PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, July 17, 2006

CodeCracker Jen

OK, I've been in a small skirmish with the water department for about four days. If you're like me, and you have all your user names & passwords stored on your computer? You need to write them down & put them in your safe deposit box. Or use the same combination for roughly the same set of accounts. Because when stupid mean people take your stuff, you have to recreate the wheel and it's a piano in the ass. (I just trademarked that, btw. I typo-ed "pain" and I think piano is fitting.) It's handy advice, it's free. Do with it what you will.

I went online to pay our water bill, and disaster ensued. I kept getting all kinds of angry admonishments and vague threats to lock me out of the system if I continued to insist on hacking in to PAY THEM. OK, whatever. So I called them up to address this. Turns out, they've been having a bunch of issues with their computers, including the online portion. So we chat briefly, and she just resets our entire account, so I can re-register (to PAY THEM). She gives me the account number, and I go on my cheery way. To be foiled. Again. I try and try, and now I'm getting a message that the last name doesn't match that account number. That's like telling me "YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE AND NO YOU CANNOT COME IN HERE AND GIVE ME MONEY." I chalked it up to their computers, and resolved to try again on Monday.

Monday is here! Monday is today! I try again. Nope. You, dear water customer, do not exist. I call them back. For the time being, my faucets work, so I know I exist somewhere. We review my account number. Whups! Lady on Friday forgot to tell me there was a 'zero' between that one and three. Hey now! It should work! We part ways, I return to the computer.


Now I am swearing and using "motherfucker" and muttering about how heads are gonna ROLL down at the H2O department toDAY! I call back and explain that I am simply trying to give them money, can we please see what is the matter? So we go back to the account number. Starts with, "Four, zero..."
Wait a minute. She interrupts me. It's not Four, Zero - it's FOUR ZEROS. The dawn has risen! Light is shed! We review the 16-digit account number. Okey-dokey. Problem solved!


Oh mah god. I thought I was going to have to get my nails out of the dropped-ceiling tile. Now, I have three numbers written down, and there was still some difference in the last six, what with the number of zeroes and where they appeared.

So I started code-cracking. It only took three tries, and when that worked, I wrote it down. I should probably put it in our safe deposit box this weekend.
posted by PlazaJen, 11:44 AM