Why won’t Johnny work?

You know, I lived in rural Florida in the 60s.  Things were slow, backward, a little off.  But here in rural North Carolina, it’s an entirely different story.  If you need anything that can’t be bought at Walmart, you have to drive 60 miles to get it.  Even the simplest of tasks becomes a month-long devotional to banging your head against a brick wall.

Case in point: Our roof has leaked ever since we bought the house seven years ago.  We started trying to get estimates on the repairs roughly the first day we spent in the house.  About half of the roofers would never even come out to the house.  The rest would come out, promise to return an estimate before the end of the week.  We would never see them again.  Failing to find a roofer in town, we branched out…all the way to Norfolk, 60 miles away.  He not only returned an estimate that was $40K less than everyone else, he actually came out and did the job.  So, the main body of the house was reroofed right after Isabel hit in 2003.  Only the porch and garage remained.

To make a long story short, it took us the last five years to get an estimate that was reasonable from a roofer who would actually take the job.  We had all kinds of solutions presented to us, ranging from spray-on rubber to a copper roof costing in excess of $120K.  That’s for roughly 900 square feet of roofing mind you.  Eight years and over $25K later, we have a completely dry house.  That’s nothing short of a miracle.

Let’s talk about cable and internet.  We have mediacom for both.  We pay through the nose for it.  The internet dies on a daily basis.  Channels disappear and go into a black out almost as regularly.  We’ve had the service people out here no less than 14 times and they still never fixed the problem.  Seriously.

Our alarm system is run through ADT.  We have monitoring.  We pay on time every month and have never been a problem to them.  But a month ago, it started beeping incessantly.  Low battery.  Really?  I call the company and they want $79 to send somebody out to replace the battery in THEIR system.  I said that I would change it myself, where is it?  They tell me to unlock the main panel inside the closet and the battery is there.  Only one problem: I don’t have a key.  They never left us a key when they installed it 6 years ago.  They promise to send me a key at the end of the week.  It never arrives and I call back.  They say that they will have a key brought down to me from the Norfolk office.  (all reason, sense, and skill emanates from Norfolk)  So we wait.  Meanwhile, the alarm beeps crazily at all hours of the day and night.  Sleep is lost.  We can’t leave our house alone.  I finally get fed up and call them.  They say that they have a technician right here in our home town.  They’ll send him over with a key.  Really?  Why didn’t you say that in the FIRST PLACE?

I’m signing up with Brinks on Monday.

We decided to leave the incompetence of mediacom behind and sign up with Embarq.  We can get phone, DSL, and dish network for $100 less than we’re paying now.  The phone guy comes, puts in the DSL line.  Only THEN do we find out that we won’t be able to use a phone on the DSL line.  We have to have another phone line put into the den for an actual phone.  Then we find out that the dish network can’t be hooked up the way we want it to.  They’re not allowed to go out onto the roof. (The roof again?  Really?) So, they’ll just be using the cable company’s coaxial cable.  Well, duh!  It’s not digital or hi-def and is therefore of no use.  We need new cables.  Fine!  We’ll pay extra.  Set it up.  They schedule for installation, we get the confirmation call the night before.  Hours later, we get a call saying they have to cancel because they don’t have enough equipment.

You’re the freaking dish network representative and you don’t have enough equipment? WTF????  They can get it.  But somebody has to bring it down from…you guessed it….NORFOLK!

It gets even more ridiculous here as the guy installing the new a/c unit shoots flames up all three stories at the back of our house.  The original guy who was on his way to fix said unit on a day when the temps were 103, didn’t make it because he spotted a fish jumping as he was driving over the bridge, so he just HAD to stop and fish.

The historic society here likes to burn down old houses for practice.  They can’t actually preserve them because they lack the funds.  Why do they lack the funds, you ask?  Because nobody can figure out how to form a not-for-profit corporation, therefore they are limited to raising just $25K a year.  Again I say, WTF????  Do you know where Office Max is?  They have papers there for that.  Not to mention the fact that at least two of their members are freaking attorneys!  DOH!

Our utility rates run an average of 30% higher than any place else in the country.  The water company operates on water that was tested in 2004.  They had a parade here on the Fourth of July.  It consisted of some kids on bikes, a few rednecks on horses, and some poor schmuck pushing a wheelbarrow and a shovel to pick up after said horses.  It was over in under 2 minutes.  Yippy!!!!

The police here don’t work after 8PM.  After that, they have to page a cop.  Oh, and they do own a fingerprint kit, but none of them knows how to actually use it.  If you call 911, you get put on hold most of the time.  The jobless rate here is enormous, as is the number of people on social services.  Now, don’t get me wrong, social services and welfare are good things, meant to help people when times are tough.  But I don’t see how a person can take actual PRIDE in being the fourth generation in their family to exist solely on welfare.  Jeez!  I’d kill myself.

Businesses are failing right and left.  The survivors claim that there’s not enough work to keep them going.  I say, if you WOULD actually work, you’d get more business.  Whatever happened to customer service?  All these companies act as if I’m being a complete pain in the butt by simply asking for the service I pay them to provide.  Whatever happened to an honest day’s work?  Whatever happened to pride in workmanship?

In short, if you buy a historic house, you’d better have a high six figure bank account.  If you buy a historic house in a rural area, you’d better have a high six figure bank account AND mad construction skills.  You’d better have a high tolerance for ignorance and general jack-assery to boot.

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3 Responses to “Why won’t Johnny work?”

  1. Denise Says:

    So, then, a nice and uneventful couple of weeks for you? 😉

    Is it karma, or a regional thing?

  2. Embarq_Jenny Says:

    Hi- My name is Jenny and I work with the Embarq online support team. I wanted to let you know that I am here to assist you with any issues that you may have with Embarq. Please feel free to email me anytime at Embarq_Jenny@Embarq.com if you have any trouble.

    Jenny R
    Embarq online support team

  3. David Says:

    Lol…I lived THROUGH all of that, and reading it the way you wrote it I snorted coffee onto a perfectly good keyboard.

    You forgot to mention that they tunneled under the mayor’s house and broke in to rob him through the floor (lol).

    or Jr. the Do-everything-man who did nothing (may he rest in peace)

    or the crazed nazi neighbors who threatened to sue us because they couldn’t sell their ex-funeral parlor house if they honestly told people it was an ex-funeral parlor.

    Or that Stephen King fixes lawnmowers at Eerie Haste’s hardware (lol).

    love you.


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