No Cable Modem

I think this is being sent to you via my next door neighbor’s high speed Internet connection. I’m not 100% sure. I’ve scrambled around, looking for a signal and found one… if I sit in the corner of the bed with the edge of the laptop facing Dubuque. It won’t work any other way.

Next door, in my office, the cable light on the cable modem is off. Bad sign.

I called Comcast and spoke to a Canadian woman (based on her accent). Dealing with the first level of tech support is the part that makes me want to pull out my hair.

Before I call I unplug, replug, reset, double check – you get the idea. I am not without some knowledge in this arcane subject. Yet the first thing she had me do was unplug the modem (again) and the router.

The router is behind the cable modem. Only through a thorough repealing of the laws of physics could it be causing my trouble. It would be as if my pipes didn’t work, so the plumber checked the glass I was thinking of drinking from.

Helaine points out this has happened more frequently lately. She’s right. And, the fact that this technology, though getting more mature, is failing more is a very bad sign. It’s also not good that my neighbor’s connection (also via Comcast) is fine.

A problem limited to an individual account is going to be harder to fix and slower to fix than a widespread outage.

Meanwhile, back on the phone, she couldn’t find my account, couldn’t find a way to schedule my appointment, and often seemed to be talking to herself! None of this is reassuring.

I continue to fear the cable connection will fail right when I’m taking some pivotal timed online test for school. Until then, I’ll be popping back into my office every few minutes looking for a lit cable modem light.

Physician – Heal Thyself

All week I’ve been talking about the cold temperatures and that you’ve got to respect the “3 P’s”: Pipes, People and Pets.

In the past, when the temperature has approached zero, we’ve had a problem with one pipe – bringing the hot water to our kitchen. The way our house is built, the kitchen juts out past the foundation, and the hot water pipe is right against an outside wall between the basement and first floor.

We drip a little water, and it’s just fine. And, when I came home, the water was dripping.

I had to wash out a dish I had brought to work for my dinner. As soon as I turned on the hot water, I realized the dripping had been on the cold side and the hot was frozen! Uh oh.

I went upstairs to get a blow dryer. It’s possible to thaw a frozen pipe, if the freeze isn’t too far from the exposed part of the pipe you’re heating, and if the freeze isn’t all that long in the pipe.

The cord on a blow dryer isn’t made to reach from a counter level outlet back under the sink. Up to the (very, very cold attic) to get an extension cord.

I had to clear the cabinet beneath the sink and pile our little home chemistry lab (well, that’s what’s under there) on the kitchen floor. I wedged the blow dryer on the pipe an turned it on.

Within a few seconds there was a drip. Thirty seconds later it was a tiny stream. Within a minute water (cold water) was flowing from the tap. Not long after that, it was hot. I washed the dish.

The one time our pipe really froze, we called Frank the plumber. It took him about 30 seconds, using what looked like an arc welding transformer to heat up my pipes by using them to carry high current electricity. To this day Frank is my hero.

Right now, the thermometer out my office window reads 0.3&#167! Sunrise doesn’t come for another 5&#171 hours. We might hit 5&#171 below zero – maybe more!