Well, We Seem To Be Connected Somehow #WaitingForComcast

The technical installation has finally concluded, and I now have data and phone in my office (but nothing to connect with, that’s later). The guys who delivered and assembled my desk got here at a little before 10am and they went a little over their time estimate as to how long it would take to assemble desk and chair, but they were done by a little after noon.

Riley the cat inspects the new office, which is not strictly "his."

After the desk guys left, Riley did a tour of inspection. He’ll be quite baffled by the pet gate that I’ll put at the top of the stairway, but at least I’ll have easy access to the hall bath and he won’t be able to come in while I’m talking on the phone and do the “meow meow meow” thing.

MDF File Stacker and charging station

I couldn’t figure out what this was from the catalog pictures, but I wanted the file stacker part of it. It turns out that it’s got a vertical slot for a binder (and I have one that I refer to pretty frequently) and horizontal shelves for folders or papers. The light-colored thing with the portholes on top mystified me until I realized it had access holes in the back for power cords; it’s a multi-device charging station. The desk also has 4 USB ports built in, which will probably need to be connected only to power outlets, NOT to the computer (data security). They could run gadgets, like fans, cup warmers, and a bread printing toaster, but aren’t all that necessary for what I need to do.

The Comcast cable guy came to do battle with the house next; it was a struggle. He arrived not long after the desk guys left, at about 1pm, and left a couple of hours later, after a mighty duel with the interior geometry of the house. I had been advised to expect him between 1pm and 4pm, so there’s that. I’d been told there’d be an exterior-only inspection sometime in the morning, but I never saw anybody. Probably did a drive-by to figure out where the cable hub thing was.

Misaligned cable box, with newly installed cable running across lawn

He connected a complete whole line from the cable hub thing in the neighbor’s back yard, across a bit of his lawn and this corner bed containing gnomes (GNOMES) before crossing our lawn to the back of the house.

The neighbors aren’t too keen on the cable wire running across their lawn, they’ve got a big kid’s birthday event this weekend and one of their grandkids was actually injured once by tripping over a loose cable like this, so they are understandably concerned. We worked it out; they’ll probably bury or cover the line themselves temporarily, and I offered the use of a rather nifty turfcutter gadget we have, and some spare mulch for the, er, gnome area.

UPDATE: There won’t be any turfcutting until the Village of Hoffman Estates signs off. My neighbor had a visit from 2 apologetic techs, and was assured someone should be out tomorrow (Friday 22JUN12) to take care of the cable burying. I’d be fine with just making sure his little bit of the cable is buried; ours really should be done as quickly as they can as we’ve got the corner lot and kids cut across our lawn (grr, separate issue).

Cable and Telephony on our side of the fence with drain cover

Just pointing out the cover for the drainage we had put in last year; ever since then, no big Lake Gibbs in the low part of the yard after a storm (and we had a gullywasher the other day).

I just can’t seem to kill off those damn daylilies. Oh, well.

Here you can see the “work” cable snaking (and curling into big loops) along the line of the existing “home” cable.

2 different cable lines entering house

He ran it up the side of the house and along the roof line under the bathroom window – fairly neatly. He at least tried to tuck it under the vertical edging, but the line is clearly along the roof diagonal. Then it goes around the chimney and into the attic, then straight down inside the wall (it’s partly an exterior wall so there’s insulation to deal with).

Kind of left a mess, but nothing a little vacuuming won’t fix. There’s insulation here and there in the guest bedroom, too, as the attic hatch is in there. The cover is jammed on there tightly, but it’s a little warped with the strain. We’ll probably have to fix that later so that it completely covers the rough edge of the cut. He was in a little bit of a hurry when he left.

The hard part, after all the clambering around on ladders and drilling, was getting the line down to the office from above. Since it’s an exterior wall, he had to use fiberglass or plastic rods to push through the pink insulation, rather than drop a weighted fish. I could tell he was pretty glum about it. When he called me up to advise me of this challenge, which required a pretty big hole, he was trying to hook the rod with something that looked suspiciously like a coathanger. OUR coathanger. Pretty comical; even cable guys resort to coathangers in a sticky situation.

There was a lot of back and forth, up and down. He had me knock on the wall when he first drilled down from above, then came down and could not hook the rod. So he went back up to the attic and I tried to get the rod as he wiggled and pushed it around from above. So frustrating! The second time, I could get my fingers on it, but not grab it. I kept yelling “Pull it up! Pull!” so I could nick the end and bend it into the access, but he couldn’t hear me. He eventually got it with his customized coathanger tool (after I bent the other end into a 90-degree angle, since the hook was too… hooky). He also borrowed a tape measure for a while, to check the offset from the corner wall, and a stepladder.

I offered him our fish spool and a jingle bell, too. We had good luck with that when we were getting the speaker wire to cross the family room. He declined, and so did not get to experience the whimsical joy of hearing a jingle bell clunking around inside the wall (admittedly, this would not have been practical with all the insulation in there today).

At last, success! He gave me this look over his shoulder, like “You thought I couldn’t do it” and pulled it into the room. It was a triumphant moment for him.

Once the line was in, it had to be tested, which was a problem, because no signal, oopie. Back to the cable hub thing, which is apparently infested with wasps, and at that point the second guy showed up. The installer left the house to make a call, and very quickly, there was a second truck in the drive. Must have been nearby doing another installation (probably not one of ours), as he helped with testing the line connection at the house end and calling out numbers when he started getting a signal. Whew. Then the modem(s) were hooked up – there’s a data one, and a voice one that has a battery that will apparently act like a UPS. If we lose power, though, I won’t be too worried about not being able to use that phone. The “test” phone I brought in normally lives in the basement in case of power failures – it’s directly plugged into the phone line, so no auxiliary power needed.

There were a few more tests of both the data and the voice part of the connection, during which I learned that cable guys have to listen to the same annoying hold music we do when they call in to do a line test (although they probably don’t have to wait on hold as long as we do).

I don’t know when I get the rest of my gear and “come home” permanently, but probably not before the end of the month. There’s a new computer base to be set up, including all my files and even my programmable keys, and there’s a special phone/headset gadget. This all has to be hooked up correctly, and we’ll be getting training on that.

And the result is, I have a desk, a data and voice connection, a chair (which still needs to be adjusted), and some debris to tidy up. Note paper coat hanger cover, which came out of our closet. All that in a little over two hours; given the challenges the house offered, I’m surprised he got it done today at all (although a second tech came over to lend a hand).

My husband David had been worried about his servers losing connection – a lot of people depend on his archives to get information about techniques for programming in his world. But we never lost connectivity (and believe me, this was weird to the cable guy, that we already had our own business-grade connection).

Cable plate entering via the wall

At least this part is done; two of my teammates are already home, and two more besides me had installations recently but are still coming in to the office until we get our gear and our “go-home” dates. So I’ll wait and see what happens next.

I’m planning on getting some kind of tea tray in there – have electric kettle and selection of teas – so that other than lunch time I’m in good shape for beverages during my work day. I’m looking forward to this, and also to decorating the wall behind my desk with pictures I took on some of our trips. Maybe I’ll blog a gallery selection later.

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3 thoughts on “Well, We Seem To Be Connected Somehow #WaitingForComcast

  1. he won’t be able to come in while I’m talking on the phone and do the “meow meow meow” thing.

    Oh, you think he doesn’t Meow loud enough to be heard from the stairs?

  2. Hi There!
    I’m sorry for the poor experience here. Please email our team at the address below. Please include a link to this post along with the account and contact information. We will work with area leadership to see your concerns are addressed. We’ll make this right.

    Kind Regards,
    Melissa Mendoza
    Digital Media Specialist
    National Customer Operations

  3. I’ll be emailing Melissa at the email address, the experience wasn’t all that poor but my neighbor is very sensitive to the issue. I spoke to a very helpful customer service tech named James (based in PA) today, and my neighbor says 2 techs came out to the house and assured him that though they’d like to help him, they can’t dig without the permission of the village (and he shouldn’t either, or he risks cutting service to us or someone else on the hub).

    They told him that someone would be back in the morning, I’ll email Melissa with a link back here. We’ll see how it goes. I’m quite happy with the service so far, even though I don’t get to work from home for a while yet, because everyone has been really responsive.

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