Journal of a Sabbatical

long distance

June 18, 1997

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long distance

Well, I spent an entertaining hour on the phone today trying to change my long distance carrier for the third time this month. Once Minimum Rate Pricing gets you in their clutches it's the Hotel California - you can check out but you can never leave! I would change to MCI, MRP would change me back and send me a postcard several days later telling me that I could only cancel by calling them between certain hours. I'd call them and get a recording. I'd change back to MCI again. They'd change me again. As of this morning, I had no idea who my long distance carrier actually was!

I called Minimum Rate Pricing at the number on the postcard as soon as I got home from the shelter this afternoon. They told me they could cancel my account "in the computer" but it wouldn't really be canceled unless I called my local phone company to switch to another carrier.

I called Nynex. They said, "oh, you don't have to do that - MCI notify us and change you". I told them the whole saga. They were sympathetic. Finally they agreed to freeze my account so that only I could change it - MCI, MRP, nobody could change it even with my authorization. This made me feel a whole lot better. Nynex checked to see what long distance I had. I was back on MRP again! So, the Nynex person changed me to MCI again for the final time.

I called MCI. I told them the whole story. They put through all the "in the computer" stuff and the person I talked to told me how much she appreciated how good-humored I was about it. She'd talked to 10 angry customers in a row and was relieved that I could laugh and joke about this.

Meanwhile, I temporarily have no calling card. Hope I don't have to use a pay phone anytime soon!

local calls

Flush with my success at changing long distance service, I called Essex Orthopedics and made an appointment for them to look at my knee. The soonest I could get is July 10. Sigh.

I thought briefly of calling Bank of Boston to find out whatever happened to my credit card, but I wasn't up for another hour on the phone.

I thought: "I know, I'll check my e-mail!" Wrong. My ISP is busy. I try repeatedly. Still busy. I go eat ice cream, take a shower, get dressed, pet Wilbur, try again. Still busy. It is now 4:15 PM. The local dial up number has been busy since 2:00. Grrrr!

My cleaning lady claims she tried to call me twice to tell me she was coming today instead of tomorrow and my voice mail didn't pick up either time.

So nothing in the communications universe works as advertised. Would somebody let me know when the brave new world actually arrives? :-)

lawn kitsch vandalism

The vandalism that plagued the basketball hoops has now escalated to the Beans of Egypt Maine's lawn kitsch. When I came home I saw the top half of the particularly ugly two story birdhouse in a half dozen pieces on the ground. Umm, no bird did that and I'm sure no squirrel did it. Must've been the anti-basketball terrorists. Either that or the pro-basketball forces think the Beans had something to do with the basketball hoop destruction and they're exacting revenge.

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Maybe the condo association has hitherto unpublished restrictions on lawn kitsch and the Lone Ranger is enforcing it.