Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Case of the Mysterious Beeping Noise

Today started off like any other Sunday, Friends -- got up, made coffee, lounged about checking all my social media.  And then I heard it for the first time, this weird beeping noise.  It wasn't repetitive, just a single beep.

Alright, where did that come from?  I waited in silence for a few minutes to see if it would happen again.  Nothing. Huh.  Must not be anything very important or it would probably continue beeping.

A short while later I hear it again: one short, loud beep.  What the heck?  What is beeping and where is it coming from?

I easily rule out three things:

It's not the coffee pot -- that beeps four times in a row.

It's definitely not my alarm clock -- I didn't even set it today.

It's not the smoke detector -- I ripped the batteries out of that thing a long time ago when it decided to go off every time I so much as boiled water.

Carbon Monoxide Detector maybe?  I've never heard it go off, so maybe that is it.  Nope.  Status is fine.

I hear another beep, but it's so short I can't figure out what room it is coming from, let alone the source of the beeping.

I'm starting to get annoyed now.  What else could possibly be beeping?

Some weird new notification for something on my phone?  Nope.  No new notifications of any type.

Maybe one of the receivers for the house phone has a dead battery?  No such luck.  Both are on the bases, all charged up.  

What else do I even possess that would be beeping?  This had been going on for a couple of hours at this point.  

My car has the thing to lock and unlock it, that takes a least I assume it does.  I've only had it a month though, so it shouldn't be beeping or doing anything strange, right?  Car key is normal and working fine, not emitting any noises.


Gah!!  Where the hell is the beeping coming from?

You know what?  I give up, at least momentarily.  I'm going to the grocery store. Maybe whatever it is will have stopped with the random beeping by the time I get back.

Friends, you are going to jump to the future a bit here, when I returned home from running errands. So, let's say about 2 hours later.

I wasn't back in the house for five minutes before I heard the infernal beep again. Okay beep, you want to be like that?  I'm going to find you and shut you up if it is the last thing I do. Promise. You are irking the hell out of me.

About an hour later I finally happened to be in the correct room when it beeped.  Ha! Now I've got you, beeping thing!

It's the Verizon box, attached to my wall.  The light to replace the battery is on. Wonderful.

I go to the Verizon website to learn how to make this thing stop.  Do I want to use the online guide and skip calling customer service?  Yes, yes I do.

I start going through the steps, and eventually it tells me to hold in the "alarm silence" button for 10 seconds and that will shut it up.  It will also take out my service for 3-5 minutes.  Okay, it's a deal.

That, dear Friends, was my tragic mistake.  Never make a deal that will interrupt your service when you are relying on said service to bring you answers. Lesson learned.

I wait 10 minutes.  I'm not busy, and I want to make sure it worked.  I click the next button to get to the next step, and Google tells me I have no internet connection.

Say what?

Okay, maybe the router just needs to be reset.  Let's do that and see if it works.


Hmm.  I'm running out of ideas now.  Let's try troubleshooting on the computer. None of their solutions work either.

Well, the house phone and television are still working, so there is obviously some sort of connection. 
Did I mention the stupid box started beeping again?  Yeah.  Didn't even solve my initial problem, just caused a new one.

God, I really do not want to have to call Verizon and spend half of my natural life on hold.  Maybe I can go into customer service through the television and get it resolved? No dice.  I also discovered that I had no wifi on any devices.

So I call my parents to get a phone number so I can call Verizon.  I'm going to have to suck it up and call for tech support.

I go through Verizon's little menu, and Robo-voice tells me, "Are you calling about the beeping coming from your battery?"  Yes!  That is one of the reasons I am calling you.  I explore that option, and eventually Robo-voice tells me that she can't do anything to help me because I don't know my account number.  I can go online and order a new battery.  Bye!


I don't know my account number because I have everything set up to pay automatically online, and if I could get online we wouldn't be having this problem!  

I took a few deep, calming breaths, and I called Robo-voice back again.  This time I chose "other problem" and "tech support".  Robo-voice tells me she has sent a signal, and now I have to restart my router even if I have already tried that.  Do I want her to walk me through it?  Sure thing, tootsie.  No way am I letting you off this phone until you have solved my problem.

It doesn't work.  I push the correct button to tell Robo-voice, and she says she will connect me to someone who can help.  Finally!  So I hold for a while, and then the phone starts to ring.  I was pleasantly surprised at how short the wait was.  

Then I got a recording telling me the office was closed and to call back again during regular office hours, and it hung up on me.

WTF?  You did not just do that to me, Robo-voice!  

Honestly, I would be fine if it was just the television and/or house phone that wasn't working.  I need my internet though.  I know that sounds like a whiny first-world problem, Friends, but it's true.  My mobile phone doesn't work worth a damn on roaming cellular. It's not just for my personal amusement either.  I need to be able to get to the internet for work, even if it is just to deal with weird last-minute scheduling problems.

So I call Robo-voice back for the third time.  "Oh hi!  You just called about a technical issue!  Is that why you are calling again?"  You bet your computer-generated ass it's why I'm calling again.

Robo-voice puts me on hold, and I actually get a live person this time!  I think his name was Justin -- I honestly don't remember, which is a shame because he was great.

I tell him the whole long story of the beeping -- which was still very much going on at this point -- and how I followed the instructions and pushed the magic "Alarm Silence" button which did not stop the beeping but did take out my internet, and how I had already tried the Robo-voice help with restarting the router.

He ends up having to call me back on my cell phone because we are going to restart the whole system and I will lose the house phone.   Let's do this thing!  I really hope I'm not going to have a huge problem that means scheduling someone to come to my house.

I disconnect the router, unplug the battery box that is attached to my wall, open the box and disconnect the battery, all under the guidance of Justin.  

Then we reattach the wires to the battery, plug the box back into the outlet, and restart the router.

Is everything working now?


Justin says that we have done all we can do together.  He has to put me on hold to contact a higher level of tech support.  Okay.  Not like I have anything else to do.

As I am waiting for Justin, or a newer higher-level person, to come back everything starts to work again.  Eventually he picks back up and starts to apologize that he hasn't been able to reach anyone, but I tell him that  it's fine.  Everything is back and working again, and it must have been a bit delayed.  I thanked him for his help and we said goodbye.

Yes!  Everything is back and the box has not beeped.  I bring up the television to see if that is working again also.  Everything is fine, the guide is all filled with information.  I bring up the menu and get one of those annoying pop-up boxes that usually means Verizon is trying to get you to upgrade your system, or they really want you to order a new movie on demand.  It tells me that the battery needs to be replaced.  

You don't say.  Fine.  I'll order a new battery.  I tried to do it before, but maybe this time you will let me do it without asking for my account number since I am doing through the television.  

$43.  Apparently my equipment is not under warranty anymore, so it will cost me $43 to get this new battery.  I will only ever need to use this thing if the power goes out.  I thought about not getting one, but with my luck we will get some massive snow storm this winter that knocks out power, and that will be when I fall and break my leg or something and need to call 911, and then I will be screwed because I decided not to get the battery.  So I bought the damn battery.

At least the beeping stopped.

Hours of annoyance and frustration, 3 phone calls, and $43 later....but at least the beeping has stopped.

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