Two months ago my husband and I decided to turn off the cable and internet. It is harder than you think. We knew our lives were wrapped up to much into cyberspace but we realized how dependent we really were on it, and how we could get by just FINE with out it.
So many of our day to day functions were completed online. Banking and bill paying. I had to resort to paying by phone or sending checks. It is hard not being able to check my balance or know when money has been deposited or paid out. But still it IS doable with out the internet.
Jay the cook found his most difficult situation without internet to do with making dinner. He had so many of our favorite recipes stored online. Food websites bookmarked that we could now not get to. He was sad and nearly called back the cable company to reinstate the internet for just this reason. But we have two kitchen cabinets filled with cookbooks collecting dust nearly never used. We opened the cabinets and thumbed through the books. We tried new recipes and STILL managed with out the internet.
One of my biggest hurdles was looking up quick information. I used to jump on quickly to check phone numbers, weather, local events, wiki facts, so many quick little items that you never think anything about. That is until I had to go to the market to get a paper all the time for different cities to find out this info. Ugh. And I had to look things up in the phone book or call directory assistance and for what ever reason that is one of my pet peeves. But again it CAN be done with out searching the web and I was able to get the missed news I was lacking from to cable either from the paper.
Now cutting off the internet also cut off our social networking. I thought this would be excruciating for my husband and I knew it would not be that easy for me either. My husband was so involved in facebook, their games, chating, forums his time and priorities were not in the correct order. At first he was bored and a little "itchy" about what to do but he DID find busy work, reality tv, and a new hobby, bike ridding. He managed. I was a little disheartened I loved seeing pictures of my friends and their children on facebook. I enjoy reading blogs and really love posting tidbits of my world for you on mine. But their are wifi hot spots around town for free and occasionally I managed to get to them to check on everyone.
We got rid of the cable tv first. This was not to hard. We very much enjoyed watching shows but never followed any. At first there was a lot of channel surfing between the few network channels we had left. I sure missed cable then. My husband said what is it you want to see I will get it for you online. And it hit me there was nothing I wanted to see. I would just curl up on the couch turn on HGTV, TLC, Travel Channel to watch to not be bored or dream about places and houses there is no chance I will be able to afford. TV was really just a time filler, waster. With no tv influence I had time to finish a few small pick up house projects and not procrastinate with the dissolution that I will just wait to do this because one day soon I will have half and hour, $50k dollars, and a hot work crew to not just weed my garden but give it some curb appeal.
With the internet and cable gone we found we had lots of time on our hands. Free time got quickly took by volunteering. Both of us became volunteers to the church. Jay started spending time cutting wood and other various projects for them. He has done a great job helping the elderly and needy and meet quite a bit of new people. Plus he got drag a wood splitter around town with his big truck. Yes the happiness volunteering for boys and their trucks creates. He also started helping teach a Sunday school class. I also am teaching in the Sunday school class along with another two adults. Yup that is correct 4 adults to teach some of the first graders at our church. If you are wondering we go to a mega church. Sundays pulling in around 1000 people. So with a church that size it takes a lot of volunteers to make it work. So I am also volunteering on Wednesdays for AWANAS. I really enjoy that. I work with another mother and we guide one of 3 groups of 5th and 6th grade girls. It is so great so different and so nice to be around girls!
It was crazy hat/hair night
Most importantly we made a lot of time for our family. We showered the kids with tons of attention and help. We take them on many outings and spend lots more quality family time. We took the training wheels off their bikes and realized these kids can ride two wheelers. We kinda wonder for how long have they been able to do this if we had took the wheels off sooner? But the bright side is they are so happy for this new freedom and we are happy for them. But we also realized we can not at all keep up with them. They got bigger bikes and my husband got a bike. So now we spend many afternoons at an awesome park near us that has miles of great bike trails.
Unfortunately sometimes not having the internet caused arguments. We had more time to notice what each other did and didn't do and that led to a lot of picking at each other. Missing an activity we enjoyed separately giving us a break, some space, led to nagging. But we realized this and are trying to be kind when it is hard.
Two months later we are in to October. Good bye summer I miss you already! In the northeast October is beautiful. The harvest parties the brilliant colors it is truly what you think of when you see pictures of fall. But with the splendor comes the change of seasons. Somedays that change brings cold days, windy days, rainy days, and the worst all three together. Often trapped inside we decided with the kids in school and winter coming lets go ahead and get back online.
We proved to ourselves we could do it. We showed each other that we valued our relationship more than anything else. We grew as a family and as citizens. We no longer woke up and turned on the computer but sat together on the couch and drank coffee. We didn't come home from things and get online but went out to more things spent more time playing. We didn't save any money in the long run. All the savings we would have had for not having cable or internet in the two months was ate up in the reconnect fees we had to pay plus the whopper of an upgrade in our package we got we we signed back up. But now there is not a channel we don't have yet as I write this my son is watching the wiggles a DVD we own. And also the the reality of the DVD rental. Many nights we stopped by the blockbuster box getting a cheap $1 a day DVD but when you get so many it is no longer cheap.
All in all we are happy to be back online. We realized you can live with out it but it is a tool that makes life easier. Something that is enjoyable and educational. In moderation the internet is fine and I feel my family got re grounded and awoke on new interest that we can mange all things well.