In an attempt to lower my phone bill, I signed up for the Triple Play from my cable company. What this means is that the cable company now has possession of my technology soul. They bill me for my phone, Internet, and TV.
I was an easy target. I heard the special advertised price and jumped at it, thinking that the price would last for all eternity—not just six months. However, even though I was a sucker on the monthly cost thing, and my bill has gone up, I still pay less than I did with my old phone service.
Converting to the cable phone service did not come without glitches. The installation process which they promised would be painless resulted in the cable company’s technician almost getting electrocuted. He was drilling into the wall of my house when his drill hit the main power feed. Yes, you would have thought they would have trained him how not to electrocute himself, but apparently that was not a lesson in cable-technician school or he cut classes the day they were teaching it.
Luckily, my husband was home for the installation and pulled him away from the power before it was too late. There was smoke, a flash of light, and the smell of burnt rubber. At first, I thought that aroma was emanating from a piece of cable, but then I saw the cable guy.
I started to call 911, but the shaken technician said that he was fine and just needed to lie down, and lie down he did. For two hours, he lay on my sofa with a cold compress on his head. I even made him a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and gave him my favorite PMS cookies for dessert—Pepperidge Farm Milanos. I figured his hormones were probably in worse shape than mine since 200 volts of electricity had just coursed through his body. I’m pretty sure that Midol doesn’t help with that.
I don’t mean to sound uncaring, but his near-death experience caused a few problems for me as well. The electrical surge blew out my power, which required the services of an emergency electrician who had to repair the damage before the cable company could dispatch another technician to install the new phone system. So, I had no power, no computer, no phone, and a traumatized cable man who was making himself at home and now calling me Donna. I guess he thought we bonded.
Eventually, everything was repaired, and the power was restored. The new technician put in the long awaited phone system, and we were on our way to enjoying our Triple Play features. When the service was up and running, the wounded technician decided to leave as well. Since the hour was so late, I did invite him to stay for dinner since we were now on a first-name basis, but he had to get back to work and check in with his supervisor.
Do you know that I never heard from that cable guy again? I thought he would have called to say he was feeling better or to thank us for our caring hospitality or for perhaps saving his freaking life, but nothing. I thought he would have told his supervisor that we were nice to him, and they would have given us a free month of cable service as a reward. Okay, that was a hefty fantasy, but that’s me, I dare to dream.
Still, I felt a little jilted. He ate my sandwich, my favorite depression-lifting cookies, and slept on my sofa and he couldn’t pick up a phone to call me? In the end, I decided not to hold a grudge as he was probably embarrassed. It’s not every day one almost barbecues himself in a total stranger’s home.
Anyway, now that a few months have passed, the near electrocution incident has become a distant memory. Especially after I repainted the back porch wall where his burnt skin left big scorch marks. The cable service has worked almost exactly as I hoped. I love how the caller ID shows up on my TV screen, I like the smaller phone bill, and I even like the voice-mail feature—that was until earlier this week when I was leaving a message for my dogs.
Yes, I am one of those people who will call and leave a message for my dogs when I am away. I work from my house, so they are used to having a stay-at-home mom. When I am not there, I think they get worried or lonely.
Last week, when I was at the beach with my husband, I took out my cell phone to call the house so they could hear my voice. I heard my voice-mail message and I waited for the beep, and then I started to speak. “Hi Girls. It’s Mommy. I miss you and I will be home soon.”
My husband, who was sitting in the beach chair next to me with his eyes closed, sat up and gave me what I would describe as a quizzical look. Then he asked,
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Leaving the girls a message.”
“We have Comcast. The dogs don’t hear the message. The phone rings and goes to voice mail.”
And just like that the lightbulb went on in my head. For months, I have been leaving messages for the dogs—messages they could not hear. There is no more answering machine. They can’t retrieve my words of love unless, of course, they know my access code and can push the buttons on the phone. I know my dogs are special, but this kind of advanced communication training they did not receive.
So, with this new revelation that my dogs are all alone without my voice to comfort them, I told my husband that I was not sure if I wanted to keep the cable phone service.
“You want to switch because the dogs can’t hear your messages?” he asked incredulously.
“Well, I don’t want them to think I abandoned them when I am gone for a day or a week or however long I am away.”
Do you believe he shook his head and went back to sleep and wouldn’t even discuss the subject with me? I guess when you think about it, the dogs seem to have adapted nicely to no messages. They do not look as if they have suffered at all. They still seem quite content with their spoiled, sirloin-steak-filled life. God, when did they get become so independent and grown up? I think I need a new puppy.