When Technology Kicks You In The Ass

We live in a marvelous world. A world that those of us of a certain age remember from our childhood being called the “World of Tomorrow!” We walk around with a computer in our pocket called an iPhone, that’s got more power than the computers that carried astronauts to the moon. Our cars literally think, and can tell us when they need service, control our speed relative to the car ahead of us, warn us when we start to wander into another lane or even brake for us. We can watch hundreds of channels via cable TV, and with Amazon Prime , Netflix, and the like, watch any movie ever made! Alexa can turn on lights, remind us of appointments, and actually run our house. Let’s face it, most of us will never use all the power that our cell phone possesses, or truly understand everything our 2022 car can do, and not even scratch the surface of the entertainment options 2022 brings us, or truly trust our friend Alexa! As great as technology is, it has also made us so dependent on it that when it’s not there, we are at a loss. Ever forgotten your cell phone at home???

Well, as this week started, we were going through our own version of a vast wasteland down here at the beach in Ocean City. Let me tell you our tale. Last week’s weather brought a lot of wind and rain, and over the weekend, we noticed that the lights would flicker from time to time. We had this back in our old house on Long Island, and just figured it was the storm and the wind blowing our above-ground power lines around. However, all day Monday, when there was little wind and the sky was sunny and bright, we noticed that the lights were flickering. Susie first noticed it when she tried to tighten a bulb in our front bathroom, only to discover that it was burned out. She wondered if the flicker was caused by that bulb, but as the day went on, we noticed the flickering in the other bathroom, our bedroom dresser lamp, and a lamp in the living room. Okay, this was something different. I went to bed Monday night trying to figure if it was something under our control doing this (perhaps the wine refrigerator or something else), or if it was an issue outside of our control.

Tuesday morning, bright and early, I called Atlantic City Electric to report the issue. Forget about speaking to a human being, but I figured I was on track when one of the categories on the problem list was “lights flickering”. Within a couple of hours, a service man from AC Electric was here, but his news was not good! Our “Meter Socket Connector” was severely corroded, and this was our responsibility, not the electric company’s! (Of course!) A little research, and then a call to DiMarco Electric had Joe DiMarco over here Wednesday morning looking at our problem. He noted corrosion not only on the meter box, but also on the line from the street and the line from our box to the house. Within about 15 minutes he had a quote for us, which we accepted, and a little after 1:00 he rolled in with his bucket truck and crew. By the time they left around 4, we had new service lines from the street to the meter box, a new meter box, and lines from the box right into our breaker panel in our bedroom. Even better, we no longer had flickering lights! Issue one resolved!

On to our next challenge or, “What the Hell is our House Trying to Tell Us Now” challenge!! Monday morning, as we were sitting here starting our day, suddenly our internet drops out. This had been happening recently and we expected that like in the past, it would pop back on shortly. Only problem was it didn’t! Then we discovered it wasn’t the internet, but our cable tv and our DVR too! Okay, now this was an issue! A look at the Comcast app told us that the problem we had needed an on-site service call, and the first appointment we could get was on Thursday morning! Since Susie had a 9:20 appointment at Shore Memorial for a Covid test prior to her hip replacement surgery next week, we took the noon to 2:00 window. So here we were Monday, with no internet and no access to cable TV or things we’d recorded on our DVR. Luckily we still have a blue ray player in our system and a good stock of disks, so for the rest of Monday, we watched an old Abbott and Costello movie, one of the 3 Gidget movies (we’d watched the other two already), and a Pierce Brosnan movie, After the Sunset. As far as internet access, we turned to our iPhones, burning through cellular data as we kept up with the world! Day one down, 2+ more to go!

Tuesday morning I had an idea. As Comcast customers, we were entitled to use Xfinity hot spots around town. Could there be some near us? Turns out that there were, and although it was more of a pain to hook up our iPads than just using our own wifi, it worked! Then I had another idea…could I stream video on these hot spots. I did a speed test, and although they were nowhere as fast as our home wifi, it looked like it might work! We’d perfected the last couple of extended stays in Florida using my Apple MacBook Air to connect to our Xfinity account, and watch things through the computer that we had on our DVR. I also had an Apple MacBook Air to HDMI cable adapter that we’d used on these trips, along with a 20 foot HDMI cable. A quick turning around of our living room flat screen to find an open HDMI socket to plug in the cable and a connection to my laptop, and we were ready to go. I got the laptop connected to one of the hot spots, went to the Xfinity website and to the section that displays our DVR’s contents. Fingers crossed, I hit play on one of the shows we’d recored and viola…it worked!! Again, not as easy as just picking up the remote, but we were able to watch shows we wanted to see, not old movies!

Our appointment on Thursday was from 12 to 2 PM, and as typically happens, it was 1:00 before the gentleman showed up. I figured corrosion on the outside cables (like our electric problem), but it turned out to be the main connector in the wall that had gone south! The installer changed out the offending connector, and in the process, installed an upgraded modem we were entitled to. I am happy to report that we are now back in the 21st century with super speedy internet speeds, WIFI, and Cable TV! Ain’t life grand!

So there you have it. I have to tell you that earlier in the week, I really wondered what the technology Gods had against me, as the lights flickered and the cable went south. Of course, my first thought was were they connected, and if so, what had I done to screw up both. My second thought was that Susie’s surgery was just a few days away on March 1st, and we needed a whole house for her. In the end, turns out that sometimes things just happen, and with some patience (and money) you can fix almost anything! Of course, my fear almost came true when they were fixing our electricity, and during the process turned all our power off, and Susie happened to be reclined in the electric recliner! OOPS! Don’t worry, with my help she got out, but it wouldn’t have been so easy with a new hip!

Onward and upward!

5 thoughts on “When Technology Kicks You In The Ass

  1. Take a minute or two and think about how complicated all of that would be if the two of you were not retired. I often reflect about it and can’t figure out how we had time to work for a living.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Frank and Susie!

    Apologies for not writing sooner; my attention has been, of late, focused on the war a mere two-days drive (about 1900 km/1200 miles) down the road in the Ukraine. Here in Europe we have segued without pause from Corona to Krieg (war). It is currently not anticipated that there will be an escalation of the conflict into any of the central or east bloc NATO neighbors, but this is a volatile time and one never knows; all here are on alert in the event that this conflict spins into something bigger.

    Your posting about our dependence on modern technologies brought to mind the following anecdote: As they continue their onslaught, Russian forces have made it a point to destroy communications towers…the types that transmit radio and televised information as well as cell phone transmissions…in an attempt to disrupt command and control as well as private communications throughout areas under attack.

    It seems that poor forethought has resulted in these actions backfiring abit, as the Russians require such tower-based technologies to transmit their own encrypted secure communications. One result is that Russians in the field have had to contact higher authorities using less-than-secure means, the result being that these communications can be (and have been) intercepted by the Ukrainian forces and all others listening in. (Ref.: https://twitter.com/christogrozev/status/1500970445889327118?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1500970445889327118%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Flive-news%2Frussia-ukraine-war-3-8-2022). Older still effective technologies tend to disappear with the advent of those more advanced. Thus, over-reliance on such modern technologies comes with the risk of one no longer being able to carry out our daily lives (or even wars) without them.

    Stay safe and healthy, dear friends. Sending much love from the Tirol!

    – Andy


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