Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Penelope, 03/29/11 to 04/13/13

My beloved Penelope walked in my door on March 29th, 2011 and my life has never been the same.  She brought me nothing but love and only wanted love in return.  Ok, and food and water and a clean litter box!  But for real, she didn't ask for much.

We went out to dinner last night and when we came home, we found that Penelope had died.  There was no warning.  I just had her to her vet 2 weeks ago for her yearly check up.  I don't know why they gave her a clean bill of health when she died just 2 weeks later.  She did not get into anything here, I don't know what happened.  All I know is that my heart is absolutely broken without my baby girl.

Penelope would wake me up in the morning when she was ready for breakfast.  I know she couldn't tell time so I never got mad when she thought breakfast time was 4 in the morning instead of 6.  Close enough.  Every day we would have our love time.  She needed hugs and kisses and caresses almost as much as I did.

Penelope had been fine all afternoon and spent a good part of it in my lap.  She had come downstairs for supper just as we were getting ready to go out ourselves to dinner.  When we got back a few hours later, she was on her spot on the living room floor. That was her go to spot after she was done eating.  I think she ate, then laid down and just died.  I don't know why.  She was relatively young at about 7 years old, I don't know WHY.

I know my heart is absolutely broken.  I held her little body in my arms for as long as I could, telling her how much I loved her.  I hope she heard me, I hope she knew that.  Everywhere I look I see her.   I see her favorite spots, I see her toys, I feel her in my arms.  I know she was just a cat, but she as well as my other two cats, are as close to children as I will ever have.  I have a hole in my soul and I don't know how to fix this or how to move on.  I am broken and I miss my baby girl more than I thought possible.

Here are just pictures of Penelope, my little love.  She loved me like no one else does.  I miss her kisses and hugs, I miss her love, I miss her.

Penelepe, when she was still an outside cat:

Penelope's first day at home:

Some of my favorite pictures of my baby girl:

My heart is broken.  My soul is broken.  We did NOT have enough time together.  I miss my little girl more than words can say.  I love you, Penelope.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Time Warner Cable - Too Little, Too Late

Let's have a little background on our friends (that is sarcasm) at Time Warner Cable.

I have been a cable subscriber here in Ohio since I moved here in 2001.  When I bought my house in 2003, it had no cable lines run to it, so I had all of the cable lines installed into the living room and the three bedrooms.  A few years later, I added the high speed internet to our package.

That was back before it was Time Warner Cable.  Well, the internet might have been TWC but the first cable was definitely not.  We were at one time with Adelphia Cable and I think Comcast was in there before it became TWC and the problems began.

When the DVRs first came out, I knew that was something that I had to have.  I got one for the house. Then I got a second one and then a third one.  Yes, we all have our guilty pleasures and this was mine.  I paid over $200 a MONTH to Time Warner Cable for my TV addiction and internet.  You'd think that a person paying that kind of cash for a service, and paying on time I might add, would warrant some service.  Well, take the money out of it.  If I'm paying you ANYTHING for service, why shouldn't I be getting what I pay for?

I think it started with the DVRs.  Remember, I have three different ones and each tapes independently.  Well, that was how it was supposed to work anyway.  Out of 10 shows I'd set up to tape, I'd be lucky if one of them would tape.  When you would look into the history on the box, I would just get a message that said "set top box could not tape program" or words to that effect.  It wasn't just one box in particular either.  This problem was with all of them.  WTF.  Why couldn't you tape?  They weren't pay channels and hell, most of them were network TV channels, not even the cable channels.  WHY wouldn't they tape?

Not one that is shy, I was on the phone with TWC.  Often.  I have had technicians out to the house at least four times.  Each time we were told "wow, I've never seen this problem before".  I know now that they lied, but more on that later.  So, we would turn in the boxes we had and get new boxes.  Or at least other boxes.  Same problem, same answer from the technicians the next time I would have them out for the same problem.   During this time, we also had problems with the internet.  Now, our cable goes out.  Daily!

Ron works out of the house and is on the internet every day, all day.  And, at least once a day, the internet just goes kaput.  It doesn't usually stay out for long but it's out.  Whatever he was working on would most likely be lost so he'd have to recreate his work.  Plus, he has an IP phone for work, so that is also lost calls and time away from work.  How many times do I have to call Time Warner Cable to fix the SAME problems?  Hello?

I don't know what the number is but I had enough. I finally fired Time Warner Cable for their cable service.  I went to satellite and signed up with Direct TV.  I don't want this to be a commercial for Direct TV but I'm telling you, so far, so good!  Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable installers.  Service that does what I pay it to do!  (Imagine that, Time Warner!)  I LOVE the whole house DVR.  That means I only have ONE DVR, and three more receivers.  (So now I have service in one more room than I had with TWC for a LOT less money!)  We can set up shows to tape from any of the receivers to the one DVR and you can watch those shows from anywhere in the house where there is a receiver.  So, I can start watching my show in the living room, then decide I want to finish watching it in the office and I can do that!  That is pretty cool!  The only down side I had to switching to Direct TV was learning all new channel numbers.  Once I got through that learning curve I have been a happy camper with my choice to change.  If I am looking for a particular show and the next time it will be aired, the search capability for Direct TV is MUCH better than TWC.  Hmm, maybe I do want to be a commercial for Direct TV!  Aah, but I digress.

The day I had Direct TV in to install their service, I took all three of my boxes back to the local Time Warner Cable office.  I had a whole speech planned in my head that I wanted to say to TWC about why I was firing them.  I was going to let them have it with both barrels.  Never heard of this problem before?  Well, you won't forget it now!  That was my plan.

Then I got into the building at TWC on Elyria Avenue.  I am loaded down with my three cable boxes plus assorted accessories.  In front of me is a guy with a box and after me walked in two women with boxes as well.  Hmm, I'm not the only one turning in boxes today!  When the guy in front of me got to the window, he opened up on the poor girl working.  Everything he said, I wanted to say in MY speech!  He did it much louder than I was planning and with MUCH more emphasis on his disappointment with the service.  I was so proud of him, but I was feeling sorry for the girl working the window at TWC.  The thing that got to me was when he said "and the technicians keep telling me they've never seen this problem before"!  WHAT?  That's when I chimed in "that's what they told me too, for the same problem you're having" to which the women behind me added "us, too!"  Hmm, three households at one time turning in boxes and yet TWC claimed to each of us that they never saw this problem before?  I know a corporate line when I smell one and man, did that one smell.  I did take pity on the poor employee who has no control over how bad things are at the company she works for, so when it was my turn, I just handed over my boxes and said "what he said" while pointing to the guy walking out the door that was ahead of me in line.  She smiled and said thanks and took my boxes back.  I didn't get to say my speech but at least I knew I wasn't alone.

That brings us to current.  If you follow Loraine Ritchey's blog (link on the right under That Woman's Weblog, she has been having her own issues with Time Warner Cable.  While I never considered myself a wallflower, I take a back seat to Loraine's tenacity in getting things solved!  I gave up months ago and fired TWC while Loraine took this a step farther and was instrumental in getting Time Warner Cable to come into City Council chambers for a public meeting to face the unhappy citizens of this city.  Read about Loraine's plight with TWC here.

Last Monday was the public meeting.  Loraine knew I had issues with Time Warner Cable and asked me to come to the meeting to tell my story.  I'm all about helping out a fellow blogger!  So, Ron and I went.  Representing Time Warner Cable was Chris Thomas, the Government Relations Director for Northeast Ohio.  Chris sat there and listened to a handful of us speak about our dissatisfaction with Time Warner Cable and what we have done to try to get results on our own.  Mr. Thomas gave the corporate lines, promised to look into everything and asked that we write our names, addresses and phone numbers on a sheet of paper so that he could escalate the matters.

Here is the article that was published in the Chronicle about this public meeting and here is the article that was in the Morning Journal if you'd like to read about what others had to say.

So, I said my peace and explained my issued and that while I fired Time Warner for their cable services, until I find a better replacement, I am still stuck with their faulty internet service.  Mr. Thomas assured me he would get someone one it.  I didn't believe him, but whatever.

Lo and behold, I had a couple of phone calls on Thursday from one supervisor wanting to make an appointment to get in and look at our internet problem!  That was three days after the public meeting!  One point for Mr. Thomas!

Unfortunately, since I forgot to take my phone to work on Thursday, I wasn't able to speak with the supervisor until about 6:30 in the evening.  He said that another supervisor would be calling me on Friday morning to make an appointment to come look at our problem.

Sure enough, I got the call from Dave on Friday morning.  He kept saying about wanted to work around MY schedule to get out and look at our problem. Fine, I made the appointment for 11:00 am when I knew Ron would be home since he knows more tech-speak than I do. I didn't want them just talking over my head on this one.  Believe it or not, at 5 minutes to 11:00 this is what we had in my neighborhood:

Two vans on 24th Street with a guy on the pole:

And two trucks at my house, one with the supervisor and one with a technician.

Sorry for the garbage in the photo but it WAS garbage day!

Anyway, after all of that, we heard that there were problems on the pole and heard something about an FCC violation.  I have no idea what that was about but that's what happens when you only hear part of the conversation.  The supervisor and the technician then came into the house to look at our set up.

Since we got the high speed internet, we've used our own modem.  For that, I get a small credit on my internet bill.  Now, Dave the supervisor thinks that part of our problem is the modem not being compatible with the service.  He feels that our modem isn't current on the firmware  it needs to run properly.  So, now I lose my small credit and will instead have to pay for the TWC modem in my house.  Hey, if this is what it takes to fix the problem, so be it.  Before they left, Ron and I were both given cards from Dave the supervisor and Dennis the technician.  We are to call them any time we have problems. Aren't we just special now.

Yeah right, if it were only that easy.

First off, WHY does it take Loraine Ritchey having a cow and making the city get involved to get some figure head from TWC in to a public meeting about their horrible service to get ANY action done?  Do you think all of the numerous calls that I've made to TWC resulted in anything more than ONE truck being at my house at any given time, if I'm lucky?  Seriously, I'm a PAYING customer.  Shouldn't THAT be enough to get action AND results??

Well, as I said, if it were only that easy.  Dave did call me back on Saturday to see how things were going with the internet.  Since Ron wasn't working Friday or Saturday, it's hard to tell how well the internet is working or not working since we don't spend that much time on it on the weekends.  We arranged that he'd call back Monday afternoon to see how things went.

I'll tell you how that went.  Sunday evening I was online playing Pogo and guess what!  The internet went down!  Wow!  Can you imagine?  So, another supervisor was scheduled to call Ron today to check up on our progress.  Ron let him know that the internet went down last night and Ron was having glitches today.  His IP phone was kinda wonky off and on.  The internet didn't go off totally but it was wonky enough to interfere with his IP phone.  So, another technician is being sent tomorrow to check up on this.

Again, WHY couldn't ANY of this be done for the last two years that I've been calling on this?  Is it fixed yet?  No.  Do I have any hopes that it will be?  To be honest, no.  Whatever the outcome is, I still think it's too little, too late for Time Warner Cable.  I will keep the internet for now, as I said Until I find something better.  I don't see me ever going back to their cable service, in spite of the phone calls and mail offerings I receive to come back. 

For anyone out there that HAS Time Warner Cable, and is having any troubles with it or are just unhappy with their overpriced product, look into Direct TV.  Tell them I sent you.