Monday, January 31, 2011

Rolling the dice

I woke up to a surprise this morning. The power was out. It tried to come back up while I laid in bed but quickly went dead again. The funny thing was that the smoke detector, which chirps briefly when the electricity returns and goes away, settled into a strangled squeal. So what does THAT mean, I wondered. I didn't smell or see any smoke. About a half hour later the power blinked on and off again, and the persistent noise went away. It returned the next time the power flickered. Two hours or so after I first noticed the power was off, it came back on and stayed that way. I felt that I could leave home at this point and that the silent detector meant all was well.

And it was. The building was still there when I returned home around 7:30 p.m. The power was down again, though. This presented some problems. At the very least I had to watch a DVD screener for work, and I'd hoped to finish some writing. I couldn't do that at home. One theater in town is playing the film, but I was going to be stuck having to see it at 10:20 p.m. With freezing rain and sleet in the forecast, I didn't exactly want to be on the road home around midnight in those conditions. What to do, what to do.

First things first: get dinner. I went to get a sandwich and to think over the situation. The longer I sat there, the more convinced I was that getting an inexpensive hotel room for the night would be the best of both worlds. I could watch the DVD on my laptop and be done with it earlier than if I went to see it. I could write if I felt up to it. I would be a little bit closer to the office and wouldn't have to take the interstate in the morning, both of which might be advantageous based on what's being called for during the morning commute.

All right, I've talked myself into it. Then I drove home to get what I might need and, naturally, the power had been restored. Going by my flashing clock radio display, it had been back for a half hour, so it would seem like it was going to stay on. Still, if I put the DVD in the player and the power went down again, I'd have the problem of not finishing the film and being unable to remove the disk. (Here's the benefit of being in two professional organizations: I have two copies, so if I needed to depart for a hotel, I could get the task done.)

Before I started watching the movie, I tried to get my wireless internet working. It wouldn't cooperate. I called my cable provider, as it didn't appear that internet service was working at all. By the time I got through to someone, it was working with my slow, old desktop. Wireless still wouldn't work. The cable company doesn't deal with that, though, so I was given a number for the router's customer service.

After explaining the situation and giving all the necessary (and probably some unnecessary) information, the representative informed me that the warranty had expired for the router--no kidding--and that I could either refer to online help or pay one of two exorbitant sums for telephone assistance. Fat chance that I was going to pay half of what a new router might cost.

I selected the online chat help option, which was all well and good, except there too I was told that the piece of equipment was out of warranty, etc. This person did give me a link that explains how to reset the router and so on and so forth. By this point I'd burned at least an hour, didn't have wireless internet service, was getting tired, and still hadn't attended to the work at hand. Maybe I should have gone to a hotel.

With wireless internet solutions pushed aside until another time, I watched the film and, as I'm able to post this, made it through the rest of the evening with electric service. In the end I saved the little spot of money that I had been willing to part with if necessary. I can tell you this, though. Since I'll be leaving work late on Tuesday, you better believe I'm going to have an overnight bag ready if it's as nasty as they say it'll be.

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