Cutting the Cable

Cutting the cable was a great idea. We were paying for 7000 TV channels and watching about 3. We would follow the example of those who lived on their phone. So the deed was done. After we bought and tried four different antennas, we found that we were 15 miles beyond over the air TV channels. But we could get 4 channels! Channels airing programs we didn’t watch in the 70s nor would we watch today lest they corrode our brains with unfunny silliness.

We upgraded a laptop to equip us to stream our favorite channels. The news networks broadcast news a day old. For reasons beyond my tech ability, we could never connect with most of the news that promised we could watch 24/7 free. Our favorite preachers faced a different problem. The buffering was so frequent it took 1:45 hours to broadcast a 30-minute sermon.

And then there is the phone. We live in what was many years ago called “the bottoms.” That means we live at the bottom of the surrounding hills. The cell towers in our area are all owned by US Cell. Our provider buys space from Verizon. The price is great. The service at our house is virtually non-existent. US Cell uses the best parts of the tower for their customers and then sells what is left over to Verizon and other carriers. When we found we could not call each other from across the coffee table, I purchased a Verizon amplifier which was to strengthen the signal. $200 carried no guarantees and no returns. It did help for a while, but then as if someone turned a switch we were without phone service. When I asked for suggestions, our tech asked if we could go to the top of the hill to make our calls.

I was bothered by a question: what will we do if there is an emergency? How do we call 911? I’ll drive up the hill in my boxers in the middle of the night? Didn’t sound like a workable solution. So we reconnected the cable.

I figure we would be $300 ahead had we not decided to save money.

Getting our old number of 30 years back and imported to the company that had used it for 20 years became an international job. We exhumed the body of Ma Bell. Mrs. Bell or one of her successors had retired our number—like they do baseball jerseys—deactivated it and sent it the burial grounds in some warehouse in Guam. So we were back to hanging out the upstairs window to fully utilize the one tower on our cell phones. The phones worked well everywhere, except receiving calls or sending calls at our house—which removed us from communication with the outside world.

For five weeks I talked to techs on five continents and languages I could not understand—all of whom were gracious and wanted to help—but in spite of being assigned the number and receiving bills for the service, the old number would not ring into our house. The temp number would.

We now have reduced the number of TV channels to about 800 and can get the 3-4 channels we watch plus subscriptions to Hulu, Roku and Amazon. I’m sure I’ve missed others with at least one that we cannot get rid of.

It is with exhausted pleasure I announce that our landline is fully operational as of this morning. The number is….

319-754-6941

Call me. I’m lonely.
Dean

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