I was offline last night. Y’know… during the time I was supposed to be doing that msn thing. This is what happened:
On the way to the chat…
I was recently asked to be a guest at an msn Zone chat about online relationships. The date was agreed upon, and I was certain I would make it to the chat without any problems at all. The plan was, I would get home from work that night, have some dinner, relax a bit, then log into the Zone.
The day started fine, I went to work and everything was going well there, and I hadn’t forgotten about the chat or anything, so I was ready for it. I got home from work and decided that my computer needed a reboot, since it had been running for two days straight and was acting a bit sluggish about things. I shut down, and decided to leave the computer off while Jay & I went out to grab some food (we’re currently mid-move and half of our dishes are packed, and to save on the number of things we have to move, we haven’t bought much food lately…) Just as we were about to go out the door, his connection to our high speed net connection was lost. We didn’t really concern ourselves too much with it, since it happened on occasion and we never had problems reconnecting. He shut his machine down, and we went out for some dinner.
An hour passes. We come back from dinner, quite satisfied, at 7:00 pm. There is still two hours until the chat starts. I boot my computer up and try to log in… and am faced with the message Timeout while trying to login. I become mildly concerned, and try to connect again. The same message pops up. I get more concerned and try to connect five more times, always with the same response. I think to myself, ‘oh, that’s fine, I’ll just give it a few minutes… I need to call the phone company to get our phone switched to the new apartment anyhow…’ and off I go to call the phone company.
As it turns out, the phone company has closed their offices for the evening, and I’ll have to ‘please call back tomorrow.’ Fine then, I’ll call back tomorrow. My next task is to change over the net connection to our new address, so I call their 24 hour customer service number, where I get told that a customer service representative will be with me shortly, and could I please hold for 7.3 minutes and listen to a piano medley of Phantom of the Opera, Show Boat, and New York New York. While on hold, I hit connect on my Access Manager program a few more times, and get the same Timeout while trying to login message. I’m a little more upset by this point. It is 7:20pm.
Finally, I get to speak to a real human being at the other end of the line. I cheerfully ask her how I have to arrange to get my service transferred from my old apartment to my new one, and she tells me that I have to contact them as soon as I know the day that my new phone will be connected. Oh, I think, those are the people who I have to call back tomorrow because their offices close at 6pm, before I generally get home from work. Well fine, then. I then tell her that my second concern is the status of my internet connection – or rather my lack thereof. I was probably starting to sound just a touch distraught, at this point. She shuffles with some papers and taps at her keyboard, but seems uncertain of what to tell me. I lose my patience just a little bit, and politely tell her that I absolutly have to be online by 9pm because I have to show up as a guest at an msn chat thing… I must have sounded perturbed, because her immediate response was “I’ll put you through to a tech right away!” And so I was transferred to the tech centre.
A nice gentleman with a french accent answered, telling me that his name was Stephane, and asking me for my userID. I gave it to him (since I was staring at my debilitated Access Manager at the time anyhow) and asked him what was up with my connection. His friendly response was, “Oh, there are 5,000 users that are currently disconnected in the Toronto area,” and rattled off some series of numbers and letters to explain to me what was going on. I didn’t really care about the details of the problem, so I asked him outright, “will my connection be back up in an hour and a half?” He told me it would. I hung up and started looking around for alternative connection solutions.
My first instinct was to call another friend who uses the same service provider as we do. He told me that his connection was fine, and suggested I come over to his and his girlfriend’s apartment to do the chat from there. At this point, it was 7:30, and it would take me an hour to get there. It was an option, at least, until I realized that the Zone doesn’t have Macintosh software, and he was running a Mac.
My next call was to my friend Cyn – she was out, so I left her a message to call me. Then I called Lori, who I work with and who lives around the corner from me. She told me that she was having the same connection problems, so she couldn’t help me. I knew that I had 10 hours a month of dial-up service from the ISP, but I had taken my modem out of my computer to free up the ISA slot in my computer for something else. I knew, somewhere in the mess left behind by our packing, there was a modem somewhere… I just didn’t know if I could find it.
At 7:50pm, I was pacing around frantically, trying to figure out what to do. On a whim, I decided to try calling the WomenGamers.com office to let them know of my situation, in case anyone was still in or was checking messages, but realized that my only copy of the phone number was stored in my online Email box… and I couldn’t connect to the net. Knowing that there was someone still at my work, I decided to call them and ask them to look up a number online for me, if it wasn’t too much trouble. Once I had their number, I called WomenGamers and got their voicemail, much as I expected I would. I left a scattered message on the machine, even though I figured no one would get it, and left my number for them to call me back if they got the message. By then, it was 8:03pm.
Moving some spare computer parts around, I found the elusive modem. By this point in time, Jay had fallen asleep on the couch, since a lack of net connection left him with very little to do. I pulled out my phillips screwdriver (no girl can live without one) and set to taking my computer apart, prepared to install a 33.6 modem and find the setup software for dial-up connections, somewhere in the mess that was once our apartment.
I was half-finished reorganizing the inside of my case to make room for the modem when Cyn returned my call. She asked me how I was doing, and I told her I was stressing out and putting a modem in my computer. She asked why, so I gave her the short version, basically just saying that my net connection was down at the moment, and there was no word on when it would come back up. She told me that she was rather annoyed, because she uses a Mac and couldn’t connect to the chat at all, since it was all Windows-specific software. Her justifiable Windows rant was interrupted by a beep on my end – call waiting had kicked in. I put her on hold to talk to Lori, who had a suggestion: she could drive me to work to use the net connection there. I looked at my open case, considered my lack of modem drivers and dial-up software, and looked at the clock – 8:20 – there was no way I could be connected in time. I agreed, and she told me she would be there in about five minutes. I linked back to Cyn on the other line and told her what was going on, then phoned the guy at work to ask him to let us in when we got there.
Jay was still asleep. I tried to wake him up to tell him where I was going, and he didn’t blink. Finally, giving up on waking him up, I wrote a note in Notepad on his computer, maximized the window, and made the text HUGE – Gone to work for the msn chat, will call you, be back soon, love you, bye! I then ran out the door to wait for Lori. It was 8:30 when we left. The drive to work is about 20 minutes. We were definitely cutting it close, and there was no way it could have happened at all without Lori and her speedy-mobile.
We got to the door at work, and the guy who was still in the office buzzed us in. I took the stairs two at a time, up to the third floor, sat myself immediately down at a computer and booted it up. It was 8:55. I had to download the necessary software before I could do anything, and I was flustered and couldn’t seem to find any of the links for it. 8:59, and I was inputting my UserID and password, hoping beyond hope that it would work, and that I remembered the right password…
Success! It connected, and I immediately got a message from the women from WomenGamers, expressing their concern that I wasn’t going to make it… The chat started about a minute or two after I had logged in and set up… I was still shaking from the stress of trying to get everything working and set and connected and in line. But I made it, and that’s all that matters.
By the way, it’s now 11:45 pm, and my net connection hasn’t yet been restored. One or two hours, they said… yeah… right….