22 July 2009

We are back

Many of you may just be getting up to start the day. For us, it is nearly 4:00 p.m. Our Internet/DSL service just came back on. It feels like a wasted day.

Last night we had a wild thunderstorm at about 2:00 a.m. The thunder and the wind woke me up, and I got out of bed to see if any windows needed closing. The bathroom window was slightly open and I decided to close it because the rain was beating against that side of the house.

Nice flower

As I slid the window shut, a long, slender bolt of lightning dropped down from high up in the western sky and hit the ground a few hundred yards out behind our house, in the vineyard. When it hit the ground, the lightning bolt exploded into a big yellow fireball on the ground.

Maybe I was still half asleep. Maybe I was dreaming. But the cordless phone beeped two or three times. I don't know if that meant the power had been cut for a second, or if the lightning had affected the phone service. The clocks on the microwave and regular ovens were still displaying the correct time this morning, so I don't think the electricity went off during the storm.

La Renaudière, near Saint-Aignan, 21 July 2009. Nice clouds.

This morning, we had no Internet connection. I had disconnected the modem and the router last night before going to bed, because the thunderstorms were predicted. Twice over the past few months, lightning strikes have reset our router, erasing all the settings stored in it, including our Internet connection identifier and password. It's a pain to have to set the thing up again; I never remember how many settings need to be changed, or what the proper settings are. I thought that by unplugging the router and turning off the modem, I was protecting our setup.

Yesterday afternoon, waiting for the storms to come

But nothing happened when I turned the Internet devices back on this morning. Our local network was normal — all our computers could "see" each other — but the Internet was absent and unaccounted for. I spent more than an hour on the phone with technical support between 9:30 and 11:00. The France Télécom support agent, after many tests and trials, couldn't figure it out. Everything seemed to be working normally, but still I couldn't get connected to the Internet. No Google, no blog.

While I was on the phone, we had company. Our American friends from the village south of us stopped by to use our Internet connection. They were disappointed. The French woman who sold us our house six years ago stopped by to get some tomatoes from our garden. I couldn't talk to any of them. Walt kept them busy and entertained while I waited on hold, the phone scotché to my ear.

Now, suddenly, the Internet connection works again. An "expert"— same word in French, pronounced [ek-spehr] — from France Telecom is supposed to call me at 6:00 p.m. to resolve the problem. Well, it's too late. It's now working again. I say it was their problem, not ours, all along. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


  1. Great to have you back on! Beautiful photos.

    That lightning bolt would have startled the bejeebers out of me.


  2. The internet is mysterious and wonderful thing. It is also the most maddening.(smile)

  3. Hi Ken, I was getting a bit worried not seeing your daily post. But I suspected that it was an internet/electricity problem, as - if I remember well - you had a similar problem after a violent thunderstorm last year. The north of Belgium has also had some bad weather, but we here, in the centre, have been spared (until now). Lovely to have you back! Martine

  4. I read CHM's comment on yesterday's post so I knew what was wrong. Thanks, CHM!

    Glad you're back up and running. Those are some peaceful pics.

  5. We lose our DSL connection periodically (Pacbell/AT&T does not require a thunderstorm). I have to go through a little dance, but it usually works. Shut down and power off the computer cabled to the router. Shut down and power off (including unplugging the power source)the router and modem. Wait a minute. Power on the modem and wait a minute (good sign if the DSL light comes on). Power on the router and wait a minute. Bring the computer back up and see what you've got. I think powering down/up the computer is just voodoo (maybe it all is).

    I doubt this would have helped in the case you described.

  6. John H, I have cable Internet, not DSL, and that was the "dance" that I was told to do every time I lost my connection. This summer, it got to be a constant problem, so I finally had a cable guy come out. He laughed and said that he doesn't know why they tell us to do that "dance", because it doesn't really do anything! (I bet it IS necessary just to reboot everything if it has just gotten knocked off whack because of a power surge or something like that). What we ended up needing was a major cable or two replaced in and outside of the house. I haven't had a problem since. The moral of the story is: who ever knows WHAT the heck the problem is when your Internet doesn't work :))


  7. Lightning is a strange and terrible thing. I was in a house several years ago when a bolt came down the chimney, roared across the floor and demolished the TV. The electronic clocks were fine, but we later found that one of the heat pumps was gone and some other wiring. It took out the internet cable, as well.

    So I would guess that the problem is not yours but the cable provider's.

  8. John and Judy, our DSL modem drops the connection several times a month. Sometimes we go several weeks with a steady connection, and then the modem will start dropping out every day or every other day for a while. Up to now, just turning the modem off and back on has worked to get it connected again.

    But twice because of power failures my router has been wiped clean. Or three times. So now that's the first thing I check. We have four computers connected to the Internet through the router, so if it goes out, we have nothing.

    Everything -- je touche du bois, comme on dit -- is working fine this morning.

  9. Ken,
    Like your recent photo of yourself on the blog.
    It makes me smile as well.
    When do you start ripping your CDs?


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