Over our married life we have had to put up with the occasional acting up of television service. Problems like power outages, software failures, or just plain old wearing out of equipment have, thankfully, been few and far between and readily fixed the same day. So when our whole system – phone, television, and Internet – went down yesterday, we knew that this was something big time. As we learned later, glitches like this don’t happen very often in the industry. For over twenty-four hours we waited for a technician to turn up and rectify the situation. Using the neighbour’s phone, we were able to contact Telus to initiate a work order that, according to them, could not be readily filled inside seventy-two hours. Therein lay a major inconvenience: television and Internet we could do without but the absence of a landline would be a real hardship. Belle had medical appointments to make and I was expecting news of my stepdad who is in the last days of his life at a local hospital. Since we are not mobile-connected, having the conventional phone is truly our lifeline to the outside world, if e-mailing is not readily available. Putting our heads together, Belle and I came up with a plan to get us through this rough patch without panicking too much. We started to turn our attention to little projects that were begging to be completed: a couple of novels, a large jigsaw puzzle, collating and editing a collection of favorite recipes, and two DVDs borrowed from the local library. Lots to keep us busy without the standard fare of modern entertainment. In fact, we got to bed around ten that night and slept solidly for eight hours. The next day, we contacted Telus again to see if there was a chance service might be restored earlier. After being told that nothing had changed, we phoned the regional manager in Edmonton to see if he could find a technician in Victoria to trouble-shoot. Frustration once again because Matt was out in the field until Friday, and our only hope was that he would regularly check his messages. Yes, there were moments when we seriously thought about switching to Shaw. As we left for the library to get caught up on e-mails and do a little blogging, a curious set of inadvertencies kicked in. Suddenly, unbeknownst to us, Matt, our point man in Edmonton, found a technician to do the job. Our neighbour, whom we were relying on to convey any phone calls, just happened to be home and had seen us leave so was able to let the technician in to do the necessary. A couple of hours later, just before leaving the library and not aware that help was on the way, I decided to check my e-mails once again. There, plain to be seen, was an earlier e-mail from Telus indicating that help was on the way. Talk about a growing sense of futility with the ever-real possibility that the work order had to be scrubbed because no one was there to let him in. As we walked back to the condo, we agreed not to rush because it was highly unlikely that the Telus repairman was still around. When we entered the building, Belle decided to stay down in the lobby just in case he hadn’t arrived, while I went upstairs to get ready to go a physio appointment. While I was in the kitchen, something impelled to pick up the phone to see if it was now working. To my surprise and delight, a dial tone could be heard, even though the black box was not lighting up. As I had learned the day before, everything runs through the telephone and, according to Matt, some service person may have accidentally removed or partially dislodged our designated line. Within a short time, we had everything back working. This morning, Telus officially apologized for the breakdown and agreed to some monetary compensation. Out of this whole smozzle, we have learned, once again, that problems need to be patiently worked around and, as the crisis is being effectively managed, take time to switch to another track so that downtime doesn’t become lost opportunities.