Taking the Upgrade Plunge

While the rest of the American world is comfortable in their common vocabulary that uses phrases like “U-Verse (R)*” and “bundled” and “DVR,” I’m smiling and nodding like the toy Bobblehead you purchased at the last major league baseball game you went to and regret that one last 32-ounce beer every time you look at it. You see, we moved overseas back in 2001. We missed all of the fun when the government mandated everyone moving to digital televisions and forcing everyone into the land of monthly payment plans for cable and satellite dish companies to get filthy stinkin’ richer. (Those companies and their very expensive suit-wearing lobbyists managed to push THAT through with little to no groaning by the American public. Is it any wonder that they’re attempting to push through bills almost monthly to control the internet and how much you’re able to access on it by how much money you have? NET NEUTRALITY, PEOPLE…..Keep it public…..Where was I?)

So, it’s 2015 and we’re back in the USA for 2 years now and I still don’t know what the hell
all of those terms mean….until today. I got a letter from our internet provider informing me that we have 45 days to upgrade or risk having our service interrupted. Strong arm much? I called and found out that due to the amount of interactive internet gaming and video-streaming that we do in this home full of teenagers and Netflix, we’ve been getting hit with nearly double the amount our bill is supposed to be each month. Now, my husband set up
the internet account (on the ancient DSL modem system which apparently was established
in Medieval times, according to our 20-something customer service agent) before the kids and I returned from overseas. So I was not privy to the contract terms and merely put in charge of making sure those monthly bills were paid on time. (See: Bobblehead.) As time
went on, I noticed the bills getting higher and higher and being a very busy SAHM and an obvious overachiever in volunteerism through the schools, I just kept trying to limit the time spent on the internet by screaming, “NO INTERNET USAGE DURING THE SCHOOL WEEK UNLESS IT’S HOMEWORK RELATED!!!”

As we all know, the honor system is fail-proof. Guess again. Either teens today are cleverer than we were at their age or they honestly think that there is a way to rationalize playing first-person shooter games as a needed skill to pass Pre-AP Biology. I’ve come to the realization that since converting to Islam, I’ve not instilled them with the appropriate amount of Catholic guilt that I grew up with.

I asked all the pertinent questions that old farts, like me, need to know when upgrading to a new system. “How much is YOUR upgrade to my neighborhood going to cost ME?” I think she did not appreciate my tone. But she did take the time to speak to me like any kindergarten teacher would a 5-year old on her first day of school, albeit very politely. So I did manage to open a new account on the new system for about what we’re SUPPOSED to be paying now (for the first 12 mos) AND I’m so fortunate that I’m an old fuddy-duddy who believes that books that don’t require Wi-Fi or a USB adapter in order to be read are
more important than having 30-bajillion channels that we’ll never watch, I stuck to my guns and ONLY got the upgraded internet. We have cell phones. Landlines are just an added expense and superfluous. The $8 a month I pay for Netflix is TV enough and now that we’ll have a faster connection, it won’t eat into the internet bill.

And I decided that in order to pay off the current bill, (that my husband and I did NOT run up by chasing down Creepers, jerks that grief our plots, or killing off mutants in a never-ending search to win ZP) I hit up each of our teenagers for $15 to go toward slaying the monster bill that THEY created. I am viewed by many as cheap. I care not. I am teaching these kids that life is NOT free and neither is the WiFi, no matter how much corporate stores advertise that they offer it.

I’m left with just one question:  Isn’t TiVo a football player who  prays after touchdowns?

* U-Verse (R) is registered trademark of AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.

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