The Cable Guy & Living In Old Houses

Well, here’s how it went with the cable guy. He was prompt. I’ll give him that. He told me he would resolve it 100% and check every possible problem and come up with a viable solution before he left.

His answer was that I need a grounded something or other for the outside. The cable guy gave me his cell phone number and said to always ask for him and he’d manage to get out here. Maybe not right away. But when he could get away.

But he also said if I didn’t get that grounded something or other, he wasn’t working on it.

I don’t know piddly about a grounded something or other. He tried to explain it to me. It went right over my head.

He assures me this is why I only have intermittent service. And, by the way, it has been intermittent all afternoon. I don’t know about the TV, because I don’t turn it on during the day. But the phone went out during a conversation.

I’m sure the business I was calling thought I was just rude and hung up. Then the internet went out again. But in a few minutes came back on. So I’m writing as fast as my fingers will go before it happens again.


All I know is I’m real tired of waiting at the end of a phone, and listening to please punch number such and such if you want such and such. If you want English, press such and such. And by the way, did you know you could resolve many of your problems quickly at the cable website without having to speak to a representative?

If I hear that one more time, I am going to have to resort to breaking something. It won’t be anything inside. Maybe I will go outside and find sticks and break a bunch until I have gotten the anger out of my system.

Maybe the dogs will think it’s a game and grab them up. Like they do plastic pots after I’ve planted the plant and set it aside, and they scoop them up like a valued treasure and run around the yard with them. Heads held high with their token prize as they circle the shed and run back around the fence garden.

When was it we stopped getting actual people on the phone and had to oblige a recording?

Worse than that is when I get a recording and I think it’s a person and I’m talking away until I realize I’m explaining my problem to a recording, and then I feel really foolish.

Who do they hire to make these recordings? I bet they have a union. I bet they band together and don’t tell anyone where they live or where they work for fear of mayhem and retribution.

I know if I found the source that repeatedly tells me to go to their website, when of course I have no internet, to resolve my problem, I would have to drive past her home to see if she actually looked normal.

To see if perhaps she is a Stepford wife. (They looked SO real, didn’t they? Like automated Barbie dolls.)

So here I sit, the pupsters worn out from barking and my head swimming with everything he tried to explain to me. And I’m also asking myself if I want to dole out the money to see if this will indeed fix it.

There’s the fact that the few gutters I have are falling down, and the windowsills have begun to rot out. Which should I tackle first, I ask myself as I keep one leery eye on the blinking modem that sends my computer a signal that somehow makes it work. At least some of the time.

I keep telling myself I should try to save up and get an actual fuse box instead of these 1934 glass thingies that are in there. If one goes out, I have no earthly idea what to do. I’m accustomed to flipping switches to put things back in order. I know the day will come when I’m faced with that mysterious chore.


There are pros and cons to living in an old house. But even with all the problems, I still wouldn’t want a new house. My daughter and SIL built their home about seven years ago and for some reason they already need to have it jacked up.

I have concrete walls that seem to weather (knock on wood) every storm. My utility bills are pretty cheap. I have original hardwood floors and pretty molding.

We had winds of up to 80 mph just a month ago, and the little blue house stood strong and sturdy. Nary a thing came loose or got broken.

If you drive anywhere in Tulsa, you will see massive piles of tree branches at most of the curbs. Waiting till trucks can come by, pick them up, and take them away.

Many trees were upended by their very roots and planted in crazy places like the middle of a strip mall.

There were people who never had a tree in their backyard, who now have a tree in their back yard. And they have no idea where it came from. Tis a mystery.

The little blue house is 79 years old, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because as I live and breathe, all 1010 square feet of it is still standing. When houses much newer have ended up demolished because of problems no one wanted to fork out the money to fix.

Don’t you feel sorry for those houses that are boarded up? I do. I feel like they have been determined ugly and a blight on society, and therefore aren’t deemed worthy of revitalizing.

Maybe the spirit of the house just up and dies then. Do you think houses harbor the spirits of those who have resided in them at one time or another?

What a waste. There are so many homeless people on the streets. And neglected homes sitting and rotting away. Abandoned by its occupants and left to weather the elements. Doesn’t seem quite right, does it? Doesn’t seem quite logical.

I for one am just thankful to have a roof over my head. If the old dame has some problems, they don’t take away from her solid and enduring beauty. She is but a blue box with a roof.

But to me, she is beautiful. And that’s all that counts. Intermittent internet, phone and TV or not. I rent her and she is my home.

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  1. Oh no what a headache. We have terrible internet here. I need my plan to run out so I can try a new one. I will be touting your blog more on my FB page. I just cannot believe you lost all those posts. Is there any hope of retrieving them?

  2. Oh dear! I'm wondering how you were able to purchase a home that still had fuses! Our home was built in 1921 (you're right about "they don't build 'em like that today") but the electrical had been updated when we purchased in 30 years ago. Hope it all works out for you–and soon.


  3. You may very well need an electrician, too much pull on old wiring. Then you need to get a different cable service if at all possible. Or visit them at the office if it is within your driving range. xo

  4. Your problems could easily be from all the rain we've had if there are any nicks or cracks in any of your wiring. My 1940's house lost the phone in a heavy dew and Bell had to put a gas purge at a junction to fix it. My 1960's house would lose Internet when the ground got soggy and AT&T had to run a new line to the house. Even if that isn't your problem you need to get the house grounded for your own safety. And you should have a licensed and bonded electrician do it so it's done to Tulsa code. We now have only cell phones and use wireless routing for Internet to the computers and printers (all AT&T) and Dish for TV but still lose services during really bed storms. It seems the less we use underground wiring the less problems we have. I think it's a small price to pay to have city services and not live in the city.

  5. I agree with all previous comments. I own a rent house and it is my responsibility to fix things unless the renter breaks something, like a window, and obviously that is not general upkeep. I have to keep them safe and provide heat and ac. Hope your house upgrade are done soon before winter hits. I also use Direct TV and love them. We get our DSL through our phone, no problems unless a storm comes through and knocks something out. I also live in an old victorian house built in 1898, solid wood and lots of square nails. Updated through the years, but love, love, love my old house and all it's character. I wouldn't trade it for anything!! Blessings to you Brenda that these issues are resolved soon.

  6. Oh my, so sorry for all your problems. I never have problems with cable but it may be because I'm in Canada and I use Cogeco. If I have a problem, they come right out. One of their techs even helped me over the phone (for an hour) when my computer got a virus and that had nothing to do with them…all they do is supply the internet connection. As for automated telephones, @#&%[email protected] is my response. I work or the government and we have one of those cursed systems. You could try not punching in any numbers. Depending on the system, it thinks you have a rotary telephone and puts you right through to a person. Good luck! J

  7. Ugh, I don't like all that computerized stuff either…the recording just seem to go on and on before you can ever talk to someone. I hope you get your problem resolved soon. That would be so frustrating. If you need to have your house grounded, you'll have to get an electrician come over and do that for you. At my house, there's a rod inserted into the ground near the area where the electricity enters the house.

  8. What a hassle dealing with the cable people! I hate when I have to do that. I usually hand that task over to my husband. LOL! I was just curious though, if you have problems with the house itself (rotting window sills and bad gutters) why are you financially responsible to have those fixed? You rent the house, so the owners should take care of that. That's what I've always thought! My mom used to own rental houses herself and I remember having to go over there and help her fix things.

  9. I've never even heard of grounding a house. Guess Mr. Sweet takes care of that….hmmmm…sure never heard of it. How in the world do you ground a house.?
    Since you are renting from your daughter, maybe she will fix the windows and etc….maybe she isn't aware they need to be fixed or replaced. I can remember yrs ago, one winter was especially harsh and cold..lots of cold winds blowing…and we needed new window caulking but Mr. Sweet was working out of town during that time. I used plastic cleaner bags, tacked them up real tight on the bedroom windows to keep that cold wind out. Worked like a charm….:)
    I just went to the cleaners and asked them for a few bags and they gave them to me. Sooo, if cold is getting in, put up a few bags until the windows can be fixed.
    hugs, bj

  10. Brenda, You absolutely need a licensed and bonded electrician to do this work…as there are eletrical codes that have to be met. You need your house grounded which will involve digging a trench one foot wide by one foot deep and eight feet long, grounding rods and some nut devices called acorns. Look in the yellow pages for an electrician in your area. There's not a lot of material involved,for grounding the house…but the licenced electrician in important. If you could do the digging , once you have spoken to the electrician…you may be able to save some money..not sure. Best of luck. xoxo,Susie

  11. I have so been where you are. I went without internet for two weeks because they didn't show up when they were supposed to. They then emailed me a survey to fill out about their service. I couldn't asccess it. I just hit 0 0 0 0 until I get a live person. I hate automated answering, but I guess it is here to stay. Hope you get it fixed. xo Laura

  12. We have Direct TV and have added some new items, hd receivers and dvr. We live in the boonies so this has worked out beautifully in lieu of driving 3 hours round trip to go to a movie and now we can skip through all the commercials. The point is, we were told we need a grounding rod, very important, attached to the satellite dish in the yard. We have have about 8 issues since these new products and ended up in case management. The people at Direct TV have been fabulous every time we called. It was all technological issues and a learning process. The service support has always been professional, courteous and knowledgeable. We have other equipment systems that may have conflicted with DTV, but I never once heard them blaming the other systems. I'm sorry you are having so much trouble, but do install the grounding pole. My husband bought it at Lowes, put it in the ground six feet. Call your company about connecting it.

  13. I think, an not positive, but grounding your house will help prevent lightening strikes. Maybe.
    As far as talking to a real live person, I hate the waiting, the selecting a number for English. I am not the person who should be selecting. Oh I won't go there. But, all of that is not as bad as when after waiting what seems like am impossibly long time; a real live person comes on the line, and their accent is so strong that they can not be understood. I know everyone should be able to work. I just think that people with thick accents or broken English should not have telephone jobs. There are many non phone jobs in almost all companies. It has gotten to the point where I ask to speak to their manager/supervisor hoping for a non-accent speaking person.
    I think the things that need to be fixed around your cottage is really your daughter's responsibility. She is the owner.

  14. Brenda you rent, don't you ? So whatever needs grounded should be handled by the landlord or you handle it but deduct the repairs from the rent ? I hope that you can get it resolved soon either way …sounds so frustrating 🙁

    As to recordings omg I hate it. It takes 1/4 hour to get through to a human. Though sometimes SCREAMING "CUSTOMER SERVICE" at the TOP of your lungs to the ROBOT confuses it and it puts you through to a human faster. You can also scream "XXXINJECTBADWORDHEREXXX CUSTOMER SERVICE" to the robot. It works sometimes, but not all…

  15. I just keep pressing "0" until someone alive comes on….it's really nice to talk to a person in person.

    Get the grounding Brenda, even if you have other pressing things to do..that's not safe at all.

    Hope that it all goes well.


  16. Why don't you get Verizon internet, it runs off cell phone towers and you don't have to worry about anything being grounded. They come to your house and install the antenna for free all you do is pay the monthly bill of about $60.

  17. We started getting recordings instead of actual breathing human beings when some idiot decided to "new and improve" the whole business. Just like Cool Whip, now why on earth would anyone think Cool Whip needed to be new and improved? It was great just the way it was. "Don't fix it if it ain't broke" comes to mind. I don't understand what a ground has to do with anything either. I would call an electrician, but first find one who isn't going to charge you an arm and a leg. Your gable guy doesn't sound too smart, but then maybe I don't know a hill of beans about electrical stuff either. Kinda like the guy in the Philippines I had on the phone for almost 2 hours when I was having troubles with my Hughes net. Come to find out, he didn't know squat either and said he had to go ask someone who knew more than him. Talk about frustrating, then I was informed for $125 they would send a repair man to my house. By then I was ready to rip out my hair!
    Susanne 🙁

  18. I'm sure it's important to have your house grounded but I'm don't know what that has to do with your lousy Internet, phone and cable TV service. We have had so many cable guys out for tiling over the years and they all did different things to resolve it. One thing that seemed to help was our neighbors getting so fed up with Comcast that they dropped them and went with another service. Less homes on the line seemed to help with the interference. You may need a new line run to your house or a new cable box. I would keep after them until your issue is resolved. One of these times you may have a good tech guy who knows what he is doing. Good luck!

  19. What ever happened to all of the great handymen you could hire for a decent price to help? Seems like it would be a great way to make some extra money. Anywho……I would agree that all of those things are the responsibility of the landlord. Well, maybe not the cable….

  20. I just tried to post a comment and it wouldn't let me…will try one more time. You're renting your house, right? All those fixes – the grounding, gutters, rotting windowsills, fuse box – are the responsibility of the landlord, not you! I'd be making a phone call to him/her to ask about these things.

  21. We used to have to deal with the cable company. The TV picture had been breaking up into little squares to a point where you could hardly see the picture. We called and the cable guy finally came to the house. He stood there looking at our TV picture and said that was called "tiling" caused by interference. And then, I kid you not, he asked–"What do you want me to do about it?". I did keep a civil tongue in my head (at least while he was standing there) and told him we wanted him to fix it! He piddle diddled around and finally told us that whatever the problem was it was probably outside on the line and he couldn't fix it; so a different technician would have to come. We would need to set up another appointment. The following week we did set up an appointment…with Uverse. We have had very good TV reception and everything has been good with the computers since being with Uverse. I hope I didn't just jinx it.

  22. By accident I discovered (in a blind RAGE) that if you scream and curse at the recorded message at my online pharmacy you get connected with a service representative immediately. I'm always angry when I need to call them now 😀

  23. I had issues today myself, why is this happening all at once never before did I have issues. About boarded houses, our church wants us to collect money for sod/cement houses for foreigners about our homeless population right here in our neighborhood. House probably wouldn't past code but it is has a roof and walls.

  24. We went with a DSL line which operates on the phone line coming in the house. We don't actually,use a home phone anymore so the line runs as a dummy for the Internet only. We only use cell phones now. Another option is again through the phone line and its called UVerse- I hear it's great, although I don't know costs. We had cable Internet for a while and it was one problem after another- we dropped it as fast as we could when DSL became available.
    My husband just explained how to do the grounding and it shouldn't be costly. If your home isn't grounded then everything is at risk like the tv for instance. If your daughter knows anyone that is savvy with electrical stuff it could be fixed.

  25. Home is so special… I love your little blue house, and have never even seen it in person… but it is, indeed, a homey spot! Yesterday was a crazy day blogging… my site (hosted on WordPress – the awful. no good. very bad. blog host) decided to swoosh two years of blog posts right out the window. I thought about you as I sat, staring at a blank screen, thinking about just shutting the laptop and never looking back…. BUT – I've decided to start. completely. over. OH, heavens! I hope that my "do over" is half as good as yours. Hope your weekend is going well!

  26. Yes! You need to call your daughter who owns the home and tell her she needs to have someone come out and ground will have to be a certified could get electricuted if lightning struck your house without being grounded…I do not know what the codes are there but here it is thr responsibility of the owner of the home..Good Luck! Carol

  27. Your fuse box sounds ok just old. I had to have mine replaced with circut breakers because I'm selling the house and I guess the buyer might find it impossible to get a loan with fuses. I kept several boxes of fuses around because one will blow from time to time. You'll be able to tell which one because it looks dark and feels warm. I put on a glove or wait till it cools a bit and put a fresh one in with the same watts.

    I did make sure I had a carbon monoxide/smoke detector. I knew the wiring in my house was old so I was just making sure if there ever was a problem I'd know about it. Lived there 12 years with no problems and the fuse box never bothered me at all. In fact, the electricians told me fuses were safer but the government/banks said had to be breakers for loans.

    Sure hope your computer stops giving you fits soon.