranging it. Any apartment we switch out for will be exactly the same size.
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

It was finally restored a week after we lost it, Thursday night. Have any of y'all ever gotten PTSD from extended loss of power? I did. For two days - all of Friday, most of Saturday - I walked around in a daze because a gigantic generator was not blowing my ears apart. Not only was the place quiet, it was also breezy (from overhead and table fans) and cool (from real, honest-to-God HVAC A/C).

Lights were on and I could see what I was doing in dark rooms (and oh my God, this place is a cave; I never knew how dark it was until the storm hit) without carrying a flashlight to find my way around - in fact, all I had to do was flick on the nearest wall switch or table lamp. Also, I had a hot shower the same night, so I woke up smelling good and not covered in sweat, like I'd been 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My clothes also smelled clean thanks to running an entire week's worth of laundry.

Amazing shit, I tell you, this modern life. I was no longer used to it.

Takeaways from the storm and spending 7 days without power (CW: if you have a fear of trees falling on your house, you might want to skip this entire post):

  • There is no terror like huge, 50+ foot long trees falling on your house. I mean, First World problems, of course. Bombs falling on your house could be scarier. Landmines and cluster bombs also might have this beat. But other than detritus from acts of warfare and/or the place burning down I can't think of anything worse. Luckily we could've been on either floor when it started but were downstairs when the first tree hit, and stayed there for the rest.
  • What made it scarier: their size, their proximity (the land behind the patio is nothing but trees and brush, the side of the building closest to the intersection was also thickly treed*, the other side of the house had an even denser thicket of well-established trees*, and the parking lot across from our building also had tall trees dotting it*) and the fact that they kept hitting our roof. They couldn't just fall on the ground, oh no; they were so big our house was in the way.
  • Also, that our apartment is not made of brick, stone, or anything even semi-durable. Just wood. And it's not on a foundation, just stilts, in mostly sandy, somewhat unstable soil. Every time we or any of the neighbors run the wash and it hits the spin cycle? Our building does the hula - you can feel the floors spinning underfoot in the same direction as the washer.
  • That I can't describe the sound of trees hitting a house. The first two fell while the lights were on, so it wasn't too bad, because at least I could see what was going on. The second tree knocked the power out and before another hour went by trees were falling again and this time I had no idea if the inside of the place was coming apart. All I can recall is closing my eyes, covering my ears, huddling against the cabinets on the kitchen floor under the counter (probably the safest spot due to the way this place is built), listening to smaller branches brush the roof endlessly, then heavier branches falling, then tree trunks thudding as they hit, and finally the sound of the roof cracking and the floor shifting beneath my feet as the third tree fell.
  • That the fourth tree sounded far away as it hit, though it wasn't. It was the only tree to hit the apartment on the right (the other three hit on the left before inevitably landing across our roof). The fourth tree was also the biggest, an at least 70-foot monster that fell from the outside right corner of our parking lot (each building has its own parking lot) across the top and along the side of that apartment. It was occupied until right before the storm but stayed unoccupied until tonight - the guy couldn't get back in until about three days ago after the tree blocked his front door, the side of his apartment and his entire backyard. The root ball had to be at least 12 feet by six feet. I mean, easily. This tree was so big that I was/still am amazed that it didn't completely destroy this place.

The generator stopped working when Other Person tried to turn it on early Thursday morning. It'd been off since 11 the night before so I had to throw away another $30-50 worth of food - almost everything we'd bought before the storm that we'd managed to save. I'd been to Publix the night before and bought fish but managed to keep it cold in the freezer; almost everything else had to go.

The generator's owner, who works in town though he lives in another county, came by about noon after I called him, but most of the food was gone by then because Other Person hadn't thought to buy ice to hold it until we could get the generator back up, and I slept in so I wasn't even aware of the problem until too late.

He checked the gas, checked the choke, then popped the cap off to check the oil. Guess what the problem was? Luckily we live down the street from an auto store so I sent him out for oil, he came back and added it, and that was that.

This storm was pretty costly. Other Person lost five days pay from his day job over it. I sort of freelance on apartment turnovers, splitting the load between myself and another person, and I was working on an apartment right before the storm hit. I was done with it, actually, but then the storm knocked out part of the stairwell window and the wall around it which sent dirt and debris all over the living room and the bottom half of the stairs. Plaster also got knocked out of the stairwell banister and the wall along the top of the stairwell leading into the bedroom.

One of the workers who came in after me apparently left a bedroom window open before the storm, and other workers trashed the sinks and toilet, and all the floors were just filthy, so I had to clean the place up again. The cleanup was actually easier this time than the last so I'm only adding two/thirds of the original cost to my bill - I'd double my price, especially since re-cleaning it ruined the first normal weekend I could've had since the storm, but the people I cleaned up after were so dirty that even what I just had to go through to clean it up again was sort of a breeze in comparison.

Speaking of my bill, me and Other Person work around here and are still waiting to get paid. Which is fine, but we've wiped out what meager savings we had on crap like $8 a day to keep us in ice the first three and a half days after the storm, $10-12 a day plus $5 for oil to keep the generator going for the next three and a half days, about $60 to keep us in coffee and snacks so we didn't have to depend entirely on outdoor grilling, $15 for a hibachi, at the only store with the only grill that wasn't sold out by then, $20 for a propane grill we got off the landlord's son maybe two days later, $20 for hotplates so I could cook indoors a few days after that, and replacing about $100 worth of food (lost maybe $300 worth - there's so much to replace I'm not even making lists because it's just too overwhelming).

I'm not too worried yet - we're broke and the utility bill's overdue but the lights will be on for a while even given that, we've paid the rent, we got our phones renewed for the month, so we just have more food to replace, next month's rent to save up for in about two weeks flat, and we're two utility bills behind after one of us was out of work for so long and my work got thrown behind, and the landlord still owes us money he probably can't give us too soon because of storm damage costs.

Speaking of the landlord, later on the same day the generator quit working I had two insurance guys in the bedroom with him staring at the ceiling. They'd already had a guy walking around on it so now they were checking inside damage - a stained carpet from one wall almost clear across to the other and stained wood ceiling beams (they turn white from water damage, did you know that?).

By then even the smell of mushrooms and cat shit (and I can't explain either, as I keep a clean house - maybe the the last tenants had the same carpet but didn't take good care of it) had mostly left but up until a day before it was just pure stench rising from the carpet that hit you about halfway up the stairs leading into the room. I'm not sure if the roof's being replaced but an electrician is somehow involved and I kept hearing the owner and landlord throw around the figure "$20,000". The owner looked like he'd die each time it was said.

So the tarp stays on until insurance checks start coming in, I guess...it hasn't rained in maybe five days but I know what happens when it does - the room will get wet and stinky again, and there's nothing I can do except buy plastic sheeting, which I can't afford, cover the entire room in it, sleep downstairs and hope for the best (since it's raining on the bed, too, in like five different places). It's pissing me off because I've told them the tarp isn't working so you'd think they'd get a stronger tarp - the one on there now is the cheapest of the cheap - but nope, they won't.

The kitchen also seems to have electrical damage. Two ballasts in the overhead lighting work only intermittently (like for a few minutes once or twice a day) and my coffee pot and microwave are turning on but then off again real quick when I try to use them. I'm thinking it's a short in the wall from water damage seeping in from upstairs but as it just started yesterday I haven't told the landlord about it yet.

Oh, and Comcast has been out for 12 days now. They've been sending me texts for two days saying, "Service is restored!", exclamation point and all, but of course it hasn't been. I tried earlier (before the last excited! and completely false! text) to get tech support to set an appointment so we can have service by tomorrow night but they have a rule saying if an outage is reported, appointments can't be set until it's resolved, and he said we're still an outage even though everyone else around here has service.

Comcast's line is disconnected from our house and we told them that, but they wouldn't listen. So now we have an ETA of "by tomorrow" but I don't trust them since they keep sending texts saying "service is restored", exclamation point and all. We're blowing through data - I'm $10 over already and Other Person uses so much I can't even imagine.

*The back of the house behind the patio still has most of the trees it started off with. The apartment on the right no longer has any; the landlord took them out, and cleared the huge one that had fallen. The apartment on the left lost most of its bigger trees but still has a few smaller ones. The parking lot still has some trees, including a pretty huge tree on the back left corner. Trees fell in front of my house, behind it, in back of the next row of apartments in front of our place, in back of the next row over from that one, and in front of the buildings directly on either side of us. To take a quick guess, the neighborhood lost at least 20-30 trees, with maybe five of them among the biggest, oldest monsters we had, but many of those are still standing. Most of the fallen trees are huge oaks, including the one that hit my right-hand neighbor's apartment. The trees that hit our roof? One was an oak and one was a huge, longleaf pine.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Thanks for the well-wishes to those who commented. So far we're OK. Four trees fell on my apartment, not three, hitting every corner with one covering the entire length of the middle of the roof. That tree - the bulk of which landed mainly on my and my neighbor's roof - is going to be there for weeks, according to our landlord's latest update, which worries me because the roof/house etc. could fall in (we're up on stilts here in almost pure sand, so the added weight - and this is a huge tree, at least 50 feet long and maybe five feet wide around the trunk - is definitely not good).

The tree damage on our building - and our building alone, out of dozens in this densely packed neighborhood - was so bad (all but the biggest, heaviest, most dangerous tree's since been removed) that people came with cell phones and even professional camera equipment to take pictures and videos. They've gawked, returned to their homes to drag back friends, family and neighbors, and made me feel like this building is a freak show. Not one of them - unless we happened to be mildly acquainted before the storm - asked if there was interior damage or if we/our family/pets came out alright.

Electric and Comcast are still out (tomorrow will mark four days straight without either) and for a few days, most of the AT&T cell phone towers nearby were down so I've been unable to get or stay online (or heck, even make phone calls...had to dust off the dumb phone for that). Now that the towers are back up I can hotspot off my cell phone but I can't keep the batteries charged in my phone or laptop for more than a few minutes at a time (we're using a rigged-up motorbike battery as our charger. It is a...sight).

Water damage upstairs is pretty bad. The floor was splashing-wet for several days and still soaks and wets your feet now, which of course has forced us to trash the whole house since the wettest area blocks the only way in and out of the bathroom.

The utility company's telling everyone up to a week to get power back (but they made damn sure to restore power to this town's richest, ritziest neighborhood first thing the next morning - before they even fixed any traffic lights or shopping centers) so I can't dry the carpet out until at least then.

And when they tell you "crews are working in your area" so you go out to check, the "crews" consist of three guys in a tiny Toyota pickup. Those guys couldn't repair anything major with that tiny truck, much less reconstruct my neighborhood from someone's memory of what it once looked like, which someone will eventually have to do. My landlord's words on it were: "looks like a war zone" and like the aftermath of "heavy bombs like the kind used in warfare". And yes, my building was still the worst-damaged.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Urban Dictionary defines "Comcasted" as losing your internet connection at random, as in, "I was downloading music and got Comcasted!". And while yes, hardy har har, of course, I propose a better definition: Constantly being charged for services you don't want or get (better yet, let's change their name to AOL, since we all know what that means).

God how I miss not having Comcast! Then again, I had to deal with CenturyLink DSL for six months, which, if you've ever had it, you know is just like dial-up! another hell on Earth.

I've had Comcast again for just over two months and in that period of time I've probably spent two hours on the phone with them, blown through two TV boxes, two modems, and been overcharged $19.90, which took the last two months to fix, because I started requesting a refund the first time I was overcharged by $9.95 but didn't get it until a month after being overcharged again.

The package I have now is the same one I had up until fall of 2015, but for some reason this package includes a $9.95 a month charge for an HD signal, which I can't recall paying in the past. But none of our TVs can handle an HD signal, so I have no need to be charged $9.95 a month for Comcast technology that my technology can't process.

Getting the money back has been like pulling teeth.

Some reps have informed me there was no reason not to charge me for this technology, even if I can't use it; others would say I have to accept the charge because it's part of the package, still another told me I can count on being charged again next month because their auditors will not let it go that I'm dropping something from the package that allows me to have the package. At which point I told her they can count on seeing me in court because their auditors don't get to decide how my bill should look.

When I got my bill the other day I saw they'd finally rescinded all $19.90 in HD technology charges but to pay themselves back (!) they charged me $13.90 for no reason at all. I mean, right under the subtracted charge was an added charge of $13.90, meaning in reality I got credited less than $6. I was l-i-v-i-d.

We live not too far from a local Comcast office so we fucking drove there with the bill (and all the other bills) because long before it arrived our modem was taking a giant, month-long crap on our internet speed, so I figured we needed to discuss that, too.

Once there, we were greeted by someone who looked like she'd rather get a root canal than deal with another customer; we looked like we'd just been visited by the money-grubbing gangsters Comcast is comprised of, so of course no one was happy, but we got through it.

She managed to figure out that the $13.90 was an accumulated credit for Ecobill (paperless billing) that had been dropped from my account, resulting in a charge of the same amount (apparently the auditors had already gotten to me). "Do you have Ecobill?" she asked. "Well, I pay my bill online every month", I replied, but the truth is, they've been sending me paper bills from the start and I have no idea why as I thought I was signed up for Ecobill.

She pushed through a $13.90 credit, subject to approval, of course, and gave us a modem so big I practically needed both arms to carry it out. "What am I supposed to do with this?" I asked as she pushed it across the counter at me.

She was not entirely charming. "Use it to get online?" she said.

"OK, what I mean is..." then I paused in order to not lose it over her attitude..."I am getting online! It's like I said, the speed keeps dropping. But I'm getting online."

"Well," she said, nodding at the modem, "that will keep your speed from dropping."

I shook my head. "I don't get it."

"Comcast's been doing firmware updates on the smaller boxes. You have the smaller box at home, that's what you said. This bigger box might help your speed pick up again."

I managed not to say, "OK. Why couldn't you have just said that in the first place?" I was too tired to be full-on disgruntled.

Instead I thanked her for her time and carried the behemoth box out of the building. You could run Microsoft on this thing, I swear, it's so fucking big. But it works. So I guess until they overcharge me again next month for the HD signal my TVs can't get, we're all set for now.