Monday, December 30, 2013

In With The New - Welcome 2014

Lots of bloggers do this end-of-the-year recap thing. I suppose I could write about the highs and the lows. I can tell you, however, that the most interesting experience of the year had to be breaking my arm and the subsequent surgery, an experience I would prefer not to repeat.  And that was just the first week

The rest of the year was pretty much a learning curve. Not too much of it was voluntary. I did try my hand, albeit briefly, at blowing glass, which was definitely one of the high points. I finally learned how to make a flaky biscuit...or at least one that doesn't morph into a hockey puck thirty minutes after it comes outta the oven. I also learned how to change the spark plugs in the tractor. These were the fun ones.

The less fun ones were the pacemaker lessons, the hip fracture surgery and rehab lessons, the long distance worrying lessons, and the running to the hospital lessons. Those were definitely not the fun.

Nor were the lessons about how screwed up our Congress is. Up until this past year, I believed (G-d help me, I really did) that people who are elected to Congress had good in their hearts and the desire to provide good planning and forethought to all citizens of this nation. I believed whole-heartedly in checks-and-balances, and that our Congresspeople were able to see past the smoke and mirrors to enact legislation worthy of our nation. I even believed that the Supremes were above politics, function in the rarified atmosphere of the courts where purity of heart and soul were primary requirements for even being considered for a seat on that august bench. 

Well, so much for my being smart. 

The reality is that over the last 12 months, we learned we are saddled with a congress that cannot even pass sensible guidelines for owning guns. Our congressclowns can not only agree on nothing, they will do everything possible to sabotage the other side and stop any legislation from occurring. I write to my very own personal Congressclown John Kline with great regularity asking him the same question over and over: what is your position on gun control? and I have yet to received an answer, although I did get a weird message from some woman who said she was in her office and I could call her if I wanted. 

Anyway, I don't believe any of that stuff any more. I believe the Congressclowns, pretty much without exception, are in it for their own aggrandizement and little else. Gone is the idea that congress's first function is to establish laws that are for the betterment of this nation, not for directed at a wholesale destruction of the lower economic echelons that make up the backbone of this nation. 

I also leaned a lot more about anti-Semitism this year...mostly that it's alive and well and apparently living in our university system. I leaned that the boycotts have little or no impact in Israel, but damage the very people they claim to want to help economically. We won't even talk about that part where Jews have been living in the land for over 3000 documented years. Before you come talk to me about who has a right to be where, tell me your plans for returning what we call America to its rightful owners, the Native Americans. 

As it turned out, the last quarter of the year was truly uncharted territory for me.  The frailty of my cadre of 90+ year olds came screaming into view. Mortality was an open topic of discussion. I was asked multiple times by different, interested parents about "Plan B." Suddenly, I was giving great consideration to Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D, all of which were really from Outer Space. All of them contain options I do not wish to consider at this time, yet I know time isn't always how long we want it to be. 

Tomorrow night, I shall watch the ball drop in Times Square from the warmth and safety of my study where no doubt I'll be sitting working on a new book. No, I have no plans to go out. No, I have no plans to cook dinner for anyone but my father-in-law and me. And I am perfectly okay with that. 

That said, if you are going into the city, please give my regards to Broadway and do remember me to Herald Square. And keep for yourself my very best wishes for a happy, healthy, and wonderfully adventurous New Year!

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Year
Planning on drinking?
Plan on a designated driver.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra - You Deserve Better

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was artistic director of a small theatre contained within a larger community organization. Not quite a community theatre but not quite ready to make the leap to professional, it kinda sat in the middle of that non-profit land...paying professional staff, not paying actors, and setting some ridiculously high bars in performance expectation. There was talk of making the leap into LORT, but before anything could happen, I had the daunting task of taking the company out of the red and into the black.

Without going into the gory details, I succeeded in eradicating the debt. My joy was short lived because right after that I found out about how organizations with foundations and endowments and all sorts of other not-for-profit loopholes deal with money. It was a hard education and I eventually left the field, disgusted with the brinksmanship, gamesmanship...and the toll it took on artists. Yes, I was young and naïve…

So I have followed the lock-outs of both the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (to which I am rather partial) and the Minnesota Orchestra with great interest. To its credit, SPCO settled its differences but not without many of the most senior artists exiting the stage, including our dear friend Tamas Strasser, former co-principle violist. Still, the SPCO is up, running and rebuilding. 

Orchestra Hall over in Minneapolis, however, remains eerily silent more than a year since the lockout began.

The Minnesota Orchestra Association (hence called MOA) made some pretty dodgy decisions over the last few years. Emily Hogstad's analysis of the orchestra’s fiscal management published in MINNPOST (May 31, 2013) is a great overview and definitely worth the read. It’s enough to make your hair stand on end and your blood boil over and not just if you’re an arts person.

In response to the lockout, with a dogged determination not to be silenced, a rather remarkable new entity has heroically emerged: The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. They have a season and an enthusiastic audience. Read their Community Report. It's astounding.

Separated from the MOA, there is no endowment, so salaries, no benefits aside from that which the union can provide. Other orchestras, especially the Chicago Symphony, have stepped in to hire musicians. Those unable to leave the area are cobbling together a living. Support for the new orchestra comes directly from ticket sales but that’s really is not enough on which to survive.

Sadly, conductor Osmo Vänskä  has now officially resigned, but not without paying homage to the orchestra he loves.
On October 4 and 5, Vänskä conducted three final concerts with the locked-out orchestra at the University of Minnesota's Ted Mann Concert Hall… As an encore, Vänskä conducted Sibelius's Valse Triste, which he described as a dance of death. At his request, the audience withheld applause afterward; many reportedly left in tears.  
“Departing Director Conducts Locked-Out Minnesota Orchestra”
 James R. Oestreich,
October 5th, 2013  The New York Times

I keep asking myself why the MOA would do this to the thing that makes them what they are? Without an orchestra, can they call themselves the Minnesota Orchestra Association?  How are they going to generate income or are they planning on gutting the endowment again? How are they going to pay for the $40million in renovations to the building..........

Follow the money. 

If MOA separates from the orchestra but retains the rights to managing the building as a glorified booking agency, they get all the benefits without the liability - no staffing budget, no artistic staff.  They can populate a season with the new MoMO, or even SPCO, or job in well known symphony orchestras along with other classical acts. Big names will always sell seats. And everyone is happy, right?

No. Everyone is not happy, nor should they be.

The concept of orchestra is not new. It started in ancient Egypt with professional musicians banding together, but the modern symphony orchestra really begins in the 18th century when noblemen began to keep musicians on staff to play with their composer du jour. Only in the 20th century did arts boards appear and committees take over.

Government support of arts is negligible these days. The motives of the various boards are too often mysterious and devoid of arts understanding. Are they focused on maximizing the public’s interaction with the art form…or is it about maximization of profit in a not-for-profit environment?

Ah, there is it. Maximize profit.

Look at it this way: the senior son is a working musician. Not a symphony guy, a bluesman. That doesn’t come with benefits or even a living wage. He cobbles together a day job with a lot of gigs and tries to make a living. I think this is what MOA is asking their musicians to do. While they’re busy explaining what an honor it is to play with this world-class orchestra, the MOA doesn’t want to pay them a world-class salary.
So what’s the message?

The real message the MOA is sending isn’t too complex: musicians aren’t worth paying because:
1. Musicians are not productive members of society in that they don’t produce anything tangible, therefore they should not be paid as if they do.
2.    Musicians should be willing to play for the sake of art, not money
3.  Musicians should be able to supplement their income with teaching and other odd jobs since playing in the orchestra is not a real day job.
So,I have a message for MOA: a building is just a building. It has no heart, no soul, no life. Based on your actions of the past year, I’m not sure you deserve much more.

To The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra: survive as an orchestra. Find a home base somewhere  away from Orchestra Hall. You deserve better.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Baby, it's seriously cold outside. 
If you're going out anyway, cover all your extremities.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Stuff...And Some Serious Nonsense

Before we go on to new business, let me just say however overwhelmed I was by the quantity of email this week. Seems few wanted to come out as a comment on last week's episode, but holy moly, people! This really resonated with a whole lotta readers...thereby giving credence to my original thought that this is totally normal stuff. 

More adventures in health care this weekend...a trip to St. Elsewhere's emergency room, admission 5 hours later during which time we were "shadowed by a women collecting data on documentation and redundancy and we were give the same questionnaire about where we live by 4 different people. When the fourth one started, I mentioned she was the fourth. She replied, "well, we just have to keep asking the questions." And I replied, "What? You think I moved in the last two hours?" Another nurse came in...and asked my why I was angry. And then she yelled at me in front of Sieg. I suggested we take this outside the room, and she stormed out through the NO ADMITTANCE door letting it close in my face. And she thought I was angry? They put Sieg in an orthopedic unit since there was no room at the gastro-inn, which turned out to be not so bad. The nursing staff was really nice. Dr. Skopee put in an appearance; I wasn't there, so he called, and I still didn't understand him.  Thankfully, he got sprung after two days and is back home..

And while we on the subject of the highly ridiculous, I cannot get past the American Studies Association call for a boycott of Israeli academics and universities. From Ha'aretz
When the President of the American Studies Association, Curtis Marez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at The University of California, was advised that many nations, including all of Israel’s neighbors, behave far worse than Israel, he responded, “One has to start somewhere.”
I don't seem them boycotting China or Chechnya or Sudan or Egypt or any other country with human rights issues. They're not calling for Palestinians to stop bombing Israeli schools and busses. They've not asked anyone to boycott Cornell University because of its relationship with Technion. 

So here's the thing: if they want to boycott Israel's educational institutions, go for it; it's your right to do just that. But you must be complete in your boycott of stuff that comes as a result of Israeli educational institutions. In order to be fully compliant with the boycott, those who choose to participate must also complete the following steps:
  • Remove Microsoft Office from your MACs. You may not have ever noticed, but for years, the Mac logos for the OFFICE apps happen to also be Hebrew letters. There was a reason for that.
  • Remove all instant messaging apps. Those apps exist because Israelis developed ICQ, the mother of that movement.
  • No endoscopies or pill-cams. Those teeny-tiny cameras were developed in Israel.
  • No USB flash drives. Sorry folks, another Israeli invention.
  • No drip irrigation for your tomatoes. 
Want me to go on? 

Folks this isn't about a protest of Israeli policies; this is badly disguised anti-Semitism. It's about boycotting Jews in academia because the morons at ASA think they'll be an easy target. If the ASA wants people to take their political radicalism seriously, they're going to have to do better than this. They're going to have to expand that boycott list to include every nation that they believe occupies land...including this one. I don't see anyone organizing a boycott of Guantanamo and that's a pretty big abomination on its own. 

The ASA voted the boycott into place with a counted vote of less than 17% of their membership. I can only hope that the other 83% get busy telling their board of directors that this is not an acceptable course of action. In fact, it's ridiculous. 

If you want to help Palestinians reach a statehood, demonstrate to encourage them to reach a peach CO-EXISTENCE with Israel. Sign petitions asking them to remove the destruction of Israel and its people from it's charter, specifically Articles 19-21 which were never removed nor amended despite repeated promises to do so. Stand up for the right of all people to live in peace and security. Put away the partisan spectacles and look at this an all human issue, not Palestinian, not Israeli, just human.

Yeah, it's a stretch. But when I read garbage like that, I just don't understand how thinking, thoughtful people can come up with stuff this hateful. Really. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Making plain shortbread cookies? 
Add a scant quarter teaspoon of cardamom for every cup of butter you use. 
You won't taste the cardamom per se, but it makes a huge difference 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Wooly Mammoth Returns

Saturday night, after much vacillating, I stepped out of my comfort zone to attend a “holiday” function. 

I’d not been to one of these since Steve died. After a zillion years of marriage, he understood that these fiestas terrify me. Despite rumors to the contrary, I am painfully shy in crowds.  But this year I was going to be brave; I thought I could ask Andy if he wanted to go. “It's okay if you want to decline," I emailed since I could not bring myself to ask out loud. "I know how dreadful these things can be....”   And he replied, "Drinks and matching corsages.....what could be bad? Besides, I know you want to show me off." 

Which was true. I wanted my friends to meet the guy who pulled me outta da funk.

The venue was crowded beyond belief. I saw few people I knew. The friends I thought we were to sit with were unable to save seats for us. There were no empty seats at any table where there were people I knew. I could not breathe. 

I was 17 again, and not in a good way. I was at my most awkward, worrying that I wasn't cool enough, hippy enough, smart enough, all those enoughs that plagued everyone's high school years whether they were wallflowers or prom queens. The insecurity we work so hard to get past, put away, and suppress was all there just waiting for an opening. 

Humiliation. Embarrassment. Marginalization. Here, I’d invited someone to meet my friends and I couldn’t even manage to pull that off. I was out of place, out of time, out of space, and every social fear I ever had was coming to the surface like Old Feckless. I wanted to throw up.

Someone said, “So sit with someone you don’t know. Go make new friends.” I surprised myself. Out of my mouth came, “No, thanks. I don’t do that sort of thing.”

I could not get out of there fast enough. 

I needed to say something anything to Andy, but he got there first. “I get it. I know what you’re feeling. I know how this feels. But you said something. I would’ve just disappeared. You’re okay.” He sat me down on a chair in the lobby. "Breathe. We'll go do something fun."

Breathe? I was still working on not vomiting.

What is it that makes us all revisit those inadequacies...the ones when we were all at our worst at the moment we need to be at our best and most serene in the face of some ridiculous disappointment? Is there some built-in, genetic flaw that makes us relive the most painful memories at the drop of an unexpected humiliation?

There's gotta be something hardwired into our psyches that makes us retain stuff we'd rather forget. We never see ourselves as we are...we see the worst even when we don't admit it. In the corners, every single one of us goes through the charade. It's not unique. They constantly make movies about this, endless teenage triumphant books are written, but none of that ever changes that endless loop in our heads that says we're inadequate. 

And here's the really funny part....I think that might just be normal. Great. Just what I need. At 61 years old, I've been married, raised 2 kids, 4 parakeets, 3 dogs, 1 rabbit (who, Mom said, went to the bunny farm and I believed her) and a tank or two of assorted fish. Oh, yeah; I buried my husband. Surely that has to count as some sort of viable step toward maturity? Apparently not. 

Don't get me wrong here; I'm not living in the past. I'm just resenting like hell when that teenager shows know...the fossil that was frozen back in the very early 70s. That wooly mammoth who painted protest signs in the basement and marched on the UN. The one who painted flowers on her face and danced in Central Park to welcome Earth Day. The same one with Yardley white under the charcoal grey eyeliner and lashes clumped together to resemble Twiggy....the first of a long line of anorexic looking models whom no one could possibly replicate even with thigh high dresses from Paraphernalia at Roosevelt Field. 

Frankly, I didn't enjoy me all that much the first time. I schlepped around existential angst.  It wasn't that I was completely humorless...okay...I wasn't all that funny back then; I was full of lofty thoughts. So, I'm not all that crazy about having that other self show up at inopportune times. 

The oddest notion almost escaped me during the space between leaving the lobby and traversing the urban tundra back to the car. The guy holding my arm, my friend Andy, actually knew me when I was 15. And lofty. Here we are, finding ourselves in the same city a zillion years and two very separate lifetimes later. We remember each other at that age of angst. We know who we were... and we know who we are. We're friends. We get it. And it's okay. 

Of course, buying me my first Old Fashioned helped a lot Saturday night. I didn't know bourbon could taste that good. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
If you live in the Twins, try 7th Street Social for dinner. 
Excellent place. The blackberry Old Fashioned worth the trip.

Monday, December 2, 2013

It Costs What????????

Sunday night, December 1st, 2013 ~ 28 Kislev 5774

All day today was my mother's 91st birthday. Since she had opted to have a family thing for the 70th anniversary on November 3rd, I did not make my annual trek to Delray Beach for her birthday. Having to actually remember to mail a card was a stretch; I usually just bring it with me. Still, confess it feels strange after doing this for a decade or so not to be with her today. Instead I think I talked to  her on the phone at least 4 times.

Between her Facebook page and my Facebook page, she got a lot of birthday greetings, many of which were from people who would not have thought to sent a card, but were happy to write on her wall. I also posted a couple of cute kiddie pictures back from the days when my Grandma Bessie's Brownie was quite the techno-marvel of its day. I am the possessor of a fair number of her snapshots, and they are all pretty much a hoot. The scary part is that I can identify way too many of those subjects without much thought...even though very few are still around to correct me.

Mom was very excited when her kid brother called to tell her she was "all over the internet," which meant Uncle Budgie saw both my post and the post I did for Mom's Facebooik page on Aunty Gladknit's Facebook page since he doesn't have his own. Now, this is not exactly what one would call viral, but it sure tickled her fancy. And judging by the number of friends and cousins who posted, this was pretty good. I don't think Zuckerberg quite had this in mind when in invented Facebook. 

Monday, December 2nd, 2013 ~ 29 Kislev, 5774

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the EOBs (explanation of benefits) for my father-in-law's adventure in healthcare have started to arrive. There isn't a single out-of-pocket dollar to date; Medicare and insurance has covered it all. Most of the bills just provide a cryptic clue to what the charge is for, but no details. A couple hundred for this doctor, a few hundred for that test. From the two and a half days at Woodwinds, the charge is $13,351.90. And that's mostly just the "medical care," "diagnostic tests," and "prescriptions drug." The one for St. Joe's is even better: That one is $97,452.58 for pretty much the same list, but he was in the hospital longer, there were a bunch of transfusions,  and he had 4 skopee tests.

What's a skopee, you well might ask. The "hospitalist" supposedly managing my father-in-law-the-big-animal-doctor kept talking about the endo-skopee test, and Sieg, as out of it as he was, kept yelling, "What's a skopee?" The doctor replied in his lilting Asian accent, "That's when they take the little tiny tube and put it....." I said, "An endoscopy, Pop!" And he yelled, "I know what an endoscopy is, I just didn't know what the hell a skopee was."

But back to the subject at hand. Medicare pays these without so much as a blink of the eye. On one hand, this is good, I suppose, but on the other, I'm kinda wondering about the prices. There's a rather fascinating article in the NY Times As Hospital Prices Soar, A Single Stitch Tops $500.  In it, is an equally fascinating illustration:

This really struck a nerve. As did the story on news about a company shifting the cost of health care onto its employees with huge increases to reduce its own out of pocket contribution and telling them ACA is to blame. Excuse me?????

Does anyone else out there want to stand up and shout out the window, We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore ?

Is it any wonder we have uninsured people and affordable health care is a fantasy? We have become a country of illness and ill will. We have a Congress that throws brickbats around the chamber, destroying everything in sight. We have politicians preaching the creation of virtual slave classes by refusing to consider upping minimum wage to a living wage. Our corporations spend  billions targeting kids with sugar and sodium laden foods there insuring we have a steady stream of adults with health issues from earliest childhood. How is this moral, right, or even acceptable?

And if you don't mind my being really blunt, there is no solution in sight. We do this to ourselves over and over and over. Obviously, self-control and self-regulation are not strong suits for We, the People.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Leftover turkey has a fridge life of about 4 days. 
Chanukah, on the other hand, has a menorah life of 8 days. 
Enjoy both, but pitch the turkey after 4. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Phones, Facts, and Latkes

We have phones! It only took 8 days, a dozen or so phone calls...all made on my cell phone which resulted in a certain Junior Son chiding me on my reckless use of shared resources...and a really nice guy named James who came on Sunday, precisely on time, and who, after examining phone jacks in the house and the outside connection boxes, pronounced my situation bizarre at best. Throwing his hands up in the air; he declared, "Let's go take a look at the inside junction box. I have no other ideas."

Bingo. Hanging on the wall right above the junction box was mysterious second modem. In short order, the offending box was removed, the wires properly reconnected, and voilà! a miracle! All the phones rang! Now, I am not a fan of Comcrap by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a fan of James and his online counterparts in the great state of Washington, Janice and Robert who went above and beyond to get this fixed much faster than the expected November 27th date the repair calendar showed as the first available date.

Life is slowly getting back to normal at Chez WP. Grandpa Sieg is going up and down the stairs like a champ. The dog has stopped growling at the walkers, and I've gone back to lobbing comments over the interwall at the NY Times, Huffington Post and other news organs with greater regularity. I have to confess there is a certain satisfaction in doing that, although these days, the commenters seem more polarized than ever.

This bothers me but I’m not sure what bothers me more: the vitriolic stridency or the extreme wing positions. This is a democracy and there are going to be positions taken to which I am vehemently opposed. There are going to be op/ed pieces, like Ross Douthat’s on JFK this past weekend, that seem to defy logic and are just plain spiteful. But just as I do not begrudge Donut’s right to opine, I do not begrudge anyone’s right to agree or disagree with him. That’s not what it’s about. Or at least what it’s supposed to be about. But some of the anger than comes through in the comments! Oh, I suppose I occasionally set my hair on fire…Okay…I did ask if he was functionally illiterate or just unable to discern between real life and fiction. Even so, I don’t think I’m particularly vicious.

Y’know, watching all those documentaries about JFK this past week made me nostalgic for a time when appearance was important. Looking at Mrs. Kennedy, the black veil over her face, holding the hands of her children… her grace and graciousness giving such dignity to our national tragedy, Watching it play out over and over again, and knowing what we now know about JFK, the machinations of his government, and all the rest, I still long for the façade of elegance, a pretense of dignity, and moment of civility.

But that was a very different time. There were secrets in those days. We no longer have that luxury. We have instant info-gratification. We can fact check anything and everything, and heaven knows, there are cameras everywhere. Hiding is no longer a viable option...just ask Mark Sanford about that.

I keep hoping that our ability to fact-check will be turned toward good, and stem the tide of spin and lies. I want a survey to report the raw data, not the extrapolated opinion paid for by some PAC. I want politicians to say, “Look, this is going to help my constituents,” and not worry about what the big pockets will say. I want all this knowledge we have at our fingertips to improve our lives, not give some hack a leg up in manipulating the truth.

In this way, I am neither Democrat nor Republican. I am not Libertarian nor Socialist, nor any other kind of “ist.” I am one of We, the People, and as we head into the next election cycle, I want the candidates to just tell the truth about what is going to help and what is going to hurt…not what the deep pockets tell them to say.

Right now, listening to the talking heads talk about which states are working and which states are not, they’re saying Kentucky is doing really well with ACA registration, much to the chagrin of their GOP congressclowns.  I am of the opinion that the GOP is not worried about ACA failing…because it won’t; they are worried that it is going to succeed far beyond everyone’s expectations…and they’re going to end up having to explain why they didn’t want regular people to get health insurance.

The Wifely Person’s Tip o’the Week
Thursday is Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah.
Thanksgiving commemorates a shared feast between Native Americans and Europeans.
Chanukah is about the usual Jewish non-harvest-related holiday stuff –
they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.  
Either way, it’s all about survival.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ghosts in the Machines, The Phones, The ......

So, we had this blackout last Friday afternoon;  the power went out for about 45 minutes. Poor Grandpa Sieg; the house alarm kept beeping and resetting the motion detector over and over so every time he moved, the alarm started beeping again. I wasn't coming home for lunch, so he was pretty peeved by the time I walked in. I got the alarm turned off, and burbled, "Oh! We're just in time for Jeopardy!" 

Guess again.

Well, there appeared to have been a casualty of the blackout: the "original equipment" HD cable box on the big TV was dead. I made the requisite "you take his wallet, I'll get his phaser" joke, and tossed the thing into the car. About the same time, something else happened: the dishwasher came back to life. I know not how such things can be, I only know there came to me a blinking, winking power light that said, "Hey! I'm alive!" 

So much for the good news. 

I picked up  new cable box...I won't go into the unwashed masses waiting for service at Comcrap and the dearth of people behind the counter. It was a simple trade, no money, no signature, no nuthin'. I took the thing home and after dinner, I installed it, no sweat. It did the download dance, and I did the authorization online and voilà! The new box was up and running. Then cable modem started flashing odd yellow lights and I thought it best to call Comcrap.  The desk phone was dead. in fact, all the land line phones were dead. Thank G-d for cell phones. 

Let me just say that Janice is Seattle is a saint. Older than me (so that makes her ancient) she was fantastic. Between the two of us, we isolated what we suspected is the problem and at least I had dial tone when we were finished. Getting a call, however, remains another story. Comcrap is working on it. I told her it was refreshing to talk to someone who wasn't 12, was clearly competent. We opened a ticket on the issue, and now, it's up to them to figure out what went wrong. 

Now, as this isn't enough, while checking connections, and trying to untangle the cords under Ziggy's desk, something I've been dreading due to the Siegfried Theory of Electronic Replacement which means you unplug it from the back of said device and drop the cord on the floor (see 8/19/13: Silence ~ The Unacceptable Alternative for details.) There was so much stuff tangled back there, I couldn't separate any of them without something else becoming undone. Into this Medusa's nest fell the modem and the router. And then I couldn't wake the router up. Now, there was no phone, no cable, and no internet. 

Good thing my friend Bill the Hardware Dude was not otherwise engaged. He zipped over and in fairly short order, the router was awake, the cords attached, detached, and rolled up. Meanwhile, we can get calls, theoretically, but the phone doesn't ring. So we don't know we're getting a call. So we can't answer it. So people who are calling to talk to grandpa won't even get the message machine. Which means some of them will panic. This worries me. 

Monday Night:

We are now in Day-3 of the phone saga. When I came home to make lunch for Grandpa, I spent almost all of it on the phone with Comcrap. This call revealed that when I flipped out the modems last year, they never "deactivated" the old modem which might be why I never had to back wire the phone, which, when I plugged it in initially, resulted in no-dial I took it off and never plugged it into the modem. This could be the root of the problem, or so Peter in the Philippines said. He promised it would be fixed by the time I got home. However, when his tech counterpart called the house number, he claimed someone answered. That was weird. I was standing there. The phone did not ring. He promised it would be fixed by the time I got home from work.

Yes, I know how to dial a phone
Not so, Kemosabe. I called again. I have no idea who I was talking to this time, but he was completely humorless. He decided call forwarding was stuck. Call forwarding?????? I never ordered call-forwarding and in fact, I requested the no other service beyond call-waiting be operational on the phone. I don't even know how to use call forwarding and I don't wanna know. Just like I have a dumb phone in my pocketbook, I want an equally dumb phone that rings in the house. Is this asking so much?

He wrote a novel length ticket....and adjusted my bill for three days of non-service. And then said it would take "a few more days" to get this straightened out.

Then Prakash from who-knows-where called to tell me the phones were now just fine. His opening salvo? "I understand you think your phone is not functioning properly." I begged to differ. As you might well imagine, I imagined a number of appropriate and inappropriate response. Then he said he was actually calling the house phone number which was now correctly forwarding to the cell. I had a fit. Quietly. I patiently explained to this latest technogeek that I don't have call forwarding, don't want call forwarding, and as a matter of fact, I want it off my phone pronto. This puzzled him, but I told him I wasn't soliciting his opinion on the matter; only on the matter of why the phone is not ringing in the house. 

So here I sit….semi-phoneless. Yes, cable and internet are just fine and there is dial tone so we can call out, but if you have to reach us, try my cell. 

Oh, yeah; odds are pretty good I won’t answer that one either, but at least you can leave a message. It's smart enough to do that.... but not much else. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Seat assignments are at the discretion of the airlines. Period.
Yelling will not help. In fact, it might get you a seat right beside the loo. 
End of discussion.