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Finding Internet

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A reader asked how I manage my internet while on the road so I thought I’d share. I lead a lot of ZOOM meetings and teach classes so it is vitally important to have really good internet. Some campgrounds provide internet but it’s usually only strong enough to check e-mails and it’s unreliable. I can’t count on Starbucks or McDonalds (though both generally have free internet) since the background noise is loud inside and the signal is too weak to use for video conferencing if I’m sitting in the parking lot. Cellular internet has been our only reliable choice.

Our Cellular Service Provider

We had a great deal through T-Mobile but the service was spotty at best the further north and closer to center of the US. We switched one phone to Verizon and kept the other on T-Mobile thinking two providers would cover a larger service area. We discovered that sounds good in theory but isn’t actually true. There was never an instance T-Mobile provided coverage where Verizon did not. In fact, my T-Mobile phone was a useless brick through a large swath of Montana, Utah, South Dakota and Idaho.

We decided to switch all services over to Verizon. Expensive? Without a doubt. We pay way more for Verizon but if I fail to perform at my job and get fired, I’m in a mess of trouble so we deal with it.

Our Set-Up

We have two personal cell phones, one work cell phone, and two hotspots. I need two hotspots since I burn through the allotment for each one in about 2 weeks. Occasionally I’ll burn through both of those before the month ends and I’ll hotspot from the cell phones. There have been a couple months I have burned through 2 hotspots and 2 cell phones. Those are the months the ZOOM fatigue is overwhelming.

We also have a cellphone booster in our trailer. If I only have 1 bar of reception, the booster will kick it to 3 bars, sometimes 4. I only need about 2 bars of reception to run a good video call.

Back-Up Plans

I didn’t have cell reception at one campground in South Dakota. The booster is useless if you can’t get a single bar of reception. Fortunately I knew the area was a black hole for cell service and planned ahead. I reserved a room at a library 10 minutes away and worked from there. If that didn’t work, I was prepared to book at room at a local hotel that had wifi.

Plan, Plan, Plan

I use a website to determine the cell reception for the campgrounds we are staying (campendium.com) and I also look at the coverage area map for my cell phone provider. If there is a conflict in information, I always trust the user/customer provided information, not the cell phone companies who seem to exaggerate their cell strength in certain areas.

If you have the chance to work remote this summer, take it! You can make it work but you need to understand it may be expensive.

Do I sue?

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Our bathroom was remodeled in May. And then June…tragedy struck. One of the glass doors just spontaneously shattered while Princess was bathing. When I say shattered, I mean shattered!

She was covered in cuts, glass in her feet, hands, everywhere. I am sure you can imagine how traumatizing it was.

And before you ask, there had been no trauma to the door, she wasn’t opening or closing it, she was bathing and it literally burst, impaling her with shards of glass. (I have pictures of her covered in cuts but there are pretty bloody so didn’t want to post here.)

I was sitting in my room, no more than 15 feet from the door when it happened.

Replacement and repairs complete

The vendor who supplied the doors and the contractor who originally installed it both jumped in quick to provide replacement glass and get it re-installed. (The two are not related.) Sea Cadet and I spent hours cleaning up glass both from the bathroom and bedroom, it propelled out the door. And then we continued to find glass in Princess for several days. (At the time of this writing, she is all healed with just a few visible scars on her chest area and hands.)

I did have to pay the contractor, but it was minimal. He was very thorough in his inspection and documented everything so we could be sure it wasn’t an installation issue.

What do you want?

I recently received a letter from the vendor, essentially asking what compensation we are seeking. To be honest, while I did take the pictures to them when I reported it, I didn’t think of filing a claim. But I guess they did that.

And I don’t want to set the example of being “sue happy” to my kids. But on the other side…

As I researched the manufacturer of this glass, I came across several reviews of “spontaneous combustion” issues. Princess was/is traumatized by this. We both are a bit. I am SUPER CAREFUL with the shower doors and I am certain she is as well. What if it had been a smaller child? What if the glass hit her eyes? So many what ifs?

She couldn’t use her hands for most of a week. Her feet remained bandaged for a week.

You get the point..

So now I am considering what “we want” in response to their claim letter. And I am wholly uncertain of how to respond. Suggestions?