Sunday, September 26, 2010

Don't EVEN Tell Me Its Working - On Our Land Day 15

Since I was foolish enough to volunteer to call the TV company, I drag my butt out of bed and head toward the car at 8am. I figure it'll just be a quick call once I get into cell range (silly me) so I take Zen with me and don't bother grabbing my purse.

Zen loves the ride, of course, though there are no cows for him to say hello to today. As we get to the bottom of our dirt road I realize that I'd left before we turned the generator on, and if they re-set the TV box, it needs to have power.  Fortunately, back home, Quantum gets my mental message.

Pulling over on the side of the road near the train trestle, I growl my way through the voice menu (why on earth use a voice menu if the darn things don't understand English) and finally get through to a human. It takes me several transfers and nearly an hour to get my message across. Finally a very nice young Southern lady says that she'll escalate the situation and that someone should call me from my local office within their 20 minute response window. This girl needs a raise. She instantly elevates my mood, jokes with me, actually gets that I live in the middle of nowhere and handles the situation.

By this time I am jonesing for a cup of coffee, since I'd left before we started the hot water. I also need a bathroom desperately. I look around the car and find slightly over a dollar in change. Hopefully that'll be enough. I get to the 7-11, use their bathroom, fix up some coffee and as I'm trying to pay, I get a call from the TV folks. But it's not some guy from the local office, its some other chick, calling to find out what I want. "I want to speak to the local office." I guess they pre-call to see if the local office really needs to bother or something. Well, that's my 20 minute window blown to heck. Now it'll be another 20 minute window for the local office to actually call.

Zen and I pull out of the tiny 7-11 parking lot to make room for other customers and go to the grocery parking lot across the street. I was slightly short on money for the coffee, but the clerk was kind enough to let me slide. However now my nose is full of the scent of breakfast taquitos, which I couldn't afford. Nor did I grab the key for the apartment, in case my stomach gets grumbly again, which it is threatening to do.

Fortunately I did grab the novel I'm reading, so I sip my coffee and alternate between trying to read, growling at the non-ringing phone and watching the early-morning store customers. By the time I'm out of coffee and wishing I could have another cup, the local office guy still hasn't called. I give Zen some water (fortunately I had bottles in the truck from the other day) and read some more. At last the phone rings. I answer it. Dead air. I look at the number - its local! - dial it back and get voice mail. (Why do we call it dialing anymore? I haven't had a phone with an actual dial on it in 20 years. But I haven't heard a word to replace it yet, beyond "punch in.") I wait a few minutes and decide to call the main number back. As I'm on the phone with their menu, I get another call from the local guy. I try answering that, but the call drops again. I call the guy back and once again reach voicemail.

A few minutes later, Chris the local guy finally reaches me. He tells me he's having trouble with his phone this morning. As I begin to explain my problem the phone goes dead again. Or maybe he hung up? I wait several minutes and he doesn't call back.

By now I am getting disgusted, plus I'm concerned that Quantum will be wondering where I am. It's more than 2 hours since I left the house. I wonder if he'll drive out to calling range and try to contact me. Unbeknownst to me, somewhere around this time, back at home, the TV flickers to life. Quantum had found my left-behind purse and was starting to get concerned, knowing I wouldn't be driving around town without it. But now he thinks (rightly or not, who can tell?) that someone I talked to reset the TV and figures everything's good.

I start driving towards home. Near the trestle I stop and try Chris the local guy again. Voice mail. I call the main number, make my tedious way through the menu once again and get another woman. The good news is that like the lady I'd spoken to earlier, she's intelligent, understanding and speaks English.

She re-escalates the process. "I'm not even sure how much more cell phone minutes I have left," I tell her, "and the battery is close to dead." In the far distance I notice what look like a pair of elk bounding through the field. She says that once again they have a 20 minute window to get back to me. "Probably at least by 30 minutes." I read some more, pet the puppy, who is being wonderfully supportive and loving, and is the only reason I'm not screaming or in tears by now.

20 minutes after I hang up with her, still no call. I wait an extra 10 minutes more and give up. It's 11:46, and I'm tired of this.

As I reach the door to the trailer I hear music. "Don't EVEN tell me that blasted thing is working!" Of course it is. By now my bladder is screaming again. I dump my book on the table, toss the puppy's leash at Quantum and race for the bathroom.

The door is hanging open, and with Quantum dealing with the puppy, Squeaky takes the opportunity to slip out the door. Quantum ties down the puppy and runs out after the little sneak. Out of the bathroom, I slam my knee into one of the knobs on the cabinets that line our hallway. The bruise is going to be nasty. Squeaks runs under the trailer and makes us crazy for 20 minutes. I'm crawling under one end, Quantum under the other. CK standing guard where he can see both sides of the trailer at once. We locate the little bugger near the rear wheel, and I send CK for something to make a treat noise. Just then the little monster comes up the steps and asks CK to let him in.

The rest of the day is relaxing and productive, with Quantum working on the corral and me creating an amazing carrot recipe that I'm going to put into my cookbook.

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