i called the belmont highway department this morning to put in a request to have the tree warden come take a look at the maple tree outside my parents' place. the woman just took my name and address, adding that the tree warden works part time so it could take a few weeks before they get back to me. i didn't offer her any details so i decided to send the highway department an e-mail explaining the situation, that the tree had been pruned 2 years ago, but that we still feel the large overhanging branch above the driveway poses a threat.
next i called verizon to see if i could score a better deal on my parents' cable/internet service. they currently pay $125/month: $40 for 50/50 fiber optic internet, $40 for HD cable, $26 for equipment rental (each cable box is $10/each and $6 for the gateway router), and $19 in fees (MA state sales tax, PEG grant fee, regulatory recovery fee, license fee, franchise costs, regional sports network fee, broadcast fee). my father said nobody in the house really watches cable anymore, with my mother always on netflix and my father on youtube. he did ask about youtube tv last night, wonder if it'd be better to get that instead of cable for just $40/month with far less equipment rentals and fees. since we also use verizon for our phone service, it automatically redirected me to their phone division when it recognized my number. i had to navigate the phone tree before finally getting to speak to a live operator.
fitzgerald was my agent's name. earlier i'd written down a bunch of numbers and data on a notepad, so i was ready with whatever pitch she'd try to sell me. i knew we couldn't just simply remove the cable, since only in tandem would we get the discount; with internet alone, the 50/50 internet price would jump from $40 to $80/month. but i let fitzgerald "find" me the best bargain. she came with back this: $78/month for 100/100, which includes the gateway router rental, but doesn't include the $149 service fee for having a technician come to the house to switch the fiber optic from coaxial to ethernet. though cheaper than what my parents pay now, it wasn't bargain. especially since i already knew that verizon currently had a promotional deal of $40/month for 100/100 internet plus a $50 visa card and $99 service charge waived. the only caveat is that it's for new customers only. my agent knew about the deal, but said it didn't include the gateway router rental which is $12/month, and after fees, the real price is more like $56/month. regardless, my parents wouldn't qualify since they're not new customers. i kept pushing though, told her about the $35/month comcast xfinity deal for 60/5 internet, that i was thinking about switching to them, and whether or not verizon FIOS has any retention service for keeping old customers. she wouldn't budge, and said they don't have any retention services. that's when i basically decided we would switch to xfinity comcast, and got the details of how exactly to cancel our verizon FIOS service.
i then called comcast xfinity. i also had to dig around in their automated phone tree, as it also recognized my number and though i was calling about my own internet service. i finally got an agent, danielle. i told her i was a new customer and wanted to get just internet service. she asked about my parents' internet habits, and recommended the 100/25 for $65/month guaranteed for 1 year before increasing to $102/month with a $60 service fee for a technician to come out and inspect the cable since we haven't had comcast for over 5 years. i told her about the 60/5 internet only plan i saw online for $35/month for 1 year. she said with streaming, i might encounter issues, but i told her i had the exact same plan, and i've never explained any problems with streaming before. that seemed to quiet her up. i also asked about the service fee. at first she said there was no discount, but i told her about the $30 charge waiver, and she gave me that as well. it doesn't include the $13/month for cable modem rental, but she did ask if i had my own, and i told her i would get one this week, so i don't expect to pay for the comcast modem. she did try to sell me on the value of going with comcast equipment, with upgrades and repairs and replacements whatnot, and that their modem comes with wifi, but i told her i had my own router so i didn't need any of that.
so in the end i scheduled a friday morning installation, between 10am-12pm. they have a guarantee that if the technician is late by even just a minute, i get a $20 discount. as soon as the comcast xfinity internet goes live, i'll call up verizon fios and cancel that account immediately. they're actually pretty good about equipment returns, they'll send me a postage paid box for me to put everything in and drop it off.
sandy actually woke up when i was making those calls to the various cable/internet companies, and left around 11:30am. that came as a shock to me as i was sure she was working from home today and even turned up the heat. after she left, after i finished with the calls, i told my mother about the friday appointment, then went to go use the bathroom finally, before taking a shower. i went to star market to get some canned sauerkraut and left for belmont via bike, arriving by 1pm.
my mother made some mian-ge-da for me for lunch. while i was waiting, my father and i set up the HDTV antenna i brought over so we could see how many OTA channels we could receive. about the same number of channels at my place, though NBC 15 and WGBX 44 were both a little spotty. but the other channels came in loud and clear, and if i didn't tell you it was coming over the airwaves, you would've sworn they were cable broadcasts.
i know rabbits are still getting into the backyard and have been eating the crocuses. but how come they haven't eaten the columbines yet? that's when i learned that rabbits don't like the taste of columbines, and they learn to avoid it.
since it's comcast xfinity internet, i'll need to get a cable modem. it's been a while since i bought anything on craig's list, but it felt like riding a bike. actually i'd already did some light searching last night, and knew a seller on medford trying to get rid of a motorola surfboard SB6141 docsis 3.0 cable modem. i contacted the person who wrote me back an hour later. i said i'd be available most of the day tomorrow, but he told me he had to work. fortunately, he was heading into porter square tomorrow morning, and we could meet there to do the exchange.
i am very familiar with the SB6141. in fact, i've purchased 3 in the past, replacing the aging cable modem at my sister's place ($50 used), the cafe ($40 used), and my own place ($23 factory refurbished). this will be my fourth SB6141. i had an option to purchase a brand new netgear DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem for $45, but i've found these motorola surfboards to be very dependable, so i decided to stick with what i know.
by the end of daylight hours something remarkable happened: we broke another production record for the year (42.12 kWh), even though there were some dips in the graphic line in the late morning due to clouds. had it been a crystal clear sky, we should've been able to make 44.69 kWh, which was what we made exactly a year ago on this date.
my parents decided to finish the last of the corned beef for dinner, making 4 reuben sandwiches. my father had cut the brisket into thick slices to be gently reheated on the stove with some brine liquids. since there was only enough slices for 3 sandwiches, we decided to break apart the corned beef so it'd be easier to distribute to the 4 sandwiches. while my father grilled the rye bread slices in a buttered pan, i was in charge with assembling the sandwiches: a layer of swiss cheese, a slather of russian dressing, a layer of shredded corned beef, a thick layer of sauerkraut, then sliced everything in half.
i left early, a bit after 6:30pm, partly because i forgot to recharge my front bike light and i wanted to get home while there was still daylight, but also i wanted to get back before sandy did so she wouldn't know i left the house today. unfortunately i wasn't quick enough, and i saw the light in the bathroom and i knew she was taking a shower. i got back inside right when she finished, before she went into the kitchen to make dinner and chat with kelvin. she continued chatting after 8pm, when she was already done with dinner, retreating back into her room. i didn't see her the rest of the night. she came out around 12am to use the bathroom before going to bed for good.
it was already 10pm and my cable modem seller never got back in touch with me so i e-mailed him. he texted me, said i was at dinner, and asked if i wouldn't mind meeting him tomorrow morning at harvard square instead. though a bit farther than porter square, it was still a lot closer than medford. we ironed out the details. i wasn't surprised to discover that the seller is actually chinese. for some reason, about half the time i buy anything off of craig's list, it's been a chinese seller. maybe chinese people are just better at making a profit off of their junk instead of simply throwing it out onto the curb like the rest of us.