Neck Cramp, Camp. Hey, That Rhymes! I Hereby Declare This Entry "Cohesive."
Life is Boringful

Testing, Testing

Why, hello! Sooooo very glad to be back in the land of working Internet access. Ours was shut off yesterday. Not "down," shut off. Along with our cable. Because we rule at life and money. RULE I SAY.

Our credit/debit card numbers were apparently "compromised" after a break-in at our bank, so we were issued new ones a few months ago. And while we THOUGHT we'd gone and updated all the various auto-billing and auto-pay thingies, I guess we never got around to the Internet and cable. And the bills kept arriving in the mail, past due balances and late fees adding up month after month, but we did not realize this, because, well. We never opened the envelopes. Because of the auto-pay! RUN MY LIFE, CREDIT-BOTS.

At some point, Jason realized Verizon was trying to bill a no-longer-valid card and updated it. And then Verizon tried to charge the new card hundreds of dollars in past-due charges. And the new card was rejected, because we only hundreds of dollars in the account. And boom! Shut off and shut down.

I don't want to bore y'all to death with the run-down of What It Took to get everything turned back on yesterday, but let me summarize thusly: GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, VERIZON FIOS. I may be broke, but I still have my pride and a general understanding of the "transfer" function on most business phones. Stop telling me I need to call another number after I've spent 45 minutes on the number the "denial of service" roadblock page on my computer told me to call, alternately arguing with an automated-voice-bot thing or on hold with someone who 1) cannot find my account, and/or 2) cannot take my payment ANYWAY, and/or 3) cannot transfer me to someone who can, because I need to call another number.

But hey! Don't forget to remind me for the three dozenth time that I can pay my bill online. Which is a FANTASTIC idea. Quick, turn my Internet access back on so I can get online to pay my bill to get my Internet access turned back on and OH SHIT I'VE FALLEN INTO A LOGIC WORMHOLE AAAAHHHHHHHHHH

(I eventually paid using my phone. Which hoooo, boy, THAT was a good time, trying to correctly enter a 20-digit account number and credit card information without fat-fingering anything, and also I had to GUESS at my account balance because the login you use to pay your bill is not the same login you use to view your bill, I mean, of course it isn't, and I didn't have that other login, because every time I tried to register for it Verizon told me they couldn't find my account, please call Customer Service, eat shit and die.)

(Wait. Did I say something about NOT boring you with that story? Huh. I am quite a liar!)

Anyway. Here. Look at some photos of some kids I know.





(Here's Noah back in the day, in the same outfit, though slightly younger and a LOT balder.)



I loathe the telephone blockades. Loathe them. When you finally FINALLY get someone, someone who lives on the same continent, if you're lucky, you've hit the jackpot. I can usually talk my way out of the late fees. WORK IT, BABY!

Parsing Nonsense

That sounds bad, but maybe not as bad as dealing with the billing department of your doctor's office and your insurance carrier to correct a billing error. That is enough to make you lose faith in the customer service profession once and for all.


Ooh Ezra looks just about ready to locomote.


My husband and I often lament "The Death of Customer Service" in this country. Both of us have been in CS in different areas for years, and I cannot believe how you almost have to beg someone to help you now.


I despise Verizon's customer service. I hate it with the fiery passion of 1000 suns. When we got FIOS internet, the TV service wasn't available yet and now, I hate Verizon so much that if FIOS tv was the only option available, I would sell the TV and read more books.

Megan@Blueberry Scones

Man, I hate when the CSRs tell me I could do something online when I'm calling them about a lack of service. Sure, let me just dismantle my stationery computer, lug it over to Starbucks, and get online.

I'm sorry that happened, though.


For those of you willing to call Verizon CS regarding your bill, ask them if there's anything you can do to lower the bill. I did this last month and they just GAVE me, yes, GAVE it to me without any special handstands or dances (though I was willing) - $15 credit on my bill each month for the next 6 months. She then told me to just call back at 6 months to see if they're offering any other promotions like this (to help the working class hero). :) Good luck to those willing to brave the CS line - I mean, that's almost $100 saved and I can think of tons to do with that money :)


Oh there is a special place in hell for computer answering systems. I DESPISE THEM. Sorry your battle was so long and endless ... glad you won in the end!


ACK! on the automated "help" functions. I too spent a good portion of my morning yesterday trying to transfer a balance from one bank to the other (to avoid disruption of the auto-pay portions of my life), and when I didn't enter the numbers in at the right speed for the computer, it would HANG UP ON ME. "Please try again later. [CLICK]" YES, A COMPUTER HUNG UP ON ME. How's that for customer service? I think I've bruised my right hand from beating it into the floor every time I heard that blasted dial tone/hang up.

Sorry about your trouble and thanks for letting *me* vent.

Love seeing the comparison photos of Ezra & Noah in the same outfits.


Am I the only one who read the title "Testing testing" and thought... ooh, POAS!

I love it when you somehow get to the point in the computer's decision tree that it just says "Good-bye" and hangs up. How can that even be an option?

kari Weber

I HATE with a fiery passion the computer auto-bots that have you SAY things into the phone. NONE of their options are what I really NEED, so I just say CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT over and over and over until the computer gives up on me and says, "Let me transfer you to someone who can help you..." I don't even care anymore if there IS an option that fit me, I just want to speak to someone out of SPITE! SPITE I SAY!

Sarah @

I love the credit-bots too. They make my life easier.

Most of the time.

Anyway, I always think that Ezra and Noah look so much alike, so much like brothers, but when I looked at that older picture of Noah? Get this. You have two totally different kids!

Bet you didn't know that, huh? =P

Sprite's Keeper

I had a great experience once when the automated Verizon called to let me know I needed to speak to someone about my account and had me press 9. I pressed 9 thinking it must be important for Verizon to call me, and then they placed me on hold!
The best part, whoever picked up the next que call immediately disconnected.
Cute photos to distract, but too close to lunch! Nom!


Kari, I feel you pain!! I'm in Canada, and service is usually available in French or English. One company in particular would ALWAYS transfer me to the French recording, with me shouting "service" "representative", etc. with an, in my ears at least, French accent. (Yes, have a slight accent, but no, I am not French.)

Sometimes I'd make it through 99% of the voice commands, only to end up hearing a French message that could be saying anything from "I'm on vacation for many, many weeks", to "please hold and I'll be right with you." I just never knooooowwwww!!!


I recently bought a new Dell computer and didn't like it so I wanted to return it. 45 minutes on the phone and actually speaking with 10 - count 'em, 10 - CSRs before getting one who could actually authorize the return.

But that is nothing compared to AT&T. I moved the first of March. I called in mid-February to schedule a transfer of my phone service. Of course since I was moving 20 miles away, I had to get a new number. Smart me, the first two months I went right online and paid my bill as always, before realizing I was paying the bill on my old number. Call AT&T. 30 minutes later I have a promise that it's fixed. Next month I'm talking on my phone when call waiting, which I did not have, beeped in. Call AT&T. The first call had resulted only in them upgrading my "bundle" to include everything I had distinctly told them I didn't want. This time I talked to three people, only to learn that when I transferred service, for some reason they had simply started a new account and not turned off the old one. I was told I'd have to set up a new online account for the new number, with a different user name and password. And I'd need this code, which the guy gave me. Which didn't work. Meanwhile I am receiving no bills for the new number, only the old. Two weeks later they shut me off at my new address (which by now was an old address) because I had not paid my bill. No matter that I had $125 in credits on the other phone. A totally irate call to AT&T where I ranted angrily and may even have cursed, and I think it's fixed. After four months. Except I still get e-mails telling me that my bill (for the old number) is ready for viewing.

My bank was also compromised recently. I only missed a few things like that backordered blouse and the books from Amazon. I think I'm fixed there too.


You know, Ezra and Noah (hereby the "two cutest boys in the entire universe") really look alike in those "before Ezra" pictures. And then, I see them now, and I think, a little alike. . . whatever. Also: so gorgeous, both of them. Re: customer service. Over the last 25 years, I've become a fan of what I call the "scathing missive." Putting it in writing and then mailing to the crappy company always makes me feel better. . . occasionally, it even results in action. Occasionally.


I didn't know it was possible, but Verizon actually sounds worse than the IRS!


Hello!?! nearly identical children. All hands in the air for prominent DNA!!


I do that sort of thing with alarming regularity. Except with me, the card is declined because I left it in an ATM or at a bar with an open tab. I don't know what I would do if I actually had to start paying my bills manually. I suspect I'd be on the street within months.

Glad it's all worked out, and your boys are scrumptious.


Yes Verizon is a nightmare that I haveencountered on too many occasions. I spent yesterday in a haze of seething ire at the Medela lack of customer service.

See, in an attempt to provide my son with the "most natural and nutritive path to optimal development" (from their website), I harnass the girls up to my automated milking machine - I mean, breastpump - oh, 'bout 80 times a day. Of course that amount of use was bound to lead to technical difficulties and tiny but oh-so-imperative pieces of plastic breaking off. I'll spare you the details, but just know that Medela, you can kiss my ass and I will just buy USED pumps off eBay to part out. That's right, I said USED - and you can suck it. Hmm, I guess some of the ire lingers...

Fairly Odd Mother

Verizon Vios needs to hire you to be the special voice that makes those observations when you are on hold with them. Because if I'm in a logic wormhole, I wouldn't mind getting a chuckle out of the insanity.


I hate dealing with Verizon and my cable company-- that really sucks. Very cute kid pics, though.


I do the auto-pay stuff / lack of envelope-opening too. Had similar experience with husband's car and health ins. almost being cancelled because BoA didn't grasp the change to a joint account after we got married.

The really infuriating thing is that this was not the first, but just the latest in a string of issues caused by the SAME PROBLEM, same move from individual to joint account, since we opened it LAST YEAR. There is not one thing about this transition they have gotten right.


Holy crappopotomus I just put in an application for the Verizon Wireless customer service center! This post makes me re-think that whole idea...
(picturing Amalah minions with pitch forks and torches)

jessica Karlinski

Ugh....sounds like the week i spent on the phone with Sears trying to get my BRAND NEW non-working dishwasher replaced. Stupid phone people. Also....WHERE can I get Noah's outfit?? Absolutely adorable!


Reading this post made me angry and frustrated... Didn't need to be! So I gots me some Ben and Jerry's and all is guuuud.
The comments are equally as frustrating. Good to know we are all in this together.
The CS dudes on Slumdog Millionaire seemed nice, though.


Judy, I think AT&T takes the cake on lousy CS, too.

We dealt with a situation where our payments were being cashed, but not applied to our account because the account # wasn't on the check. WTF? NOBODY could look up the account by name?! When our service was threatened to be cancelled we ended up talking to 3 different departments over several days to straighten it out.

The most frustating thing was that we had to tell our story over and over again to each new person. I asked why they couldn't make a note in our account to avoid this and was told "We don't all have access to the note screen." Again, WTF?


I LOATHE automated customer service phone menu thingies. I swear, Comcast's sounds like this:

For English, Press 1, Para español, Apriete el número dos

You pressed the number one. If that's correct, Press one.

To pay your bill, press 1. To cancel service, press 2.

You pressed the number one. If that's correct, press one.


So yeah, I feel your phone-hell pain.

But OMG Bonus Baby Noah photos! You need to post more side-by-side comparisons, please.


Umm.. what is with Ezra and the pulling up and the almost standing and the acting like a toddler? I vote that you continue the thwarting.


Gotta love Verizon!!! The husband spent the better part of yesterday arguing with them. See, they have a nasty habit of overcharging you, and then you become overdrawn, and then they cut service. Then absolute mayhem ensues. I have teenagers who need a 12 step program for their texting habit. When they were blocked, they felt it was necessary to call CS at 1:30 A.M. and then wake me up to talk to them. Yes, I needed to know RIGHT THEN that all the other bills may bounce, and no, the fine folks at Verizon will not help you. But I did find out that if you become SO annoyed with their putting you on hold, and transferring you to their dogs line, and go to their store, they will, in fact, restore service!


Your little boys are very cute. Phone companies are not cute.


Verizon is my least favorite company ever, ever, ever. Hate hate hate. I've probably stressed years of my life off having to deal with their customer torture lines. I could easily go on.

LD's Mom

Thank God you saved that post with some cute pictures!!! :)


I work in customer service at a company that provides satellite phone service and I end up doing 4 different department's jobs in order to avoid putting people back in the on-hold hell... (Somehow I still get yelled at a lot though.) Stories like yours, and my own fight with my own phone company who decided to send me 6 months of phone bills in one week due to a previously admitted problem on their end and then decided I was 6 months behind on my phone bill payments and they were going to shut off my phone even though they told me they wouldn't expect me to pay until the bills started again... sigh. These stories make me cringe anytime I am truly not able to help a customer. Also make me wish I had a different job...

Cute pics though!!


I feel your pain. I try to do all bill-paying through online banking or automatic charges to my debit card. My debit card recently approached its expiration date; the bank (my employer!) sent me a new card with a new expiration date; I notified all those who have automatic charges set up, which took forever and was a huge pain. (For example, I have a SMART Tag/EZ Pass auto pay for the toll road here. I don't know my account number. Don't know where to find it. They couldn't find it either. Long, annoying phone call to resolve.) Then, a couple of weeks later, I got yet another new card in the mail--my number had been "compromised" and so the new card had a totally different number, and I had to start the process over yet again. Of course, I missed one--my dry cleaners, who does automatic pickup and dropoff, and bills the debit card. (Seriously, for a single working mom, finding out about this auto pickup/drop off by the dry cleaners was one of the best things that happened to me last year. I don't know whether that says more about their wonderful service or about my pathetic life, but it's true!) Fortunately, the dry cleaners was very civil about my refused charges and very helpful in getting things fixed. But I was ticked that I had to do this TWICE IN A ROW. There has got to be an easier way.

When I tried to change the card number on my AAA auto-renewal, they wouldn't let me because the membership is not in my name. It's in my husband's. Who is now deceased. I told them that and they would not change the name on the account unless I send them a certified death certificate. It's not like they're the bank . . . or the IRS . . . or anything official. So I just let their charges get rejected, wrote them a nasty letter telling them why . . and feel like I won. (Of course, that's only until I NEED the AAA!)

And not opening the Verizon envelopes because you'd already set them up on auto-bill pay??? That's TOTALLY something I would do (or to be honest, have done all the time--I feed lots of unopened mail to my shredder.)

Thanks for the great post, and for letting me vent.

And your boys are GORGEOUS!!!!!


oh my goodness it's so obvious those boys are brothers! My older sister loves this blog because she wants her children to look like Ezra and Noah


Oh my goodness it's so obvious those boys are brothers!
My sister loves this blog (she turned me on to it) because she wants her children someday to look like Noah and Ezra... in a noncrepy way


I am laughing out loud (alone in my house) reading this. I spent an hour yesterday being transferred bak and forth through HP customer service trying to get my printer set up. I clearly did a world tour, from India to somewhere else with heavy accents, back to the good old USA. Each time I had to lift up the freaking heavy printer and read the microtype serial number. I finally said to the third person, I guess WHINED is more accurate, "Didn't I already give your COLLEAGUE this number???"
Anyway you make me laugh every single day.



The water company did that to me - but then it rained so I was able to make that baby bottle after all and I can always drink beer. So BOOO-YEAAH! Suck it Water Nazi’s!

*Portions and/or all of this comment are completely falsified because I'm a big drunken liar.


Wow, I just melted my brain for a good 30 seconds trying to identify the differences between Noah in the last picture and Ezra in the third picture and marvelling how you somehow got them to be IN EXACTLY THE SAME PLACE IN EXACTLY THE SAME OUTFIT years apart (and I don't think you were even in the same house?) before I realized there was a sneaky hyperlink in there that my eye missed in hopes of viewing more cute baby. *clicks on link* Oh, there's a much younger (and balder) Noah! Heh. I feel dumb now.

Hey, my name is Amy, too!!  CRAZY!

I just got an old school chuckle from "He is Mahir! He kiss you!"


at least your companies sent you reminders in the mail. Our cable has been shut off three times because my husband is useless at remembering to pay bills and always manages to cancel the auto pay, and the company DOES NOT SEND US PPER BILLS!!!! So freaking annoying. An of course, I can't turn it back on because it's in my husband's name, so he has to do it from work. The while thing is almost enough to make you want to live without it all. Almost


I HOPE you asked them to waive all the late charges as a one-time courtesy.


Reading your blog has made me feel a tad ill. Only because the day I discovered it, I had to go back and read EVERY bit of it. It took me a week but whew!! Finally! I am caught up. Go you.

PS: I'm a mommy to a 7 year old severe ADHD SuperBoy. Noah has a wonderful mommy--who is a great advocate for him. You are doing a great job.


I had a problem with Sprint-they are just as bad. Took 4 solid hours on the phone with my wonderful sister(who was a student then) pretending to be me, to cancel an old cell phone. I had already sent Sprint a letter with the bill, saying that I needed to cancel service due to having no money, and they said it had to be done over the phone, that letters didn't count, and they kept billing me. I will never ever deal with that company again.


Ugh- those direct bill pays will get you!


I remember those red shoes! And wishing I still had someone with tiny feet that looked adorable in tiny shoes. Oh well.

Sorry for your CS experience. I try to avoid all CS experiences if possible and whenever possible make John deal with them. At least you had a happy ending!

Heather @critter chronicles

We don't do business with Verizon anymore. When we moved from the east coast to the west coast (of the SAME country!!!) Verizon changed our account number without ever informing us. So we never got a bill... never got a bill... and then our cell phone service was shut off. Couldn't go online to pay it because we had a new account number and, of course, needed new login information. When I switched to Cingular I told the guy it was b/c of the customer service. He said, "Really? 'Cause Cingular's CS sucks!" But I never had problems with them.


Although the talk of cable companies filled me with rage (because oh how I've been there) the light at the end of the tunnel was your adorable kids.

Seriously, today is sucking with no end in sight. Those kids just made my day.


We've pretty much been going through the same thing here (hence no cable for four days and I almost died). If only that "Life Skills" class I had to take in high school had included a unit on How To Open Your Mail, all of this could have been avoided.


Yes, isn't it ironic that a phone company such as Verizon cannot do simple things such as transfer calls. I sit on hold with them forever, get transferred and then get a dial tone. Thanks, I didn't need that 1/2 hour of my life, really.
I have found that in dealing with Verizon, by being polite blahblahblah once you do FINALLY get a human on the other end, and if you mention that this is the 3rd/4th/5th phone call you have made about this matter, they offer you a credit of some sort for months on end. Sweet.


We just got Verizon FIOS TV this week because the satellite service finally sucked enough to do something about it. BOY was this timely. We've spent at least half an hour every evening since trying to get them to turn on all the services that we requested. And what is WITH them only being open until 6pm if you need tech help? I'm at work until 6, trying to make enough money to pay my Verizon bill which will undoubtedly be twice as much as we agreed upon when it finally comes. Luckily, it comes with a wee tiny little computer with which I can whine to the internet about their assy service, so everything evens out in the end.


in our house, i pay ALL bills except for ONE. Guess which one? That's right, the internet. So when were were cut off for lack of payment, the hell that ensued in HIS direction was all consuming.

I makes sure we can flush our toilet, flip our lights on, get our cars fixed after an accident, that the city council doesn't take us to court and..and...and! Why is one bill SO HARD?

Because it's in an envelope. That's why.


I went through the EXACT SAME THING, except I learned that they were going to shut off my stuff when I received a letter taped to my door saying that PEOPLE ARE COMING ON MONDAY TO COLLECT PAYMENT.

My daughter does the same standing holding onto stair thing. She gets so excited about it that she just screams and screams...


I'm sure you get this all the time, but ... it's amazing how much Noah looks like you... yet, Ezra looks more like you... yet, they look so different. At any rate, you're all so darned cute it should be illegal.

The Other Melanie

You know, I always heard horror stories about Comcast, but when I had to call them I found it surprisingly easy to deal with.

Then I had to call Verizon. Worst. Experience. Ever. I absolutely LOATHE them. The people I talked to were nice enough, but completely useless as far as getting anything done. They were overcharging me, and we all knew it, but NONE of them could do a thing about it. Or so they said.


The other day, I was calling Comcast after a move. It started going through the automated menu of stuff to get you to MORE automated computer voices, and in desperation, I told the phone "I want to speak to a real person". It worked.


I just had the very same thing happen to me. Only I still had the sticker on the new card and kept using the compromised card until they cut me off and it was denied in the grocery store. AHHH!! But I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who doesn't even open their bills.


Your boys, even with the baldness, look more alike than my twins ever did :) My daughter doesn't look much like her brothers either. Hmmm.....Where did they whisk my kids away after my C sections? I blame the Faeries.

As incredibly annoying as all phone/internet providers are, they are nothing compared to the madness that is speaking to an insurance company. I had to fax pages from our contract/handbook to the company to prove that we were covered...even though the CSR had the book and was reading the paragraph that cited our coverage to me over the phone. She was convinced that the wording proved we were NOT covered, although it was quite obvious that we were. My head nearly popped off.


Ahh, I f*cking hate having to call any company with an automated phone system. It almost always sucks horridly. And the few times it doesn't are usually cancelled out by the fact that I put off the call for so long (in re sucking horridly) that I now owe them my first born. But she's real cute so they can eat me.

PS Your boys are adorable.


Verizon = the suckiest suck to ever suck. But um *cough* cough* we use them anyway...and instead just bitch and moan about their incompetence.

Jen Ambrose

I think I give my grandma a stroke every time I tell her that I have everything set up for auto-pay, what I don't I pay online, and I never, ever balance my checkbook - just check the balance online from time to time. That I have all the bills set up as paperless and most time I can't barely be moved to click and open the email.


I did wonder yesterday why you kept emailing me back from your phone. Not enough to like, ask, but I did wonder.


I bet Noah is bummed that Ezra's figuring out how to crawl up that little step. My oldest thought he was so smart when he would bring his toys up to the couch or some other unreachable level to get them away from Baby Destructo and man was he ever ticked off when the little one learned to pull himself up. Ahhhh... brotherly love!


Verizon forgot to move my internet. Moved my phone, but not my internet. Guess they figured I'd want my service in two different places. Fuckers.


Wow, you guys have had some nasty CS experiences! I too spent many cranky minutes on the phone yesterday; after spending money and ungodly amounts of time on a new tub/shower faucet, we learn from the insane city inspector that it doesn't have one piece required to make it legal. (then why can I get it at Menards?!) So I called the manufacturer, just to see if it's possible to purchase this part and install it. 15 minutes of trying to give my long, complicated name to the phone computer (why the hell do you need the spelling of my name? I just want to know if you make a part!) and my address and phone number. Then I got some random lady who informed me there is no such part. Thanks!

(The boys are adorable and totally rescued me from reliving my anger at the phone bots. Ezra's looking mighty mobile!)


Verizon's FIOS billing system = teh suck. I am well known on the internet for my novella comments but in this case it's too tiring to even start on. They just suck.


2) and to be fair, when I've actually needed customer service in the form of technical support, they have been the most polite and actually USEFUL techs I've ever dealt with.

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