’m thinking of starting a small side gig, you guys. Let me explain.
It’s Monday night and I’m driving home from work. Apparently my day had gone too well because I’m thinking when I get home I’ll flip on the television to check on the Royals game. You know, to subject myself to something tragic, ugly and horrible. Just for funsies.
But when I turn on the television there’s a blank screen with some message to the effect of “no satellite signal.” Unfortunately this is a message that has been appearing on my screen too often lately. When pulling into the driveway I had noticed the grass had been cut that day, so immediately I knew what had happened.
I own a townhome in a maintenance-provided community, which means there’s a lawn service company that shows up once a week, typically on Mondays, to mow the grass and whatnot. Twice in the past month and three times in the past year the mowers have struck the pole that holds my satellite dish. The impact knocks the dish out of alignment, resulting in that “no satellite signal” message. DirecTV may as well change the message to read “you have no satellite service but your lawn looks amazing.”
Listen, since the mowers come during the daytime when I’m at work I don’t know exactly what’s going on. But to hit a dish mounted on a pole out in the great wide open takes a certain amount of skill, shall we say. These guys must be driving blind or driving drunk or driving high. Starting to think I should stay home on Mondays because apparently I’m missing a hell of a party.
Heck, every Monday the lawn crew and I could slam a few cold ones on my back patio, jump on one of those stand-up mowers and travel from neighborhood to neighborhood, knocking out satellite service to half of Platte County. Like a frat party with power tools.
But I digress. Let’s get back to what led to my idea for a side gig. . .
So I called DirecTV to report my “no satellite signal” problem, knowing full well what had happened. This time the “bump” into the pole holding the dish must have been pretty severe, as it was clear to the naked eye that the dish was cockeyed compared to how it looked the night before. I know this because the night before while chilling on the patio my eyes had been drawn to the dish via a significant deposit left by a bird who obviously suffers from bowel control problems. The dish on Monday night was sitting at a different angle, by a few inches, than it had been on Sunday night when I made the medical diagnosis on said bird.
Anyway, DirecTV tells me they can get a technician out to the scene. That’s the good news. The bad news is the earliest opening for a technician is July 2. Wait, July 2? That’s eight days from the time of my call. I was not tickled pink by this development. I expressed frustration to the representative on the phone. She said that’s the best she can do. I again expressed my frustration, perhaps with a little more angst this time. I remember politely but firmly saying things like “this is 2019” and “this is beyond ridiculous,” and “a company with the resources of DirecTV should not need eight days to solve this problem” and various other blah blah blah. The rep repeats this is the best she can do. I ask to speak with a supervisor.
Fifteen minutes later a supervisor gets on the phone. I repeat my talking points. He says he understands my frustration, that he is a consumer too, and various other blah blah blah. Says he’ll do some checking and call me back in an hour or two.
If you’re like me, when a person from an outfit as large as DirecTV says they’ll call you back you’re a little skeptical. I was a little skeptical. And not really in the best of humor at this point. What to do? I reminded myself, as I had said to the folks at DirecTV, that this is 2019. So I headed to YouTube and searched “how to adjust satellite dish for DirecTV.” I watched a four-minute video made by a guy who said he does this for a living. His video showed which bolts on the dish to loosen in order to move the dish up and down, which ones to loosen if you need it to go left or right, which bolts you can probably leave alone. He used a big word that sounded like azimuth and some other weird celestial angular terms, some whatnot and such. But I got the drift. I picked up what he was puttin’ down.
He showed how to access, through the menu feature on your remote, what screen to go to in order to display your satellite settings, and advised to take a half inch wrench and your cell phone out to the dish while another person stays by the TV screen with their cell phone to let you know how the settings are changing while you’re outside adjusting the dish. This guy’s satellite signal strength was coming in at 95%. He said that was a great number to hit.
Determined to get this project done without waiting eight days, and realizing that since I had no TV reception at the time there was no way I could make the situation worse, I headed to my garage. I grabbed a half inch wrench that was buried in the bottom of my tool box and trekked out to the satellite dish located in the back yard commons area, or as the lawn service guys probably call it “party cove.”
I correctly eyeballed that I needed to move the dish more left and right than up and down, which helped me determine which bolts to loosen, and within seconds as I carefully moved the dish my partner in satellite repair sitting in front of the main TV in the house was telling me via cell phone that the signal strength reading had gone from zero to 96%. Boom. I firmly tightened all the bolts. Tightening the bolts must have moved the dish just a hair because signal strength fell by one to 95%, but heck, that’s what the expert was getting in his home so I knew I was good.
There ya go. Project complete. The whole repair process took three minutes, tops. Not even kidding. I’d spent more time finding the wrench than I did adjusting the satellite. Walked in the house to see crystal clear HD picture on both televisions. In celebration, I mentally flipped the bird to DirecTV and their eight-day waiting time and service call fees. That was an okay feeling, not gonna lie.
So this is my idea for a side gig. Has your satellite dish been knocked out of alignment? Want it fixed sooner than eight days? My half inch wrench and I are at your service. Call me. Have tools will travel.
(Find Foley feverishly adjusting satellite dishes throughout Platte County or just find him on Facebook and Twitter. Or chase him down via email to firstname.lastname@example.org)