Apr 212012

Yesterday was one of those days where we had some success, as well as frustration, to temper the mood. Our billing period for Verizon ends on the 19th of every month. I knew that we were getting close to our 5 GB limit on our Mifi, so we stopped using it a couple of days ago. Yesterday morning, at 12:16 AM, I logged on to our account, and sure enough we had gone over our limit by .001 GB, which meant we had an additional $10 tacked onto our bill because our account calls for $10 per gigabyte or any part thereof that we go over the limit. Yeah I know it’s just a little bit, but you can’t be just a little bit pregnant either, can you?

What really caught my eye was that at only 16 minutes into our new billing period, our statement said we had already used 418 minutes. Huh? That’s almost seven hours of usage in just 16 minutes! Yeah, I’m a bit of a chatterbox, but even I couldn’t talk that fast! I told Miss Terry that I planned to have a long talk with the folks at the local Verizon store.

We had hoped that the new issue of the Gypsy Journal would arrive in Phoenix on Friday, but that didn’t happen. Well, it did happen late in the day sometime, but it was too late to get to the FedEx shipping terminal to pick it up, so even though it’s there we can’t pick it up until Monday morning. That’s some of that frustration stuff I was talking about.

We drove up to Scottsdale and picked up the preprinted envelopes from our mail service, and then drove into downtown Phoenix to stop at the court recorder’s office. Terry’s South Dakota drivers license expires this summer, and for her to be able to renew it she needed a copy of her marriage license and divorce decree from her first marriage. Apparently, the wise and wonderful people in charge of Homeland Security have decided that a soon to be 60-year-old woman must be a terrorist, so she had to have a paper trail that included her birth certificate, that marriage license showing her change to her married name, and the divorce decree to show she could legally marry me and take my last name 14 years ago. Doesn’t that make you feel safer when you go to sleep at night, knowing the bureaucrats have dreamed all this up to protect you and me? 🙂

Actually that went pretty easy and only took about an hour for time, and a little over $50 in fees. See, we are keeping the country secure and supporting the economy, too. Is that patriotic or what?

Then we drove all the way back across the Valley to Apache Junction, because Terry also needed to get her Social Security card changed, since it still had her previous married name and she had never gotten around to getting that changed. We had downloaded the forms off the Internet, Terry had filled them out completely, she had the aforementioned marriage and divorce decree, and the form said we could take them to any Social Security office to get the new card issued. Imagine how pleased we were to drive 30 some miles, only to be told no, we had to turn right around and go back to downtown Phoenix, only a mile or so from where we had been to get the divorce papers, to apply for the card? Apparently, when they say you can go to any Social Security office, what they really mean is, no you can’t. It depends on where you happen to be in the country. That’s more of that frustration we talked about. Having had enough of bureaucrats for one day, we decided to forgo that adventure until next week.

We stopped to visit with her folks for a little bit, and then went to a local Verizon company store (did you know there’s a difference between a company store and a franchise, and the amount of service you can get depends on which one you go to?), so I could talk to them about that 418 minutes on our bill, and tell them how much I hated their 4G MiFi device.

As it turns out, it takes Verizon a day or two to update their website, and that 418 minutes was actually the amount of minutes we had used in the previous month’s billing cycle. Okay, that’s cool. Then the manager made me even happier when he acknowledged that the MiFi is a piece of crap, and that they have had lots of complaints about it. Unfortunately, the best he could do for me was to agree to replace it at no charge. I asked him about the $10 for going over the gigabyte limit, and while he couldn’t waive that, he did agree to not charge me the $8.95 to have the replacement MiFi sent by second day mail. Hopefully it will be here Monday or so, although he did tell me that while it is the latest updated version of the device I have, there’s no guarantee it will be any better than the one I have now. Hey, at least the guy admits that they sell junk. So that was another success (kind of). The sad thing is that as poor as Verizon data services are in so much of the country, for fulltime RVers they are still the best choice available.

Thought For The Day – When you rise in life, your friends know who you are. When you fall down, you will know who your friends are.

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Nick Russell

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  15 Responses to “Some Success, Some Frustration”

  1. Seems we are walking in a parallel path guys. As you may know my wife just became a citizen, a long expensive, paper filled burden. The organization there was what you would expect from a federal gvt. department. But, at the swearing in they did tell us that only 1% of their funds came from taxpayers.
    On to Verizon WWAN it got so bad that we knew some phone reps by name. Have no idea how many calls we made or how many times we removed & reinserted the sim card, till I informed them we would go elsewhere for service without a fee, since they broke the contract, not us.
    Oh, add 1 more friend who broke down, we burned a wheel bearing on the 5th wheel, (new axles) also destroying the brake & hub, so the fight for all spent for repairs has just begun.

  2. It is nice not being alone in this search for the real me in order to get new Dr.Lic. Unfortunately 3 marriages and 2 divorces in my history and of course none in same city or state. Took 6 months to get them sent to me and close to 100.00. Went to chg. lic in Fl and I had to wait to be within an 18 mo window of exp. date. Hope I don’t lose any forms before June. I must fall into the 66 yr. old criminal status or something like that.

  3. I must have lucked out for once Nick. I’m parked not 1.5 miles, as the crow flies, from where you are and have none of the problems with my Verizon MiFi that you have had. I’m quite satisfied with it’s performance although I did have one month right after I got a new laptop where I went over 11gb. I just figured it was all the software updates needed to bring the installed software current.

  4. What a mess for Fulltimers when it comes to renewing your drivers license. I just completed the process necessary for my new expanded license and renewing our vehicle tags. Bear in mine, that I did so in our hometown of 15 years. I renewed the DL first only to find that I did not have my Social Security card with me. So I went ahead and completed the tag transaction. Doing so, provided a additional address documentation, you would think. Nope, not going to happen. As I’m retired Law Enforcement from a state agency, I have what’s called a Law Enforcement block on my vehicle tags. To have the block activated years ago, it was necessary to provide L.E. Identification. So, here I sit in the tax collectors office with my Identification in question, and the one document that could be used, can’t be, because the same employee who updated the information for my vehicle tags is now unable to access it, due to her lack of authorization to do so because of the Law Enforcement block. So, ended up calling my son, and asking that he bring a copy of his light bill and sign a waiver stating that I am who I say I am, and that I do reside in his yard when not traveling.

  5. It appears that we all have pretty much experienced the same thing…during the same week! What are the chances of that? We are in the process of completing more VA forms and…yup…had to provide names, dates and paperwork for prior divorces. The women at the VA office looked at me like I was from outer space when I said, “That divorce was 35 years ago. Why would I keep the papers when I didn’t keep the husband?” Who knew that you’d have to provide paperwork like that down the road?

    I understand why they need the proof but I had to walk through the fires of hell to get copies…mainly because Annie, who handles the geneology dept. at the circuit court where the divorce took place, was at the Dollar store and they didn’t know when she’d be back! I never thought that I’d be in the geneology section of the court house. How novel! When I tried to find copies online I was always pointed to a company who’d get you a “Certificate” for only $39./month. The VA office had never heard of a divorce certificate…neither had I.

    I can laugh about this now because of the absurdness of people in bureaucratic offices. I wonder if they know how they sound to people “across the counter”?

  6. Because of the experience of others, I did not allow Verizon to “upgrade” my existing equipment to any of the newer gear. My 3G phone and 3G air card have worked well everywhere we have been (so far).

  7. The gods must smile upon us… We upgraded to a MiFi a month ago and it has worked well. Good relable service without any hangs or drops (Casa Crande, Laughlin, & Boulder City, NV). Do hope your new one is from the same lot.

    We got our new “enhanced” SD DLs last summer. All we needed was our expiring Hawaii license and our passports. No problems.

    Safe journeys to all!

  8. My Rant for the week:

    NOW do we see why IL-legals just print fake SS cards? And why don’t they make THEM go thru such hassles when they get caught? A slap on the wrist, a free dinner and good night’s sleep. Noooooo, they give them a FREE ride back across so they can come over again next week and make it thru!

    How ’bout we make the bureaucrats produce a 35 year old document when WE want something accomplished? Yea, right!

    And with so many RVers using SD for registrations and DL, I am wondering “WHY?” …does it save THAT much that it’s worth the extra hassle – repeatedly – cuz we don’t plan to be visiting SD more than the 1 or 2 times we already have. My first marriage & divorce was in Florida, yet I was born in NY, Terry in Minnesota. It would take a cross-country trip to get all OUR 20+ year old documents!

    Ruh-roh …. we are wanting to get our first-ever passports this year – JUST so we can visit Canada for a day or two (no problem going over) and then BE ALLOWED back into OUR OWN country. What? A driver’s license with all the bureaucrats who issued it isn’t GOOD enough NOW? Maybe I’d better get started …might take a while at this rate.

    OK, I’m finished now. Have a GREAT day everyone 😀

  9. Well, Nick, since we haven’t been regular readers recently, we don’t know what your Mifi problems have been. We have had very little problem with ours. Of course, we haven’t been traveling much recently. Now about our Verizon Samsung Droid phones? Suzy’s has been fine; I have the identical phone and it’s running out of battery power once or twice a day. Took it back to the Verizon store, they replaced the battery at no cost, and the new battery is also dying daily. When we get back to home territory, I’m going to have to go back and yell and scream about that,.

  10. We upgraded our Verizon air card to a MIFI card about 1 year ago and have not had any problems. Guess we just got a good one.

    SD is not the only state to require those papers. Homeland Security has mandated those requirements.

    The SD Department of Public Safety website states ” Anyone who has changed their name since birth (and does not have a valid U.S. Passport in their current name} needs to show proof of name change(s)……… etc.

    The site also states the if you are out-of-state and need a temporary permit to extend your driver license; call 605-773-6883. an extension can be granted for up to a year.

  11. Have you thought of switching to Millenicom? When my Verizon contract was up on my aircard I looked into going with another service. I had a 5GB limit on mine and kept going over. I looked on the Escapees forum and came up with Millenicom which many of the forum readers were already using. They offer a 20GB plan for $69.99/month with NO CONTRACT. The best part is that they use the Verizon towers. I have been with them since Dec. and have been very happy and have not had any place where I couldn’t connect.

  12. We have had a Verizon Samsung 4G Mobile Hotspot device for just over a year, and have been very happy with it. It is NOT a MiFi ™, which seem to have many problems. Since we have another year to go on the contract, we will use it when needed and keep a close eye on the usage.
    I ran into the SS card problem a couple weeks ago trying to change DL address in FL. WHY do they need that tattered old piece of paper which has only a name and number and can easily be duplicated? B.S!!

  13. Pretty much everything Homeland Security does is total BS. All that paperwork they push on law-abiding CITIZENS doesn’t make anyone any safer from terrorists. It all makes about as much sense as needing three forms of ID, one with a picture, to pay the rent on my PO box that I’ve had for all the more than 40 yrs. I’ve lived here. Besides, how would the postmaster know if I was a terrorist…I’d certainly have all the correct paperwork!! What I think is that Homeland Security & the government in general, don’t really like full-time RVers. They like everyone to be tied to a certain spot so they can keep tabs on them. And they’re really not very good at that…look how long Bin Laden had been in one spot in Pakistan before they caught on. All Homeland Security (and TSA) really does is give jobs to a bunch of inept bureaucrats who couldn’t hold jobs anywhere else. Stepping off my soapbox now. 🙂

  14. We have found that having a passport really simplifies things when dealing with homeland security. And if I am not mistaken, it is good for ten years once you get it.

  15. Through the years, we have been told repeatedly by federal employees that a social security card is NOT legal identification for anything. Duh?

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