Prepare to be shocked.... I was!
Not only did I get to talk to an actual person at COX without a lengthy wait, but when what he tried at his end didn't work (from what he can tell it looks like a short somewhere in the system), he arranged for a tech person to come out to the house later this afternoon! (He himself was shocked to find someone was available today.... lol)
Definitely will have to remember this when "sometimes" things don't go well.