From One Disaster to the Next

You know the one where your other half delivers your youngest daughter to the final day of football camp, then drops the car off for it’s MOT (Ministry of Transport) test, and it fails ? Yeah - that. Guess who had to run to the local petrol station to get cash - because WHO HAS CASH - so his other half could get a taxi to pick our daughter up again.

Why do these things always happen to us ? We now have no car until next week - that’s going to be fun.

Anyway. I seem to write “anyway” rather a lot. It’s Friday - the last day of my “week off”. Well maybe technically not the last day - because I still have the weekend to come - but still - where the hell did the past week go? All I seem to have done all week is washing up, gardening, tidying up, and tinkering with computers. Oh - and trying to figure out what might be wrong with the internet connection in the house.

A few days ago the internet started cutting out - for a few seconds at a time. When it did so I would head to the router administration page on our home network, and either re-connect, or re-start the router. I imagined engineers must be working on the cables somewhere nearby - opening the green boxes that have popped up on the end of many suburban streets. Only it didn’t get better - it got worse. By last night the connection stayed up for a few minutes before dying each time - somewhat frustrating while trying to catch up with on-demand TV shows (because we very rarely get to watch anything when it’s actually being broadcast).

This morning I checked again - no internet connection at all. I re-connected all the wires, and re-booted everything. Still no joy. Time to sit in a 15 minute queue with the internet service provider, to try and trace the fault. After working through the same routine I had just gone through, the engineer on the other end of the phone suggested something I hadn’t tried.

“If you remove the face plate from the box where your telephone cable is plugged in, you will find a second test socket”.

I fished a screwdriver from the toolbox under the kitchen counter (don’t ask), and removed the face plate. Oh my word - he was right. Inside the box, was another connector - just like the one outside the box. What sort of recursive design methodology was this?! I plugged the phone directly into it, and suddenly we had dial-tone. I plugged the broadband filter back in, and the internet connection re-established almost immediately.

After putting the phone down, and taking a good look at the face-plate of the box where the telephone cable plugs in, I realised what’s been going on - or rather I smelled what’s been going on. The cat has been peeing on the damn thing. It reeked of cat pee, and you could see inside there was some pretty horrid staining. So guess who spent the next hour scrubbing the walls, the floor, the door, and the entire area surrounding the telephone connection point? And guess who then drenched the doormats in a bleach solution before hanging them outside to dry? For my final act I sprayed the entire area with some kind of Batman anti-cat spray that we bought some time ago, and then walked to the corner shop to buy air fresheners.

I swear - if I catch the cat doing it again… Stop laughing. It’s not funny. Well, I suppose it is kind of funny, if it didn’t happen to you this morning.