Tales From A Hungry Life

June 13, 2012

Service, Interrupted

by Maria Schulz

I haven’t been posting as much as usual because a not-so-funny thing happened to me from April to the last part of May. I lost my phone and internet service.

I could’ve really used one of these

At first, it was no big deal. I called to report the problem and figured it would be a day or two–TOPS–until we were back up and running. Since it was only my phone at first, I wasn’t concerned.

When I called my provider to alert them to the problem, I naively asked, “When do you think it will be fixed?”

“Monday for sure!” I was told. Since it was Saturday, I thought that sounded reasonable.

Monday came and went. No phone. I called and reported the problem again.

“It will be fixed by Wednesday, for sure!” another perky phone rep told me.

By 3 pm Wednesday, I called again.

“Tomorrow, we will send out a technician to fix the problem. Just stay home between 8 and 5,” the customer service rep (a new one) told me.

Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere! I stayed home all day and no one showed up. I called again to complain.

“The person who told you someone would come out didn’t have authorization to do that,” my new rep told me.

“Do you have that authorization?” I asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Then get someone who does.”

I still wasn’t too upset because I had my internet connection. I could deal with no land line, but my Internet was like oxygen. The next day, a technician showed up at my door.

“Sorry, but I disconnected your phone and now your Internet is down too.”

‘WHAT?” I said. “When will it be fixed?”

“Tomorrow, for sure!” he replied.

No computer for you!

Days passed. Tomorrow never seemed to come. For us, it was the equivalent of being lost in the desert with no access to human contact. Want to order Chinese food? No internet to look up the number (who keeps menus anymore?). Want to do some online shopping? No internet. Want to catch up on Mad Men? No streaming Netflix. Want to find a new recipe to supplement your tired old stable of regular chow? No internet. Want to write a new blog post? NO INTERNET.

If my life was a TV show, my family would have sat around the table, holding hands and talking for the first time in ages. My girls and I would have laughed and chatted in a calm, relaxed fashion while we whipped up recipes the old fashioned way: from a cookbook. Maybe we would have finally finished reading Harry Potter…together! Each of us could take turns acting out the parts.

“I’ll be Harry!”

“No, I’ll be Harry!”

I would have stepped in with the wisdom of Solomon and suggested an alternative. “You be Harry and you be Hermoine. I will be Valdemort.”

“Okay, Mom. You’re the greatest!”

Coming soon to a barn near you

Then, my husband would help us put on a show in our barn. Of course, we don’t actually have a barn, but we wouldn’t let that stop us. We would be the next homegrown hit! People everywhere would marvel at our ability to survive internet-free in this day and age. We would be a model of old fashioned virtues and American fortitude. ‘Look at those people,’ crowds would say as we walked by. ‘They have no internet, and they are fine!’

We would finish all 100+ Harry Potter books in no time. And then we would make a camp in our yards, where we would build a bonfire and tell ghost stories and watch fireflies dancing towards the darkening sky while holding hands and singing Puff the Magic Dragon and Kumbayah. Finally, we would make Camp Fire S’mores and create memories my children could blog about when they’re grown and I’m old and famous.

Puff joins the Schulz campfire

If our internet was still out, we would start working on our own future Broadway production of “Harry Potter: LIVE!” We could kill a few hours writing dialogue and lyrics, not to mention all the time it would take creating the costumes and special effects. I was just glad no one was into Spiderman in my house, because I would probably be the one who had to swing from the overhead cable and I’d end up crashing into the crowd, just like those poor actors on the Broadway stage. Although a hospital stay seemed promising…maybe they would have free WiFi!

I’m not sure about those cables

Of course, none of this happened. Each day was punctuated by screaming telephone calls to our provider by my husband and me and plaintiff cries of “do we have internet yet?” by my kids.

What does one do when there’s no internet? It was like we had fallen through a wormhole and suddenly were living in Abe Lincoln’s log cabin. On the upside, my children started going outside again and discovering this thing called SUNLIGHT. I think they replenished their Vitamin D stores for the next two years.

My little one started riding her bike again and my older one put her phone away since her data plan was almost at its limit. She played with our dog so much that the dog suddenly decided she didn’t want to go out anymore.

It made me think of the dark ages, when I was a kid. Summer days would stretch out before us and we would struggle to find something, anything to do to fill up the hours. It had to be free and legal, as my mother would say. So my brother Chris, my friend Marianne, and I decided we would put on a show.

I got this idea from seeing a Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney musical where they put a show on in their barn. “We could do the same thing in our yards,” I said.

We could put on a show

“You idiots,” our older siblings said to us, in between choking fits of laughter. “Who the heck would come to see you?”

We were sure we could get hordes of people in with a little advertising. So we made flyers and hung them up at the local supermarket and around town. Then, we hung up a curtain in the yard and put chairs out for the throngs we just knew were going to come. We even put up a lemonade stand for intermission. The show itself was never really flushed out since all of our time was spent trying to get people to come.

We were sort of relieved when no one showed up, except that now we’d be hearing cries of “I told you so!” for the rest of our lives. Luckily, we had a tape recorder and figured we could fake it. We taped interviews with our adoring public. Chris, Marianne and I took turns doing different accents and making crowd noises so it would seem like we played to a packed house.

Triumphantly, we played the tape for our older siblings, who dissolved in fits of laughter. “That’s you, stupid,” they unanimously replied.

While we did not enjoy the success that came so easily to Judy and Mickey, we admitted nothing and started planning the next big production. It kept us busy for at least another week.

But I digress….

One day, a truck showed up and a technician knocked on my door. “I know how to fix your problem,” he said.

“Sure,” I replied, not believing a word of what he said.

But lo and behold, he fixed it within an hour.

There was great joy in Schulzville when this happened. I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him. My children screamed with delight. We were all back online within seconds. But then, suddenly, everything went down when a second truck showed up and undid everything the first technician did.

Is it me, or is it hot here in Death Valley?

When at long last our service was finally restored, we were like those hikers you hear about who get lost in Death Valley. You know, the ones who start drinking their own urine just to survive, only to discover that they were about 200 yards from a local Taco Bell/water source the whole time. We were bedraggled and uncertain, and ultimately, delighted to be back amongst the living.

With our internet up and running, we played games, found new recipes, read the newspaper and then did a curious thing: we shut the computers off and went outside.

And all is right with the world.


Campfire S’mores

Back yard camp outs only happen in my fantasies, but this recipe is one thing I make sure actually happens. I plan to serve them at Harry Potter: LIVE! once I get that barn/stage built.

Hershey Bars

Bag of Marshmallows

Graham Crackers

Skewers (or sticks)

Fire up the grill and roast your marshmallows. Next, make a s’more sandwich with your marshmallow and chocolate between two graham crackers, and watch those fireflies dance towards the sky.

So, Hungry Lifers: did you ever get lost in Death Valley…er, I mean, have no internet? What do you do when you’re forced to look away from the computer? Leave a comment below and let us all in on it. Thanks!



  1. Nice job! Love the accompanying photos!

    Comment by turafish — June 13, 2012 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  2. Now that everything is up and running pull a Kramer! Remember the Jerry Seinfeld episode where Kramer kept making appointments and then never answered the door when he came? By the way do you remember Radio? That’s TV without a picture for the uninformed. You could have introduced your kids to that great invention, it has music, news and talk shows on.it. When I was a kid, we even had shows on that box with no picture only sound. Iit still is a great thing. But anyway I am glad that you have the WiFi, internet, TV and Land Line back so I guess God is in HIS heaven and all’s right with the world. Loved the post!

    Comment by Bglou — June 13, 2012 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  3. Once again, wonderful— You crack me up!

    Brothers’ comments: universal
    Customer service: universal
    Memories of shows: universal
    “Connection Withdrawal”:universal—(What do you mean, you contemplated a break-in to my office at night?)

    You: Out of this world—
    Looking forward, with a ticket, to your backyard barn–

    Thank you, Maria

    Comment by Cora — June 13, 2012 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  4. Thank you Maria, I love the post. I sure wish you had a barn b/c I definitely would’ve come to that show. I even would’ve helped out, maybe I could’ve showed people to their seats. My friend Camille and I used to reenact episodes of the Brady Bunch. No one ever came to our shows either. We would start by singing the opening song and then quickly set up. It got old after awhile. How many times can you perform the scene where Greg and Marcia both want the attic for a bedroom. “I’m not budging” “well, I’m not budging!” I used to get annoyed because I always had to be Greg. Actually I always had to be the boys or Alice. In her defense she was much prettier and I could definitely have passed for a boy. She never made me be Sam the butcher. That’s where I drew the line. Looking back, I was so happy that she was friends with me that I would’ve been Sam if she asked.
    I wish I knew you back then. I would have begged my sister to take me to your backyard to watch you guys, and my mother would’ve made her!!!

    Comment by Suzanne — June 13, 2012 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

    • Wow! I think we were living parallel lives. My favorite Brady Bunch scene to reenact was the one where she was going to ditch the nice guy for the more popular guy, and her brothers hit her in the face with the football. “Oh my nose! Oh my nose! Oh my nose!” That line always brought down the house. I’m sorry you missed those early shows too. I think we would’ve really enjoyed ourselves. Plus, you would’ve known my Uncle Don and believe me, you would have liked working with him! Thanks again for always reading and commenting on my blog.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — June 13, 2012 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

  5. Its amazing how much we all rely on the internet. Glad to hear you all survived. I’m not sure my family would. Save me a seat for when you put on the production of Harry Potter Live. Tell Gary he can play Professor Snape.

    Comment by Kathleen Lagalante — June 13, 2012 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

  6. So funny! (Especially now that it’s all behind you.) How did we exist back in the old days??

    Comment by Lisa — June 14, 2012 @ 12:12 am | Reply

  7. Nothing stops the entertainment in Schulzville and you proved it again! I think the movie with Judy and Mickey is called Babes in Arms. Hope everything is going well for you now.

    Comment by Emmi — June 14, 2012 @ 1:46 am | Reply

  8. Hands down, my favorite line in this story is “my husband would help us put on a show” – really LOL. 🙂

    Comment by Christine Lagalante — June 14, 2012 @ 7:25 am | Reply

  9. You get high marks from Pat and me for surviving this “trial” with your sanity. I’m glad you’re back to internet and telephone connectivity, Maria, but wow, what an eye-opener, huh?

    Comment by Joyce Wiley — June 14, 2012 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  10. Maria, I think by far your best! Seriously. This is great. By the way… (I keep paper menus). hahaha, seriously I do.
    Good story. Very funny.

    Comment by Anne — June 16, 2012 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  11. Oh can I post on my page?

    Comment by Anne — June 16, 2012 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  12. LOL- How reality clashes with the image that we would happily revert to an Amish lifestyle.

    Comment by Perette — June 19, 2012 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

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