Monday, June 8, 2015

Satisfactory resolution

It's Monday, friends, so here we are again.  Kind of a habit, isn't it?  But hopefully not a bad one, as it certainly isn't for me.

Permit me to begin by stating emphatically that this is a Duggar- and Jenner/Kardashian-free zone.  Since there's so much out there on those subjects collectively, my input would only be redundant at this point.

If you'll recall, I believe I had touched on the frustration that we've experienced over these past few weeks with Time Warner Cable, our local cable TV provider.  Note that here in Kentucky each geographic area is awarded a single cable TV "franchise," and Time Warner and its forerunners under previous ownership (Telecable, TCI, Insight, et. al.) have held said franchise for as long as I can remember.  So it's not possible to simply switch to another cable provider, although satellite is available from multiple vendors, or I could just do without channels beyond the normal broadcast options.

Anyway, to recap, we have had problems with the on-demand programming that is included in our cable subscription.  Could not access the service, the box would simply display the message "Service not available.  Please try again later."  Maddening.

Three cable boxes, two service calls at our home and countless customer service and technical support calls later, we were still experiencing the same issue.  I called TWC Wednesday night, after a technician had visited the day before and proclaimed all to be well, as it turned out not to be the case. I spent about forty minutes on the phone with a pretty helpful gal, who appeared to understand the frustration this had caused, and she set up a service call for Friday.

The technician called and then arrived a little after noon last Friday.  He was pretty young, but polite and extremely thorough, quizzing me on what our issues were and what we and TWC had each done in hopes of resolving this issue.  He then used a meter to gauge our signal strength and said that our incoming signal was good, but the "return," which included commands we send back to the cable company, was not.  He then began to examine our connections (note:  the neighborhood "pedestal" where multiple houses connect to the service, is in our backyard, which is convenient in times like these, and not much of a problem for us, since that pedestal, plus a similar item for the phone company and an electrical box are all hidden behind shrubs) and found that things had not been connected properly in some time, that we had too many connections open, and that the signal quality from pedestal to our house was suspect.

Nearly two-and-a-half hours later, service completely restored, and he even improved my internet connection.  He observed that I would get better performance from a newer modem than the 2007 model that the cable company provided me when I first connected that service and advised me to buy one rather than lease theirs, which was a good bit of advice.  About the only downside to this is that he inexplicably ran a cable out of our yard, under a fence, along the outside of that fence in my neighbor's yard and then to my house.  This will eventually be buried, of course, but my neighbor was puzzled and somewhat displeased.

So all's good there.

That created a bit of a chain reaction, as one of the rooms in which we eliminated cable is where my treadmill resides.  Not a problem, since I generally watch movies while exercising, and I had been contemplating using my iPad instead of a conventional TV for that purpose.  So I reoriented the treadmill to the opposite wall and removed the small TV that was sitting atop a dresser in one of our spare bedrooms.  My wife and I went to clean that room a bit (treadmills are really dirty, if you hadn't noticed) and our vacuum began acting up.

So I decided to see what the problem was, as it would work if the rotating brush head was not connected.  I took out my Allen wrenches and took the brush head apart.....and hours later finally got it back together and functional (I think).  Turned out that we had vacuumed up a small cardboard cutout that had clogged the path into the vacuum.  That was the easy part, as it turned out.  This head involved fifteen screws and many, MANY moving parts.  Will update here if it ends up that it's not working, as I had opined to my wife that, well, if I can't get it back together, we can always replace it, since the vacuum is something close to twelve years old.  And if you're wondering, it's a Miele, solid German equipment.  We bought this after burning up two Hoovers and a Panasonic in short order way back when, and have not had a minute's trouble with this Miele.

As you can imagine, I'm happy not to be wrestling with something that doesn't work this morning, so I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.  Have a good week.


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