Moving West: getting cable

September 28, 2015

workersChapter 8
Getting Cable

Let this be a cautionary tale. Or moving advice. Your choice.  Oh, and this move happened in the year 2000. Just in case you haven’t read the earlier ones. Because that date explains some of the stuff we do. But, maybe you want to read the chapters that came before. Scroll down for the links. Then, do come back for this one.

Between getting telephone service and putting things away, I was still looking for cat-tag forms and I was certain they were buried in one of the unopened boxes.

Before I could figure out a solution, the doorbell rang. The technician from ATT Cable was ready to install our complex, high-tech digital system.

It was so complex, actually, that it took three of them. One did all the work, while two stood around the truck drinking coffee. It was evident that they belonged to the same union as the Pacific Bell technicians.

After a couple of hours of crawling under the house and climbing poles, the tech who did all the work set a large, rectangular box on top of our TV set and walked out the door.

I looked at the box. Chips and computers are getting smaller, but from the size of that box, it sure didn’t seem like that technology had reached the cable industry.

But how would we operate it?

“Bob,” I said. “Did he tell us how to WORK this thing?”

Looking stricken, he ran outside to hail the installer before he took off. The tech came back in.

“I don’t see any instructions that tell us how to get these hundreds of useless channels,” I pointed out. “Were you just going to install the box and leave us to figure it out?” He had no idea how dangerous that really was.

“We’re out of instruction booklets,” he said, “ and channel guides.”

I hoped that meant the service was free, since we wouldn’t know either how to use it or what channels were available.

But instead, he did a five minute tutorial on using the system. I took down every word in green ink on one of the hundreds of pads of paper that kept emerging from our boxes.

“Oh, and by the way, don’t set anything on top of that box,” he said.

Wow. What was THAT about?

He left.  We decided to leave experimentation for later in the day.

Bob was in the mood for ribs, so he took off to get takeout from Armadillo Willy’s for lunch. When he got home, he spread it all out on the table, looked up and said: “We’ll eat this in memory of Sandy.”

Mom and Bob had been rib-eating partners at Willy’s every summer, when she’d come out to visit us during our first tour of duty in California. It was a ritual they both loved. Mom had passed away just 10 weeks before. I realized that now that I was back, there would be many times in the future that I’d be reminded of Mom’s numerous visits.

I suppose it’s all part of the grieving process. And I was over-tired. But, as glad as I was to be back where I belonged, in California, the ribs were bittersweet that day.

Looking for the earlier chapters?

Preface: Moving on by moving

Chapter 1: Packing–how hard could it be?

Chapter 2: The adaptability of cats

Chapter 3: Exiled to Pacific Hell

Chapter 4: Hansel & Gretel’s cottage

Chapter 5: Creative solutions

Chapter 6: Remember party lines?

Chapter 7: Purgatory

19 comments on “Moving West: getting cable
  1. Karen Austin says:

    I haven’t gone to cable yet. I am not a Luddite. I blog. I teach online. But I do admit that I never learned how to program a VCR, and I am inept at operating the cable box when I am a guest at other people’s homes. Why does it have to be so hard?

  2. michelle says:

    We plan to move next year….so much not looking forward to it…but really looking forward to it.

  3. I always enjoy your stories Carol!

  4. Haralee says:

    Oh I remember cable boxes and several phone line jacks in the wall and the waiting and writing down instructions that seemed easy at the moment!

  5. The way technology moves the year 2000 was like the dark ages!

  6. Ellen Dolgen says:

    Oh man, my eyes glass over whenever I see instruction manuals, cable boxes or anything requiring hooking up. I love that you had ribs in memory of your Mom. My Mom passed away in July, she was a hot dog lover. Now hot dogs hold a special place in my heart.

  7. Cable technicians are the worst!!!! Right after cell service providers, utilities companies, insurance agents, credit card 800 operators, the gal that rings up my groceries, the dentist…

  8. Carolann says:

    Thank goodness we don’t have any plans to move. We’ve owned this house for 12 years now and it looks like we are staying put. I know what a nightmare the process was and can be. The cable companies are the worst!

  9. It took nearly two months for the dummies to finally get the cable hooked up correctly when we moved into our current house. Fortunately I wasn’t a blogger then or heads would have rolled BIG time! Pain in the butt. One of the (many little) reasons we hope to never move again.

  10. Donna says:

    OOOOh MY! CABLE! It seems that every time I move and then have to have cable hooked up I CRINGE. Will they show up in time? How long will it take? Will I have 10 feet of cable wire in the house…..ugh! All’s well that ends well but it sure doesn’t start out that way!

  11. Estelle says:

    Cable is also a sore spot with me, too! Funny, my hubby often gets a craving for ribs as well!

  12. Janie Emaus says:

    We have cable, but I swear, I’m always pushing something wrong on the control and my husband has to come to my rescue.

  13. Janie Emaus says:

    So, my comment disappeared! Just like when I sit on the remote and the TV channel is gone. We have cable and I do love most of the HBO shows.

  14. Audrey says:

    oh gosh! I love reading these chapters. I find that cable is really over rated. As long as there is internet you can watch almost anything on-line. I just hate how much they charge for bad customer service!

  15. Carol says:

    Well, whether it’s cable, uverse or dish installation, it’s always a scene, right? And, I’ve often wondered why it takes so much manpower to do this. It’s no wonder the companies want a long term commitment.

  16. Clare Speer says:

    Oh – sorry for your loss. I do know what it’s like to lose a mother… and dad… I lost mine 7 months apart! (over three years ago now) Blessings!

  17. Paola says:

    Hahahah, I love the part you said it took 3 of them, 1 working and 2 drinking coffee!!!
    I should get a job like that and be the drinking coffee person, right?! Hehehe

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