Note that the real problem wasn't very difficult. We had started to upgrade to AT&T U-Verse, but when Lisa got the installation package, she decided against it. However, the way U-Verse works is that they turn off your DSL service and then sometime later the U-Verse starts working. Lisa called AT&T on Disconnection Day, cancelled the U-Verse, and asked for the DSL to be turned back on again. That was Thursday, June 6. Nothing happened that day or the day after, and then it was Saturday and nobody will do anything until Monday. We had to go to the Bay Area on Sunday, but we'd been reassured that everything would be fine on Monday. It wasn't, but we couldn't test it in person until late Friday and on Saturday morning (June 14-15), by which time we were back to the "nothing can be done until Monday" routine.
Someone had to be authorized to go into the Fernley Central Office (an unstaffed building located less than 300 Standlees from our house; I can see it from my front porch) and move a few switches. But nobody seemed to be able to give the technician the authority to go out to Fernley and move the switches.
Fortunately I can bridge my smartphone's unlimited bandwidth onto my work machine, and while the speed isn't as good as DSL, it was enough to get me able to work and not oblige me to either drive back to the Bay Area or spend Monday camped in the local Starbucks. Also, I can't seem to make the bridge work to Lisa's computer, and not very well to my personal laptop, for reasons I haven't yet determined.
Lisa talked with AT&T over and over again on Saturday, but got variations on "Not until Monday" or "You'll be back online within two hours," (not true) depending on who was doing the talking. Thanks to someone on my F-list who might not want to be named, this issue got escalated to a much higher level. On Monday morning, Lisa got several calls, one of which was from an Escalation Manager, and the issue kept getting pushed higher and higher.
Just after 11 AM this morning, the unhappy red blinking light on the DSL modem finally stopped blinking red and turned solid green. We had our connection back! We started to bring Lisa's machine back online, and everything was good for a couple of minutes, and then down she went again. This time it took the voice phone line down with it. But within five minutes both the voice line and the DSL came back online, and by 11:20 everything was working again, after an eleven-day DSL outage here at Fernley House.
We got a handful of additional phone calls after this, asking to confirm that our connection was back in place and reassuring us that the U-Verse bill would be rescinded. We got a return-authorization number for the U-Verse modem (a really annoying process in itself; it took three tries to get to a human being) and mailed it back to AT&T at lunchtime today.
I'm grateful to have our internet access back; however, this should not have taken eleven days and a friend on the inside to resolve. Lisa says she's used an entire year's worth of patience as she talked with people in nine different call centers (including one in the Philippines). In general, most of the AT&T people were polite about it (except the lady in San Diego who started arguing with Lisa about U-Verse and insisting that all computers are wireless these days), but almost none of them could seem to fix it. It was an immensely frustrating experience for both Lisa and me.