"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Moving Day and a NASCAR Adventure

Each Spring we have to move from our "winter" site to our "summer" site and then back again in the Fall. The KOA is "officially" closed from November through February but they leave the water turned on to the first row of pull through sites and this is where we park. These are larger pull through sites and during their "open" months they like to have these available for the larger rigs to use for week-ends or just overnight. Thursday was designated as Moving Day. Rudee was taking the day off to take her Dad to the Oncologists office and since her company requires a phone line for her computer we thought this would be a good day to get the service transferred. She set the phone transfer up with AT&T 2 weeks ago so there would be no interruption of service. Well that's what we hoped for anyway. When I got home from work I slid the slides in (say that fast 3 times), unhooked the utilities and backed the Freightliner onto the 5th wheel. My part of the move went really well. I got us parked and leveled fairly quickly. The problem was the phone line was dead. This meant Rudee would have no computer and couldn't work on Friday. I called AT&T and after going through several frustrating computer generated prompts got to a live person. I explained the problem and the only answer she would give me was that they had until 12:00am to turn it on. She could not even confirm that the service was switched over to let me know there was a more serious problem in the line somewhere :-( I was up early Friday morning and still no service. I called again, went through all the prompts only to get a recording that said "office is closed, call back after 8am" and then disconnected me. That didn't make me too happy with AT&T, the least they could do is have a 24 hour call center for people having trouble. I had to leave for work so Rudee started calling them at 8am. She finally got through to a live person and they set up a service call between noon and 4pm to repair the problem. I got home around 4:00 and found her on the phone to AT&T again that she had been waiting all day and no one showed up, after almost 40 minutes of checking they decided to do a 3 way call with the service technician but somehow it messed up and Rudee got disconnected. That was not good. She was not a happy camper. She called them back and after going through all the prompts for the fifth or sixth time she finally got to a manager who got the wrath of her frustration with AT&T customer service. They finally admitted that no service guy would be coming today but we would be their first call in the morning. Since we couldn't do anymore with the phone line we decided to go to Applebee's for dinner. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot Rudee spotted an AT&T service truck parked there and the guy was sitting in the drivers seat. She made a beeline for him and I went the other way! I felt bad for the guy but have been married to this woman long enough to know when to keep a low profile :-). I'm kidding of course. Rudee was very nice to the guy and he was very helpful, turns out he was working tomorrow and checked his computer and our service call was already assigned to him. He said he should be there around 8:15 and would have us up and running in no time. Saturday morning Andy, our AT&T repairman, arrived right on time and started checking things on our line. He traced the trouble back to the pole out by the highway which had been replaced last year when the were working on the road. Seems like the contractors cut the lines and did not hook all of them back up like they should have. Should be an easy fix he said. All he needs is a bucket truck to reach it and that would be sometime in the next 1-2 weeks! The news was not all bad though. He was able to get a dial tone on another site a couple of rows over so he strung a cable from that box up a tree, over the road to a tree next to us and then down to our box. So now we have temporary service while we wait on a bucket truck. My Dad worked for AT&T for over 30 years, most of it as a repairman, so I grew up around telephone "stuff". He was "old school" and would rarely take the ladder down from the roof of his truck. If he needed to get to the top of a pole, which happened several times a day, he would put on his "climbers" (spikes on his boots) and climb the pole. I went out and looked at the wires Andy needed to reach. The pole is probably 30' off the road and is only 20'-30' tall and is wooden. I'm not sure what the problem is. I guess maybe they don't climb poles anymore. My Dad always told me he could have his climbers on, climb the pole and fix the problem quicker than it takes to unload and set up a ladder. I'm sure he would not have been bash full to teach Andy a thing or two about repairing phone lines if he was still here with us :-) With the phone woes behind us we headed to Anderson to the RV dealer. They had worked on the Montana while we were in Florida. One of the issues was the fireplace had stopped working and I could smell burning wires. They found the wiring inside burned and our extended warranty company had authorized replacing it. The new fireplace was in and instead of taking the whole rig over, I decided to just pick it up and install it myself. We left Crawfordsville in the rain and it just got worse on the hour and half drive over. We had to slow down several times because the rain was so heavy. Lucky for us the traffic on the interstate was not too bad because about 10 miles North of Indy we had our NASCAR experience. Without warning the rear end of the truck skidded around and we started spinning. All I could do was lock the brakes and hang on. We spun completely around at least 2 times and went into the ditch. Luckily we didn't hit anything and once we stopped we were pointed in the right direction and I was able to just drive on. In the past I have been driving and hydroplaned but not to the extent that I lost total control. I was surprised how fast the back end came around and, even though I have had a lot of training including controlling skids on a skid pad, there was really nothing I could do to steer us out of trouble. I did the only thing I could do and that was lock the brakes and wait for a time where I could steer again. We were both a little shaken by this. Of course I stopped at the very next exit, we both had to pee! I was calming down in the gas station waiting on Rudee to come out of the rest room when lightning either struck the building or something very close by because there was a loud pop that sounded just like a gunshot and all their computers went haywire. Holy Crap! Something is out to get us! The rain stopped just as we were leaving the RV dealership so the trip back home was uneventful. I guess I have another project to complete getting this fireplace installed. I'll keep you posted.

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