Wednesday, February 03, 2010

the grand experiment

So, just after the start of the year our cable/internet/phone bill jumped about $50.00.  Considering how little TV we watch, that seemed an unreasonable additional amount to pay.  In our house, the cable bill has oft come under fire as an expense to jettison, but we had one of those bundle things where it is actually more expensive just to have internet and phone than all three.  But, at $160.00 a month, we figured it had to be cheaper to just do phone and internet.  Mr. Bump was shaking-fist-at-the-sky outraged, and began to pursue other alternatives to our current plan.  Eventually he came up with a plan which reduced our phone and internet to $50.00 a month.  Long distance will be more, and we’ll see if it ends up being cheaper to do long distance via our pre-paid cell phones (we don’t use a cell enough to justify a monthly plan) or just paying for those charges as we go.  Essentially the only consistent long distance calls we make or receive are to my mom and Mrs. Bump (my mother-in-law).  This plan also limits our speed of uploads/downloads, but so far it hasn’t been a big deal.  We’ll see how we go on that, and we can always upgrade that for (I think) $10 a month or so.

All that to say that when we got home from Kansas City on Monday, all our cable was gone.  We’d returned the cable box a week before, but were still getting analog cable for about a week.  This was a good way to ease out of it, I must say.  But now it is gone.  No more channel surfing when I’m sick (this is one of the few times we (I) actually watched live tv).

When we started talking about doing this we looked at exactly what programs we DVR’d, and how crucial it was to see them when they came out.  Then we scoured the internet for ways to stream these programs without having to pay for them.  Pretty much all of them can be obtained one place or another online, which was a big part of allowing me to let go of cable.  The other thing that made it a go was being able to stream Netflix on the Xbox.  A lot of stuff is available to view even before a season is over, which is awesome.  And you know what?  When it comes down to it, it isn’t the end of the world to wait until I can get the whole next season of House and watch it all at once. 

How do I feel about all this?  We have friends who did this a few years ago, after an ongoing struggle with their HOA about where they could place their satellite dish.  So we kind of knew what to expect.  We also didn’t actually watch TV that much.  We’re busy people.  I’m training for a marathon.  David’s doing the APAD project (check it out--it's cool!), which entails scrounging up a subject for a photo every day.  We have a trip to Italy to plan!  We have weeks (like this one), where one (or both) of us is gone almost every night of the week.  We’re home on less than half of the weekends in a year.  We just aren’t around enough to justify it.  Certainly not enough to spend an extra $1200 a year on it.  That’s a weeklong trip somewhere! (Hello Vancouver, I still would really like to meet you even though we can’t seem to sync up.)

It does sort of feel like swinging without a net, somehow.  How will I entertain myself?  How will I check out of my world when I’m stressed?  Oh yeah.  I’ll read.  Or watch DVDs.  Or some of the old episodes of Kight Rider or the A-Team that you can stream on Netflix.  Talk about escapism!  Man, those are bad.  Very funny bad.  So the whole thing seems anti-climactic, is what I guess I’m saying.

I don’t expect many problems with missing it.  The worst will be the look on my dad’s face when I tell him he can’t watch the football game when he and Mom come down on a Sunday.  Sorry Dad!

P.S. Marathoning is going ok.  The travel is killing me, though.  I think I’m just going to have to put my foot down and say we stay home this spring.  After President’s Day weekend.  Right now I’m trying to get all my workouts in, study up on the right nutrition, and learn about stretching.  Also may take a yoga class on Mondays, and think about a couple deep tissue massages in the interest of keeping things flexible. 

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