Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Canceling Cable - 1 Year In

I have never been a TV person.  I was raised in a home where we were not allowed to just watch TV, we had to be doing something at the same time--like folding laundry, sewing, knitting, etc.  I usually got so engrossed in what I was doing that I didn't pay attention to the television.  As an adult, I spend my spare time reading, blogging, surfing the web, etc.

My husband, on the other hand, is drawn to the television as though it were a magnet.  He was raised in a home where the TV was always on.  I have seen my husband walk in a room, intent on telling someone something, see the television and become entranced and not even remember what he had come to say.  It's both scary and funny.

Jason and I have both felt strongly about the girls having limited access to television and at times, felt we were in a bitter war with the television.  Cranky children who wanted to stay up late and watch "one more show".  Children who became insolent and disobedient when told to turn the television off.

A year ago, the cable television portion of our bill went up to $72.99 a month and the new digital signal would require a box and remote for each television in our home (in order to get cable on that television), an additional $9 per month for each television.  Jason and I sat down and discussed it and decided there were a lot of other things we could do with that money every month and we would cancel cable for the summer.

But as soon as football season started...we would look into a BIG FAT football package...we would spend the money we saved on not having cable for the summer on upgrading to a great football package.  It was a deal.

We subscribed to Netflix for documentaries and movies and it filled the void of TV for Jason and the girls when they were sick or it was rainy or some other time when watching TV didn't seem like a total waste of time.

We soon discovered that we preferred Netflix over cable.  We love being able to watch whole seasons of shows like Downton Abbey and Mad Men and Weeds.  There were a lot of good documentaries and the girls were pleased with the television shows.

The fighting over TV time went away.  The girls stopped asking and just found other things to do. 

Jason started playing guitar and reading more.  He got more into yoga.  He started running.  He got projects done around the house that had been on his list for years.

We had friends over more and just sat around chatting.

We went for walks at night after dinner or bike rides.  We sat around as a family and just talked, no TV, no distraction.

When fall rolled around and I started looking into football packages and inquiring as to whether we would get a Dish signal with the mature trees is our neighborhood, Jason stopped me in my tracks, "I don't want cable or dish.  I don't care about the football package,"  he said.  "I feel better about how I spend my time now.  Look at me, look at the chords I have learned on guitar, the stuff I did around the house, I read all these books...."

It was I who said, "What about an antenna?  I don't want you to miss football completely."

So we mounted an antenna on our roof and we get all the local New York and Philly stations.  He was able to watch his beloved New York Giants.

Recently, the promotion we locked in to when we canceled cable was up and now the price we pay for internet and phone and the same as the promotion for cable, internet and phone (minus the fees for the set-top boxes and remotes).  I asked Jason if he thought we should reconsider for a year.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  "Go back to that?  No way.  I am more into playing guitar and yoga and reading.  I have no interest in TV.  I think what we have now is fine,"  he told me.  "I don't want to go back to that, get sucked in, start watching TV and not playing guitar and stuff and feel like crap for all the time I wasted watching other people do stuff.  Then we would just have to go through the whole canceling it anxiety again."  He admitted that canceling cable had caused him some anxiety last year, but he is much happier without it.