After my unsatisfactory chat with "Tina", I decided to take the outdated cablebox to the local Comcast office to get it replaced. Alisa and I went together and, after a short wait, we were able to speak with a real, live human being.
After a great deal of discussion and back and forth, we eventually decided to use this opportunity to change over the billing from my mom to us and to switch to one of the discounted digital packages. We called people and signed things and got a bunch of new hardware (new router, new cable boxen, new remotes). It must have taken at least 45 minutes. The line behind us grew longer and longer and longer.
I was only snarky a couple of times. When she kept talking about prices as if the cost of the first 12 months was the price, I complained that I thought that practice was deceptive. Her hackles rose a bit at that. It turns out that you basically need to follow up with them every year to see what the "new deal" is or you get screwed in terms of pricing. I remember phone service used to be like that and it always pissed me off then too.
I was also perhaps a little snarky when she asked if we wanted HD and I calmly indicated that maybe when we could get PEG access in HD, I'd switch.
The funniest part was when she explained how Comcast prices things. It was actually a great explanation, but when she starting talking about the role that the "Mayor of Amherst" plays, Alisa nearly burst. The rep had no way of knowing she was talking to the President of the Board of Amherst Media and the Chair of the Amherst Select Board. We just nodded and smiled and listened.
The rep was actually fantastic and probably took much longer than the corporation would rather she would and helped us figure out a better arrangement than we otherwise would have. I said I hoped they paid her well. Her look made it clear that they don't.
Eventually, we got home, swapped the router, and then I began trying to get everything put back together. I had to set passwords for wifi and administration, set up a static IP for the server, set up port forwarding, and update the DNS for my domain name. Then I tried to set up the cable boxen.
We wanted to put the little box in Lucy's room, where space is at a premium and to put the big one in the living room, where there's plenty of space. But neither wanted to work there. I tried over and over again getting cryptic RDK-03004 errors and XRE-10007 errors. I spent several hours reading forums, checking connections, and plugging and unplugging things. Eventually, I switched them around. Like magic, everything started to work. Lucy will just have to live with having the big box in her room.
With that, I think everything is set up. I can watch Amherst Media again. And it only took me a whole day.