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Dear friends and readers,

I'm keeping a record, so:


Not so modest improvements begun. Very nice man in jeans, lovely shirt, came and made estimate for removing hedge, making two modest flower beds (silver ferns, daffodils). Discussed land: swamp on one side, rocky down back so beds go on one good side. Don't want all sorts of drains and stuff. Discussed turning screened porch into room. Carlos asks what did I have in mind? well, walls, windows, floors that sort of thing. Heat and air-conditioning to come out of ducts. Suddenly Admiral making difficulties, all becoming very complex. No it's not. Window in present room stays. I like window, looked at it for over 30 years. Doors to porch stay. Maybe clean, replace glass, paint: fix up. Then like the rest of house a window in each outer wall, since one will be big, then have 2 windows.Brick walls, wooden floors like rest of house again. No door from porch to outside. Admiral looks dubious. I ignore. Carlos pleased. Will send estimate for room later today. I admit there is one statement in all W's years I actually liked. I did not hear him say it, but was told he said "I am the decider." What's the use of being duchess if I don't get to decide and get the thing done. Realize unspoilt nature of house will be lost. Ah well. Sobeit. Carlos says an Occupy demonstration nearby. Hurrah! I say. Bad for traffic. so nuff for today.


House improvements resume, if not exactly apace. Signed contract with believable man. Will come, will really remove huge hedge with deep roots, put down gravel, plant grass, make flower beds. So back up to attic, ruthlessly emptying out shelves. Tell Admiral who agrees to stand at bottom of ladder and put stuff coming down in place. If any is his, and he wants it, he must be the one to re-shelve downstairs. Some Algebra books with Russian authors from Math Ph.D. spotted. Notice he pitches these too. Getting more ruthless with own stuff. Notice oddities in attic like vile pieces of cardboard stuck in places to keep out drafts and wonder if anyone ever lived up here. House 63 years old after all, & attic once held at its center in big frame a huge huge fan. Done for day.


House improvements (re-organizations) slow down. Cats decidedly adverse to up and down ladder; do not like footsteps in attic either. Last 2 days also became convinced should not pitch everything. Need to select. So 5 valuable folders on Henrietta St John Knight (Lady Luxborough) stay (project several years on hold to write a short biography and make a tiny etext edition of her poetry). Some teaching materials. Point is not simply to throw away but discover what's there! So inroads slighter for a while.


House improvements. Having decided yesterday what to pitch, what keep & put in attic, and what keep downstairs, I went great guns today for a full hour. Emptied half a top shelf, and most of a long bottom one downstairs, put up. Almost fell trying to save time. It's too much to ask not to heave-ho upstairs files down (& more ruined and/or obsolete books), so threw down ladder & into whatever bins there. Admiral does not like this: his law-abiding spirit against throwing so I proceeded alone. But then he wants to divide stuff into right colored bins so participated by beating me to the punch on the stuff that belongs in the blue bin. Did take one file downstairs. Cable company technician visits & reveals how horrible the people on the phone really are, what total shits, liars, thieves. Have to call gardening people too but will put off until tomorrow. Loathe this, beginning to become aware it was not the lack of money that stopped me all these years, or not altogether. Subside into reading now.  Tired.



Oct. 12th, 2012 02:46 am (UTC)
Struggles over cable company & TVs
Caroline: Is her TV working now? should I come by and see what's up?

Me: It was an hour ago. You have to hit two buttons. One on one remote and one on the other. We are going out to the National Symphony at 5 but she will be here at 5:30. If you think you can help please do but she got more aggravated than we did. She was upset

Caroline: this is too complex--see your email. I will leave at 4pm and be over before you leave.
It sounds like this happened:

You upgraded her box but did not upgrade your service at the time. Remember how I was on her box looking for features that I was confused were not there? 99.8% of the time when people upgrade their box they upgrade their service. Upgrading the box but not the service that gives you these features is probably so uncommon the woman on the phone couldn't comprehend that this is in fact what you had done. She probably believes it's not technically legal to have the box without those upgrades--for all I know she may be right. I have to tell you that i had NEVER seen an HD box that didn't have those features in it--i had assumed they came as part of the box's interior technology.

Once she upgraded your service to match the box in Izzy's room, then you get an HD box for all your TVs. Most likely she thought herself doing you a favor. Shew probably assumed this had to be what you wanted because it was the better service.

I understand you are upset but you are not recognizing that what you were trying to have the cable company do is not normal. When you are dealing with people on the phone who make minimum wage, not normal doesn't compute. They're not paid to make not normal happen. They are paid to make normal happen.

Does that make sense?

Me: I'd say this is what happened up to the time the phone technician came on. He was supposed to make the upgrade or "higher rating" or whatever it was called. He pretended to. Then when it didn't work, I asked to speak to the same young woman and asked her to put us back to basic and bring the tiny box (DT). She promised that she would put us back to basic service and send the tiny box.

Then three days later this young man shows up with a work order for another HD box and it says we have level one.

So the technician on the other end of the line lied and pretended to help us and did no such thing. I assume when he realized I had no idea what he was talking about and then when the Admiral got on the phone he became offended. So Izzy upset I decide, fuck all this stuff, put us back the way we were, but the young woman does not do that because she wants the sale.

I wasn't trying to do anything. I was asking why we did not get the channels we had originally been getting. All I got from her was first lies, that we hadn't had them, and then a confused explanation interrupted by promotional talk: didn't I want 5 ESPNs? no. Didn't my daughter want HBO? no.

Really two different worlds clashing with her wanting to extract money from me for the next level and the man angry at the Admiral's tense behavior.

I do hope it works now. The Admiral has been very very uncooperative _with me_.

Really what I was up against was the dysfunctionality of US life. Sometimes I think impersonal social life has vanished and all we are left with is trying to wrest things from one another. No good impulses can come to the fore.

Edited at 2012-10-12 02:56 am (UTC)

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