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BlueWolf's Howl

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December 12, 2005

BlueWolf's Most Snowy Adventure

I still haven't taken the BCRAN...

I left my house at 1:30 to make it to the test site by 3:15 (a one hour drive according to Map Quest). Since snow had been predicted for that day, I called the test site before leaving. They said to come on down...they would be open. It was merely raining when I left Fall River. Just minutes up the road, I hit the snow. Then it got even harder. But, I was determined to make it. I drove on through some really rough weather and tough road conditions. When I saw that I would undoubtedly be some kind of late... I called the test center. They told me not to worry about it and that they'd try their best to stay open as late as possible to give me a shot at it since I was already on my way.

I tried to contact Cisco to see if it was even necessary... If they could extend my CCNA expiration date to the date of the rescheduled exam, I could turn around and just muddle my way back home. But, not a chance. After almost 20 min of going through phone menus, I finally got a person on the line. He checked and double-checked >> There is no live person available to speak to on the phone about certifications. Period. I could put in a trouble ticket on the web site (not useful while driving) or I could leave a message in the voice mail queue. I left a message. No one ever returned my call. So I gave it my best shot at trying to get there.

After hours of driving, I called the test center again (at around 4:30). They had left a message on my voicemail (at home). They were finally getting ready to pack up the piano and head out. They gave me the number to "Customer Cares" and the "APTC IT Registration" to call for rescheduling. Yes, they were open on Saturday. Yet, I still didn't know if taking the test Saturday would cut it or not.

I contacted the APTC IT Registration desk. The person who answered the phone put me on hold while she tried to contact the testing center to confirm that it was closed due to snow. ??? What a surprise...no one answered. Since the testing center couldn't confirm my story, I was going to have to speak to a supervisor to get rescheduled. She transferred me to Customer Cares. The woman I spoke to was very nice and tried to be helpful. She noticed that a number of Burlington sites had reported in as "closed due to inclement weather"...but unfortunately my site had not yet reported that (or it had not yet been updated in her computer system). On top of that, I was still listed as "Pending" rather than "No Show"... (that hadn't updated in her system yet either) so she couldn't reschedule me. However, the site would be open tomorrow (10 Dec) and once I got there, I could have them call their Help Desk to walk them through getting me into the computer for Saturday.

I drove on with determination. I finally reached the testing site at 7:30pm. The parking lot was in the midst of being plowed out. I drove around the complex until I found the building for the next day. I wanted to be sure that I could just get there without having to find my way around in the morning. On top of that, the only directions to a hotel that I had were from the reference point of the testing center. So I found Building 8 and made my way to the Mariott.

Luckily they had a vacancy at the Mariott. And yes, it was going to cost $99 to stay there. All this to avoid taking a $125 CCNA recertification test -- how was that supposed to save me anything??? But, I was determined to do all that I could to try to get this test done and over with as soon as possible. And...after all...my safety was worth the $99 -- since it would give them more time to plow the roads and it would be safer to drive back in daylight. Luckily I took my study notebooks with me and I spent the night reviewing them.

I got up at 7am (on a Saturday - a miracle in itself) and made my way to the testing site. They called their Help Desk and tried to get me into the system again. But noooooooo that would have been too convenient for this little adventure. The Help Desk said that Cisco has a policy that you have to wait 48 hours before rescheduling an exam no matter what the reason. I pointed out that the Customer Cares would have and could have rescheduled me for Saturday if I had been in the system the way they needed me to be... (so is that really a rule?) But apparently they are the only ones who have the authority to do that and they don't work weekends. There was nothing that anyone could do until Monday.

Wow. All that for nothing? And the worst part was that I still didn't know the status of my CCNA certification. But, there was nothing at all that anyone could do that Saturday morning. I needed retail therapy. So on my way home, I stopped at the Barnes and Noble. I bought a book on Ethereal and two books on Chess. I felt a little better. Then I started my Christmas shopping....with a vengance. That was what I had planned for that day anyway. I called all the people I had talked to on my way up to let them know the new status. And then I shopped. And shopped. And shopped. And yes, I completed my entire Christmas shopping list in one day. Granted...I had already started my shopping earlier, but I forgot all about that. So a few people are going to end up with a little extra due to my lack of memory about such things. But, I'm sure they won't really mind all that...especially if I don't admit it...

Today I called Customer Cares again. The only thing they could do is reschedule the exam. It's now rescheduled for the 15th at a new and closer location (Providence). I went to the Cisco web site and submitted an Incident Case. The form letter reply said that I should expect a response in two business days. Wow...what speed, eh?

Perhaps this is all happening for a reason... Maybe I need a great adventure in order to pass the exam? Well, I think I've certainly gone the distance on this one. I now give myself permission to pass this exam.

Posted by BlueWolf on December 12, 2005 12:50 PM