Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fifty pounds of candy and no dial tone

Early yesterday evening I was steeling myself for the reality of going back to work for the next four days. I had not driven my car very much during my four days off - I was chauffeuring my mom around each day, shopping and to a doctor's appointment and to my brother's house and out shopping again and to my brother's house again, and she prefers us to take her car - so I never had an opportunity to fill my tank up. My Tercel holds a little more than 330 miles worth of fuel, though I can push this to nearly 400 miles with the fuel economy benefits realized on long-haul non-stop trips. My commute is almost exactly 66.6 miles each day, so in a four-day rotation I rack up 266.4 miles. I was actually at the 271 mile mark last night and needed to refill, so I took my car out to a local gas station.

Before I left I put on some eggs to boil and asked my mom to keep an eye on them. She reminded me that I had wanted to haul my black and orange Rubbermaid storage container full of candy over to my house during these days off, since come Halloween I will have a hole in my arm from a 12:00 blood donation and will be restricted as to heavy lifting.

Dang, heavy was right. How much candy is in here?, I wondered. Fortunately there was a scale nearby which I had last used to weigh my luggage before my last trip to Ireland. I made a little platform out of a bundle of rolls of duct tape, subtracted out a tare amount of three pounds for the duct tape and the case itself, and rounded out an answer.

Fifty pounds.

Of candy.

For Halloween.

And still I'm worried that I might run short again.

I got the gas without incident, though I'm always expecting an incident at that gas station. Last week I was getting gas under the same circumstances there when a large rental truck rolled up to one of those donation dumpsters where people collect your donations of clothing and toys and then sell them for a profit. Two guys got out, one of them in sweat pants with one leg down and one leg up. Most people just look at someone like this and think "Idiot", but I look at them and think "He's carrying drugs." I read somewhere that that's what the one leg up, one leg down is supposed to indicate: carrying drugs, looking to sell. So if a schmuck like me knows that, then I sure hope that people whose business it is to spot drug dealers know that, too. In which case, we can again look at a person engaging in such obvious, flagrant dumbassery and say, "Idiot."

Anyhoo, I got my gas and rolled up the long hill to my house. I was able to snag a parking place out front - hooray, hooray - and I hauled the fifty pound box of candy up onto the porch and through the front door.

While I was there I decided to water my plants and check my Caller ID to see who had called. There was a "Private Name, Private Number", and for a moment my heart thrilled that it might be my friend calling to tell me that she had finally realized what a huge mistake she had made ten years ago, and maybe it would be fun to get together and go driving around looking at the leaves and maybe come back to my house later for a private viewing of my paintings. I switched on the phone to call the answering service to check for messages, and I heard...


My phones were dead. Well, not dead, exactly; they still have their Intercom function working, so the phones are still operating. There was just no longer any dial tone.

Why? I don't know. I paid my bill on time - I pay all of my bills on time, except on those occasions when I don't. I didn't notice any wires dangling outside my house, nor any intruders lurking within who had cut the phone lines moments before I had arrived. I tried to call Verizon's customer service number on my cell phone, despite the fact that it was over two hours since the end of their scheduled hours, but the strain consumed the last drops of juice from my phone, which I hadn't charged in over four days. So once I got back here, I went on Verizon's website and filed a complaint - well, a "repair request." I was advised that they would get to it promptly, and the earliest they would be able to get to it would be October 31.

A friend who has worked in the telecommunications field tells me that this is B.S. - for No Dial Tone issues the response time is supposed to be within 24 hours, due to 911 considerations. I checked my phone remotely today - I called it from my car - and the fact that I was immediately kicked over to the answering service tells me that I still don't have dial tone.

So, anyway. I'd really like to have dial tone back. I plan to make some long-distance calls Halloween night, and I can't do that without dial tone. I'm paying nearly $1.70 a day for the privilege of having a phone and unlimited national long distance, and I'd like to be able to take advantage of this whenever I get the opportunity. We'll see how long this takes, and how much of a refund I'm going to be requesting.

And if you're looking for some candy on Halloween, I've got fifty pounds of it.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'll be more than happy to help you with any leftover candy. :-)

I hope your phone gets fixed soon. That has to be beyond annoying.

dee said...

There is a front page story in USA Today this morning about this very thing. You are not alone in your outrage.

Anonymous said...

Hey Harold!
Thanks for the card! I just got it today! I hope you're safe with 50 lbs of candy! We just had trick or treaters that my dorm invited from the local catholic school. There were probably about 75 kids. I almost ran out of things!! I hope you get your dial tone soon!

See you soon!

PS I don't have any usernames or websites, thus the anonymous post!

D.B. Echo said...

Hey, Dylan! Glad you got the card! And I hope you're having a great time in college!