Going TV-free isn't nearly as cut n' dried as it used to be. It goes something like this:
Note to reader: Caller ID shows this number calls several times a day and has already called three times in the last hour. I've Googled the number and know who it is. I've even called their service and asked to be removed from their calling list, but that apparently takes "up to" 30 days to work. Exasperated, I answer.
Them: Hello, is Brandon there? (Ugh, they obviously don't know my husband goes by "Lee." I consider putting my 3-year-old, Brandon, on the line just to mess with them.)
Me: No, I'm sorry, he's at work.
Them: Is this Mrs. Miller? (man, I shoulda put the kid on the line)
Me: Yes, it is.
Them: Well, we're just calling because we noticed you dropped your TV service. We're wondering what your reasons were.
Me: We've decided it's not something we need. We hardly watched it anyway. With prices going up across the board, it's nice to be able to lessen our load and drop something we didn't need.
Them: We can certainly understand costs being a factor. Prices really are sky high and everyone's having a hard time. That's why we're calling today to offer you another DishNetwork package. You could start again today for only $22/month. That's $180 savings over the entire next year!!!!
Me: (thinking: that's not nearly the savings we get if we don't have the service at all) No thank you. We're happy about our decision. We really don't need a TV.
Them: And we'd also like to offer you FOUR premier channels at no cost to you for your first three months starting back up. If you decide you don't need those channels after three months, all you have to do is call us back and tell us to cancel them.
Me: No, thank you.
Them: And because we know everyone is hurting a little bit after the Christmas holidays, we're happy to tell you that you won't have to pay anything for your service for the first two months. Those first two months will be absolutely FREE!
Me: (laughing quietly) Seeeeeriously, we're good.
(wondering if I should launch into all of the other reasons we're cancelling--you know--talk about all of the trash on TV and the horrible commercials and how my children quickly turn into mindless, lazy zombies after just one hour of TV-watching)
Them: And...if you still have your equipment at your home, we can start you back up right now. You'll have your entire service back up TODAY! Can I get you started right now?
Me: Look, I can appreciate what you're trying to offer, but no thank you. We're confident in our decision. Please put us on your "do not call" list, immediately. Goodbye.
We've made tremendous sacrifices to make it possible for me to be home with our children. It's a huge responsibility and living on a shoe-string budget is all worth it ONLY if they have a present and active parent. We've discovered that the little metal box full of tubes and wires really changes who we're destined to be if "we are what we think." So, for now, it's gone. We're even selling our TV and just keeping one TV up in our guestroom for family movie nights or other special shows on DVD/VCR. What a RELIEF!
I'm happy to say that these last two weeks without traditional TV have really been fun. We've built indoor cabins, baked cookies and cakes from scratch, taken middle-of-the-day baths, played board games, invited friends over, created doll worlds and even written books. And...at this exact moment our darlings have turned the sofa into a pirate ship and my daughter is drawing a treasure map (to a previously hidden treasure in our house) for my son to find. They're active, imaginative kids, once again, and we're finding far more quality time in the ordinary day. I'm excited--can ya tell?!
We have been experimenting with Netflix the last few days and have found it's a much better alternative for our family. It allows us to watch what we want to watch, when we want to (you can connect it to your TV, too). And there's definitely full parental involvement, which is important to us. These are commercial-free television shows (or even movies) that the kids can watch whenever we get in the mood.
The following picture was shot before we figured out how to put it up on the TV. But the nice thing is that once the show is over, it turns off.
I'll keep you updated on how this goes. :)
By the way, the TV we're getting rid of is a pretty nice (and big) RCA television and only 2 years old. So if you don't live too far away and you're in need of a spare TV for a bedroom or den, email me (teachertools at gmail dot com) for details.