A Squirrel Ate My Internet

Got back from running errands late Friday morning and when I logged onto my computer, soon saw the internet connection was not available. Grumbling, I proceeded upstairs to our modem and noticed something new- a bright red light on the control panel. Usually if our internet goes out, there is a blinking yellow light. Solid red was something new.

After confirming that our land line, cable television and Alexa-cloud-stereo system were down, I called my husband on the cell. “Do you want to walk me through re-booting the system?” I asked him.

“No, it’s too complicated. I’ll do it myself when I come home this evening.”

But after following the usual protocol, and being put on hold for twenty minutes by AT&T and again going through the usual protocol, my husband was forced to make an appointment with a cable technician for the next day.

When the kids asked Alexa to play a song, she sadly replied, “I don’t understand the question. Please ask again later.” Cloud disconnection leads to device dementia.

That night my 16 year old stayed up and read an entire book. He couldn’t cruise YouTube videos.

The cable guy came the next morning, and after he confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the modem nor on the property connection (relieved exhale, we weren’t responsible for footing the bill on this repair call), he would have to look for culprits further down the line.  He said the problem was likely a case of ‘new-guy-itis’.

“Some new guy is adding another customer and forgets to plug back in the old customers.”

Forty-five minutes later, the diagnosis of newguyitis was incorrect. Something else was going on but a second cable repairman would have to be called.

We were going on 24 hours without internet service. My daughter peered over her book. “Mom? Was it like this when you were growing up?” Indeed.

Two hours later, the second cable guy knocked on our door. My husband went to answer, I ran up to the modem and saw all the yellow lights turned on. Our internet was restored!

The cable repairman explained that squirrels had made a nest in the foam insulator surrounding the internet relay station two blocks away. Apparently, they selectively chewed through our fiber optic connector to build their winter retreat.

It sounds like a bad homework excuse, “the squirrels ate my internet”, but we survived. Somehow. Just like the pioneers, but with electricity, running water, central heat, and plumbing.


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