Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

September, 2011:

Communication has been restored

What a week. And this without a hurricane.

To start, sometime over the weekend our phone service died. The ‘fault’ was reported first thing Monday morning. Then Michael left island, and I sat here alone for three days waiting for someone to show up to fix it. I used my competing service provider’s, prepaid minute cell phone to call the phone company’s main support number. The first follow up call lasted about 10 minutes and ended with the revelation that their computer system couldn’t access my fault report so they couldn’t help me. I was instructed to call back later. The next time I was simply left on hold for ten minutes before hanging up.

On Wednesday, I drove into the office. (Note that in spite of lower prices per barrel, gasoline here still costs $6.40US per gallon so even though it’s a short drive it isn’t necessarily a cheap drive.) I was told that the technician had my information and would be dealing with the problem that day. Today, Thursday, I called the local office to find out where the heck he was. I was told again that someone would be getting in touch with me. I should just wait.

While I waited, I figured that I would verify that my Unlimited International Email with Blackberry was working. It’s a great deal (only $19.99/month, turn it off and on at will, and a godsend when we travel abroad), but it didn’t work last time we tried to use it. So we activated it today, September 1st, in advance of our upcoming trip to Mexico. Of course, it did not work. So I spent about 45 minutes on tech support with that phone company getting that service working correctly.

Finally, the landline guy showed up. He checked the box at the pole. No problem there. He checked the three different phone jacks in the house. No luck. We traced the conduit that carries the phone line all the way around the garage because years ago other phone techs broke the wire inside the original conduit that ran under the house. Still no luck. I had to move the shelving unit away from the wall in the office so he could get to the wires back there – completely unproductive unless you count the slightly uncomfortable conversation we had about the semi-nude photograph of me that was tucked away in the office. But still no luck with the phone line. Eventually, plenty of sweat, lots of time, and two big glasses of ice water later, he realized that there are two boxes on that original pole, fixed the problem, told me I still look pretty good (wink, wink), and went on his way.

That all behind me, I figured I would post a blog detailing my days sitting shiva for my phone service. Guess again. My own blog would not open on my computer. I walked away, worked out, showered, came back, and it still wouldn’t open. So I called my good friends at godadddy.com. Diagnostics there indicated that all was fine with my website. They could see it on their network computers and on other ‘external’ computers they keep for that reason.  The problem must be on my end. But of course. Where else?

Not to worry. I’m a doctor after all, and I’m accustomed to methodically working through a problem list. First step, pick Michael up at the ferry and see if his laptop or iPad would open the website. Nope. What about other websites we host through godaddy. Yup, no problem. It was just mine. OK. So I whipped off emails to a few family members and friends (in the US and here in Anguilla) who can generally be found at or near their computers asking them to try to open the site and sat back to wait for the results. (Insert the waiting music from Jeopardy.)

As hoped, reports quickly started pouring in. Lynn in Tennessee could open the site. Gordon in Illinois could likewise. OK, so it’s just Anguilla. Curious. But wait, Lisanne a little way west of me could also access the page. So it wasn’t just Anguilla. It was only me. Well, not so. My final report came from Melinda on the east end. She could NOT view the website either. So what did that tell us? West of me all the way to Illinois, the site could be viewed. East of me it could not. Sadly, with the time zone difference, requesting that my friends in across the pond in England give it go was out of the question. There was no other option but to call the phone company again (so soon?) and see what I could learn.

In all fairness, Kenecia was very eager to help. We opened. We closed. We pinged (or more accurately did not ping). She tried everything she could think of and then told me she’d have to escalate the problem to a supervisor and that someone would call me back. Yeah, right. I’ve heard that before. However, surprise, surprise, 15 minutes later she called me back. Was my computer a laptop? Well, yes it is. Could I step outside with the laptop and see if I could access the page outside? SAY WHAT?

I didn’t really say, “what”, though. I actually said, “sure” and proceeded to walk out of the office, out the door and stood approximately 8 feet on the other side of the window from where I had just been sitting. All the while, I’m telling Michael that she wants me to try to load the page from outside like that’s going to make any differenc………………WAIT. What is this? You are kidding me! It opened! No way. It freakin’ opened. Michael, I called, try to open it now on your laptop inside the house. Yup, now it opens on his laptop. Unbelieavable.

I went back in the tell Kenecia and I’m laughing and telling her how I thought she was flat out crazy but that damn if it didn’t work. Why did it work? And then she starts laughing because she has no idea why it worked either. And we both thinks it’s so funny that she even wastes her time by putting me on hold to ask the supervisor who told her to have me try it why it worked. And the supervisor has no idea why it worked either.

So I tell Kenecia that it’s a good thing I have access to my blog again because this is exactly the sort of thing I write in that very blog. And we laugh some more. And I thank her again – for the help, for the blog topic, and most of all just for the laugh.