Cars and cable: two things America does badly

Just to balance out the recent happy, sunny weather posts, I do think it’s important to say that not everything we’re discovering about our new city/life has been wonderful. I feel like the ranting about France started after a few months, so I’m right on schedule for annoyances popping up on this side of the ocean! It’s funny that the two things that have frustrated me the most are cars and cable, the two things America is supposed to do well, right? And also the two things I didn’t see as “essential” when we first moved. We made it over two months without a car, and nearly four without a television. Now I really wish we had gone a little longer without both!

Not only was buying a car not so fun, we’re still waiting for the title over a month later, which was supposed to arrive in the mail two weeks after we bought it. I can ask for a copy at the RMV, but that costs 25 dollars I already paid the dealership, since that’s part of the package when you buy a car from them. Every time I try to call to speak to somebody about it, I’m on hold for a long time, and I haven’t had the patience to wait more than 10 minutes for someone to pick up. I’ll keep trying, but I’m almost tempted to be super French and send a registered letter to them informing them of the situation, rather than waste more time on the phone.

Most of my time on the phone in the past weeks not on hold has been with Comcast. They’re the only cable provided who services our building, and I’ve never heard good things about them. So I shouldn’t be too surprised that the hour long phone conversation I had with them led to nowhere. The issue was very simple: I was not told my internet was the basic, super slow kind, when I thought I was paying for the faster speed.

It all started when we moved in and I got the bundled fast internet and cable, but when the guy came to install it and we didn’t have a TV, they didn’t leave the cable box. Everyone told me I could just watch on the app. Which we did for a few days, until it stopped working. When I called, they said they couldn’t sell me cable (even just through the app) if I didn’t have the box, and I couldn’t have a box without a TV. So I said whatever, just internet is fine, and it cost less, so that was nice. The past few months we’ve noticed it was slow, but again, since everyone I know complains about it, I thought that was normal.

There was an offer for cable through the internet without a box, so we finally bought a TV last weekend, but I decided to call first to complain about the speed. No sense getting the TV if the internet was just going to freeze the picture all the time. And that’s when they offered an “upgrade” to the speed I thought I’d been paying for these past 3 months! So my choices were to pay 30 more per month for the high speed internet to start immediately, or 20 dollars more for the cable bundle, but I’d have to wait a week for the box, since they couldn’t upgrade my internet until I installed the box. I picked option three, complain to customer service, since a) I thought I’d already been paying for the faster speed, and b) why is it 20 dollars more now for the same service that cost only 5 dollars more 3 months ago?

The girl was super nice, but after a half hour of back and forth, she couldn’t offer me anything else. She said she put in a ticket so I’d get a call back this week to see if someone higher up could do something. Unsurprisingly, I have had no call, and I’m not really in the mood to call them back quite yet. I can’t decide if I am being unreasonable or not, but I honestly cannot understand why the exact same thing costs so much more 3 months later, just because I’m not a “new” customer anymore. I know 20 dollars versus 5 dollars more per month is “only” a difference of 180 dollars a year, but I’m just so annoyed I feel like complaining anyway, even if it won’t change anything. And after 8 years in France, I can do some pretty good complaining!

In the end, the TV works fine plugged into the modem and isn’t as slow as watching on the computer can be. My husband is a little disappointed he can’t watch the Euro right now like we’d planned, but there are plenty of bars he can go to, so silver lining. Except the bar tabs may also cost 180 dollars or more by the end of the tournament, so maybe it will be cheaper to just suck it up and get the cable!

My favorite tumblrs

The internet is a magical, wonderful thing. It can make you incredibly productive, or suck hours and hours of productivity away. Assuming that if you are catching up with blogs right now, you are probably in the latter situation, so here are a few of my favorite tumblrs to waste time on. Please share your own, because helping others to waste time is also what makes the internet such a wonderful thing.


Men taking up too much space on the train. STORY OF MY LIFE! Not to be read on a Sunday or you will lose all desire to go to work the next day.


Boys Clubs. Speaking of work, this is slightly related to my job in HR, so I can totally justify sending it to colleagues along with instead of tumblrs about cats.


Beyonce Art History. Though sometimes I wish art was still my job.


Mean Girls of Panem. Mean Girls + Hunger Games. You’re welcome.


Notes to my future husband. A few of the more PG-rated excerpts (the rest is mostly R!):

HUNGER GAMES. I would totally kill you last.

AS YOU WISH. Every once in a while, I’m gonna turn to you out of the blue and say “Farm boy, fetch me that pitcher.” You’d better know the proper response.


Writers and Kitties.  Favorite writers and cute cats. What’s not to love?


Brides throwing cats. Just in case you need more cats, here are some (I hope!) photoshopped at weddings.


Reasons my son is crying.  Uhhhh, I’m actually taking a break from this one for the next few months, or I’ll just curl up in a ball and hide for the next 18 years.


Suri’s Burn Book. If you don’t know who Suri Cruise is, then you probably won’t know who anyone else is who she talks about, and you probably won’t think it’s funny. My tiny bit of brain space that isn’t already being used to keep track of these (mini)people finds it hilarious.


Kate Middleton For The Win.  My favorite of favorites (or should that be favourites?), though sadly looks like updates have definitely ended. My love for all things royal amuses French people to no end. My argument is always that they cut off the head of their king, but we just moved away. So admiring/mocking from afar is très American, non?
Kate Middleton For The Win

(I may or may not have already bought a few of the same Seraphine maternity dresses she wore. But as I am due in July, studied art history, have a sapphire engagement ring, have a middle name Elizabeth, and am several months older than my husband, we are basically the same person anyway.)