"Did your DSL just go out too?"
"Yeah? Maybe it will come back on in a minute."
Mumble, mumble, mumble, followed by a long silence, and then some shuffling.
Your network is unplugged.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, followed by the cords behind my computer stretching.
Local connection plugged in.
"Got Internet yet?"
"No. Why? Do you?"
Mumble, mumble, mumble, followed by cords dancing in air. Plop.
"Maybe it will be okay by the time we come back."
Large sigh. "Yeah."
I'm dressed. He's dressed. Shoe are put on.
"What's the temp-" He sighs and puts on the TV. (I usually find out the temperature online.) "32 degrees." Sigh. "Turn off your computer."
An hour early for the VA. A simple blood pressure test. 15 minutes waiting for what "always takes only ten minutes," and a young woman makes an announcement to the patients waiting, "Medical media is hosting a Christmas…." The PA system mutes the rest of her announcement, but she continues as if nothing has happened and leaves.
"What did she say?" I ask my husband. The guys around me turn to laugh at me and shrug. Definitely vets with lots of experience knowing when an announcement is an order and when they lose out again.
My husband is ushered into the "Do not enter unescorted by employee" door, and a man comes in to announce to the waiting, "Medical media is hosting a Christmas celebration for everyone. Phillies and free gifts in the multipurpose room until 11 AM."
I think, "Which Phillies player is worth seeing? Howard? Halladay? The Phanatic? Charlie himself? Yeah, dream on. Probably some second-string player no one's heard of without the Phanatic. But, 'free gifts.' We could come home with another tacky coin bank."
"Thought they kidnapped you."
He whispers, "Five high blood pressure medications and my blood pressure is just as bad. I've got to loose weight." Sighs. "They need a blood draw."
What I don't tell him. I'm relieved. He's talking about calorie counting and losing weight again. I thought he gave up on life last year. I can't nag. I just can't. If I nag, then he might lose weight, but he won't be happy, because I'm nagging. He hasn't given up on life.
"Yeah, just hungry."
"They stop serving breakfast at 11 in the cafeteria, so we'll eat out."
We stop off at a diner in Jersey, (this is our dinner meal), drive down the street to a mega Walmart for a combination Christmas/grocery shopping trip, and get back into the spirit of Christmas.
Groceries put away, while he sighs some more.
"Still no Internet. I'm afraid Verizon screwed up our account again."
"No. When they did that, they let us get on the Internet to tell us they disconnected our account, remember."
I sit on the sofa and watch him pull cords behind my chair and in front of his computer desk. He picks up the phone and shows me it's still working.
"You reset the DSL unit, right?"
He scoffs. "Four times."
"I'll call after our nap."
"I should call. I understand what they're saying."
"Yeah. 'Reset your unit, defrag your computer-'"
"They won't have you defrag."
"I know, but they'll tell me to do 20 things unrelated to DSL. First Tier Help Desk."
We both scoff and go take our naps.
At least he had his after-nap coffee, before he futzes with the wires again and makes the call. The phone beeps occasionally. He coughs less often, a residual effect of that cold. He's sent through the automated message machine and dutifully punches button after button for ten minutes, before he talks to a real person.
"I've reset the machine several times, including a minute ago, when your system told me to."
He resets again. I work on collecting recyclable trash, but find it hard to do so quietly, while he's on the phone.
I hand him the magnifying glass to read the dinky numbers added all around the DSL unit. He dutifully reads them all. He explains my Verizon e-mail address to someone incapable of understanding "One word" and "no that's just the number 1 at the end." I think I heard him give the person a complete explanation of his family tree up to his great-great-great grandmother's maiden name.
"You already had me reset the unit, and all lights are blinking like what you'd expect, if we were connected, but we're not."
He resets the unit again. He runs around obeying every command. I know he got it right the first time. He was a networking engineer, before health problems set in, so he could be Second Tier Help Desk for them, at the very least, but that's why he made the call. He knows I'd complain about how stupid First Tier is right on the phone. He sits and says a bunch of I Sees and a bunch of Yeses, before I hear five magical words - "24 to 48 hours? Okay." He hangs up, walks over to the sofa and stops to turn on the news, fifteen minutes before Jeopardy starts.
"After all that, he finally put me on hold to find out they're working on the DSL in our area."
"Is that 24 to 48 hours from now or from this morning?"
He scoffs. "I forgot to ask." He smirks. "The message unit didn't understand my coughs." He chuckles. "A telephone and Internet provider. It's not like they don't have any way of communicating to their customers or to each other. Don't they have a database, so I didn't have to go through all that, before he checked?"
The news story comes on, "The VA Hospital hosted a Christmas party this morning for patients. Charlie Manuel and the Phillies Phanatic were on hand to pass out presents."
We look at each other and smirk. I get up to finish the recyclables. "Hey, you needed to get your blood drawn. It was over before we could go anyway."
11:15 AM the next day (Today) Internet service!