By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Turns out the Federal Emergency Management Agency was paying clean-up subcontractors by weight the larger the load, the more money. In this case Grubbs Emergency Services of Brooksville did the dirty deed, Arriola said. The city manager doesn't know how much the company will be paying to replace the lost trees, but "needless to say, their asses won't be working in this city again."
Representatives from Grubbs did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment.
On October 23, the day Wilma struck, The Bitch lost a 50-year-old mango tree, the front quarter panel of a Subaru, and Internet service from Comcast, the last inconvenience being shared to this day with many other South Floridians.
This past Saturday, finally and after many outraged phone calls, hours on hold, terrible technical support, and weekend trips to the office to, um, use the Internet, a Comcast crew showed up at The Bitch's kennel cables, ladders, and splicers at the ready.
The crew of four assigned to Wilma Trouble Ticket Number 226,859 was led by Joe Leon, an affable, intelligent man from Houston contracted by Comcast. "Well, my first thought was that it's the modem, because, you know, at the service centers they're not too bright," Leon volunteered. "They're supposed to refurbish and test the modems before handing them out, but a lot of times they just put bad ones right back in the box and give them to people."
This wasn't exactly confidence-inspiring, but the crew was nice enough, and The Bitch and some of her girlfriends enjoyed chatting with the men about the screwed-and-chopped music scene in Houston and and made plans to go out dancing. Finally, not wanting to be rude, The Bitch scratched behind her ears and asked, "Um, so can you guys, like, fix the Internet?"
A rally of line-testing and cable-unfurling ensued, but no connection. "I just can't figure this out," Leon admitted to the nearly tearful dog as he left.
On Monday, The Bitch called Comcast spokesman Spero Canton. He said fewer than one percent of Comcast customers remain without either cable television or Internet service, but The Bitch is just going to say based on anecdotal and observational evidence and the fury of any consumer asked about the Philadelphia-based cable provider there's no way that can be right.
But the spokesman explained, "There might be other issues. They're just not obvious issues. We've replaced more than 100 miles of fiber-optic cable. We're getting two days' worth of phone calls every day, and our customer support people are operating at the max. We've doubled the number of people in the field; we've doubled the number of appointments."
So what does Canton advise the connectionless Comcast customer do? Use cuneiform tablets? Get BellSouth DSL?
"We're going to get to 100 percent connectivity," Canton assured.
Another tech appointment was unsuccessful on Tuesday. The Bitch will keep readers posted, probably through Morse code or smoke signals.