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Tuesday, January 4, 2005

I don’t know what’s worse, having to wait around all day for the phone repair guy, or having to wait around all day without a working fax line. I didn’t know I’d miss it so much, but it’s my lifeline, as far as my job is concerned. If it weren’t for the miracle of facsimile transmission, I wouldn’t be able to work at home. And sit around all day.

That’s only my biggest frustration of the day, definitely not the only one. Tim and his crew are in Southern California (or trying to get through the snow on I-5 so they can complete a project in SoCal that we would like to get paid for). He has some information I need before I can close out the 2004 records and get started on the year-end accounting.

And his rapid-fire employee turnover has burned me again. He’s hired two new guys, and they’ve both filled out their paperwork so sloppily that I can’t tell what their names are, much less their social security numbers. I think I’m going to have to ask him to fax me their documents. That is, when I have a working fax again.

I spent half the day watching out the window for the phone company truck, and the other half trying to find things that I could do even without all my tools. The third half I spent pacing and grinding my teeth and biting my nails and wishing I were somewhere else. I really depend on that half hour or so in the mornings when I can escape from this place, even if it’s only for a quick trip to the post office. By evening, I’m settled in and wouldn’t move out of the house for a Nehi and a Coney Island.

I couldn’t sit down and relax. I tried it a couple of times, but every sound, even if it was a plane overhead or the refrigerator coming on, would have me jumping out of my chair and racing to the window, only to be disappointed yet again.

At 3:00 pm, I paused for a bit of analysis. Seven hours down and five to go. The phone company couldn’t pin it down any closer than “between 8 am and 8 pm,” which is the reason I was stuck, stranded, deserted. After getting through more than half the allotted time with no sign of aid and assistance, despair began to creep into my otherwise sunny disposition. Also, I think I howled a little.

When I walked out to get my mail, I looked up and down the road to see if I could spot any guys on poles. Sometimes when there are guys on poles, that means my problem is being solved (or at least addressed). Since there were no guys on poles, I lost a little more hope and muttered something under my breath. At least I hoped it was under my breath, because I didn’t see the cyclist breezing by me at that very moment. I hustled back into the house where I could cuss out the world in private.

4 January 2005

Clouds in the western sky.

At 4:20 pm, as I was thinking about turning on the outside lights so the repair guy wouldn’t have to find my place in the dark, the repair truck came rolling up my driveway at last. At 4:30, the guy said he had to climb the pole and check the line and he’d be back in ten minutes. At 5 pm, I did turn the outside lights on, hoping that somehow he would find his way back (or at least be able to see his watch). At 5:15, I was ready to walk outside and see if he’d fallen off the pole.

But at 5:30 he was back at my door. “Bad news,” he said. Then a bunch of mumbo jumbo that I didn’t understand about the nature of the problem, and then something I did sort of understand about how he was just a repair guy and he had to turn in the report tonight and the guys who had the equipment to fix this massive malfunction (which, by the way, is entirely the phone company’s fault) would take care of it tomorrow. “Have a good night.”

So, no fax, but I do have my DSL, which is on the same line. He was mystified and amazed that the DSL worked, considering how lines were fused and crossed and every other kind of screwed up. So I guess I should take advantage of my connection while I have it, because who knows, things could always get worse.

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So the Boss knows I’m having this problem and yet he’s been trying to fax me something all day anyway. Finally, late this afternoon, he calls and begs me to hook up the fax machine to the voice line so that he can send me two past due bills that he “forgot” to mail to me in time to pay (despite his solemn promise that this would never happen). It’s a struggle and a pain and I accidentally hook things up backwards, but it gets done. And then I call him and tell him to save any more faxes until my line is fixed.

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