Tuesday, August 31, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Near Miss

 One day, as our search continued, we spotted a listing in a village in a different area. Bill sent the guy a message via the site, but when he got no reply, he called. The guy—I’ll call him Dick2—said that someone would be looking at the place the following day, but he would call and let Bill know one way or the other. We did not believe this and indeed, he did not call. The listing came down. We assumed it had been rented. 

A few weeks later, it was back. We happened to see it within the first minute of it being listed and Bill called immediately. It was a Monday. Dick2 told Bill to call back Friday to set up a viewing time on Saturday. This happened and on Saturday we found ourselves riding to Village in hopeful anticipation.

As we turned the corner onto the road, we had our first sinking feeling. There was a site notice informing readers that planning permission had been sought for the construction of two new apartment units on the site. We’d been hoping to get away from construction. Dick2 was all smiles and I immediately felt my guard go up. There was a sense of distrust and caution. We proceeded to go in and look at the place. One thing that had concerned us was that the listing said smoking was allowed. We wondered whether there would be lingering smoke smells in the furniture. We were happy that there were not. We both liked the place and we went out and said we’d take it. We chatted. He asked when we wanted to begin the lease. We said in a few weeks. We had to give 6 weeks’ notice at Dungloe and while we knew we’d have to pay for both places for a time, we tried to keep that time as brief as we could. But he correctly pointed out that he could get someone in there right away. Furthermore, he said, people were begging to give him money immediately for a place up the road he had available. We agreed to start right away and he said he’d call back in an hour to let us know. I knew he wouldn’t call back in an hour, but I carried my phone around as we walked around Village, waited for the bus, and rode back to the main town. We were in the grocery store buying some yogurt when he called and said we could rent it, but could we start in a week and a half. We were happy, but I had a nagging unease. Nevertheless, when we got home, I emailed and gave notice.

We waited for the copy of the lease Dick2 said he would send in the post. Finally, a few days later, it appeared as an email attachment. It was late when I read it, but even though it had been a long day and I was tired, the alarm bells going off in my head were impossible to ignore. It was 15 pages long and began with a HUGE font warning readers that THIS IS A LEGAL DOCUMENT and going on from there. It contained a lengthy list of the various reasons he could sue us. It laid out weird restrictions, like no burning of candles. Smoking was fine, but no candles, which according to him leaves residue on walls. I have moved into a house (not a rental and not in Ireland) that was filthy with smoker’s gunk on the walls, but have never had a candle issue. There was a line in there about how additional charges could be imposed at any time, even after the signing of the lease. Should we decide to leave before the lease was up, we would be responsible for the payment of the rent until the end of the lease period and he would sue for damages. The whole thing seemed designed to trip up the tenants and squeeze as much from them as possible. There was so much not to like, but one thing that I found even more bizarre was the bit about how, upon vacating the property, we would have to show proof of a TV license and proof of payment for as long as we’d lived there, to a company I did not recognize. I looked it up and saw that it had been a cable TV company. 

I composed an email to Dick2 stating some of our concerns. This was written off the top of my head as it was late and I was tired. I closed with a statement about how we would speak further about when to sign the lease after the questions were answered. After I sent it, I got curious about this TV company, so I looked into it further. I discovered that the company has not existed since 2006! When I sent the email, I had asked about this, because we don’t watch TV and had no plans to pay for a service we wouldn’t use. There was a TV in the place, which I would have asked to have removed, but even if he was unwilling to do that, we had the license, so that wouldn’t have been a problem. But to be required to pay a non-existent company or forfeit the deposit crystalized things for me. I decided that if Dick2 had answers, I would listen to him, but they would have to be really good answers and he would have to provide them in writing. Changes would have to be made to the lease. 

The following day, we heard nothing from Dick2, but we talked about it. We both had more concerns than we’d had the night before. By the end of the day, we’d agreed that we would not be signing the lease. Neither of us would have felt comfortable living there for many reasons. We would always feel like Dick2 would be waiting to catch us putting a big toe in the wrong place and swooping in to impose some kind of penalty. I decided I would listen to his answers, raise more concerns, listen to what he had to say about those, and then most likely tell him we would not be willing to sign the lease. As it happened, he never responded. And for us, having given our notice, the clock was ticking.

Monday, August 30, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Things Get Worse

 As this year began, we were at the beginning of lockdown 3 or 4—I don’t remember now. We still had a couple weeks to run on our lease. We continued to look anyway, even though we were limited to within 5 km of where we were. We both hoped something would come up in Dungloe, because we both liked the town and would have been happy to stay. It was the apartment we wanted to leave. Nothing came up in Dungloe, but there were places elsewhere, beyond our reach. In the end, we passed on 10 or 11 places during the lockdown that we would have at least tried to look at. Some of them stayed listed for a long time, so we sort of held our breath and hoped they’d be around whenever we could move around again. They didn’t.

After a few months, things started slowly easing and various things could start up again, including construction. This was bad news for us. We lived right across the street from an old hotel. It’s over 120 years old, but had been uninhabitable for some years. There were crumbling outbuildings behind and to the side of it. Unbeknownst to us when we moved there, someone had bought it and gotten planning permission to ‘refurbish’ it, although the only usable part of the place was the shell of the main building. Even that needed extensive work and in between lockdowns, they had taken off the roof and gotten a new covering on and replaced the dormer windows. The scaffolding had been built and they were in it for the long haul. They knocked down the outbuildings. Then everything paused. Once they were able to start working again, things got even more annoying for us. The ground is full of granite. It was warm and we had windows open. And we began to be awakened by some jerk in his digger pounding rocks, first at 8, then 7, and finally he was out there at 6 am. Bang! Bang! Bang! Summer is my worst time of year. I do not sleep well and am awake far too early anyway. It was worse this year because I did not get my usual rest and recovery time in autumn and winter because of the state of the apartment. The bedroom was always wet and the sheets damp. This banging would send me into a rage. I was aware that this rage was not helpful and tried to work on it. I was partly successful at this, but I was depressed and exhausted. We later learned that he had come from a village 45 minutes away to prepare the ground for the day’s work ahead, because he was the one with the equipment. I looked in vain to find out where I could file a complaint—6am is too early for that kind of thing. But all I found were suggestions about taking people to court.

Once Digger Dude was done playing with his rocks, we were treated to the sound of pile drivers or jack hammers or some loud crap for the rest of the day. We couldn’t listen to the radio, we had to yell at each other at times to make ourselves heard, and we were not thinking good thoughts about the owners of the future ‘boutique hotel.’ We kept searching.

By now, we could move freely, but there were very few places available. There’s a housing shortage here, for both buyers and renters and many people, anticipating a big staycation summer, opted to do AirBnB or other short term lets. Rents went up. People were more demanding in their requirements. We learned that we needed letters of reference from previous landlords/letting agents before we could even be placed on a list to view, so Bill requested the letters going back 5 years. In what was a surprise to neither of us, Dick did not respond. Perhaps knowing he is not up to the task, he has hired someone to work in the office. She was professional and nice and said she would get us the letter. Dick had other ideas. After 4 attempts, Bill gave up. Dick moved up a few places in the hierarchy of dickdom. We had letters from the people before and after him and those would work.

We discovered that if we hesitated at all, we would probably not get to view a place, so we started jumping on listings as soon as we saw them. We looked at the basics and if those were OK, Bill contacted them. Sometimes further investigation caused us to decide the place wasn’t for us after all, but if we’d waited, we wouldn’t have a chance. 

Meanwhile, I woke up one day to a toilet issue. I was barely awake when I flushed, but I woke up quickly when water started spraying from the pipe connecting the tank to the bowl. I mopped up the floor, filled a bucket for future flushes, and waited until a decent hour to call the landlady. She called me back and said her husband would be there midday. We used the public bathrooms around the corner until he arrived. He experienced the bathroom floor. He said it was a priority and would be in touch in a day or two so it could be fixed within a couple of weeks. It would just take a day or two. He would remove everything in the bathroom, put more supports in the floor, fix the floor, and put everything back. Just a day or two, right. In any case, we were never to know how long it would take because when we left 12 weeks later, we had still not heard from him.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Out of the Fying Pan

 When Bill saw the listing for the apartment in Dungloe, I was excited. We’d ridden through Dungloe a couple of times and it had a good vibe. The listing looked good, so Bill contacted the letting agent and a few days later, off we went to look at it, deciding to spend the night there. It was a few days before Christmas, and it was lovely to walk around in the mizzle, looking at the festive decorations.

When we viewed the apartment, we asked the letting agent, who also owned the place, if there were mold issues. He said only in the bedroom window well, because the previous guy didn’t ever open the windows. This turned out to be wrong, but at the time we had no way of knowing this. He left us alone to poke around and went back to his office. It didn’t take us long to look at things, because it was quite small, but it did give us a chance to talk it over and come to a decision. We went back to the office and told him we wanted to rent it. We gave him Dick’s contact information, but said he was very uncommunicative, so he might not get a reply. We also gave him the information for the previous letting agent. He did not get in touch with Dick, but made contact with the other guy, so later that day he called and said we could have it and we’d work out details after the festive season. I sent Dick an email giving notice immediately. Once again, we thought we would be going to a place we'd be staying in for years. I didn't realize at the time that I was jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire in some ways.

Over the course of two weeks, going back and forth, we moved in. When I called to deal with Electric Ireland, things were humming along until the guy on the phone suddenly got very agitated. He said there was a problem and he couldn't complete the set-up because no one had taken responsibility for the account for the last 9 months when the place had been vacant. The previous tenant had removed himself and provided the final meter reading, but no one else had stepped in. The electricity was humming along all that time, though--it took us 6 hours to defrost the freezer! Anyway, he told me we shouldn't have to pay the standing charges, VAT, etc for all that time and asked if we knew who should bear responsibility. I said we did and we'd go talk to him. We did, right away. It was late on a Friday afternoon, so we knew nothing would happen that day, but we figured he'd want to be on it Monday morning. LOL. He simply blinked at me in what seemed like a long silence before saying that he'd take care of it the following week and let us know when it was done. A couple weeks later, we got a call from him asking what exactly the problem was again. I told him. An hour or so later, he called back to say it was sorted and I could complete the process.

Meanwhile, we saw that there were issues in the corner where the wardrobe was, but since the bedroom was so small, there was no way to move it anywhere else in the room. There was a small alcove in the living room, so we dragged it out there. The bedroom walls in the corner where the wardrobe had been were wet and had some mold. Eventually, the wall behind the bed also showed mold. I could keep up with it at first and in a matter of weeks, the windows were open all the time and it wasn't so humid so the problem wasn’t as bad. The bathroom was a constant problem. The toilet tank sweated all the time and the floor covering was not installed well. There were soft spot in the floor. The room was always wet, even with the window open all the time, because there was no exhaust fan. I mopped the ceiling a lot.

Summer turned into autumn and eventually it was time to turn on the heat. That’s when the problems really exploded. I walked into the bedroom and saw water dripping down the wall behind the bed. That was the worst wall, along with the entire bathroom, but all the outside walls (which was almost all of them) got wet. Mold patches started appearing on all the ceilings. The bathroom and bedroom were impossible to keep up with. We discovered moldy clothes in the wardrobe. When walking in the bathroom, we had to be careful about where we stepped, lest we fall through. It was hard to get in and out of the shower and the toilet did not seem like it was on solid ground. Things were extremely stressful. One day, I found a small mushroom growing out of the window frame. And we were still in lockdown.

At around the same time as things were going haywire in the apartment, the landlord informed us that he was selling. I told him about all the things that had started happening and he simply blinked at me over his mask. Oddly enough, even though we’d set up a date and time for viewing, and we waited, masked, with all windows open, we got a call saying no one wanted to view the apartment.

He said he thought there was an exhaust fan, so when he found out it didn’t work, he sent someone to fix it. After that, there were new mold patches in the small ‘hallway.’ I came to think that the fan did not vent outside, but into the attic, which I suspect is a mess. I looked for an outside vent and there was none.

At the end of January, there was a knock on the door late one afternoon. It was our new landlord, who had bought the place without looking at it. By then our lease was up and we were actively looking for a new place, but we were in lockdown 3 and could not travel beyond 5km from home. We were hoping for a place to come up in Dungloe, because we liked it there, but no luck. The new landlord asked if we were going to stay. I laid out all the problems. He kept repeating that this would be easy to fix—some insulated boards and installation of vents. I really wasn’t able to talk much about the bathroom, because he kept repeating this, talking over me. He said it would take a few days. This was not really believable. The entire bathroom would have to be taken out, repairs made, and the bathroom reinstalled. Parts of the kitchen would have to get the same treatment. It would take more than a few days and given the way things operate, it could stretch on for a long time. Meanwhile, the walls kept dripping, the mold kept getting worse, the bathroom floor got scarier, and we kept looking. Lockdown dragged on.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Prologue

 Before we moved to Dungloe, we were in a place we’d thought we’d be living in for years. It was a place we’d lived before and the person who rented it after us was a problematic and disruptive tenant in various ways. The process of moving her along had begun. We were looking for somewhere to go. So I contacted the letting agent and asked about a deal with the landlord, who wanted someone reliable in the place long term. We offered to sign a 5-year lease in exchange for a slightly lower monthly rent. This is not unheard of and indeed, the very same letting agent has offered the same kind of deal on other properties he’s listed. His response was that yes, we could come back, but no one was sure when the tenant would be gone. I kept checking in as the weeks and months went by, at one point, confirming with him that the landlord had agreed to our offer. I was assured that he had. Finally, I got the call that the place was available. We gave notice within the hour and after that went to the library, where we knew an acquaintance of the librarian was looking for a place. He ended up moving in after we left, so it worked out well. There was not much available in that area, so we were glad it all worked out.

We began moving our stuff to a friend’s home—he had been our neighbour and would be again. We set up a day and time to go sign the lease and the day before, we left our home, tossing the keys through the mail slot and bringing the last of our stuff with us to our friend’s house where we would spend the night. He was away.

The next morning, we went off to the letting agent’s office. Everyone was smiling, me in spite of the ongoing heatwave and Bill in spite of the fact that he really did not like the guy. The atmosphere changed quickly, though, when he gave us copies of the lease to sign. He was at his copy machine and he handed me the first copy out of the machine, then turned to watch my reaction, which wasn’t good. The lease was not at all what we expected and what I was told the landlord had agreed to. The rent was higher, it was only for a year, and a few other small issues were contrary to the supposed agreement. Had I felt like there were other options, I would have told him that this was not what we agreed to and I would take a week to decide whether to sign it or not. We could have stayed at our friend’s house while we looked at other places and tried to move elsewhere. But we’d been keeping an eye on things and we knew there was no place else. We’d passed on one or two others in order to wait for this one—something we regretted then. So we signed. Bill’s dislike of this idiot increased a great deal and I knew to never trust him. The vibe in the office got decidedly chilly and uncomfortable. 

He said he had to get a key made and would meet us there in 5 minutes. We walked back to our friend’s house to wait. Bill was pissed. I was more sad, I think. It was not a surprise when the jerk sent his mother to let us in and give us the keys. I had the sense that this guy was intimidated by me and I later learned from a friend of his brother that this was the case. Good.

His mother could not get the key to work, so in the end. Dick (not his real name) had to come himself. We walked in and I saw the TV—an older one that took up too much space in the small living room. I’d asked for it to be removed, because even with the free TV service, we would not use it. In an annoyed tone I said, ‘He wouldn’t remove the TV?’ ‘I forgot to ask him, Dick squeaked in reply, ‘I’ll take it now.’ And he did.

Dick never was up to the task. The day we moved in, we discovered that the instant hot water heater didn’t work, leaving us to boil the kettle to do dishes. It took two weeks and a few emails and phone calls for him to say, ‘Oh, right, I was supposed to call the plumber.’ We learned to always send emails, even though he would not ever reply to them. We followed up with phone calls, but the emails provided us a dated record in case we ever needed it.

When the bottom stair developed a soft spot, he never bothered to have that fixed. When the fridge wouldn’t work, I got lucky when his mother answered the phone and took care of it. In short, things were deteriorating in the dwelling and neither Dick nor the landlord seemed very interested in doing anything about it, so we kept our eyes open once our lease was up. Then one day, the apartment in Dungloe showed up and we went for it.

Friday, August 27, 2021

I Think This Will Be Fun

 The way we ended up where we are was kind of weird and I will be doing a series of posts telling that story soon. Having ended up in this area known as Gweedore (the 'w' is silent or sometimes sort of swallowed and barely there), we have discovered that it is different in some fundamental ways to the other towns and villages we've lived in. Both of us are pretty excited about various possibilities. First of all, we love having new places to wander around in and there are plenty of lanes to meander down--we turned onto one this afternoon as we went in search of the library. We found it, after turning back at one point then asking someone for directions. Had we walked on just a bit further, we would have seen the 'Leabharlann' sign. This is an Irish word I recognise! I had better learn to recognise many more of them, because this is a Gaeltacht area where Irish is regularly used. Dungloe was also a Gaeltacht area and there were more Irish signs than the other places in which we've lived, but we never heard anyone speaking Irish and the signs had English translations. Not so here! People speak Irish all the time and the signs are in Irish, so this is a great opportunity to learn. I am more interested in being able to read and write and I can understand the meaning of some words I see, but pronunciation is tricky, so hearing the language spoken is helpful. I'm coming up short on some words, though. For example, this is the 'big' grocery store in a neighbouring townland (it is nowhere near as big as grocery stores in the US, but it's big for here). It's about a mile away from us.
I know siopa (shop), but can't find the meaning of mhici--my dictionaries don't have it listed, even without the 'h' which is sometimes inserted in various words. I'll have to ask someone. In Engliah, this is known as Gallagher's Food Store.

There's another, smaller shop just beyond this. It's a nice walk along the coast and there are footpaths all the way, which is great.
Closer to home, we have a wee shop in the miniscule village at this end. It's not a bad little place and very convenient. As we were going back and forth, we would sometimes walk the 4 or 5 minutes there after we got back from moving stuff to pick up eggs and milk instead of walking a mile to the other stores and back. I wouldn't try to do a weekly shop there, but to just dash out and pick up a few things, it's cool. And everyone who works there has been so nice and friendly! It's a pretty interesting little store with groceries, hula hoops, small fishing nets, coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, ice cream, cold drinks, and more, all in a little space.

As we make our way there, this is what we see.
We live just to the right of this. The beach is a short walk down a lane that's a few steps from our door.

The other day it was sunny and warm enough that I closed the curtains to keep the sun out. I liked the shadow on the curtain.
So we begin our explorations in our new area. Now that we're done going back and forth all the time, we can settle in and get to know the place. There are a lot of possibilities, it seems. I expect I'll learn a lot. This is gonna be fun!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Wifi Story

 On 9 August, we had a chance to go into the Vodafone store to start the process of getting connected at our new place. Because we'd been staying here at the new place and going to the old place on the small bus every weekday, we had just a couple hours there to do any errands that needed to be done as well as the packing for the journey home. Since the bus is small, we were limited in how much we could take each time, but I'm pretty good at packing as much as possible into the available space, so we managed to haul a fair bit each time.

On this day, we finished in enough time to do Vodafone. The woman on duty that day looked up our account, noted that the contract had expired, said there would be no problem stopping that one and getting the new one started. She asked when we wanted the existing account to terminate and we told her either the 19th or 20th. She said that was fine. She then proceeded to collect info for the new account. She told us that we would get a modem in the post. When we asked her why we couldn't simply keep our old modem, she replied that we couldn't and could just return that one to the store. According to her, once we had the new modem, Bill would get an email telling him the line was live and we could just plug it in. Now I figured we were in the realm of fantasy, because it never works like that. Not to mention the fact that since we don't have smartphones, there would be no way for Bill to check email once the old account was no longer live. But there was no point arguing. I was pretty sure things were not going to be that simple and I knew I would just deal with things as they arose. 

The modem came a couple days later and when we found the socket behind the two-seater, I was sure the woman in the store was delusional. It was an ancient thing. I knew we would be getting a visit from a tech person.

On the following Monday (16 August) , the tech guy (Guy 1--there will be more guys in this story) was waiting for us when we got off the bus. He immediately asked about whether anyone had wifi here recently. He proceeded to talk endlessly about how hard it is to get connections from down the road (at the exchange, I guess) to the building. He knows this from experience. He kept repeating that it was a two man job and once added that he was just one man. Quite. 😂 He looked at some stuff in a box in the stairwell and came to tell us he couldn't do it, because it's a two man job and he's just one man, so it would be Monday or Tuesday of this week. OK.

As it turned out, the idea that it was a two man job was overly optimistic. This little job required 3 companies, one woman in India or Pakistan, and 5 men, with a cameo appearance by some guy named Patrick Gallagher, whoever he is. Why he was a part of this I can only guess!

Then Tuesday, Bill got a call from Vodafone saying someone would be here the following day and would call half an hour before they arrived. That was a surprise, since Guy 1 had said that it would be Monday or Tuesday of this week. But Bill went to Dungloe alone to vacuum and do some other cleaning and I stayed here waiting for a call and putting things away, organising cupboards, etc as I did so. After Bill got home, Guy 1 called and said someone would be here Monday or Tuesday. On Friday, Bill got a text reminding him that his appt with Open Eir was Monday. How Eir got involved with this, I do not know.

Monday (23 August) Guy 1 arrived and called Bill. I went to open the door downstairs, which locks when it shuts. He was sitting in his KN van (subcontractor tech company that does installations) and said his mate was coming to help him. He sat there for a while, then drove off. Soon, he was back and parked in an area across the lane with his lights on top flashing. After a while, the mate, Guy 2, showed up. They went down toward the village and Guy 1 pried up a manhole cover in the footpath and proceeded to stick his head down there and do stuff. I think I heard power tools. Guy 2 assisted by sitting on the stone wall and watching. Soon, Guy 3 drove up in a car with 'Open Eir' emblazoned on the side. He made a comment about wanting coffee and a fucking bun, but was disappointed to learn that the cafe was closed on Mondays. Exit Guy 3.

Soon, Guys 1 and 2 entered the building. Guy 2 stayed mostly by that box in the stairwell, while Guy 1 came up and replaced the ancient Eircom phone socket with a new one and installed our modem. At some point during this process, Guy 2 came up and stood in the doorway, frowning. I said, 'Hi.' He begrudgingly said hi back, then left. Guy 1 went downstairs to confer with Guy 2, who was now back in his van. There was much tapping and swiping on a tablet. Long minutes went by. An hour and a half after Guy 1 had arrived, he ran back upstairs to tell us, 'That's you sorted!' When I pointed out that the internet light on the modem was still blinking, which indicated we had no internet, he said, 'No, the line works. As soon as it stops blinking, you'll have internet. It will stop in a few minutes or a few hours.' Then he ran downstairs and to his van and he was off.

I am sure you will not be astonished to learn that the light did not stop blinking and it was still going when we got up the next morning. While I was in the shower, Bill called Vodafone and when I came out, he was talking to a nice woman who sounded like she was from India or Pakistan. There were other voices behind her who sounded the same. It was clear that Bill was struggling both to hear and understand her. I took the phone and she walked me through various troubleshooting strategies. Blink, blink, blink. Finally, she asked me to turn the modem off, then turn it on again and leave it for half an hour, when she would call me back. When she called, nothing had changed. She said she was setting up a tech appointment. She asked me for the serial number on the modem. I gave it to her and she said, 'It doesn't match.' She asked if Bill had other accounts. I told her we'd just moved here and had returned our modem in Dungloe last week. This was all news to her. She'd been trying to troubleshoot in Dungloe! So she began again here and immediately the light stopped blinking and went off, which was what she wanted. She said there was a problem with the outside line, so she would send the tech and mark it as urgent. No one would be coming into the house, she said, since the problem was outside.

Shortly after I ended that conversation, the letting agent, Bob (Guy 4 for the purposes of this story and not his real name) called. When I answered, he said, 'Hello, is this yourself?' I was tempted to say that no, I was someone else, but I simply said I was indeed myself. 😳Then he said, 'A guy from Eir is downstairs trying to get your internet sorted. You should go down and let him in. Patrick Gallagher is a friend of mine and he'll show you who he is.' Fortunately, I was spared the task of finding both Mr Gallagher (whoever he is) and Eir Guy (Guy 5), since the latter was waiting on the porch calling Bill when I got downstairs. I told Guy 5 we have Vodafone, but resisted the urge to tell him to keep his grubby Eircon mitts off our stuff! He said Vodafone had no one on the road just then, so he would take a look, since the outside lines were fine. Up he came. He could not get anything to work. He asked who the tech guy was who was here and wanted to know if it was Peter Boyle (not the real name). Instead of saying, 'How the hell should I know?' I simply said that he did not give his name. By the time he left, he was agitated and said he was going to make some calls and find out who was here so he could tell them nothing works.

Ten minutes or so later, I glanced out the kitchen window and saw Guy 1 on the phone. He gestured to me that I should come down and let him in. I opened the door and he exclaimed that Joe from Eir had called him and that the problem had been solved. It was a Vodafone problem. He literally ran up the stairs and jubilantly declared to Bill, 'There! The light is solid! It was a Vodafone problem! It's solved now.' When I made my way upstairs, he repeated this to me and added that they were increasing the speed, so it would blink, but in 5 minutes it would be fine. Then he ran down the stairs and out the door. At least I did not have to move the two seater yet again. I also did not really expect the light to stop blinking in 5 minutes. In the end, it was more like 15 and all the lights were doing all kinds of things, but eventually it all settled down.

The story does not end there, however! One of the guys (Bill thinks it was Guy 5--Joe from Eir) called yesterday to see whether things were working here and then asked about Dungloe. He thought we were having trouble there and was on the spot! 

We went to Dungloe Vodafone today to find out why the account there has not been terminated. There was a different person there from when we went in to start the process of getting set up here and when Bill returned the modem a week ago. After I explained what was happening, this one looked up the account, said it was still live, and informed us that she could not terminate accts in the store (this is not what the first woman told us--she said she would end the account at the end of last week), but Bill should call the cancellation people directly. She provided the phone number and his security PIN, a number he did not know he had. She said to just tell them that he wants the account terminated and to avoid telling them anything else about what is going on, because it would confuse them.

When we got home and Bill tried calling the number, he could not proceed, because they wanted him to punch in his mobile phone number, which the system didn't recognize because it's not Vodafone. So he called the free phone number and had to take it from there. There was much consternation about why he didn't want to simply take the modem with him. He did not say that it was because when we asked, the woman in the store said we couldn't. Then he was placed on hold to wait for someone from the cancellation team. After several repeats of a crappy song, he spoke to another puzzled individual who was bothered about why we didn't just transfer things and talking about a 30-day notice period. More music on hold. A brief return of the voice, which said she was working on a deal to avoid penalties because of the notice period issue. More music. Twenty five minutes after the call began, the voice came back and said the account will be terminated tomorrow and because he's a good customer, the penalty would be waived. I am not sure there actually is a penalty, since we were past the end of our contract, but since everyone says something different, there's no way to know. 

Now we hope they terminate the right account! He gave the address, so fingers crossed!