Month: June 2016

Cutting The Cord

I think I may have mentioned before that one of my objectives for a few years now is to completely cut off cable dependency?  No?  Well, maybe I did some hints in the past. But just recently my wife and I just decided to cut off cable television completely. Eight million U.S. household have done so – and now we are a member of this group.

I started watching cable many many moons ago. I really like the clearness of the connection. Before that I watched TV using an antenna. For those of you that has experienced watching an antenna fed TV, it was quite a chore to point the antenna to the right position and maybe add aluminum foil or two just to get some kind of decent reception.

Decades later, digital broadcasting was born, and then there is High Definition TV, now it’s 4K. The screen is getting very clear and sharper. The TV channels started increasing through the years. If you’re like me, you probably noticed that the high number of channels are inversely proportional to the number of channels you actually watch.

So what helped our decision to cut it completely? Ready for a long story? We moved to a semi-remote place in the Inland Empire. It’s not as glam as San Diego county but people here are nicer. The cable company lied to us a few times thinking that we didn’t have a choice but to hire them if we need cable.

What they didn’t expect is us saying no. In fact, I got at least three calls from different reps confirming our cancellation. I think it’s highly unbelievable to them that a customer would cut cable but they actually helped us in a big way. We refused to be held hostage to this kind of lousy service. I was with this company for at least 15 years, but they seem to have changed.

I won’t tell you which company but their first initial starts with 20th letter.

We actually feel liberated. We have internet connection and we use the web to watch shows or movies we want to watch when we want to watch, without commercial advertising. There’s quite a few apps or services providing those.

We have more time now and we spend only about 35% of what we used to pay the cable company for internet, cable and phone.

We have cut the cord and it feels good!


Off The Grid

We moved late last month to a new place. It was a long way from where we used to live – about 50 minutes if I drive conservatively, which I do less than half the time. I dreaded moving because we moved 9 times since 2003 (not counting this one). That’s about one move every 18 months. It included one trip overseas where we thought we would stay for the rest of our lives but it didn’t work out.

I was so happy to be back here after that experiment in living overseas. The best thing is once we came back in 2008, we only moved three times (including this move).

Every move requires adjustments: we lived in a big house, then moved to a small apartment then moved to an even smaller condo overseas, maybe 300 sq. We got used to the smallness but then came the roach and rat infestation. Within days, we moved out. At that point, I thought that we have reached bottom, and everything after that will be better. We learned “how to be abased and how to abound”.

But I wasn’t prepared for this latest move. The move was one of our fastest move  from the old location to the new one (five moving specialists helped us). But when we arrived we didn’t have internet, phone or cable access.  We had water, electricity, trash collection and mail service but since it’s kinda remote – the cable company took a little while in attaching the “cable” from the junction.

I consider it being off the grid. To get wifi, we went to the nearest fast food place two miles away. We have cellular access but I was afraid we will overload our monthly data usage so I seldom used it.

It has its benefits.  We spent more time talking, reading and devoted our time to unpacking, putting up curtains and adding a frosted film to a window for privacy. I think being less dependent on electronic communication frees up more time to do things that we wouldn’t otherwise do.

The best benefit: We get to sleep more.

In a few days, we may go back online again. That is, if the cable company does not have another excuse why they can’t install it. Watch for the next episode!