I got a nice little present from my Dad tonight while doing laundry.
Apparently the alternate internet access number I was using on dial-up was not local (despite EarthLink and Sprint's verbal assurances that it was) and I was being charged for every time I needed to go online when the main number was out by Sprint. EarthLink conveniently does not cover this in their service agreement.
Sprint sends the bill to Dad, Dad stews on two or three months of bills (building up that patented Swain anger) and Mom brings it to the surface. So now I have about $300.00 of guilt over my head.
And reconfiguring my modem to the latest driver and "maximized stability" (another thank you to EarthLink) leaves it sounding tinny at startup with only a slight bit of performance gain.
Thus is my evening.