Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blogging is harder without the internet (Babble)

Some things about moving are fun.  For me, organizing the new kitchen is fun, laying down a new rug and seeing how pretty it looks is fun, and discovering some piece of furniture fits perfectly in the new home is fun.

Transferring services?  Less fun.  The bank and credit card companies were easy to change over to the new address, but the electric and gas had some weird hoops to jump through.  And Virgin Mobile for my cell phone?  They have a way too cool for school voice mail menu that is useless.  I don’t think they need to know I moved anyway, since the billing is directly through a credit card, so they can call and listen to me be all hip for awhile if they want my new information.  We had a glitch in long distance which disappeared for a night because of the move, and the mailman is confused about which house he should be delivering things to.

In any case, it’s all getting worked out, but the last thing we’re waiting for is the return of the internet.  I don’t know why that takes at least two weeks, but apparently it does.  I’ve only been able to access email at work, and when I’m at work….well, I need to work.  Blogging is something I’ve been doing during those semi-down moments, like when the kids are in the bath and I need to be nearby but I don’t have to do much. 

My favorite time to write is that half hour after I put the kids to bed and I need to do something quiet until they’re out and I can safely move around the house without disturbing them.  I’ve obviously still been able to blog without the internet at home, but it’s been awkward.

Living without the internet, though, has been interesting.  You don’t know how addicted you are to something until it goes away.  I hadn’t realized just how pervasive it was in my home life until it stopped being an option.  I don’t think of myself as being tied to my laptop, but I’m used to checking it regularly.  I’m used to having instant Netflx and Hulu and reading other people’s blogs for entertainment.  I like listening to public radio online while I do chores.  I’m used to looking things up instantly, ordering things I need from helpful websites, and feeling up to date on current issues.  I’ve learned I’m online much more often than I realized.

I have moments where I stand around feeling like I should be doing something, but all the things that occur to me involve the internet, so then I just keep standing there.  Then I smile as I realize that for most of my life I didn’t have the internet and now it’s like being in some flashback to a less wired time.  I’d say a simpler time, except the internet makes a lot of things simpler so that’s just a silly thing to say. 

But it’s slower time.  When you can’t have things instantly you’re forced to sit still and wait.  I’m not used to that anymore, so it’s good to revisit.   I feel like I should be using this time to read more, but I have a hard time when Ian’s deployed getting into a book.  I start things, but it’s harder to get involved the way I want to.  When I really get into a book I like to dive in for long stretches and let everything else go, and when I’m the only adult in the house part of me is always alert in a way that makes that kind of enjoyable immersion more difficult.

The funniest thing has been watching my kids deal with the lack of internet at home.  They are 21st century children, and they don’t know life without Google or cell phones.  I remember taking a walk around the block with Quinn once when he was about two, and we passed a teenage girl listening to loud music on her ipod and my son informed me that he thought her phone was ringing.  In his lifetime, a ‘ringing’ phone could be any sound at all.

Mona is counting down the days when she can go on Webkinz again.  Both girls have virtual pets to care for and they miss them.  Quinn keeps asking to watch Dora or Caillou on my laptop while we fold laundry and I have to keep reminding him we can’t for awhile.  We can’t email Uncle Barrett a bug question.  We can’t try to Skype with daddy.  We can’t email him that we love him whenever we like.  I told the kids to think it real hard or just say it out loud instead and I promised daddy would know.

On the upside, since we still have internet access at work, it’s been much easier to get the kids to come with me to the violin store at odd times.  I needed to update a Craigslist posting so I asked the kids after dinner last night if we could run out to the shop for a minute, and normally they would whine about that, but Aden lit up and said, “Okay!  Work as long as you like!”  The kids all huddled around their dad’s painfully slow computer at the store while I unpacked boxes and worked on a violin for awhile.  They usually complain about how long it takes for the work computer to load, but they’ve been so deprived they didn’t care how slow PBSkids ran.

I guess I was surprised by how plugged in they are because I don’t think of us as a very high tech family.  We don’t have cable or satellite, we don’t have video games (unless you count the broken Atari set that Ian plans to tinker with someday when he’s home from Iraq), we don’t have any ipods, and my cell phone doesn’t even take pictures.  We still play records and tapes.  My kids spend a lot of time spreading toys all over the house and painting pictures, so I think of them doing mostly that.  But they have a couple of laptops to use, and I didn’t realize how much they used them until they started asking me every half hour when Webkinz World would be working again.

I suppose it’s good to spend less time with my laptop, but especially without Ian around the internet has been my link to the world outside the house and minivan.  If I can’t have him to talk to at the end of the day, it’s nice to be able to surf around the web until I get sleepy, or email a friend.  On a really lucky evening I even get to chat with Ian online briefly before I go to sleep and he goes to work.  Some people like to look for the harm in anything new, but in our house the internet has only made our lives better.  I’m almost as anxious as Mona to get it back.

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