morgannalefey: (Default)
I've had no response from either the state benefits office or the health care ombudsman (though they would have just received my release forms yesterday, maybe).

On another note...

I was thinking about the tendancy for the majority of social liberals to be better educated and a little more intelligent overall than the majority of social conservatives (just talking majorities, obviously there are some very intelligent and educated conservatives)...

I think some part of me always thought "liberals are for education, so of course they get more education", but I think that might be wrong (and obviously an oversimplification). I think what happens is that, once you get some education, it opens your eyes to things, and you think about and realize certain truths about who humans are, and that process leads people to become more liberal in their thinking. Being open to things outside your own narrow range of experience is an important part of liberalism.

When I find myself arguing with social conservatives (something I usually try to avoid but once in a while I court it, like in a recent thread on rec.food.cooking you could look up if you wanted, the thread is called "food snob" or some such), I am often a little surprised at how narrow their experiences are, and that they can't seem to accept or grasp that their experience isn't all there is, that there are people who have very different frames of reference, and more importantly, THIS IS OK.

I try to encourage them to not take my word for things, but to go out and read up on this for themselves. I tell them the information is out there if they'll bother to look even a little bit for it. Of course they don't. They don't want to be wrong, they don't want to learn.

This thread is about the poor and how badly many of them eat, which, of course, results in obesity. So many of these people are so completely clueless about what urban poverty is like that they just can't understand the depth of the problem. To them poor people are just lazy people sucking off the government teat without any concern for the rest of the world. They hold them in contempt. Ok, sure, there are some poor people who *could* do something, but choose not to, but most of them don't. Most of them are trapped, perhaps by choices they, themselves made, but that doesn't make them any less trapped.

These people I'm talking to have zero compassion. They're so tied up in hating the few people who abuse the system that they'd be completely willing to make it impossible for those who don't abuse it (who are, in fact, the majority of people who use it).

Sometimes I'm so dismayed by the depth of people's ability to hate,,, then I think about Dubya, Rumsfeld, Rove, Cheney, et. al. and I realize that I'm just as human as they are when it comes to the ability to hate. Somehow it's not particularly comforting.
morgannalefey: (Default)
This story starts long ago, in July of 2004, before I even entered it.

My eye doctor (I'm not going to look up the spelling :P ) decided around July of 2004 that they no longer wished to be included as part of the Cigna medical plan, and only wanted to do vision for them. They started the process for getting removed from the medical list, but found it to be convoluted and impossible. Cigna continually lost faxes, letters, and ignored phone calls. After several months of trying to do this, the office manager gave up trying to get off the list.

A few months later, around mid January, they got a letter from Cigna telling them that they'd been dropped from the medical plan.

Around the end of September, 2004, I got a referral for going to the eye doctor for my annual MEDICAL eye exam. I'm diabetic and I need to get my eyes checked every year as part of my medical care. I scheduled with my eye doctor's office like I always have before, and they accepted my appointment because at that time, they were still part of the medical plan.

My appointment was on January 10, 2005. At this point everyone knew this was supposed to be a medical visit. I went to my appointment and all was supposed to be fine. But then the eye doctor got a letter telling them they weren't on the medical plan. My bill got processed as routine vision care, instead of medical. Most of the time this wouldn't be a problem, except that it was found during my appointment that my eyeglasses prescription changed.

So I had to, eventually, get new lenses for my glasses. We got around to buying those in March of 2005, from a local optician who is also part of the Cigna vision plan.

Cigna rejected $70 of the bill for the new lenses because they said had already spent that much on routine vision care for that year (I only get $100 every alternate year for routine vision care, which is why it's so important that my annual eye exams are paid as medical, not vision). Of course none of this really started coming out until maybe June of 2005 (that's how long processing and corresponding can take).

I started talking to Cigna, my eye doctor's office manager, and the optician's office manager, trying to get this resolved. My eye doctor's office has resubmitted bills no less than three times, trying to change the coding to the medical codes, instead of the routine codes. Meanwhile, I keep begging my optician's office to be patient while I work this out (see, if I just paid the $70, there is NO way I'd get reimbursed by Cigna for it, I'm out $70 that Cigna really *should* be paying, I am not asking for one penny that isn't a covered benefit).

This has been going on in bursts since June or July of 2005. We get told something by Cigna, the eye doctor's office tries that, it takes weeks to process, I tell the optician to give it a go, it all stalls out. Then I'm back on the phone with Cigna again.

Finally, on January 12th, 2006 they received the first bill that they'd actually say was coded for medical not routine vision care.. They told me it would take fifteen days to process. I told the optician it should be good to go by February 2nd.

NO ONE was informed that the processing of this new bill was held up because the charges were detailed separately on the eye doctor's bill (office visit $51, refraction $19). They refused it because of a *date conflict* in the computer system. They never directly contacted the eye doctor's office to find out more. I only found out about this after I got yet another bill from the optician just a few days ago telling me that Cigna had refused to pay them yet again.

So I called Cigna today to find out what the hell was going on. Apparently they need some sort of explanation from the provider to process the bill like that. They want to know why the charges were separated. Who GIVES A DAMN? It's the same billing amount and date for a bill that they ALREADY APPROVED AND PAID A YEAR AGO. They absolutely refuse to process it unless they get an explanation from the doctor. They claim that the explanation is very simple, very easy, and no problem at all.

The office manager tells a very different story and says that it's easier for her to rebill it as a single amount than it is for her to try and explain the bill because they never listen, they lose things, and they ignore her.

But what's going to happen is she'll resubmit, they will finally go to actually process it, and then they'll reject it because that office isn't on the medical provider list, even though no one knew that until AFTER my appointment.

I've decided not to wait for this to happen. I've called the employees benefits people to see if there's anything they're going to be able to actually do about this to fix the problem. When she calls to tell me she can't do anything, I'm calling the Health Care Ombudsman's office and hoping that THEY can bring pressure to bear to get this damn mess resolved.

Souls

Mar. 14th, 2006 01:18 pm
morgannalefey: (Default)
What is a soul? What effect does it have? How would it look if there weren't any souls?

How do people know there's even such a thing as souls? What do they do? How do you know they do that?

How is it any different from known chemical effects on the brain?

Why don't people ask themselves these questions more?
morgannalefey: (Default)
So I figured I could learn something about girl groups by rote so that we could at least get those questions right on trivia.

THERE WERE OVER 750 GIRL GROUPS!!!

Ok, so not all of them had hits. Maybe I could find a list of the hits and who did them somewhere...

OH MY GOD LOOK AT ALL THOSE SONGS!!!

I found two albums, Best of the Girl Groups volumes one and two. They had a fair number of songs and I'll work on learning those bits, and maybe figuring out if there's a way to differentiate between them, but even if I'd done that before Wed, I probably wouldn't have gotten the group for Soldier Boy. It's not on either of these albums...

I'll keep poking at it, and maybe at least increase our chances on these songs some. :)
morgannalefey: (Default)
Satellite internet, after having shit dialup for over a year, is wonderful. I would like less latency, but I'm satisfied for now.

So I can get on with my life. Which at this point consists of trying to get the damn insurance company to pay for a medical eye exam I had though they insist that it was routine (I have diabetes, all my eye exams should be medical).

This has been going on for a year now. The optician who did my lenses is getting grumpy at me (can't blame them). Now to call the employee benefits office.

We came in second for Trivia last night and tied with the Radio Scholars, which is an accomplishment. :) Now if she just would stop picking THE most ESOTERIC music for the music round... :)
morgannalefey: (Default)
Palmer called, finally. He was just as emphatic about us being too far to get served from the remote terminal as Nate was that we'd be able to get DSL when I spoke to him on the 22nd.

He said that they have equipment at Cutler Corner, but that we're still too far away from it to be served by it. That it would take the installation of new equipment and that he knew of no plans to serve that area in the near future. He said that ultimately they had plans to bring broadband everywhere, but that's in the long term, and he had no idea when anything would be happening near us.

It was almost actually a relief to finally hear something this definitive from someone who knows the lines and the equipment as I know Palmer does (and he did remember me and where I lived without my having to remind him, sometimes I really just love Vermont and old Vermonters).

So I called and set up for the installation of satellite internet on Friday. We'll be locked into a one year contract, but the dial up problems will melt away, and we'll be able to actually use the internet from our house again. It's been a long year and four months.

Meanwhile I am trying to figure out suitable punishment on Verizon for wasting three full months of my life on this wild goose chase when I was *never* actually able to get DSL at our house. If they'd just talked to a local engineer... we'd have had our answer in days.
morgannalefey: (Default)
Got my husband to check our home messages again, and there was one from Andrea (remember Andrea? This is a song about Andrea...) saying that our link length was too long, it was 22,380 feet and we can't get DSL.

So I called and spoke to another supervisor (after the same little square dance I have to do to get to a supervisor every stinking time even though the supervisors always tell me to ask for supervisors, the others don't want to hand me over). I spoke with Dave in Dallas (take THAT Simon) who told me that it looks like everything is complete and our account is active, and that we should be able to turn the modem on when we get home. If it doesn't work we're supposed to call Tech Support for a Supervisor (tm) to get it resolved.

He did say that his line test shows "no sync" but that it could be the modem is off. I don't think that's the case, I'm pretty sure my husband has been leaving it on, but it's possible I suppose.

I put in a very obsequious call to Palmer, the engineer (tm). I left him a gentle message in dulcet tones asking humbly for him to call and let me know what might really be going on.

This constantly changing the story every alternate phone call thing is really driving me nuts.

I called the Wildblue installation guy today, got a quote for satellite internet, and we're ready to go ahead with that if I can't get any satisfaction from Verizon on this DSL thing.

Then I'm going to file a formal, written complaint with the Public Service Board, and the Attorney General's office. Wonder if they'd accept the link for my blog as the detailed explanation of the problem, or if I'll have to edit all this into something they'll want to read. :)
morgannalefey: (Default)
Apparently we DID have a voicemail message at home but somehow my husband missed it or something. So they DID call when they claimed they did. Didn't say much but they did call.
morgannalefey: (Default)
So it was a quiet weekend with no cyborg calls telling us we've been terminated.

I tried calling the number Jennifer gave me so long ago, but they just sent me over the the DSL line again. I got Simon who refused to tell me more than that he's on the east coast (jinkies, they're onto me!). He says they aren't allowed to tell what state they're in. I commented that I've been doing this for two months and everyone's told me before. He was puzzled but changed the subject.

I know I'm on a list.

The current/open trouble ticket he has is different from the one I got on Thursday. The new number is 10440443. "It appears that they're still working on the issue. Let me contact the outside group to see what I can find out."

A while later Simon says (hee hee hee) that they have a technician actually working on the remote terminal even as we speak, and that they're working to resolve this issue for us as soon as possible. He says they left a message at our house, too, this morning at 8:14.

I told him the only reason I was going to accept what he was telling me this morning was because I knew that Palmer, one of the local engineers, was back from vacation today, and that I considered that as something actually changing out there, because otherwise he wasn't telling me anything that I hadn't already been told several times in the past.

My husband checked the answering machine at home, there were no messages. I also have no voicemail pending on the cell phone. I wonder who got our message, if, indeed, there was one.

I've decided that if they are going to act like inhuman cyborgs, I'm going to treat them like inhuman cyborgs...
morgannalefey: (Default)
I knew better than to trust them, but my hope and optimism made me do it. Of course nothing happened Thursday or Friday. There were no technicians, and we still do not have DSL.

This time there was a little difference, this time there was no unfeeling, automated phone message sent to us to inform us of our status at all. I'm left to guess at our status.

I have visions of a large room stacked high with piles of paper. The lights are dodgy and flicker. There is a narrow path that wends between the towers of documents and I see a small, mousy man in a dirty, tan lab coat carrying our trouble ticket between his fingers like it's a dead rat. He scurries over to one of the piles way in the back, and deftly (with the skill of long practice) lifts up a pile and slips our trouble ticket to the bottom of it. An evil sneer spreads across his features and he mumbles something about Mother being the only one who truly understands.

In another part of the central office there is a sleek, pristine lab all stainless steel and white tile. A woman with a perfect white complexion (that you only get by never, ever, ever, stepping outside) and her black hair pulled back into a screechingly tight bun with two bright red chopsticks stabbed through it sits on a high stool next to the counter. She is wearing a shockingly white, well-pressed lab coat over her sophisticated wool pinstripe suit, and red pumps that match the chopsticks. Her long red nails clack delicately on the shiny keys of a black keyboard. Her eyes are riveted to the Sudoku game she's playing. The mousy man in the tan lab coat returns, cackling a little like Igor, and she asks, "Is it done?" He wheezes out "Oh yes, Mistress, yes. They will never have DSL."

"Good," she murmurs in a languid, sexy voice, "We can begin phase II."

Today

Feb. 23rd, 2006 12:13 pm
morgannalefey: (Default)
10:05 AM I'm trying calling them again. I'm trying the number Jennifer gave me this time, in the hope that I'll get someone from Burlington again.

The automated answering machine they have always tells me "I can't find any orders for your number" then transfers me to a person. It's always a little scary when it says that. I live in fear that they'll close this account once again, and I'll have yet another two week delay.

Miss Deluca from MA. She showed the order as still pending. I told her what Nate had said, and she said she couldn't tell me anything more about my status and would "send [me] over to DSL". I got Jill in Texas, I just immediately asked her to send me to a supervisor because my order had been escalated. I explained (again) about how I'd been assured emphatically that I would have DSL last night and a tech would be at my house, and no such thing had happened. She put me on hold and went looking for a supervisor.

I wish there was some way for me to call the Burlington office more directly. It's very frustrating.

While I'm holding I'm slaying the robot clowns that threaten the safety of the neopets of neopia (neopets.com). Evil, horrific robot clowns that explode in a puff of gooey whipped cream... there are distant clown snipers who try to fight me off with cream pies, and I often come out at the end of the battle covered with whipped cream, but knowing that I've stopped at least some of the robot clown horde...

I got Kenneth in Texas, after I explained to him the situation, he said that he's looking at the notes and they are saying that the signal is reading "zeros at the central office" which means that the signal isn't getting to our modem. He said he'd have to find more information because this might be old information.

Two hours later, I'm still holding. I've been getting some reading done for work that I've been putting off, so it hasn't been completely unproductive.

Finally Kenneth is back. He says they did a line test and it came back as our house being too far (and I had a serious case of deja vu). They have to do some more work to try and fix it because they think that the terminal wasn't being included (or some such). They show us as 35,200 feet from the central office and that's coming back from the field tech. We are assigned to a remote terminal, and the qualifying distance is 18.000 feet. The engineers need to find out what exactly is happening that might be going wrong at the remote terminal that is causing this problem. A ticket was sent to the local egineers by Laurie at the remote terminal office in Pawtucket, RI while Kenneth had her on the phone, so before noon. The engineers get the ticket immediately (it's electronic, they all have DSL, and they're keeping it from me) and it goes into their queue. Could be completed today, but more likely Friday by the end of the day.

I asked him where I should call when nothing happens again, and this time I cleverly asked for a ticket number so I could have something specific to point the staff to when I called. Ticket Number 107981416

Whoever answers will likely need to send me to a supervisor or a tier three person when I call back because they won't be able to help me.

I want to start hanging out at the central office to see who goes in and out of there, and maybe follow them to a local bar where I buy him or her a few drinks to oil the tongue then get information (or DSL) out of them right on the spot. I hate how removed I am from the people who are actually doing the work. All it does is make it easy for them to lie to me.

Coincidentally, the 24th was the latest go live date we had when they delayed it from the 15th. It makes me think that they were intending to be doing this work today and tomorrow all along, and everything else has just been jerking me around. Paranoid? Me? Who told you that?
morgannalefey: (Default)
I was scared to call. I was afraid it would jinx something. My husband had a call at some point in the morning (he'd taken the week off as we have a house guest) informing him that there had been a technician out to the terminal yesterday, but no one could understand the note he'd left about it. So they were going to send someone else out to look at our NIB that day.

No technician and no word by 2 PM so I called to find out our status. Of course I had to wangle my way around until I had a supervisor (at one point the first person I spoke to, Paula, gave me a minor heart attack by telling me she didn't see any orders for my line). I finally got Nate on the phone. Nate told me that there was definitely a dispatch for a technician to come out. He offered to check, to make sure the tech could make it, and to call me back. So I agreed.

He called me back in around an hour (he'd been forced to wait on hold for forty five minutes, he said ;D ) and told me that the tech was still supposed to get out there today, and that they couldn't commit to a time and that tech calls happened between 9 AM and 5 PM. He assured me that it would happen. I said, "And after this visit, will I have DSL?"

His response was an emphatic, "Yes!"

I laughed. I couldn't help it. He sounded so young, so certain.

I said "That's a very definite sounding yes, are you sure you don't want to modify it?"

He said "No, you will have DSL tonight."

I note here that he'd mentioned earlier that he wasn't going to be working Thursday (the next day) so he wasn't going to deal with me if I called back. Not that he'd have had to even if he had been working, as I've never managed to get the same person on the phone when I call back...

I got home about five. The tech hadn't been to the house, and we still didn't have service. No phone messages, automated or otherwise were sent, either. We left the house around ten minutes to six because we were going to the trivia night at River Run in Plainfield (it was a blast and we almost won, our team came in second).

No messages when we got home around ten.
morgannalefey: (Default)
around 5 PM we got another automated call from Verizon informing us that they were still working on our order and that they wouldn't forget us.

We didn't get any calls on the 21st.
morgannalefey: (Default)
My husband works from home on Fridays, so he was there when they called around 10 AM and told him to turn on the modem and give it a try.

I think I actually squealed with joy.

Around four hours and many calls to tech support later he was informed that somehow our account is both pending and active at the same time, and that the central office staff would have to do some sort of hoodoo magic to fix that problem, but that the signal is going through.

We were told they'd try to get the central office to do whatever it was that day, but if not then by the following Tuesday (February 21st) because Monday was a holiday.

My heart sank when I heard that the central office would be needed to do something. The voices were telling me that I needed to storm the central office where they store the DSL. I know they have it there, in vast, huge wodges, stacked high to the ceiling.
morgannalefey: (Default)
I had an ace up my sleeve.. Ok, not really an ace, more like the five of spades, but it was still up my sleeve and I decided it was time to see if it would give me a full house... I think I've stretched this metaphor as far as it'll go...

Way back when I worked for SoVerNet (did I fail to mention that I worked the helpdesk for SoVerNet for two years back in the late 90s? Back then it was a great start up internet service company, I was proud of the work we did, anyway) I had met one of the Verizon engineers, Palmer. We met the first time we were looking at building a house, and he'd been the one who'd installed my frame relay line for when I was working for SoVerNet.

Palmer is gruff and intelligent, really busy, and actually cares about providing good service, but often has his hands tied by the red tape. He was the engineer who had been to my new house on moving day to tell me that they were going to have to run a new phone line to get us phone service. Anyway, I still have his phone number from when I worked for SoVerNet, so I thought I'd give him a little call to see if he could shed some light on what the real problem was, and what the realistic expectation for service was (and possibly to see if he could do anything with the scheduling to get this resolved more quickly, but I was hesitant to ask for anything beyond information).

He is on vacation until the 27th (which may actually explain this backlog). But he left a number for Denis to contact in his absence. I tried leaving a message for Denis to see if he had any information to share, but he never called me back. I wasn't sure how far to push it, really, so I've not tried back yet. This was around 11:30 AM.

1:30 PM I get a call from Jennifer, she was checking in. I told her what had happened so far, and she said she'd try to find something out then get back to me. I had to go to the bathroom, so she left me a voicemail at 1:40 PM telling me that it was all a technician backlog and they were hoping to get the work done soon. She also told me her last name and gave me a number to call so I could get in direct contact with her (it doesn't actually work, but her heart is in the right place.) :D
morgannalefey: (Default)
2:30 PM Jennifer called (she likes me, she really likes me) and assured me that everything was still on track for our service to go live today, and that we should be able to turn it on when we got home from work.

We got home from work and found a message, automated and time stamped 4:57 PM informing us that our service was delayed until February 24th.

I called customer service back immediately and got Lakenya, asking her what the delay was. She told me that there was an "issue with the wiring" and then transferred me to Andrea at my request. Andrea is an escalation supervisor. I was told that the wiring fix had to be done by the central office, and that Verizon's technicians are the ones who do the scheduling out of that office. She had no idea who I could contact there directly (they hide, you see, they're elusive and shy, like the Yeti). She was very apologetic and listened patiently to my rants and complaints and retelling of the saga. Then told me she would keep a personal eye on my order.

I informed her that I failed to see how that would accomplish anything as Jennifer had been keeping a personal eye on my account, called and told me I'd be good to go today, then an hour and a half later, I was delayed again. How was she going to have any better information that would keep that from happening and actually get something done? She was noncommittal but I decided I'd prefer they do something rather than nothing, so I told her I wanted her to keep an eye on the order.

I started fantasizing about different social engineering scenarios that might get me in through that huge metal door to where they keep the technicians locked up. Maybe I could set them free and in gratitude they'd grant me one wish (which would, of course, be that I get DSL, I'm no fool!).
morgannalefey: (Default)
I got an email informing me that DSL was not available to us and that our order was cancelled. My frustration and anger at this point might possibly be understood.

I called Verizon and spoke with Jennifer in Burlington. I should note here that the Burlington Verizon online staff are by far the nicest, most patient, and most willing to go out of their way to find information of any other staff member I had to speak to during this epic.

Jennifer contacted many people (she said at least ten) who all told her that there is no reason we can't get DSL on our line and the delays are all due to backlogs of technicians not being able to get out to the remote terminal to do service on it. Everyone agreed that we should be able to get DSL though.

Jennifer told me she would personally oversee my account (I fondly recalled Jason's promise but allowed myself to hope once more). and call me if se saw any problems at all.

Hope springs eternal.
morgannalefey: (Default)
7:50 PM we got another automated phone call. This was was telling us that our service was delayed until February 15th.

I decided not to call Verizon about that and just to let it lay.

However, this didn't stop me from looking at the central office building in Barre. We drive past it every morning on the way to work. This time I was looking to see if they had a customer entrance.

They don't. They have wonking huge metal doors that look like they could withstand mortar fire. I think they know about me.
morgannalefey: (Default)
So I called Verizon to find out which notification was true.

I got David who was in Tech Support and didn't have any current information available. All he had was my old order that had been cancelled on January 10th. So he transferred me to Russ in billing who lives in Maryland. Russ transferred me (without informing me he was doing so) to Sean (or Shaun or Shawn, I didn't ask) in Ohio who was also in billing. Sean informed me that he couldn't access New England account information. I explained to him that I'd been bounced around several times at this point and that if he was going to transfer to please make sure they could look at my account before dumping me somewhere.

I was on hold for half an hour while he tried to find someone, though he did keep checking in with me to let me know he was still trying to find someone. Eventually I was transferred to Howie in Springfield, MA. Howie told me that the information he had showed that my order was still in place, and the service date was still February 14th.

I was told not to worry about the answering machine message.

I was at once relieved and concerned, but I let it go at that.
morgannalefey: (Default)
At 4:17 PM We had an answering machine message, automated, again (I really hate those things) saying that they couldn't provide us with service and our order was cancelled.

I'd had no calls from Jason about any sort of delay to service previous to this, I might add...

At 7:53 PM I received an email (this is new) from Verizon informing me that our order was delayed until February 14th.

I would like to think that pretty much anyone who relies so heavily on the Internet for so many of their hobbies and their contacts with the outside world would understand the frustration this caused me.

I started wondering where this mysterious "central office" was, and if they had a customer entrance.
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