From the Pastor: No Phones! No Internet!
At the beginning of last week, half of the things I had on my calendar got bumped due to other, more urgent necessities needing my attention. On Thursday morning, after Benediction, I was trying to accomplish one of Wednesday’s missed tasks, but I had to get to the emails first and, before getting anywhere near finishing them, it was already time to head to the church for an afternoon baptism. So much for catching up. After the baptism, I was invited to the family’s house for a bbq but I had to decline, since, among other things, I still needed to write my bulletin article before the day was done. And maybe then more emails. Or maybe Wednesday’s project. Or... I got back to the rectory, set myself down at the computer, and found that there was no internet connection.
Sigh. I wish I could say that this was a one-time event but it happens quite frequently. At one time, Mark had the Brighthouse/Spectrum number memorized since he called it so often. They would dutifully ask if we had rebooted the system, if we had damaged the equipment in any way, if... anything to avoid taking responsibility for their failure to give us the goods we pay for. They would then dutifully tell us that a technician would be out in a day or two to fix it. We are a business, so we get better, quicker service than a residential customer! The tech would drive up, test everything, putter around “fixing” things, and tell us that intermittent problems are to be expected because we are at the end of the cable line. The company simply doesn’t care. Evidently, a problem further up the line might interfere with others down the line but ours only affects us. Why bother doing it right?
Anyway, instead of grousing about the past failures, I dutifully rebooted the system and waited for the internet to return. Nothing changed. Oh, well, I still had a stack of phone messages awaiting me so I turned to them. But there was no dial tone. The phone is also Spectrum. I then checked out the TV that hasn’t been turned on since Fr. Tuoc left for Vietnam. It, too, was getting no signal. So I took it as a sign from God that I was to go to have some barbeque ribs with the baptism family!
After a very nice time away from all the cares of the parish, I returned home expecting everything to be up and running (every once in a while, I am an optimist) but, of course, it wasn’t. That is why you got a “re-run” article in last week’s bulletin. Of course, I have more than enough reading to catch up on, so I was going to spend the next few hours before bedtime in the leisurely pursuit of entertainment. I picked up the Pohle-Preuss Manual of Dogmatic Theology, volume 3, where I am getting very confused as to the dogmatic teachings on creation, which somehow was skipped in the seminary, and which, surprisingly to me, includes both first and second creation, and somehow seems to say that one doesn’t go against Church dogma in holding just about any view of creation so long as one does not deny that God created everything out of nothing. But that pursuit of knowledge ended in about twenty minutes, as my cell phone rang and text messages came in. I managed to read a few more pages after the interruptions were taken care of, and promptly fell asleep in my chair before finishing the section on “The Hexaemeron and Exegesis.” Go figure!
The next morning we found out that the internet at the parish office (not rectory) was working but the phones weren’t. Usually, that is. It seems that we had no dial tone at either the rectory or the office and most of the time when somebody called all they got was a continuing ring. No answer, no answering machine, just a ring. But it wasn’t ringing through. Except for every once in a while. I only heard the phone ring once all day but I was told that several people managed to get their calls through to the front desk. We called Spectrum and they very helpfully told us that, since we are a business, they would send somebody right over at the crack of Monday between 10:00 and 11:00 am. To give them due credit, though, they did offer to get here Sunday morning with this caveat: “Appointments typically take between one and three hours to complete after the technician arrives. An adult over the age of 18 with a government-issued photo ID must be present during our visit.” Of course, that person must know where the phones and computers and connections are and also have keys to access those places, which pretty much means that Sunday mornings are impossible for us. But they actually did arrive before 11:00 on Monday, checked everything, plugged and unplugged everything, traced wires, tested connections, and finally announced, “Yep, just as we thought. We cannot fix this. It is a problem on top of one of the poles. We will call for a bucket truck to come and figure out which pole. They should get here before 6 pm.
By nightfall on Monday the phones and internet seemingly worked again. It took until Thursday morning for us to discover that line one only allowed us outgoing calls and line 2 didn’t work at all. That (hopefully) got fixed in the afternoon before I finished writing this article! When the government offices across the street open, surely the cable company will update the connections. Will they extend it to us, as well?
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka