Wednesday, September 14, 2005

ounce of prevention...

Darling Roommate and I have lived in our place for exactly one month.

3 weeks ago, I faxed over a list of problems with the place that the property management should have fixed before we moved in - ranging from minor cosmetic stuff like wallpaper gashes and paint scratches to the major, such as the downstairs toilet not working and a kitchen cabinet ready to fall off at any moment. Oh, and the annoying - my neighbor's pipes clank right next to my bed, waking me up every damned morning. I had a nice chat with the lad at the office at the time, who assured me he'd have people on it immediately.

So far, nada. Since I'm having people over this weekend, I am going to go about fixing the cabinet and toilet situations as much as possible.

Now, I know this is awfully mundane for me to write about. And, I wouldn't write about it, if it weren't for Comcast.

See, Comcast sent us the wrong boxes. We're paying for their Digital Gold package or some other kind of rip-off - 400 freakin' channels, about 300 of which are in Spanish, or for kids, or for Spanish kids, so they do me no good. The key to our cable, besides the internet access (which admittedly has rocked so far), is HBO.

One small problem - we can't HEAR HBO. For some reason, the line volume level is basically nil. In order to hear the HBO, I have to crank the TV volume to the maximum, turn my stereo volume to 92% of max volume (at which point the electricity humming through the system makes more noise than the HBO signal!) and sit approximately 18 inches from the screen.

Comcast's solution - take a day off work while we come in and replace the cable boxes we just installed 3 weeks ago. They gave us the wrong boxes.

OK, I'll believe that. Mainly because I'm gullible and just want my H-B-O. They couldn't give us the right boxes the first time? Eh...what are you gonna do?

However, my property management company is going to need me to do the same thing - clean up something they should have taken care of sooner. My unit was empty for nearly a week between the previous folks moving out and Darling Roommate and I moving in. Why couldn't they do the work *which they knew they needed to do beforehand from the previous tenants* before we moved in?

It's now going to be more expensive for both of these companies to fix what could have been easily prevented.

Sounds something like the system failures in New Orleans, doesn't it? Preventable and cheaper to do right, the first time. Maybe I'm stuck on the idea of getting stuff right, correct, stable...all the debacles of the Gulf Coast, all the politicians covering their own asses in enough spit-laced rhetoric to drown another major U.S. port...

The blame game has been disturbing, and distracting. The grandstanding has been deliberate and denegrating. I'm boggled by the stupidity at all levels - Michael Brown, Rick Santorum, Kathleen Blanco, Ray Nagin - mayors, governors, Senators, oh my!

Estimates for Katrina clean-up are running between 50 and 100 billion dollars. New Orleans is still half underwater. Gas is up to 3 bucks a gallon - and Exxon is about to declare its highest profit quarter ever. But I'd be a fool and a communist to make *any* connection there, huh?

The City of New Orleans would have been spared, lives saved and homes standing with a better levee system - infinitely cheaper than this mess.

Preventative Maintenence. Disaster Prevention. Maybe these should be the buzzwords of 2006.

Just a thought...

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