Internet status

Soooo… a few things happened today.

Long story short, we are still down to just one account.

Long story long…

First, we got a call from the tech guy, saying that he would be here between 1 and 3pm to see what’s going on with our secondary internet account.

Second, we got our ebill for the month.

Yeah. Over $550. They charged us $2 a gig in overage fees, even though my husband had been told they wouldn’t.

Which is when he had a conversation with them!

At first, they tried to say they couldn’t credit us the amount, or credit us for the account we couldn’t use all month that we paid for, anyway.

So he told them to cancel the secondary account.

Well, they couldn’t credit the whole amount, but they could credit us $10 a month for 6 months.

He told them to cancel the secondary account.

He got put on hold while she went to see what she could do.

In the end, he agreed to a credit of $20 a month for 6 months. Which basically covers the cost of the secondary account for a month.

After all the huge expenses we had this month, like having to get a new lawn mower and new washing machine, among other things, plus we’ve still got the rest of the bill for my mom’s car to pay soon, we’ll be paying this bill down slowly for a while. I’d already budgeted a higher amount for the bill, but not that much!!

Meanwhile, we still had the tech guy coming out.

Shortly after noon, I headed out to unlock the gate – just in time for him to pull into our driveway! Yup, he arrived almost an hour early. We got a good laugh over my being there to unlock it at just the right time. 🙂

He started off by bringing in his own router to test with. While he did his best to make sure he wouldn’t disconnect us from the one account that was still working, if badly, my daughter stopped working, just in case. The last thing she needed was to be in the middle of something, and suddenly, no internet. So she and I started on the picnic table.

The tech ended up switching modems, changing connectors, changing the entire cable, replacing the receiver on the satellite itself, all while constantly checking and rechecking the signal we were getting.

He was actually getting negative numbers. Which never seen before. I mean, if there’s no signal, it should be zero, but to get negatives?

He was at it for about three hours, in 25C/77F heat, with the humidex at about 30C/86F, in full sun on the roof, and not even a breeze!

Thankfully, we had just picked up a case of van water, and what didn’t fit in the cooler in the van, I brought to the house. I had some nice, cold water bottles to give him!

He did everything he could, and nothing worked.

That one dish is just not getting a signal.

In the end, there was just one thing left, and it was not something he could do.

I identified a specific tree branch that might be causing the problem.

It was actually one I’d narrowed it down to, myself, though partly because it’s the one we can reach to try.

I was ready to just grab a ladder and take it down right away.

Thankfully, my daughter stopped me.

This is the trunk of that tree.

Do you see those holes?

The elms are all riddled with them.

They are made by bald faced hornets. Which are wasps that burrow into trees to make their nests.

That’s right. The tree itself is the nest.

In the fall, they all die. The ones that hatch, build a nest elsewhere.

The tree we’d already pruned huge branches from had been a nest last year, but is empty now.

The year before, they had been in this tree, but in other branches.

This year, their nest is this branch.

Now, these wasps are actually pretty docile. They will leave you alone, if you leave them alone. They are not aggressive. In fact, they are desirable, as they keep down other insects.

If, however, you F* them up, they will F* you up.

Cutting down the branch that is their nest is about as F’ing them up as you can get.

The guy was still hear as my daughter explained all this, which I think he appreciated. He may well need that information at someone else’s place, in the future!

Which reminds me…

I had talked to him earlier about how the satellites had worked for the past while, and that the trees themselves actually have a lot less branches than before. We can tell when the branches are a problem during high winds, as they block and unblock the signal. So when he told me which particular branch he thought my be the problem, we also talked about what to do if we took the branch down, and it still didn’t work!

After he was gone, we had a talk about it.

One option is to pick up a whole lot of wasp and hornet killer, spray the branch, then cut it down. The problem with that is, this isn’t an external nest like with paper wasps that we can spray. The nest is inside the branch, and it’s very unlikely we’d be able to kill them all. We’d probably have to empty 3 cans over the length of the branch, and hope the contact kill gets the ones we miss.

Unlike the paper wasps, though, we don’t actually want to get rid of these guys. These ones are “good guys”. Plus, they will die on their own in the fall. Until then, they will help keep actual problem insects down.

My daughter suggested we just get used to having one account for a while, then take the branch down after the tree stops buzzing.

So tomorrow, my husband will call our provider back and ask them to suspend the account for now. We’ll just have a small fee each month, instead. If we keep paying what we normally budget at the same time, we’ll pay off the current bill much, much faster, too.

In a couple of months, we should be able to remove the branch, then ask them to activate the account again and see if it worked. If not, it’s time to call someone to come out again. Which is what the “care” charge on our bill covers.

Until then, we just have to keep rationing our internet usage, and get used to having horrible internet. The guy did check the primary account, too, and it was working fine, though as I type this I’m noticing we have lost internet again.

Oh, it’s back.

Anyhow.

So I’m kinda feeling really lucky right now. I had been eyeballing that tree and thinking of that one branch that was most likely to be at least part of the problem. I was thinking of just taking it down, and even decided on where to cut it, so that new branches growing out of the remains would still provide shade.

I just never got around to doing it.

When going under the tree, you can hear buzzing, but I’d never been able to see where the buzzing was coming from. My daughter was able to point it out, and you can actually see the wasps crawling around. If I had cut that branch, once it crashed to the ground, I would probably have been swarmed.

I seemed to have really dodged a bullet on that one!

So that’s where we stand now.

Given that my husband already got them to credit us for the next 6 months, they might balk at suspending the account. Still, it’s not the same as cancelling it, and I would hope that they would be understanding once he tells them why we have to wait before we can take the branch down and see if that’s what’s causing the problem. The tech couldn’t even say that it would work. It’s just that he tried everything else he could do. It’s the only thing left that he could think of.

We’ve been wanting to get rid of that tree for various reasons, but now we have a new one.

Wasps!

We’ll just have to find some other way to provide shade.

The Re-Farmer

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