On Friday morning, the movers showed up at 8am. We’d been up since 6am finishing last-minute packing and deciding to leave a few things in the house for now until a weekend trip back to Austin in a week.
An hour later, with the St. Bernard in my Kia Sportage and the cats in the Explorer, we headed to Houston. Got there around 11:30 and got the pets settled in; the movers showed up around 12:15 and had everything unloaded into the house in half an hour.
Due to a screwup on my part, the power wasn’t turned on, and Centerpoint Energy told me on the phone “We don’t start service, we just fix it if there’s a problem.” So much for the easiness of deregulated electric service! I got the iBook out of the truck to look for an unsecured wireless network to find some contact info. Found one network (which turned out to be right next door) that had WEP enabled, so that was useless. Found another network across the street, but it wasn’t giving out IP addresses and wasn’t routing to the Internet.
Finally, I found a phone cable, and discovered that SBC had at least come through and gotten the telephone service activated – my dialup account worked. The DSL probably works too, but I can’t check that until we get power. For once, I was glad that I keep the iBook with a fully charged battery at all times. After getting in touch with Reliant Energy over the phone, signing up for service, etc, I used my USB-powered flatbed scanner to grab a “copy” of my driver’s license, then used eFax (more than worth the $10/month) to FAX the information they needed directly from my laptop in the middle of my new living room, using the TV box as a makeshift table. After all this, I still had almost two hours of charge left. I’ve got to call Reliant back on Monday and make the $270 deposit they want (what a crock – I’ve *never* had to pay a deposit for utility service before, have no outstanding debt other than the house, and have a flawless payment record with Austin Energy.)
Around 2:30, the guys from Centerpoint showed up, made sure the gas was turned on, took a meter reading, then checked our appliances for us. Took about ten minutes, and they were off.
Until the power is turned on (Wednesday), we’re just going over to the house during daylight hours and finishing the unpacking, and I’m doing things like setting up the bed, assembling new furniture (including computer desks) from IKEA, and taking care of the pets. At night, we’re staying in the Homewood Suites, where I’ve been living for the past three weeks – it’s pre-paid until the end of the month.
We met the left-side next-door-neighbors today; they’re very nice people (and were the source of the WEP-secured wireless LAN I found while sniffing packets).