Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Cox Box

As some of you may know by now, the Missus had a mishap and broke her ankle. She now spends most of her day in the bedroom reading books, watching TV, and making entirely unreasonable demands such as food and water. Among the many new challenges to come along after the accident, was the operation of the various remote controls for the bedroom electronics; one for the TV, one for the Cox cable box, one for the VHS player, and one more for the stereo. To say the Missus is remote control challenged is like saying shutting down the BP oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico was a tad difficult. The poor woman has problems understanding On-Off.

And so it came to pass that after a dozen or more summons to the boudoir to program the VCR and record such hits as Mr. Belvidere Goes to College, my frustration hit new levels. For my own mental health, I made the decision to swap out the cable box for a new DVR, a digital video recorder. To operate and record could not be easier with one of these babies; select your show, hit the record button, DONE. No clocks to set, no calendar to find, no program on, program off, no hunting for a blank tape, we’re talking simple here.

A dash to the Cox store and an hour later, the shiny new device was in place. I did the hookup, flipped the TV on and…nothing. Well, that’s not exactly true but every time I picked a channel, the screen said OFF THE AIR-TRY AGAIN LATER. Unless the prophesies of 2012 had arrived a little early, I couldn’t image every channel in the system to be down. I called Cox.

After the normal maddening phone menu, a pleasant sounding woman named Chaney suggested that I be sure everything was plugged in and connected to the DVR. Let’s pause here a moment while I refresh your memory on my electronic qualifications. I did this sort of thing for over 35 years. I helped to install a complete closed circuit TV system on the campus of Oklahoma State University. I worked in broadcast television beaming live sporting events across the entire nation. I had a Federal Communications License. In other words, I knew this shit. How dare some little snip of a girl question my skills in this field? The nerve.

There were more questions but the bottom line, according to Chaney’s analysis, was the new DVR box was defective and she would send a repairman out the next day to replace it. Humph! All right then.

It had been a long day, running around in the heat, buying groceries, emptying kitty litter boxes, and emulating Nurse Rached. I poured a spooker, a double, and thought about it. Maybe, just maybe, I should take a little TV back to the wall jack to be double sure I had a signal. I had signal before I unhooked the old box but well, you never know. That’s when I saw it. I had not one but two wall jacks; one for Cox cable and the other for an old satellite setup, now defunct. Do I need to tell you which one of those jacks I was trying to use?

Luckily, Chaney didn’t answer the phone. I told the new lady I wanted to cancel my appointment for a repair. She asked my reason for cancellation.

“Um, do I really have to say?”

“I have to put something on the form,” she says.

“What are my options?”

“How about, Changed Mind?”

“That’ll work.”

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