In the Country of the Web-blind

In the Country of the Web-blind

Let’s get this out of the way first: yes, this is 1WP (1st World Problems). 😉

There are many people who have much worse situations, even in this country, just in the past twelve months. I was peripherally involved with the Santa Rosa fires in Northern California, for example. We did donate as well to hurricane relief…we like to help when we can.

Okay, with that bit of perspective established…

Up until a few minutes ago (around 9:00 AM Pacific), we had been without the internet at our house since about 5:00 PM Pacific Thursday night.

That takes us down!

It doesn’t just mean that we can’t visit social media.

Without the internet (which is provided by cable):

  • We don’t have phone service. Our reception here is not good, so AT&T gave us a MicroCell tower. I’m not the only one where that has happened. If you have AT&T and your reception is bad, go to the AT&T store and tell them. What happened for us, and what I’ve heard has happened with other people, is that they can check your address. If reception there is bad, they just give you this device. Without that, we don’t have cell reception. We have it a couple of blocks away, but when we get to the house, it dies. You can also buy those towers…I see them used at Amazon for about $120, and I’d heard they were about $300 when we got ours
  • We don’t have TV. We almost never watch anything except through our Fire TV family (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) devices. That requires internet. We also don’t have non-Fire TV. However, we did get a bundled over-the-air antenna for $5 recently…it’s normally $19.99. AmazonBasics Ultra Thin Indoor TV Antenna – 35 Mile Range ( at AmazonSmile*) . I hadn’t set it up, but did yesterday. When I did the scan, we got (drum roll)…two channels! 🙂 One of them seemly oddly appropriate: a channel called Decades. It’s all nostalgia TV…they were “binge showing” (running a marathon) of Get Smart! A movie also was on before that with Richard Dreyfuss playing Al Haig when President Reagan was shot. I couldn’t look it up easily in that situation, but I now know it was called “The Day Reagan Was Shot”. I have no idea how accurate it was, but it was interesting. The picture would sometimes break down into squares…I moved the antenna a bit this morning, and it seems better
  • We don’t have Alexa, which we use…a lot! One of the big things is that our Echo family (at AmazonSmile*) controls our lights. In one situation is particular, the light is very hard to reach to turn it on and off manually. That was quite inconvenient

No TV. No phone. No internet.

Yow!

It meant that I “missed a deadline” yesterday, although it’s only my deadline to do a Bookish Birthday every day. I’ll do the one for yesterday today…I do have a lot of catching up to do! I could just let it slide, but it will be easier next year if I already have it done. That was frustrating.

Now, an obvious question is why didn’t I just go somewhere else to use the internet?

I had to be home for the cable repair person.

When my Significant Other (SO) called Friday morning, they gave us an appointment for noon on Saturday.

I didn’t want to take a chance that they would call and say they could show up early, so I didn’t leave.

Good thing!

I checked online how long the window would be for an appointment (I’ll explain how shortly), and it said two hours.

Well, they hadn’t showed by 2:00 PM yesterday. I was able to go out on the street and get texts (and that’s how I checked the appointment window, but that type of search was very spotty), so I texted my SO who was at work. My SO called…and they said that because it was an outside line, not the house, it was a twelve-hour window from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm!

Might have been nice if they’d told us that at first, but I would have been okay…if they showed up at all.

They didn’t.

My SO is retiring Friday (January 12) and is reasonably at the office both weekend days this weekend, helping prepare the transition for the office (my SO is a swell person 🙂 ).

That’s why I had to be home to meet them.

When my SO called this morning, they said that our appointment was canceled yesterday (no techs available), but they didn’t have a phone number for us, so didn’t let us know. This is despite that they get a phone number from us whenever we call them, and I would bet it’s on the account somewhere…I haven’t checked for sure yet, though.

That’s frustrating (even though I’m a very calm person…it was frustrating in the sense of stopping me, and yes, I had some emotional reaction to the whole situation). I could have gone to my office yesterday and worked if I’d known.

The tech showed up this morning at about 8:00 AM, and zap-zoom, it was done in under half an hour!

The first thing I did when I was told I had the internet? Ask Alexa what time it was…nice to hear that voice again! 😉

It’s worth noting how the

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

dealt with it.

It still showed the time. 😉 Our cable box didn’t, by the way.

One weird thing is that it continued to show the same calendar reminders, which in this case, happened to be for medication for the dogs (they get monthly meds). It kept telling me that it was due “tomorrow”. Since I alone give the meds, to avoid any confusion, there wasn’t any risk…but I can see situations where it could have been a problem.

A really nice thing it does, though, is show an orange line at the bottom of the screen when it doesn’t have internet…that was my canary in the coal mine for status.

What did I do for a full day without the internet?

I read. 🙂

I finished several issues of Fortean Times, which I read on the Zinio app on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7. Fortunately, I had already downloaded some.  It is consistently the best writing I read, including books. I did read books. While I keep almost everything in the cloud, I do always have some books on my Fire (and on my Kindle EBRs…E-Book Readers). I keep a couple of long “emergency books”, just like I used to have p-books (paperbooks) in the car and on my person.

I would go out to the end of the block (but I could still see the house, in case they showed up) and I could get a couple of bars…not enough for some functions, but it would pick up my e-mail that way. Text always seems to be the easiest thing to get, and I sometimes got those in the house.

I think that gives you a pretty good sense…and I’m starting to feel more normal again.

Oh, I did want to talk about Friday morning!

When the internet went out on Thursday evening, I assumed it was just an intermittent outage. We did get the house rewired in 2017 which was supposed to limit those, but the weather hasn’t been great, and I thought it might be connected to that.

When my SO was leaving for work, it was a boomerang exit. I was told there was a cable down. I went out to look, and yes, a line at least 15 meters (50 feet) long was down…and it crossed in front of our driveway. My SO parks at the curb, so could leave without touching it, but I couldn’t. I had my SO drive far enough away to get a phone signal, and call PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric). I wasn’t positive it wasn’t a power line, or that it didn’t also indicate that a power line was compromised.

We asked about public safety and we were advised that I should keep people away from it until they got there.

So, I stayed outside…in the dark…for about an hour.

I could grab some supplies and still see the street (we “stage” our dog park trips in the entryway). As a geek, I was very happy I had a small “emergency beacon” flashlight that I could put where the end of the cable was.

I have exceptional night vision (I think that’s connected to my color vision deficiency), but my SO doesn’t. I put on a knit cap with a “headlamp” in it my SO uses, so people could see me and I could warn them off.

What I didn’t have?

Shoes.

With my arthritic hip, which I only recently revealed to my readers (not visually…just verbally 😉 ), putting on my left shoe is one of my biggest challenges each day. One of the things I’ll be doing with the internet today? Ordering “no-tie shoelaces” from Amazon.

Also, I just don’t like shoes. 🙂

I used to go barefoot pretty much all the time, unless it wasn’t “legal” (and I use that term loosely). I remember being amused when somebody suggested to me that driving barefoot wasn’t safe…as if you could feel the pedals better through shoes!

I also recall walking through San Francisco’s Japantown when it was moderately raining. As I passed an older person, they said sotto voce to someone else (not for my benefit…I don’t think they expected me to hear it), matter-of-factly and to identify me, “Samurai.” 🙂

I used to go into Japantown to buy “tai chi shoes” for about $5 a pair. They had an elastic top and plastic bottoms, and counted as shoes if I had to go into a restaurant or something.

That leads to one more story, then I’ll get to writing other things.

Once, my SO had surgery. I went to pick up my SO and for some reason, I was in my SO’s car, rather than the one I usually drove. I think I wanted to have the bigger, more comfortable car.

I got to the hospital and realized…I didn’t have any shoes! I kept a pair of tai chi shoes in my car, but not in this one.

Well, I’ll give you a bit of my SO’s perspective. My SO saw me drive up and I should have been up to do the pick up in ten minutes or so…it was more than half an hour, which was puzzling.

I found that my SO had shoes in the car, so I wore those (you can’t be in a hospital without shoes, for good reason). Unfortunately, my SO’s feet are maybe 2/3rds the length of mine. 🙂 That meant I minced up there, taking tiny little steps. Fortunately, in a hospital, people don’t expect you to always have a normal gait…

That’s enough for now! I’m planning to do at least two more ILMK posts today…

It’s good to be back!


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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2 Responses to “In the Country of the Web-blind”

  1. Man in the Middle Says:

    When our cable went out for a day and a half last month, we hardly noticed, because we both have T-Mobile’s new $60 55+ unlimited voice/text/data plan on our new iPhone X cell phones, and those both still worked fine for everything, both in the U.S. and in Mexico. Sounds like you may qualify for it too, and if so, it’s definitely the best bargain around. The iPhone Xs are nice too, although definitely not bargain-priced. Also sounds like you don’t have a cell signal at home, which T-Mobile tries to help with by including Wi-Fi calling, but with your Wi-Fi down too, you were just out of luck. Glad your service is back.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Man!

      Yes, not having cell service available is a real issue. At some point, I figure they’ll find some way to get serious cell reception into our neighborhood, but not at this point.

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