Cutting the Cord, a Saga (Part 2)

by Lindy on May 2, 2011

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Ode to DVR

An ode to the cable DVR of yore, and its uncanny ability to cut off at the most unattractive frames

(In case you missed it, see Cutting the Cord, Part 1)

The timing was perfect.

The Big Love series finale was over (R.I.P. Bill Henrickson, *tear*). Top Chef All Stars had finished (Go Blais!).  Nothing was holding us back.

The time was now, or the time was never.

We’d been talking about it for a while.  We’d been crunching the numbers and researching our options, gearing up for the fateful day we’d cut ties with our cable bill.

The day was today.

In a moment of inspiration one Friday afternoon, I took the plunge.  I called up the cable company and braced myself for a fight.  If they offered me a discount, I was going to say NO!  If they offered to rework my channel package, I was going to say NO!

Surprisingly, they didn’t try to fight me, and within a few minutes I was informed that our cable would be shut off the next day.   That was easy!

I cheerfully texted A-Rob as I got off the phone.

“I just cancelled cable!”

He texted back.

” :) ”

The moment had come, and I’d triumphed.

I’d ripped off the Band-aid. I’d followed through with the plan. I’d cut the cord!

The next day was Saturday.

A-Rob and I were sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by sunlight as it filtered through the blinds, enjoying our life-giving morning coffee, and talking about all the money we’d be saving with our new cable changes.

The kids were soaking up what would be their last doses of Nickelodeon, blissfully unaware that they wouldn’t be consuming television in this manner again.

Hmm.  We should probably tell them.

As A-Rob and I were chatting about our new television regime – streaming Netflix through the Wii and HuluPlus through the PlayStation, I brought up the fact that some of our shows weren’t available in any of these platforms – like his fave, Mythbusters.

Then A-Rob looked at me kind of funny, “wait, you cancelled ALL of the cable?  We’re not getting any basic channels? No Mythbusters?”

Er… Um… Yeah.  Unfortunately, miscommunications of this magnitude are the norm in our family.

At this moment I felt a tiny little pin prick my balloon of triumphant cable-free happiness.

Later that day, I figured I should let my six-year-old EeBee know that his beloved Nickelodeon would be going away after today.  So we sat down together that afternoon, and I dropped the news.

“What?!  You’re cancelling cable? That’s so lame!”  As he turned on the television to watch some more.

Balloon getting flatter…

Luckily, we had an event to attend that night and were all away from the television for the rest of the evening.  But when we returned home, the error message on the cable box told us that the deed had been done.  Cable was gone.  We’d have two unhappy children tomorrow.

The next day, in a twist of irony, the kids never even turned the TV on.  I mean, the whole frickin’ day they never turned it on once!  That never happens.  Could the frugal gods be smiling on me?  Or maybe this was just the calm before the storm.

Later that night, tired from a long day of playing, the kids decided to settle in and watch some TV for the last 10 minutes before bed.  As A-Rob turned it on, he informed (reminded?) them that we didn’t have cable anymore.

What happened next, was chaos.

At least, it felt like chaos with the amount of six-year-old negativity blowing up all over that couch.

“That’s so lame!”

“Netflix is so stupid!”

“We’ll have nothing to watch!”

“I wanted to see if there was a new Young Justice!”

“I can’t believe you did this!”

“No more Nickelodeon?”

Even two-year-old Baby Rock chimed in, mirroring his older brother. “That’s so lame!” he said, in his teeny toddler voice.

A-Rob and I exchanged mutual frowns.  My happy cable free bliss balloon was now just a sad puddle of rubber.

And at that moment, the cancelling of the cable was quickly demoted from being the Plan, to an Experiment.

To be continued…

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  • Méla

    We are currently going through the agony of making this decision. It is not any easy one when so much of our culture revolves around television. Our morning routine–pour coffee, catch the weather channel then turn to the news. Evenings start with BBC news to catch what is happening worldwide. We get brave then we back off–thinking of maybe making it a “summer experiment” and seeing what happens. Good luck to you!

    • Lindy

      It’s hard to replace real time cable news. I feel you on that one. Thanks for the comment!

  • Chad

    My kids only know to watch TV through the Wii or dvds. We cut all the cable we could several years ago. Netflix has really gotten much better with the streaming. We have a few stations, because Comcast makes you get the basic package, mostly local, TBS and Discovery, to have internet at a reasonable rate.

    It took awhile, but I actually enjoy watching TV more now,because I don’t channel surf. I try, but really its pointless. Back into reading now. I am buying an apple TV this week, so I can stream my itunes to the TV. Season passes are pretty nice where I just can’t wait. Dr. Who is the only pass I get right now. I have learned to be patient.

    Now, cut your cell phone! :) I just did that and it was a HUGE hassle. I couldn’t believe what a hassle it was. We will be saving about 600$ a year with our prepay plan, which I pointed out to the people. They acted as if I was crazy.

    • Méla

      We don’t have cell phones so won’t have to deal with that agony! Because we don’t like commercials we find that much of the time we download and watch later anyway but there still seems to be a great deal of pain involved with the idea of cutting the cable cord.

    • Lindy

      Wow, cutting the cell phone, I don’t know if we’re ready for that yet. Good for you!

  • We currently only pay $20 a month for cable (through our landlord). Which is still $240 a year. But when we were paying $100 a month for cable and internet–I was getting close to cancelling it.

    I hope we never have to be in a situation again where we need to cancel cable! I would die!

    • Lindy

      Haha. I hope you never have to make that decision either. $20 a month is a screaming deal!

  • I’m waiting to see how this turns out. I hope you stuck to your gun. :)

    • Lindy

      You’ll just have to wait until Monday to find out. ;)

  • But the first like 6 seasons of mythbusters are on netflix streaming! And Man vs. Food! There’s LOTS of good stuff on there. We can’t keep up.

    • Lindy

      Yes, but we’ve already seen all the old Mythbusters. You’re right though, there is a lot to watch through Netflix once you start digging.

  • Ooo, we just found out The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents is streaming too. New obsessions.

    I really hope this turns out well.

    • Lindy

      Alfred Hitchcock Presents! I’ll have to add that to the queue. Why is “queue” such a weird word to spell?

  • I SO WISH I could get rid of cable!! I was at the trailer on the weekend and have decided NOT to get cable there this summer so that will save me probably about $200 AND I’m not going to get wifi there either. The whole idea is to get AWAY from that stuff and get OUTSIDE. Good luck with your “experiment”!

    • Lindy

      And good luck with yours! There’s nothing like a good TV-free experiment to see if you can do it or not. Especially if you have a beautiful outdoors to go to instead!

  • You know, I think they’ll get used to it, especially if you explain to the older one what that saved money can do for you guys (works with my son when we cut something out.) Stick with it! In a few months you’ll notice them getting more creative and active.

  • Aww… This post was so sad, but SO sweet. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the cable. :)

  • Oh Lordy! I don’t think I could cut the cable ties!! My husband LOVES TV! The fix it shows, the car shows, you name it, he ( and I watch a lot of cable!

  • *chuckle* may turn into a happy ending after all. OR you might consider putting up an old-fashioned antenna. We get 13 channels with ours. :)

  • Anne

    Stick it out…
    We also use an old fashioned antenna and Netflix. I truly don’t miss out on anything.

  • Kudos to you for taking the plunge! I’ve thought about it, as I don’t really need it at this point. Sure, there are some sports I like to watch, as well as news, but aside from that I’m good with cutting it. My daughter loves certain shows, and frankly while I think excess TV is not good for kids, there’s some she really loves and at this point I’m not quite ready to take that plunge. Maybe sometime though, I’m not shutting down that option. Perhaps just procrastinating it :)

    • Lindy

      If Netflix has a strength, it is its plethora of kids TV. I procrastinated the decision for a long time too. :)

  • I’m meeting the cable person tomorrow to sign up for cable!! My boyfriend is a TV-a-holic and he can’t go without his TV just like I can’t go without my internet.

    I made him compromise and he’s only getting the sports channel add-on to the regular cable.

    Netflix is pretty shoddy up here in Canada, unfortunately!

    Good luck! I’m sure your family will persevere ;)

  • Well, kudos to you for at least giving it a shot, I don’t think I could ever do it. I’ve thought about it and about how much we’d save, but anytime I am in a friends home and they don’t have cable, I feel so odd, I am like “wow, this feels like a home with no toilet!”… same thoughts when there’s no internet too! I know, that’s bad. I grew up with cable, it just feels so natural.

    It is interesting how fast we get attached to our tv’s, like your little 6 y/o! lol…great post, can’t wait to read more on this saga!

    • Lindy

      I know what you mean. Having cable is so natural, especially if you’ve had it in your life basically forever, like I have.

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