Sunday, September 03, 2006


So, a funny story. Funny now, of course, but at the time, not so much.

I moved into my new room on August 12. My lovely roomie had her spare room all cleared and ready to go and had made way for me in the linen closet, bathroom, etc. It was great!

Over the past few weeks, when I wasn't out of town or at work, I was trying to get my room set up. It really deflates your spirit when all of your stuff is in Rubbermaid/cardboard boxes, as well as suitcases, as my stuff has seemed to stay for the past year and a half. It affects your emotions. I already feel like a nomad, living out of boxes only reinforces it. The second-to-last major hurtle was getting a desk, which I accomplished last weekend when I brought an extra desk here from Birmingham. I immediately went to work setting up my computer and filling the drawers with my stationery and notepads pens and stamps and other stuff I accrued in college. It felt great to be emptying boxes, even greater to throw some stuff away (including everything pink, purple and lime) and INCREDIBLY great to be organized again! I put up my picture frames on my desk and dresser, I bought a new shade for my lamp (because I threw away the shade I decorated with pink fringe my freshman year), hung some stuff on the walls and my dried bridesmaid bouquets that I CAREFULLY brought back from AL were the finishing touch. Everything was starting to come together and look like the bedroom of a sophisticated young adult/college graduate.

Except one thing: I could not get the internet to work in my room!

This is important to me for a lot of reasons, more than I think my roommate expected or realized. Of course there's e-mail. I need to get Skype so that I can talk to my best friend who will be in Italy all fall. I use Instant Messenger to stay in touch with some of my friends that I just can't seem to get a hold of otherwise. And now that Sister is engaged, I want to be free to look at stuff that she sends to me - venues, dresses, etc. - any time of day. (Notice Facebook is not even on that list: I do enough of that at work.)

So anyway, my roommate is in sales and uses this condo as her home office, so her employer provides her with a modem and pays for her internet connection. DSL doesn't even show up on her bills from Bellsouth. We didn't want to tamper with the current arrangement nor did we want to add service that I was going be paying for by myself. Due to that, I knew that getting the internet set up wasn't going to be simple. I call Bellsouth. She calls Bellsouth. She calls her employer. We ask our landlord (her boyfriend). No one is 100% sure what do but everyone offers a different solution.

So this all kicks off when I go to CompUSA and purchase - upon Bellsouth's recommendation - a USB adaptor. I install it, plug it in, it doesn't work. I figured it wouldn't because that would be too easy. First try? Like that ever works for me. It wants a password to get on my roommate's wireless network (her employer has it secured). Someone tells me to go get a Router, because I need that. So, even though Bellsouth has told me that the brand of modem she has is ALSO a router for wireless connection, I go back to CompUSA and buy a router. Well, of course that doesn't work. I still need a password, and the installation for the Router tells me I need a modem, too. To say I am frustrated at this point would be an understatement.

So the next day I go BACK to CompUSA, where they now know me by name. I cannot think of anything else that this ordeal will require short of a new computer, so rather than buy out the inventory of the whole store, I take my modem and call it a day.

You know the drill - install, set it up, for whatever reason it still doesn't work. Now I am threatening - albeit in jest- to move out. Roommate calls employer. I call Bellsouth and finally talk to someone who understands! We walk through how to find the password to get on the wireless network. The phone call goes downhill when we discover that to access the password, you have to know another password. I begin to think my roommate works for the CIA, as secure as her computer is.

Now let me just say this much: I am by no means technologically savvy, but ever since my Dad brought home our first Macintosh in 5th grade, I've always been the one to fix the computer. My parents lacked the technological understanding and my sister lacked the patience. I've had to set up my computer about 20 times since I moved to school and figure out how to get internet connection in about 5 different ways. I installed a new CD drive in my old computer my junior year and even had to create a browser (like Internet Explorer) for a class project senior year. I'm not brilliant, but I'm "smarter than the average bear" when it comes to this kind of stuff. Therefore, not being able to fix a computer issue is unnerving, because it's a computer issue first of all, and secondly because I hate not being able to fix my issues - but that's another whole post!

Fully exasperated and at my wit's end, I pack up the $200 worth of useless wireless equipment and return it to CompUSA. My last resort is my roommate's suggestion: run a cord through the condo from her super secure modem to my computer. The idea of a cord running through the condo never occurred to me because our computers don't share a wall and I'm trying not to backslide to the ways of dormitory life with unsightly cords taped to the walls and doorways. Nonetheless, I pick up a 25-foot-long Ethernet cord at WalMart and start dreaming of ways that this could go wrong or require another long phone call from Bellsouth.

But of course it doesn't, because that's how my life tends to work. $200 and 3 trips to CompUSA for useless crap, or $20 for a long-ass Ethernet cable that works on the first try? Exactly.

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