A few weeks ago our internet connection died. If I had known the hassles that were ahead of us I seriously think I would have emigrated to Australia or something. Oh, it surely wasn’t that bad, I hear you say. Oh, trust me, it was worse. But as usual I digress. So let me go back to the beginning. It all began on a Sunday night about three weeks ago. Andrew was trying to get his server onto something called a cloud. Now, don’t ask for any more information on that. Suffice it to say that he runs a business from his office and had some concerns about his personal server going down so that particular evening he was attempting to get it onto a cloud. Not a cloud in the sky you understand, although for as much as I know about it, it could well have been in the sky. Again I digress. Trust me, the server, cloud and everything else is really unimportant in this story. The next day we both toddled off to work. Well, I toddled anyway. I only work a few hours in the morning at a health centre and believe me a few hours working for the NHS is still a few hours too many. Andrew doesn’t work for the NHS and therefore works more than a few hours and is far more important than me. I left work and travelled miserably to Sainsbury’s, as you do and fought my way around the aisles. I knew exactly what I wanted but nothing goes to plan does it? It seemed something had blown up that morning so their freezer department wasn’t working properly and for some reason it affected their spit roast chickens. I did query the connection but no one seemed to know what it was. I quickly re-arranged dinner in my head and headed for the fish counter. Finally, I got to the tills where the queues were a mile long. Eventually I reach the till and am faced with twenty questions.
‘Hello, how are you? Would you like bags for your goods?’
Actually no, I thought I would carry the whole trolley load in my skirt! Or better still in a basket on my head.
Of course I want bags. But before I can answer…
‘Do you have your own bags? Do you need help packing?’
No, I don’t have my own bags and no I don’t need help packing. I mean, do I look helpless. Before you ask, I have sex three times a week, or more if I am lucky. Of course, he didn’t ask about my sex life but you know how it is? And yes I have a club card but I forgot it and no I don’t need to complete a form for a replacement as it is just at home. What an ungrateful woman you think. Well, yes, but I just want to get home and I know they are only doing their job. But really, if you have more than three things in your trolley, then obviously you need bags, right?
Next comes the bit that makes me cringe and bite my tongue. Along the conveyer with a thump come my apples followed by my pears. The bag of flour splits slightly as it is thrown along and the lady behind me gasps. Oh no, I now have to say something and then he will ring the bell and then I will wait forever for someone to get another bag. I sigh and push it into my bag. I really do not have the time. I pay and smile when he tells me to enjoy my nice things, like I have just bought an iPad rather than Mackerel and salad. Ah well… I drive home, lumber inside with my shopping and put the kettle on. Now, you can tell that already I am not in the mood for anything more dramatic than perhaps the teabag splitting. No luck for me. I realise the answer phone is bleeping like crazy and the skype phone is flashing like mad and there is a loud screeching coming from Andrew’s office. I feel an overwhelming temptation to flee while there is still time. I enter the office warily and prepare myself for the horrors that await me. I fight the temptation to scream. The computers are consistently rebooting themselves in an effort to re-establish connection and the answer machine is flashing menacingly at me. Poor Bendy quakes behind me and attempts a purr but it comes out a bit shaky. I listen to the messages with a sinking heart. Andrew’s customers can’t access the server. I phone Andrew and pop two painkillers in case. Pre-empting a headache is always a good idea I find.
‘Not to worry,’ says my calm husband. ‘It’s probably the router. I’ll sort it out when I get home.’
Andrew arrives home at about six and by ten thirty we still have no internet connection. We have a new router though which doesn’t work and irate customers who cannot access what they need. We phone BT. Well, we actually phone India, which is the same thing. We think the woman tells us it is the router. Now, I am not being racist here when I say we cannot understand her. It is just a fact, we simply can’t understand her accent, or the man who follows her, or the woman who follows him. Andrew consistently tells her it isn’t the router to which she responds.
‘Good, we agree it is router.’
Hello, are you talking to us?
We finally give up and phone our internet provider. There is a thirty minute wait. Forty five minutes later someone answers and thirty minutes later after we have turned the router on and off several times we are told the problem will be logged.
‘Someone will contact you in 72 hours. In the meantime should your connection resume please contact us.’
’72 hours,’ I repeat in a strangled voice. We don’t own a television, I want to shout. What are we supposed to do? For God’s sake, you can’t leave us for 72 hours. What are we going to do? How will I get onto Facebook? Andrew slaps me round the face and I calm down. (Obviously he didn’t slap me round the face but it sounds dramatic doesn’t it?
So, we wait 72 hours. During that time I buy a dongle which doesn’t work, or at least it does but it cost me £5 just to surf Amazon for ten minutes and five of those minutes is spent waiting to get into Amazon in the first place. Andrew suggests we use his Android phone as connection. So we do and this takes 10 mins to get into the web page and just as I order a book and go to pay, it times out. How did I ever cope in the days when we had only BT phones and no internet? Can you remember what you did when there was no internet? Anyway, as usual I digress. So, finally one afternoon 72 years later, whoops I mean hours later. It probably just felt like years. Anyway many hours later, they text Andrew at work who then in turn texts me and asks would I like to phone them as I may get the connection back. Even with a thumping headache this sounds good to me. Never again, do you hear me, never ever again, at least not with a thumping headache. The guy is named Mark and this is how it went.
‘Hello, how are you?’ Asks Mark.
‘Fine,’ replies I.
‘I need to go through the router settings with you.’
‘But we have done that already.’
‘I have nothing to say it has been done already.’
Lesson number one, do not argue with them because…
‘Well, I assure you we did.’
Phone goes dead. Now, I am not saying they do this on purpose. I mean why would they? With a thumping head I redial and wait fifteen minutes. While we wait, let me tell you something about Andrew’s office. No, better still have a look at Andrew’s office. (the picture below is just one part of the office but it would have to be the bit where the router is kept)
Now, believe it or not he knows exactly where everything is in here. And believe it or not, I don’t! I fumble around all the papers trying to find the old router. I then fall over objects as I try to plug things in while the whole time Bendy who has picked up the atmosphere is meowing around me and trying to get the airing cupboard door open with his paw.
‘Mark speaking, how can I help?’
‘We got cut off.’
Silence. Oh no!!
‘Are you there, are you there,’ I scream, slightly hysterically.
He politely gives me a web page address to type in. I start typing.
‘Are you in?’
Was that a tut I heard?
‘This lap top is a bit slow. Ah, here we go, it says there is no internet connection.’
Surprise surprise. In fact he does sound surprised.
‘Are you certain?’
Why is it I now feel like hanging up? Finally I get into the settings and they are in Italian. I tell him this and he coughs nervously and then begins telling me to type things in but I haven’t got a clue where to type them.
‘Why is it in Italian?’
‘I don’t know’ I reply honestly.
‘Are all your settings in Italian?’
‘Well, that’s obviously the problem.’
‘The fact it is in Italian. The best thing to do now is turn your router off, wait a few hours and then turn it on again. It should be okay now we have reset it.’
A few hours? Why does everything take hours with these people, what is wrong with minutes?
‘But, we have done that already and…’
‘The best thing is to wait until your husband gets home. He can phone us this evening.’
Wait till the husband gets home! Oh, do I see red, or do I see red? I stand up angrily, fall over the cat and curse. The phone goes dead. I am so livid I want to sue them. It has been four days now and so far all we have done is buy new routers and turn them on and off. Where is the engineer that everyone talks about? I decide it may be best to leave it to the husband. In fact, neither of us do anything and the next day it is back on. Of course it goes off again a week later but I really don’t want to put you through all that again. You will be pleased to know that after another 72 hours, copious amounts of Valium, a study clear out and a tranquilised cat, we finally got an engineer down who discovered our eighty year old wiring had gone rotten. But of course, we all know, it really is the router…