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My Pal Edgar

August 28th, 2017

New Life, New Friends

Rural life continues to amuse and enthrall.

Right now, two guys are putting a new AC unit in the house. Assuming there are no catastrophes in the next 24 hours, I will be sleeping without a fan buffeting me tonight. In other words, I will be SLEEPING.

The phone and Internet company is fun to deal with, as people on the web predicted. I have Centurylink, and saying so is a lot like saying I drive a brand new 1976 Camaro (notice I didn’t say 1970). I have a DSL modem and wifi. Primitive. So far, it’s working too well to cancel but not well enough to really enjoy.

When I signed up for service, Centurylink sent me joyous emails celebrating our new romance and promising ecstasy. Then they didn’t send a tech. They mailed me a box containing a modem. I looked around the house and finally found the only jack that works with a DSL modem, and I plugged it in. I plugged a cordless phone base into another phone jack, and I was in business. Only I wasn’t. I had DSL hum. Because DSL and voice operate on a single line, you need a filter to remove the DSL noise from the phone signal. Remember? Remember that from 1997?

I never use the land line except to answer calls from scammers, so I put off fixing it until today. That’s not entirely true. I contacted Centurylink over the web and complained that I had no phone filters, and they promised they would be all over it. Then they sent emails asking how I liked the service. The big problem here is that there was no service. They did nothing, unless emailing me counts. This is even worse than a participation trophy; to get a participation trophy, you have to show up.

Centurylink does another big favor for its customers. They publish their phone numbers without asking. Without warning anyone. To get an unlisted number, you have to pay seven dollars per month. Obviously, they know you’re going to get scam calls, and they want you to receive a bunch and then call and beg to pay the seven dollars. The big snag with that plan is that by the time they agree to stop publishing your number, everyone in the universe has it, so you’re paying seven dollars for nothing. After giving everyone you know your number, you have to have it changed. Thank God that’s free.

I called today about the DSL hum and the scammers, and I believe I had to speak to four different departments. The first guy was in “customer service,” although he made it very clear that the one thing his job did not permit him to do was to provide anything resembling “service” to anyone who could conceivably be described by the word “customer.” I think he was more like a receptionist than anything else.

I’m exaggerating. He did manage to get my line unpublished, which is like trying to put the steam back in a tea kettle.

I used Nomorobo to stop scammers in Miami, and as the Nomorobo site asked, while I was talking to Centurylink, I said Centurylink needed to start supporting Nomorobo. The CSR asked me what it was. I explained that it was a service that intercepted calls and only passed on calls that were legitimate. He said it sounded great, and that he needed to try it on his home line. Which is apparently not supplied by Centurylink. Okay.

Regarding the hum, I spent a very long time talking to a number of people, and the last one told me Centurylink doesn’t provide filters. She said I should go to Best Buy. Of course, this is 2017, so Best Buy does not sell DSL filters. They don’t sell sundials or Betamax players, either.

I was told to plug the phone base into the modem, and that the modem’s built-in filter would kill the hum. I tried that, and now I have a phone base in an inconvenient place, plus DSL hum.

I have filters on the way from Amazon, so maybe that will help. I am inclined to dump the land line. In the past, I never understood people who didn’t have land lines, but that’s because I lived in an area where the service was bad. Here, in the backward rural South, I can’t get a good Internet connection or decent TV, but the phone service rocks. It even provides a better Internet hookup than the wired account.

DirecTV…don’t get me started. I would rather be Super Creepy Rob Lowe than have DirecTV. In fact, I did watch some people swim the other day, so maybe I am Super Creepy Rob Lowe.

I have no idea which DirecTV package my dad has. I am too busy to check and fool with it. You can’t just look on the web and get a quick answer. Figuring out which channels you have is like choosing insurance. “I have Discovery but not Discovery HD…I have HBO…no, wait, it’s HBO East…” Whatever package it is, it doesn’t matter, because if the receivers screw up, they will think you have the base package until you reset them.

I tried to find stuff to watch. With Xfinity, this was simple. I’ll describe how it works with DirecTV.

1. Use tiny channel +/- button to go through 9000 channels.
2. Get frustrated and try to enter a channel directly.
3. Get message from DirecTV saying you don’t have that channel, but you can pay extra and get it.
4. Get sent back to channel 1 so you can start over.

I am not kidding. It really works like that.

I have a list of channels, but the list doesn’t say which channels WORK and which ones send you back to channel 1.

I’m not stupid. I know what’s going on. They sell you an affordable package that makes your life a living hell, hoping you will upgrade immediately. They hope you will prefer finding topless women easily to putting braces on your son’s teeth.

My take goes like this: if you’re already punishing me before I give you more money, why should I reward you?

Fortunately, I don’t care at all about TV, and my dad watches about 5 channels, so they’re SOL, which stands for “Satellite Out of Luck” or something like that.

The first day they hooked the TV up, I made the mistake of searching for content while the TV was tuned to Ellen Degeneres. Every time I got sent back to home plate, I saw more of a person who hates everyone like me and is crusading to rid the planet of us. When you struggle with DirecTV, it’s best to start on a channel you don’t find unbearable.

I don’t think I’ve watched a single show yet. I can’t remember watching any. I’ve seen bits of this and that, but when it comes to finding things I like and watching from beginning to end, the pain is not worth the gain. DirecTV is the Nicorette of TV. It will help you get off of TV and back into real life.

I have been hoping to find a fixed wireless company up here. They should exist. Fixed wireless means you get cell-quality Internet, because it works off of cell towers. Cell coverage is very good here, so fixed wireless should be available, but it’s a new thing, so I haven’t found a provider. I saw a sign on a telephone pole advertising great Internet speed, and I’m hoping it’s fixed wireless. I plan to call.

What else is happening? Let’s see. Some kind of animal is leaving poops in inconvenient places. I asked the AC guy if he knew what it was, but he was stumped. Probably not something he expected to be asked.

It’s a gelatinous poop about 1-1/4″ long and 1/2″ thick, shaped like a Good ‘n’ Plenty. This animal likes to poop on bricks, so that means it poops where I walk. I want to identify it and kill it.

I’m enjoying the insect life here. Take a gander at the creature I found stuck to the front door. This could be one four-inch-long bug, or it may be two passionate bugs having a tryst. I can’t tell. It clung to the same spot on the door frame for two days, and finally, I tried to scare it off. I waved my hands at it and made threatening noises, and it merely looked annoyed.

I got a stick to pry it off the door, and instead of fleeing in terror, it resisted. Finally, I got the end of the stick under it and flung it onto the porch. It left, slowly, leaving behind a huge pile of bug poo which had accumulated beneath it during its stay on the doorframe.

My friend Amanda brought her kids over to swim on Saturday (cue Rob Lowe), and we saw the same bug, or a friend, clinging to the swimming pool coping. I warned her not to mess with it, because it would harm her self-esteem, but she went over to drive it off, and she succeeded in making it move about ten inches. When she returned to the near side of the pool, she informed us all: “Its name is Edgar.”

This is all I know.

I should have stomped on it, but when a bug gets to a certain size, it starts to seem like an animal. I mean, bugs are animals, but I’m saying that stepping on Edgar would be like stepping on a terrier. And he might resent it.

When I say Edgar is four inches long, I am not including the antennas and accessories. We have…had…grasshoppers bigger than Edgar in Miami, but they weren’t as assertive.

Things are starting to fall in line, and if they continue doing so, I will mow the yard this week. I can start the garden tractor, and I got myself a straw hat for shade. If I survive, I may get crazy and take a shot at bush-hogging the pasture.

I wish I could write more. I have not even scratched the surface of the Ocala experience. I have not, for example, mentioned my visit to Rural King. But I still have a lot of dragons to slay, so I can’t blog all day. I have to watch some episodes of Spongebob Squarepants. Don’t ask why. It’s an assignment.

Look, stop whining. Are you not entertained?

Even More

I have some background on Edgar. He is a two-striped walking stick, also known as a spitting devil. If you bother Edgar badly enough, he will spit poison in your eyes, and he can nail you from up to 15 inches away. Isn’t that nice? Glad I learned that the easy way. Now I feel better about stomping on these things. It’s them or me.

Wait till you hear about the object on Edgar’s back. It’s his husband. Edgar is a girl. Male walking sticks find females, and they attach themselves to their backs. Even if the females are below breeding age, the males attach and hang on until they grow up. That’s what I call patience. Isn’t that what Mohammed did?

“Husband” may be too kind a term. Edgar’s mate makes him do all the work and carry him around, and the mate does nothing at all. In reality, he is Edgar’s pimp.

If I find the brick-pooping creature, I will let you know as soon as I can.

4 Responses to “My Pal Edgar”

  1. Heather P Says:

    http://www.abeepestpro.com/differences-types-of-pest-droppings-poop.htm
    Great post. How is your dad?

  2. Mike Says:

    I’m no poopologist but the scat described may be from some frog or lizard?
    Good luck with all the new property issues.

  3. Monty James Says:

    If you can find some, maybe .22 snake shot for Spitting Edgar. Of course, it would mess up the finish on the door. Good to see things getting better for you in any case.

  4. Steve H. Says:

    What a lovely website, Heather. From glancing at it (right before breakfast, unfortunately), I am inclined to think I have a possum. Thanks for the link.