Thursday, August 25, 2011

Other than working: Curmudgeon does not know where to roost

A frequent visitor to this blog, Dave, an Atlanta lawyer, calls his blog "Rather Than Working." The title suggests that, when the spirit moves him, he'd rather blog than work. Based on matters in the last couple of weeks, I could retitle my blog, "Other Than Working." This title would suggest that, whatever my preferences, I'm not actually working. I haven't gotten a darn thing done, business-wise, in a couple of weeks.

I've addressed some of the distractions with you in prior posts: My wife's house painting efforts (lots of links within links there) and taking Youngest Son to college, for example. I didn't mention the latest crash of my home computer, a week ago Wednesday. I've written about computer problems too many times. Suffice it to say, I talked to India and the Philippines for hours on end and got the thing running again. I haven't talked much about my work concerns, although two cases in particular are driving me to distraction -- and my relationship with my best client may be in jeopardy because, well, I keep losing things, like motions and appeals. You can't win 'em all -- sophisticated corporate clients understand this -- but they can't help but get a little touchy when it seems like you've lost the ability to win any.

If I'm out of the office attending to family matters, I'm not making money. If I'm repairing the computer, I'm not making money. If I'm in the office fretting about non-billable, file-related crises of one sort or another, I'm not making money. If I'm trying to figure out how to pay at least the minimums on all bills due when I have no money, I'm not making money. At the moment... I'm not making money.

And things really started to get interesting last week. Our phones went out last week. I don't mean "our" as in the royal "we," I mean everyone in my whole darned building. I think construction work a block or two away may have resulted in a cable being cut -- but I'll never know for sure. All I know is, last Thursday, having returned to work, freed from my painting obligations, the phones died. I was making office calls on Wells Street because I couldn't get a signal in my Undisclosed Location when a guy tapped me on the shoulder. "Do you work in this building?" he asked. I nodded. "And your phones are out?" I nodded again. "Well, whaddaya know? Mine too."

My suite-mate reported my main number and my fax number to the Almighty Telephone Company on his cell phone -- and, within a day, these were restored. But my main number has a rollover number, in case two clients should call at once. That line, not having been specifically reported, was not restored until Friday, hours after I discovered this and called it in.

Then, Tuesday, around noon, I was working in my office -- and the lights went out. My computer went out. Everything went out. The whole building lost power. We thought initially that it was related to a fire in a ComEd vault between City Hall and the Daley Center, but later reports said it was not. At least three Loop buildings lost all power in the event, however, and the ones identified were at seemingly random locations. Of course this knocked out my phones again -- and my cell phone was not fully charged. I was able to ascertain however that the trains were still running (although the vault fire would interrupt service later that afternoon) and I went home. The building manager called me at home Tuesday evening after dinner to advise that power was restored (though I found out it went out again later). The building manager cautioned, however, that elevator service had not yet been restored.

I had to go in yesterday, even if that meant climbing all the stairs. (That could well have been my doom: I tend to the three flights and you're out school of stair climbing.) But the elevators were working.

On the other hand, my Internet was out.

I spent the morning trying all the tricks I knew to get it back. These all failed. Our tenant found out that we weren't the only ones who were having Internet troubles -- but our tenant was not among these. Believe it our not, she has her Internet through the Almighty Telephone Company and it was working. Can you imagine how bad a service must be if it is bested by the Almighty Telephone Company's alternative? We think -- working hypothesis this -- that only those who subscribed to the service provided by the building were knocked out. But I'm not going downtown today to test this theory. I'll work from home today and brave the Undisclosed Location again tomorrow.

And maybe I'll even be able to work there, too.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Sometimes, other 'minor' precoccupations just get in the way.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i've had phone/internet problems this week too and it sucks, truly. i'd rather take a whooping than call india again...

smiles, bee