Spring Is Sprung

Patch of Blooming Purple Crocus That The Rabbits Hadn't Eaten - Yet!

So, where have you been? asks you.

*sigh*

Not enjoying myself, that’s for certain. It’s been a rather nasty three weeks, requiring us to focus our energies on trifling things like trying to obtain ‘customer service’ from our lousy land-line telephone provider. Did you know that almost every one of the AT&T “customer service reps” we spoke to at AT&T’s service center during one marathon five-hour period was named “Danny,” even though none of them could even pronounce the name Danny? Odd, that…

*ahem*

The problem we have remains unresolved because I, of course, need to provide AT&T with my seven-digit customer ID number in order to obtain service, an ID number which, according to multiple “Dannies,” is clearly printed on every bill. Unfortunately, this number does not appear anywhere on an AT&T online customer’s account, and as online customers don’t get printed bills it creates a bit of a problem discovering just what this ID number is. And why didn’t we just ask for our 7-digit ID? Well, one must first provide the seven-digit customer ID number for the account one is asking about before one can get the customer ID for that account released.

Hello?

If I had my customer ID, why would I be calling to get it?

This, Oh Best Beloved, is why the phrase “customer service” has become an oxymoron.

I’d love to switch, but living in a village with only two approved telephone carriers makes that impossible, as services like DSL — even from third-party companies in our area — require us to have (surprise, surprise), AT&T as our local provider.

Deregulation of the phone company has so NOT worked.

Let’s see, what else has gone on?

We’ve been arguing with our 900-pound gorilla of a health insurer, who seems determinedly committed to spending my premiums on finding ways to avoid paying for covered services instead of paying for those covered services. This is an ongoing battle that leaves me exhausted. I’d think we were alone in this, if I didn’t know that this particular company has received enormous fines in another state from that state’s Insurance Commissioner for the exact practices that they are apparently following in ours.

I’m starting to feel as if health and disability insurers as a class (not all – but many) are the robber barons of the 21st century. And before anyone chides me about how I just don’t understand: don’t even start. I indeed do understand and what I’ve witnessed as standard operating procedures within an industry where both I and Michael worked leaves me appalled.

Then… Michael has had to tackle upgrading my little laptop’s operating system. Sounds easy, no?

No.

Because of my physical limitations, I use a specialized laptop which has all sorts of proprietary drivers in its innards which do not happily and easily upgrade. All those drivers are custom, all must come from the manufacturer, and none of them seem to interface easily with Microsoft’s standard systems. On top of that, we’ve been fighting with parts of the new operating system itself, which must get reconfigured one at a time to what we need. To say that it has been a royal pain in the rump would be an understatement at best. It’s not as if Michael is a weekend geek who doesn’t know what he’s about, I might add. This is a guy that is fluent in multiple machine languages, and at the tender age of 23 designed the computer chip used in one of the first external pacemakers approved for use in emergency rooms.

Yep, I’m talking about that kind of geek.

Go, Michael, go!

Whilst all this (and much more) has kept us occupied, Spring has crept in, gently nudging winter from the land. The first crocus blooms opened, and were thoroughly enjoyed by Stewart less than six hours after I photographed them. Most of the snow has melted, and here and there bits of greenery have appeared. Daffodils are within days of blooming, and two pairs of cardinals are vying for ownership of the bird feeders.

I can’t wait for the new baby bunnies to arrive!