LIFESTYLE: How Firing our Cable Company was the Best Thing for our Family
Each time we go to our lake house rental, we have week experiment in unplugging. In fact, I wrote about this a few times in previous posts. (http://www.urbandomesticdiva.com/2009/08/mommyhood-great-unplugged-family.html) These experiments have been more about unplugging completely from all electronics...which the first couple of days is like coming off of a drug. But after you get into the swing of things, you actually enjoy being able to be in the present a lot more. But we always came back to our busy home, complete with TV, cable, on demand movies, video games, Internet, radio, digital radio, ipods, cell phones, etc. But the past few weeks, we have been without one of these mediums, and it has proven to be as difficult as it has been rewarding.
Three weeks ago we were completely fed up with Comcast. We had spotty Internet since January and then it was down for 4 days along with our phone, and though we scheduled a tech to come out and fix it, they either never showed or screwed up the other days that they were scheduled. SO 4 days turned into 8. Finally after many apathetic CSRs on the phone and being on hold for 45 minutes sometimes, we fired them (when we finally could talk to a human). The irony is, in less than 24 hours they speedily came out to cut off the one working medium, the Cable. If they would have been that responsive to begin with, they would have kept us as customers! But I digress...
That was three weeks ago, and we have replaced the Internet provider since then. It seemed that we needed that the most. But we have not replaced the land line or the TV yet. The lack of TV was hard for the first week. We had a schedule of shows we liked, and it helped us all wind down in the evening. But that had it's drawbacks too, like winding down to "passed-outness" before bedtime. We never watched our slew of movies we have had from Netflix. We never got as much done at night as we wanted to. But as our family became accustomed to no TV, we began to occupy our time in other ways.
We interact more together. Our daughter plays with more of her things. In fact, She woke herself up this morning and worked in a sticker book that I haven't seen played with for two years, and then she pulled out a Pokemon toy set that I unburied in a recent closet clean-up session and was playing with it on her own. She seems more focused during homework time, flashcard time and piano practice time. We do watch movies, in fact my husband and I have been getting caught up on all our back log of movies. But not all the time. Movie watching is a commitment, so we don't do it that often and we make it special as family time. We also have introduced our daughter to some of our favorites now that she is old enough, like the original Star Wars and even (if you can believe it) The Seven Samurai by Akira Kurisawa. If we only get to watch half it gives the family something to look forward to the next night. My husband and I have become hugely productive. If I don't have the time or energy to commit to a movie, I will get to the closet cleaning, office organization, blogging upkeep or other projects that keep getting put aside. My husband said yesterday, "I don't know about getting Cable anymore. We are getting so much done around the house right now! And we are saving money".
Will we stay TV free? I am not sure. Will we maybe look at Hulu or other newer forms of entertainment? Maybe. I can say I am missing my TCM channel and SCFI as well (yes, I have eclectic tastes). But I can just catch my shows online when I feel like it, and not let it get into our family's way, I suppose. We shall see. For now, I am liking the less noise, more productivity our house is filled with as of late. I will "keep you posted".