News, culture, and politics. Not necessarily in that order.

Ocelopotamus header image 2

Update on the Movery

October 2nd, 2007 · 7 Comments · Cats, Chicago, Culture, Internet, Journal, Kiwi, Meta, Mr. Blue, Pets

ErnestineOcPot is still on hiatus for at least a couple-few more days. But yesterday, down in the comments to the hiatus post, Miss Rubbery Nun asked how I was doing and I thought I’d repost my answer here for anyone else wondering how the move went:

Survived. Just barely. No thanks to AT&T, who, in their classic brilliant style, decided to transfer my landline to my empty new apartment two days before they were supposed to, leaving me with no Internet access (I had DSL) and no home answering machine for the weekend. I’m on dial-up for the next couple of days, till my new cable modem gets installed. I got about eight hours of sleep spread out across the last three days, and I think I lost 10 lbs. in 48 hours from the continuous stairclimbing.

But I’m here. And the cats seem to be finally calming down a little. They were tharn for the first 24 hours and once they ventured out of their carriers Mr. Blue kept hissing at Kiwi like he’d never seen him before. But last night they turned the corner, I think, and are starting to realize that they have not been delivered to the Land of Dragons. Yet.

A few additional notes:

The prior tenant left a few things behind in the kitchen, including a half-full carton of eggs. However — and this is why I love my neighborhood — they were cage-free organic eggs. So all right, then. For that I’ll overlook the Grape Nuts in the pantry. Mister.

Also, if you live in Chicago and you need movers, book USA Moving and Storage. Don’t even consider anyone else. DJs Dave & Kristine recommended them and they were stunning. I’ve used professional movers five times now and USA Moving and Storage were the first company that didn’t try to deceive, shortchange, bully, or intimidate me in any way. Just four amazing guys who cheerfully worked at lightning speed — it was almost surreal to watch them move, like a speeded-up film sometimes. My brother-in-law and I stood watching one guy wrap up large furniture items in protective plastic, and it was like watching a spider wrap up a fly in its web, only faster.

And they never gave me so much as a stray reproachful look, despite being asked to carry dozens of 40-lb. boxes of books down three flights and up two. (The guys from the last company I hired — the company that screwed me over the worst — actually lectured me and tried to make me feel guilty for owning so many books. I kept thinking, umm, yes, books are heavy. That’s why I’m paying you guys money to move me instead of inflicting this on my friends. Of course, they wound up only moving half my stuff and the rest got inflicted on my friends after all — shout-outs to Jim S. and Val, and anyone else there that night, if you’re reading! — but at least I tried.)

(Why did they only move half my stuff, you’re asking? When I booked the move, the Nice Lady in the office of the Shake You Down Moving Co. assured me repeatedly that if the move went over the amount of cash I had available, they’d bill me for the rest and give me 30 days to pay. When the moving guys showed up, suddenly the terms changed to Cash Only Right Now or We Break Your Head — Thanks for Booking the Shake You Down Moving Company! After some discussion, the guys magnanimously decided that the cash I had in my pockets was worth about half my stuff.)

Anyway, did I link to that wonderful Chicago moving company USA Moving and Storage? Here, let me link to them again. Just don’t book them the same day I’m moving next time, because I’ll throw myself out a window if they’re already booked solid when I call.

And let me reiterate the moral of the post from yesterday: Don’t give AT&T any more power over your life than you have to. I’ve long wondered whether DSL or cable modem is the better choice — many considerations both pro and con for each — but this past weekend answered that question for me. Because if your phone line gets arbitrarily taken away due to a bureacratic screwup by a huge, arrogant corporation that doesn’t have to provide good customer service because, as Lily Tomlin used to say, we’re the phone company — well, in that case, you’ll lose your Internet connection, too.

And The Phone Company will gladly keep you on hold for 45 minutes of mobile phone time, when you should be packing because the movers are coming tomorrow, and then spend another half hour of your desperately needed time cheerfully refusing to resolve your problem or do anything to make up for how badly they’ve screwed up your life, or even admit that the problem is entirely 100% their fault with no collaboration on your part.

And the next time you call them to try to resolve a problem, after they’ve refused to help you they’ll end the call by trying to convince you that you should order even more “services” from AT&T — give them power over your long distance service and Internet connection and lord knows what else — so they can arrogantly and unapologetically screw you over in those areas of your life as well.

Anyway, hello RCN cable modem. I had RCN for dial-up in the early 00s, before the DSL line, and while I have no illusions about RCN’s customer service, at least I’m not putting all my eggs in Ernestine’s basket. (And I have to say that the guy who just showed up to install my RCN connection was a tall-dark-and-handsome Central European fellow who cheerfully discussed Milan Kundera with me for a couple of minutes after efficiently installing my modem. So there is that.)

Oh, and thanks for the tag, Mr. Hall. I’ll get to that soon …


7 Comments so far ↓

  • Aaron

    I only have AT&T for my land line now, and I think I’m switching to RCN for that, too. AT&T is a money pit. (I hesitate to ditch the land line altogether, since I’ve had that number for nine years and my cell reception is still so patchy.) But I can get a bundle deal if I go through RCN (I have cable and Internet through them already).

  • Ocelopotamus

    Hmm … well, I do think RCN is at least a few degrees less evil than AT&T.

    On the other hand, the post above is a classic example of why I try to avoid “bundling,” or any situation where I get more than one service from the same provider. Because if something goes wrong with your account for one service, whether it’s a glitch of some kind, or you just get behind on the bill because it’s one of those months, then suddenly you can lose the other services as well, all in one swoop. You wind up losing your mobile service and your landline at the same time, or maybe your landline and your Internet access, or any of several other fun combinations.

    So, better to spread out those services as thinly as possible, say I. Insulates you from the bureaucratic bullying and incompetence ever so slightly. Maybe worth looking at some of the other local service providers besides RCN?

  • Ocelopotamus

    Oh, and if at any point you consider a new mobile provider, I highly recommend T-Mobile, whom I’ve been very happy with. Great network (I’ve never had a call drop in more than a year), great selection of phones, and pretty decent customer service. Jorjet
    recommended them to me because I wasn’t getting good reception in the building where we worked last year (Sprint network didn’t really get there, for some reason). I also like that some of their phones work with the networks in Europe, which will be nice if I can ever afford to travel again …

  • TomD

    I am just posting to salute your use of “tharn” which delightfully sent me back to Watership Down, with echoes of a hrududu in my head . . .

  • Ocelopotamus

    Hey, TomD! Nice to know I’m not the only Lapine speaker around these parts … praise to great Frith!

    If I get around to it, I should post my “Lawn Ornament Theater” Watership Down parody from The Partly Dave Show a couple years ago, with George W. Bush as General Woundwort. Maybe later this week …

  • TomD

    That sounds inspired. I’m looking forward to it, but for now I’m off for an evening silflay.

  • Jane

    Oh please oh please — post it. I have lived almost 768 months and this is the first time I’ve even HEARD of lawn Ornament Theater. I’m so glad I didn’t leave this life before now. I even grew up in a part of the country that SHOULD have had L.O.T., but maybe all those BVMs in upended bathtubs painted blue inside slaked our innate thirst for theater. Plus we had the Bay State Drive-In. I will hold my breath until I turn as blue as the interior of the one heading east on Rt. 44 out of Putnam Connecticut, and then will breathe out the wish for you to post this. Please? Go bunnies!

    P.S. I haven’t forgotten you and will call. Thanks (about the email problem).