I am a single Mom.
I am a single Mom whose divorce is not yet final and my budget is screaming tight and a little thing like two bald tires and a second job that doesn't always pay me at the same time every month can really throw me into a tailspin, particularly since I'm usually juggling the overdue bills and trying to determine which one is closest to shutoff before I pay it.
And that brings me to my cable provider. Unfortunately, out here in podunk Pennsyltucky, I have an itty bitty cable provider who's known for their abyssmal customer service. Our township has a contract or something with them, and they are our only option. I've been their customer for 13 years, and I'm not loving it, but what else can I do?
Recently, I took a trip back to my home state for my high school reunion and I arranged to pay my overdue cable bill via my bank's online bill-pay service. I scheduled it right before I left, and it was supposed to pay out on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, when I was scheduled to be paid by my day job. Unfortunately, Podunk Cable doesn't know how to process electronic payments (Are you kidding me? My garbage collector takes electronic payments!), so they bank had to mail a hard check, which (due to the holiday weekend) got there one day too late and they cut me off.
Then they mailed the check back to me because their policy says I can't pay by check once I've been cut off. I have no idea why. And in order to reconnect my cable and internet service bundle, they'll need the overdue amount, plus a stiff reconnect fee, plus a month in advance.
So I'm having to wait to reconnect. It's been three weeks cable and internet-free at my house, and here's what I've learned:
We don't miss cable. We watch a lot of movies, anyway, and our DVD library is pretty impressive. We're not watching a lot of them lately though, because we've rediscovered board games. And the local playground. And bike riding. It's kind of awesome, really.
And the internet? Yeah, I miss it. Hell, my second job depends on it, but luckily, I've been able to either sneak my blog work in during my lunch break at work or once in a while I take the kids to the local McDonald's or Chick-Fil-A and get something knocked out while they're running all over the indoor playground or eating chicken nuggets. It forces me to be more focused while I work, and it's a fun interlude for the kids.
Strangely, I seem to be getting a whole lot more done at home. The house is cleaner. My book writing is on a serious roll and I'm banging out chapters like you wouldn't believe. And with no internet to fall back on, and no mindless TV droning in the background, I'm sort of inclined to finish things or organize things or try something new.
My only loss here seems to be Netflix.
But then again, I live two miles from a Lowe's whose complimentary Wi-Fi reaches their parking lot. I could take a laptop and watch an episode of whatever I want from the comfort of my car. I haven't gotten quite that desperate yet.
It'll be another 2-3 weeks before I can afford to pay up and get the cable and internet going again, and that'll give me time to really consider whether or not I need it.
'Cause right now, I'm thinking I might be fine without it.
At least, until the cops ask me why I'm sitting in the Lowe's parking lot for twelve consecutive hours...