Category Archives: contractors

The Telegraph Company again …

Remember when we had the fun with AT&T last year? Well, last Wednesday afternoon, J picked up the phone to find no dial-tone. I opened a ticket on the AT&T website … then thought better of that and called in as well. “No problem, it’ll be fixed by Friday at 7 p.m.!”

Thursday comes and the phone rings; Jeanette answers and it’s a wrong number. The guy calls back again, sure he’s dialed the correct number. Nope. OK, well, the so-and-so-family’s lawn mower is ready. Jeanette calls me at work. Guess what? The caller ID displays the same number the lawn mower guy was trying to reach!

So we call AT&T to update the ticket. They still claim it will all be fixed by Friday at 7 p.m.

Needless to say, that commitment comes and goes.

In the meantime, the folks that own the other number have called and Jeanette strikes up something of a friendship with the lady. Turns out they live over on the other side of the highway, which means that their copper line is connected to the same Remote Terminal as we are. As far as I can tell without going inside, that’s where our DSLAM is as well. Jeanette has their cell number and redirects folks to that and otherwise takes messages.

Turns out that the Other Number Family had their service moved from their old house in town to a newly-built house near us. The switchover date? Last Wednesday.

Saturday evening, we get back from dinner and there is an automated message on the answering machine from AT&T thanking us for our order and telling us that our new phone service is now ready. Of course, they read off the other number. More calls to AT&T.

Sunday morning, we get a call from an AT&T tech (no doubt on a a butt set down at the RT) saying that we were all back to normal. Phew!

Until I tried to use the DSL. Of course, it was non-functional. No amount of resetting would get rid of the red LED.

More phone calls to AT&T, and of course, this time, our original ticket is closed so we have to go through the DSL repair phone tree. The first time Jeanette calls, she can’t open a ticket at all. Why? The automated system claims we don’t have DSL!!

To make an increasingly longer story short, the AT&T tech (from the DSL division, not phone) came to the house today, did a bunch of needless troubleshooting at our end, then left for the RT where he reconnected whatever had been disconnected by the incompetent phone tech that started this in the first place.


At least we have phone and DSL again. We’ll hammer them for a rebate soon.

Ya just gotta laugh

We go down to get the mail the other day and guess what’s there? Yes, of course: the water bill! But aren’t you on well and septic? Why, yes, we are. So how come you got a bill? Ah, see, the bill is not for us; it’s for the previous owner. Yeah, but … OK … so … did you guys have the well and septic installed and this is an old bill or what? No, no. The previous owners apparently decided to list their old address as the billing address for their new service. How stupid is that?

Sometimes, ya just gotta laugh.

And I’m sure we’ll get that right back in the mail marked “Return to Sender” before the bill is due.

The electrician (the one I mentioned earlier) is probably about half-way done with stuff. He was here both Friday and Saturday and even brought his son (also an electrician) on Friday and they knocked out a bunch of items from the list. For me the three biggies were Ethernet drops to 4 spots, new phone line drops to 7 spots, and re-routing of the coax for the satellite dish. With that done, the switch/WiFi access point and the DSL modem move to the utility room where all the drops terminate and Jeanette finally has Ethernet and telephone at her desk. Plus, we got to move the TV to a better location in the living room – and the phone drop there gives us caller ID on the TeeVee! 🙂

Best of all, I got to get rid of all the Mystery Coax that was all over the back and side of the house that connected to nothing and I got to rip out all the exterior telephone wiring. Yep, all the telephone cables were on the outside of the house. What was worse was that the base board had been replaced, but the jacks had all been left hanging, like this:

Sometimes, ya just gotta laugh.

So the electrical is probably half or more done. Just a couple more new circuits and some switch moves (like from behind the door in the radio room), install the new ceiling fan in the kitchen and we’re pretty much done.

The bathroom is where even more work took place. Remember the old tub and then the bare walls, then the new walls? Now look where the Contractor General is! It’s going slower than she’d hoped, but since she’d never tiled anything before, let alone the floor, tub surround, and most of the rest of the walls of a bathroom, it was hard to make an accurate forecast. My guess is that there are two more days of tiling and then a day or more of grouting. Given that she only started about Wednesday, I think that’s pretty quick. After that, she can finish the vanity (she’s kitbashing it from parts) and then it’s just a matter of paint and installing the new toilet.

The smell of fish

Ever since we turned on the heat we’ve had a periodic smell of fried fish in the house. It was a smell that didn’t seem to have a source, except that it only occurred when the heat came on (sometimes, not always). Wednesday evening it was particularly strong and, a couple of days later, we finally figured out the source.

It was that same evening, Wednesday, when I discovered the furnace was no longer functioning. We have a home warranty so we decided we’d contact the insurance company in the morning to find out the procedure for making a claim. We used my workshop space heater and an extra blanket for the night (yes, the temperature did go below freezing outside).

The procedure was fairly simple as it turned out, just log into the website and describe the problem. They had a furnace repair man out within four hours of my request. Unfortunately, he didn’t fix the furnace, because it was a power problem, a bad breaker. The repairman was supposed to transfer the repair request back to the insurance company who would then dispatch an electrician, but by the end of the day he still hadn’t called in.

Friday morning I called again and the insurance company finally transferred my request, even though the furnace guy still hadn’t called in. The electrician arrived around 2PM and got to work on the breakers. Sure enough, the breaker for the furnace had melted clean through, and THAT, my friends, was where the fishy smell came from. It REEKED! The heat from the melting breaker had also damaged three other breakers, which were replaced. Now we have heat and a mystery is solved! Now we also know that if we have a fishy smell again (and I’m not cooking fish), we need to call an electrician!

General Contractor Jeanette

I really need to get some images up of the work Jeanette has done in the guest bathroom. I have a “before” picture, seen here, but the room is now completely devoid of … well … anything. It’s down to the studs! A new tub and toilet have been ordered. A plumber has been engaged to do the hookup work. A new mirror for the vanity was cut from the original mirrored walls and framed (by Jeanette). Only the vanity itself has yet to be ordered/purchased.

We have a reasonably “hard” finish date of Winter Solstice. Traditionally, we have friends over on this date and this year we plan an open house so given that it’s the guest bathroom, it really needs to be done by then.

The best contractor in Norman is working on it, so I’m sure it will be done by then.