An afternoon with Comcast
Tuesday, 5:45 pm
As I’ve mentioned recently, my television has been unplugged for the last two months and I haven’t missed it. I’ve decided that I’m not going to plug it back in...at least not cable television. The TV will be fine for videos and DVDs. So, it would seem foolish to continue paying for something I’m not using.
When I signed up with Comcast this spring, I got a pretty sweet package deal...$33 for phone, $33 for cable, and $33 for broadband internet. For a total of $99 plus fees and taxes.
The first person I spoke with today said that if I get rid of cable, my total bill will increase $10 over what it is now. Oh-so-very-politely, I pointed out that it doesn’t seem logical to pay more for fewer services. Wasn’t there some kind of bundle I could get?
That person transferred me to the sales department and they told me they could give me a slight discount so that my bill would be $9 less than it is now. Again, ever-so-politely (quite charmingly, actually), I pointed out that it it didn’t seem entirely logical to pay almost the same price for fewer services. Wasn’t there a better bundle available? The sales rep said she’d transfer me to another department where I might get a better deal.
So, off to another department...retentions, I think they called it. The lovely woman and I chatted while she poked around her keyboard. She said she could give me another discount that would make my bill $15 less per month. I sighed and said, “That doesn’t seem like very much of a savings, does it?”
Then she said, “Wait a sec. I think I can give you a better discount. You’ve been a customer since 2005 (they don’t seem to have taken note of my two year hiatus with Verizon) and you’ve been a good customer so I’m allowed to give good customers a better deal. How about $29.99 for internet for 12 months and $44 for digital telephone. I can give you the telephone for $29.99 for three months, too.”
Rather than pressing for more, I agreed. Not sure why. Maybe I could have lengthened the telephone contract to 12 months if I’d tried really hard.
That’s the way things stand now. My cable is already disconnected. At some point in the future, I may just decide to get rid of the phone, too. Haven’t read the fine print on the Comcast contract to see if they permit Vonage, but that’s a possible alternative. Or just getting rid of the land line and using my cell phone instead. I know a couple of people who have done that and they are perfectly happy.
Anyway, I guess I’m committed to being TV-less now. The temptation is well and truly removed.
Dress code for the people
Tuesday, 1:18 pm
Incidentally...I learned that our White House has now imposed a dress code for tourists (as well as visitors and employees). CBS has a little blurb about it along with a short embedded video report. It’s quite interesting. If you plan to visit Washington, DC and take in a White House tour at some point during the day, you will no longer be allowed admittance if you are wearing jeans, tee shirts, shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, flip flops, or sneakers. Sneakers, for crying out loud. That would, of course, include running shoes or trainers...whatever you call them. What person in his/her right mind is going to be hoofing it around Washington, DC in anything other than sneakers/running shoes/trainers that won’t leave your feet destroyed by the end of the day?! Having ‘done’ Washington DC over a 3 day period several years ago, I can speak from experience that walking is the way most tourists get around. I would not have survived without running shoes. As I recall, I wore a pink oxford blouse (tucked in), khaki walking shorts and running shoes and looked quite presentable. This is a really dumb idea.
Can you name them?
Tuesday, 12:55 pm
I found this little presidential quiz over at Jen’s blog. It’s a timed quiz to see how many US Presidents you can name. All you have to do is come up with the 43 names and the quiz will put them in order for you, but if you want a real challenge, try to name all of them in the proper order. I can get all 43 of them, but it took me four tries to name them in the right order. I have a mental block for the order of numbers 13, 14, 15, 30, and 31. It’s a fun diversion.
Very, very quiet
Monday, 4:22 pm
Alrighty then. The lad left a couple of hours ago and the house looks like a bomb went off. I swear that it will take the rest of August to get it back to neat and tidy. I’m taking it a little easy on myself the rest of today and probably little will get done other than shaking my head and wondering where in the world to begin.
So, I shed a few tears after he left and I wandered around the house feeling sad and hating the quiet. It felt as if a major life force had been sucked out of the house. But, then I had a talk with myself and decided that I was being quite silly. He’s not really GONE, he’s just someplace else. And happy. We have had a wonderful summer and have had many a long conversation. And I know that he’s ready to get back to school and see all his friends, but he is also happy to spend relaxed time with his Dad. They both need it. My little talk with myself seems to have mostly worked. I think I’ll be back to normal tomorrow and I also realize that it’s pretty normal to feel sad and a little scattered when someone you love leaves after an extended visit.
In any case, there is now a very long list of Things To Do on my desk and I’m rather looking forward to ticking them off, one by one. Some are gardening projects and finishing the deck and others require dragging furniture around the house. I haven’t rearranged furniture in a while. And, of course, there is sorting the lad’s stuff and washing it so that, when he returns at the end of August, we won’t be working at a frenzied pace to get him packed. Easier on me, easier on him.
And I have finally decided that grass growing in the side front yard is never going to happen unless I get a load of topsoil in the spring. The grass I planted this year has completely fried and has been replaced with quack grass. At least it’s green, but it’s not the effect I was going for. Top soil in the spring for SOME grass and for seriously large raised beds with heavy mulch. That’s what I should have done this year. Graphing that out will be a winter project. It’s just going to aggravate me to death looking at it for the rest of this season, though.
Wringing out the last bits
Friday, 10:51 pm
Blog inattentiveness alert - the lad is leaving on Sunday, three days early. We’re dashing around like maniacs getting everything done that needs to be done and going out to dinner and taking in movies before he leaves. Sort of cramming all of August into the next couple of days. There was another slight change of plans. The lad will come back here about for about three days before leaving for school toward the end of August.
That means he’ll leave most of his stuff here until then. Meanwhile tearing all his gear apart to separate out what he will leave here and what he needs to take with him for August. I like that idea, actually. It makes this sudden leaving less difficult and, I’m pretty sure, will make sending him off to school much easier, too. I can also spend the month of August washing his stuff a bit at a time and getting it ready to go so that his last couple of days will be a lot more relaxed.
He’s really looking forward to getting back to school now. It’s that point in the summer where the roomies spend a lot of time yacking on the phone, making plans on who should bring what and terrifying parents with snippets of overheard conversations. I did make the remark that he might want to carve out a little bit of time in his busy schedule to do school work. How grand to be 20 years old. Not that I’d want to be again, but it surely is fun to observe and listen to the enthusiasm and plans.
Coming up for air
Wednesday, 8:40 pm
I’ve been totally immersed in the Harry Potter world for the last 3 days and 3 books. It’s time to come up for air and take a look around. The world is still more or less in one piece, it appears.
My television has been unplugged for the last two months, so I’ve been spared the most egregious excesses in so-called news coverage. Like the extensive coverage of Lindsay Lohan’s arrest this week. From what I read elsewhere, you’d never know that, as far as television is concerned, any other news existed. It seems as if I’m not missing much by not having the television plugged in.
The question is...will I plug it back in this autumn? I don’t know yet. You’d think that if I could get along without it for this long, maybe I could get along without it for a lot longer. Maybe a Netflix (or Blockbuster) subscription in place of cable would be a good substitute.