Archive for December, 2006

Fun with Cable

16 December 2006 at 1:11 pm
by Jonah

Berck called our cable company Adelphia as soon as we discovered that the server in our apartment was inaccessible. We have a dynamic IP address (which means it moves around) with our cable plan, because to get a static IP address would have cost a ridiculous amount of money. However, our IP address hadn’t changed since we moved into the apartment.

That all changed when Comcast aquired Adelphia sometime last week. When Berck call up Adelphia and asked for our new IP address, they told him, “Just a moment, sir; I’ll look that right up for you,” followed by, “Uh, it appears I can’t access it.” Berck kept calling until he got someone who explained it. Our IP address information was stuck in a netherworld between Adelphia and Comcast, and customer service reps from each couldn’t access it. BUT… one day the transition would be complete, and someone at Comcast should be able to figure it out. In the meantime, we would keep calling each day.

Berck decided that I should perform this task. I called on Thursday night and got the same response. “I’ll be happy to look that up for you, ma’am. Uh, it looks like I can’t access it.” I pressed my luck and asked the fellow helping me if there was anyone there who might be able to. He put me on hold for while and then came back and assured me that he had asked everyone.

Yesterday, Berck said, “Well, is it time to call Adelphia again?” This time there was a different greeting that said a name other than Adelphia. I waited while different hold music played until a chipper young lady answered with the same strange name that I couldn’t quite catch. I wondered if I had selected the wrong 800 number out of Berck’s call history. I asked her if this was Adelphia.

“Well, this is the number for several companies, including Adelphia and Comcast.” I explained what I needed, and she said she would transfer me to the proper department. More hold music and then a fellow answered and said I had been transfered to sales and he would transfer me to technical support. I then ended up talking to someone in Birmingham, who said I needed to be transfered to someone who dealt with Colorado subscribers. Transfered yet again, I was talking to a young lady who sounded East Indian and who I could barely understand. I told her I needed my IP address. She asked me what kind of Windows I used and told me I could access it from my computer. I explained again that I was on the other side of the country and I didn’t even use Windows. She put me on hold for a while and then came back with a number. Berck punched it into a browswer window, and Our Dumb Blog popped up! It was no longer stuck in its netherworld.

And so here we are.

Very disassembled engine

15 December 2006 at 9:10 pm
by Berck

Automotive Repair

15 December 2006 at 9:06 pm
by Jonah

Southern Tour — Day 6, Stuck in Memphis with the Mobile Blues Again

14 December 2006 at 5:12 pm
by Jonah

Berck declared that we had to do laundry yesterday, because it had been 5 days and he was out of underwear. Fortunately, the house’s new washer and dryer were being delivered. The refrigerator also arrived, so now we can keep the few remaining cans of Dr Pepper inside it. Unfortunately, the refrigerator wouldn’t make ice. Berck’s dad finally figured out that you had to hold down the water lever until water came out (a really long time, since it has to snake through all the tubing used to make it cold and then reset the ice tray.

I washed a load of sheets in the new front loading washer, after I went out to buy a bottle of HE detergent. Then I put them in the dryer, but the dryer kept saying that the filter needed to be cleaned. Being a brand new machine, we knew that wasn’t the problem, that there must be a blockage in the duct to the vent outside. I finally got the thing to quit beeping and shutting off by pulling the hose out of the wall and just letting it vent into the laundry room.

A guy came out this morning to look at it. He stuck a snake through the outside vent in and announced that he couldn’t get it through. There’s an indentation of the garage that separates the laundry room from the outside wall. This garage is the only one I’ve ever seen that’s painted and spackled. There’s a little hump of drywall along the floor of the indentation of the garage where the dryer vent goes, so the guy hacked through it and exposed the duct. It looked like someone had stepped on it, smashing the duct so that it was a wonder any air could go through it at all. Of course, then some idiot drywalled over the smashed duct instead of straitening it out or replacing it… a perfect example of “it’s not my job.”

As for the other appliances, we can’t use the dishwasher or the range, because when Berck’s dad bought the house, the developer agreed to swap them out for a quieter dishwasher and a gas range, only they haven’t done it yet. Berck’s dad hasn’t bought a microwave yet either, so we can’t even boil water.

Berck called the machine shop to see if the head was ready this afternoon. It had indeed been warped, and now it was all ground down to flat again. We took Berck’s dad’s ’96 Miata back over to South Memphis to pick it up. Berck insisted on putting the top down again. As we drove along I-240, we started smelling antifreeze. By the time we pulled into Napa, Berck announced that the engine was hot and switched off the engine. We coasted into a parking place as steam poured out from under the hood. It was like experiencing deja vu. Berck opened the hood to expose antifreeze squirting everywhere from somewhere behind the engine. With my Gerber and an enormous amount of effort, Berck managed to pull the offending hose out from back behind the blistering engine and was able to get a similar sized piece of hose from the auto parts store, in whose parking lot we were so conveniently located.

$60 (for the engine head shave), $1.07 (for the hose), a bucket of water, an hour, and a lot of grunting later, we were on our way back home. We got to the house in time for Berck’s dad and grandmother ready to go out to a very late lunch or slightly early supper.

We went to a Memphis original called The Half Shell that Berck’s dad used to eat at when he was our age, only this is a new branch way out at the city limits where all the new mortgage farms are being built. Berck’s dad ordered a dozen oysters on the half shell that we wolfed down immediately. I don’t think I’ve had raw oysters since I was seven. I haven’t known what I’ve been missing since. Now I understand why people eat them.

I ordered the crab cakes, which were pretty bad. Berck’s dad complained, and our waiter took them off the bill. Everything else was delicious, including the huge plate of fried mushrooms served with horseradish sauce.

Grandmother couldn’t get out of the air mattress by herself last night, so Berck’s dad made a platform out of boxes to put it on for tonight. He tried to get her to look at beds online today, but she didn’t want any of them.

Berck is going to work I don’t know how long on the car tonight, now that he can put it back together again.

Southern Tour — Day 5, New Digs

13 December 2006 at 6:11 pm
by Jonah

Berck and I spent the night at the new house last night. I had to literally make our bed. We got up and fortified ourselves on salt & vinegar potato chips, the breakfast of champions, and set to work on the car.

Berck decided to get some sanding pads to clean the gasket sealer off the top of the engine block, since our scrubbing with carburetor cleaner had only marginal results. The rest of the contents of the storage units arrived after noon, and the house got a lot fuller with disassembled furniture and unpacked boxes. It also meant the appearance of the drill press, so Berck could drill through the stud stumps in the catalytic converter. The only problem is that we couldn’t find the chuck key to change the drill bit. We searched through all the boxes marked workshop but to no avail. Finally, I went out to Lowes to try to buy a new one. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any big enough. So I found a Home Depot; they had larger ones, but I was still 1/16th inch short. I looked at the drill press they had on display, pulled its chuck key off the side of it, and thought about putting it in my pocket and walking out with it.

I informed Berck of my failure when I returned. He called his dad, who said he would look for one at Sears. A little later he returned with success. He had gone into the Home Depot and told them his drill press he had just gotten didn’t have a chuck key, so they went in the back and gave him one. I guess if they won’t sell you one they might give one to you.

The end result is that we don’t have to buy a new catalytic converter. All of the stuff we ordered has arrived except for the stuff we called in this morning. Berck called the guy at the machine shop who told him to “check wi’ me mawr e’nin,” and he told him, “Hmm, at’ll be MAWR e’nin.”

Grandmother decided that she absolutely had to move into the new house today, despite not having a bed yet. So now the thermostat is turned to 80 degrees. We closed the vent to our room and will probably sleep with the window open. After Berck cleared an area of her room of boxes and inflated an air mattress for her, she asked Berck’s dad, “I thought you said you had a comforter I could use?” He set up a TV for her in there and gave her a quilt.

Yesterday Berck’s dad took her to the doctor for a persistent cough she’s got that she’s been complaining about constantly. When the doctor came in to see them and asked how she was feeling, she smiled and answered, “Oh, just fine!” When they left, Berck’s dad asked her if the doctor had given her anything for her cough. “No, he just said if it wasn’t gone in a week to come back and see him.”

Berck’s dad is a physician himself, so he was furious that he’d gone through the trouble of taking her to the doctor if he wasn’t even going to do anything to treat her symptoms. Berck and I went over to Aunt Robin’s house last night to meet his dad to go out to dinner, and I popped in to say hi to grandmother. She asked if I could do her a favor and gave me a prescription and a $20 bill (because clearly I’d have time to fill it on the way for the three of us to go out to eat but her son hadn’t on the way home from the doctor’s visit). “I just don’t want to bother him,” she said.

Berck’s dad rolled his eyes when I told him this and complained to the pharmacist, when we stopped at a Walgreen’s after supper, that this was a waste of time, filling a prescription for a placebo. We got back, and Berck’s dad took the prescription back to his mom. He came out of her room furious. “You know what she just told me? ‘I forgot to tell you…’ The doctor gave her a cortisone shot.”