Monday was a good day. I called the cable company... and was only on the phone for 5 minutes. I didn't make an appointment. I didn't have to wait all day for the cable guy to show up. I just had to drive 20 minutes to Owosso (or Oh-so as the call service lady in Texas pronounced it) for what I wanted. And that was an HD DVR.
It all started when I body slammed my 6-year old. I'm sorry, let me back up. A.J. and I were rough housing as we do everyday at 2:30, when I flipped her onto the couch-- the usual prelude to my running arm bar and count out. But this time when I tossed her there was a smack. It was her head hitting the remote control. My heart stopped. There was no movement. I wasn't sure if I should do any moving or shaking until it was clear everything was OK. Everything was not OK.
The remote was broken.
I didn't think that much of it since the only thing I cared about watching that day was the National Championship game. But what about tomorrow? I hopped on the horn with Charter and while waiting, I figured I'd ask about a DVR. We have TiVo in the bedroom, but it's tricky to hook up to the digital cable with the telephone line, etc. After a quick call I found out I could get a 6-month free trial of the DVR and I could have the box in a half hour.
I got to Owosso and the lady behind the Charter walk-in center counter was insanely courteous. Way too nice to work for a cable company. I figured I'd be dealing with people who would rather light an M-80 and jam it in my shorts than provide actual guidance to using their service so I walked in with a plan to loosen them up. I opened the door, set my old box on the counter and with a shaky voice declared, "I can't live the lie anymore. I've been getting free cable! (Weeping) I'm sorry, I just can't take the guilt!" Like a good audience, the three workers all laughed. Plan working. The lovely lady looked up my info and was ready for me. I had a new remote and DVR cable box in minutes.
Now, I knew I would be installing this myself, so I had a few questions for her. Like, when I fail miserably, 'can I drive back here and get my old box so I don't miss the game that night since we were having a party?' But she said it hooked up the same as the old box. I asked where the phone line went. No phone line needed. Nice.
I got home and hooked it up and turned the TV on and I had cable. All the HD channels were there and everything was working perfectly. Something had to be wrong. When I take things apart and put them back together something is always askew. Sure enough, something wasn't as I expected. As I experimented with the DVR, I realized that it played back HD programs in HD.
What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?
I had to stop and think-- was I actually going to be able to watch LOST in HD for the fist time? Yes, I was.
So, tonight at 9 with American Idol and LOST both on, I set the DVR to record LOST as we watched the blind guy get the boot by Simon. When it was over, I turned on LOST and sure enough it was in HD. Then came minute 46.
"This is a test of the Emergency Alert System."
Three letters-- W-T-and you know the other one. Who tests the system at 10:45 on a Wednesday night? Yeah, yeah, if this was a real test people would be running for their lives and the news would be on. Then it ends and sits on the screen for another 30 seconds. A two-minute EAS test in the middle of primetime. I could've killed someone at Charter. Not the nice lady who helped me get the DVR that plays back in HD, but someone.
Now I have to rely on my Comcast friends to tell me what happened after Ben and Locke went to the temple and before Ben shot Desmond. I'm sure something spectacular, but I guess that's what I get. I mean come on-- every cable company experience has to come with some sort of annoying painful experience.