Friday, December 08, 2006

Telephone companies

The mantra is that you don't know how much you take something for granted until it's gone or breaks.

I guess that can be applied to services provided by the telephone company.

You see, about two summers ago, the local phone company started digging up yards in our neighborhood as they were installing fiber optic data lines. Eventually, they got to our street and finally to the Grizzwold mansion front yard. Things had been going swimmingly for the contractor until they hit our yard. You see, the front yard of the Grizzwold mansion is about 8 or so inches of topsoil over top of about 1 million feet of solid rock. We found this out when the contractor said they had to dig down about a foot or so to bury the data lines. Since they missed their mark because of the rocks, they said they had to shoot a "missile" into the rocks to break them up. Since we are the Grizzwolds, the "missile" not only blew up the rocks, it blew up the water line! This mishap left the Grizzwold family without water for a day, which was kind of disconcerting considering we had a new baby in the house. Thankfully, the line was repaired late that night.

You might think the story is over, but nooooooooo, we are the Grizzwolds, so there's more:
  • The continued construction damaged at different points, the electricity and the telephone service.
  • The yard was a mess and was put back together several times by the construction contractor only to sink into the indentation left as a result of the "missle" mishap. You see, if you take rocks out of a hole, you have to replace the rocks with an equal volume of dirt, something that the construction contractor didn't seem to understand. The indentation in the front yard persisted throughout the winter and into the early spring when they dug it up again to make a "repair" and install junction boxes.
  • A family friend stumbled and fractured an elbow as a result of falling on the uneven mess of a front yard that was left. The mess was never marked clearly, so the friend wandered too close to the edge of it and was nearly sucked into it as the ground slumped away.
  • The yard was finally replaced in the middle of the second summer by a landscaping contractor. I had to water it frequently, which resulted in a massive Grizzwold water bill. I did have the best grass in the neighborhood (at least in the front yard).
  • At first, the telephone company wasn't going to reimburse us for the costs incurred, but they did say they would provide us 4 months of phone services (about $200). It took three months to get that (they finally sent us a check). During that time, we signed up for the new fiber optic service. They said it was free to install and free to connect. Since that time, we've been billed for the installation and connectivity, but on a different account! A collection company came after me for the money that hadn't been paid (in which we didn't owe in the first place). It took several two hour phone calls to try and fix that.
  • The landscaping company called us a couple of times to ask us when they would be paid. Funny that, since we didn't screw up our own yard and have to contract out someone competent enough to repair it, that was the phone company. More two hour phone calls...supervisors...district managers and stress from seemingly empty promises. This week, during one of my many phone marathons to the phone company call center, the landscaping company calls Mrs. Grizzwold and says that if they don't get their money, they are taking us to court! At this point, old Clark is ready to pull out his hair. Not to worry though, the phone company is ready to serve!!

At this point, the Grizzwold's are in limbo. Not sure if we're going to have to pay the over one thousand dollars to the landscaping company to avoid court or wait for the phone company to pull their records and figure out where the check is. From what the phone company has told me, they haven't found it yet.

Only 17 days until Christmas...and small claims court!


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