Monthly Archives: August 2017

Cutting the Cable Cord

I remember the first time I became aware of cable television. I was in high school and my father was upset that the town was allowing a cable company to dig up our grass to install the lines for cable. He argued with the city to get them to plant new grass to fix the mess they made out of our lawn. The grass grew back long before the town ever got cable. Each time it seemed like we would get cable, the company would go out of business and another company would eventually take over and then it would happen all over again. It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I learned my town had finally gotten cable.

At the time, the price of cable seemed relatively cheap in comparison to prices today. I remember my parents trying to decide what movie channels to pick and eventually realizing that they were paying for a lot of channels that they never watched. Once married, cable was a must as most places didn’t get channels on free television. If you lived near a major city, then you were luckier that most people. We usually chose the most basic cable plan. Later, we would choose a plan that also included the internet.

We recently completed a two-year contract that rolled into a month to month contract. Of course, the plan increased by $16 a month. When I looked into what a new two-year plan would cost, I saw that they would increase us another $25 a month, or $199 a month for the same plan. What is even worse is that if you were a new customer, you could get the same exact plan for $79 a month. So, to reward me for my loyalty, you will charge me $120 more a month? Ummmm….no thank you.

So we started looking at our options. The first thing we did was keep track of the channels that we actually watched. Out of 254 channels, we watched maybe 25 on a regular basis. We looked to see what options were available in streaming television and checked out Sling and Hulu. We ended up signing up for a free trial with Sling and picked the package that contained most of the channels that we watched. The only down side is that they do not have any local channels and we like watching the weather and traffic in the morning before going to work.

We then contacted the cable company to see if they would make us a deal, but they wouldn’t. Actually, the price kept going up instead of down. We then called back and asked what the price would be to increase our internet speed and drop cable. The person we talked to this time was very helpful and explained that we would need a different internet cable coming into our house for the fastest cable and we would get 15 local channels. The price was half what we were paying. We chose that plan and officially cut the cord.

After the install, we have fast internet where we can stream Sling television and also get the local channels for morning news. The surprise that we learned was that there are more than a hundred free channels that we also get as well. Many of the channels are from throughout the region. Some of the channels are from the UK and Japan. They apparently have agreements with Public Broadcasting (PBS) to stream their programs. The reality is that we have not missed cable at all. To think of all the money we wasted with cable and all the channels we never watched. I only wish we had known this sooner.

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Invasion of the Wildlife

While I love touring the countryside and capturing pictures of wildlife, I don’t necessarily like to see them up close and personal in my yard. This summer has been rather interesting around my house as several different animals have decided that our neighborhood makes a good place to live.

We have always seen deer around the area, but rarely see it near our house. One morning, we saw four deer making their way across the field behind our house. They came up from the river at the end of the block and were on their way back home after a night out. A few days later, I was on my way to work and I saw something in the road. It looked like a cat at first, but I realized that it was bigger than a house cat. As I got a little closer I realized that it was a red fox. It was headed out of my housing area, so I’m not exactly sure where it was coming from. I just hope it doesn’t live near.

My husband was working from home the next day when he sent me a text that a groundhog had apparently taken up residence under the shed in the back corner of the yard. When I asked him if he was sure, he sent me a picture. Since it was about the size of our pug, I was concerned and wanted it gone. We called a wildlife company that will trap and relocate the animals. The price was close to $200 to put in a trap so we decided to buy one ourselves. At the same time I saw a story on the Baltimore news that a rabid groundhog was found on the grounds of the Baltimore zoo, so I definitely didn’t want that living under our shed.

After about a week we didn’t catch anything. We were going to put the trap away but we ended up lending it to our neighbor when he said that a groundhog was living under his shed and eating from their garden. I figure it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet at their house for the groundhog. After a couple of weeks he returned the trap and said that he didn’t catch anything either. So apparently the groundhog moved on.

Photo © lenalee

Last weekend my husband went outside to mow the lawn. He saw a tiny bird alongside the shed and he thought it was injured. We put some water near it and when he checked a little later, it looked like it was trying to drink. After he finished the grass, he looked for it again and it had hopped up on a low board of the fence.  My husband took a picture of the little guy (who looks a little grumpy) and I texted it to a co-worker whose husband volunteers for a wildlife rescue organization. It seems the little bird is a newly fledged mockingbird who may have overestimated his flying ability. He said the mom and dad were probably close by. When we checked an hour later, the bird was gone, so the water must have worked. The next day we noticed mom and dad mockingbird chasing one another around our trees. I think they might have been celebrating their empty nest.

Rainy Weather

We have had a lot of rain go through the area in the past week. While we received a couple of inches, some areas received a lot more. The good news is that we have cooler temperatures for a few days, which has been nice since we were in the upper 90’s for a couple of weeks. As the storms moved through, the sky looked beautiful….

Sunset

Photo © Lenalee

 

Storm clouds clearing in the late afternoon

Photo © Lenalee

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