Not Having Real TV, Not So Bad.

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We don’t have any over the air, cable or satellite TV. What this means is the only  TV we get, is what we choose to stream.   It is our normal and we don’t think much about it.   If we want TV we have to pick something.  We don’t turn it on for background noise, because you still have to pick something that will run continuously.  Nor do we have the option of turning it on and flipping through the stations and looking for the best of what is on. I can’t remember how long it has been this way but it is years for us.  It works for us.

RangerSir recently had to go to a training for several days out of town.   He was a location that had “real” TV.   Of the two of us, he is the one who enjoys TV the most and so was looking forward to seeing what we were missing.    He came home so glad we had choose no live broadcast  TV.   He talked about all the primary ads, how many there were, the kinds of material they presented, the tone of politics,  and how little real information they gave.

We are not living in a vacuum or so far off line that we are out of touch.  We know what is going on out there, because we do watch news, debates and more.   We have read up and researched on the candidates positions and history. We watch and read about the world and what is happening and how it impacts people  and countries around the world.    Maybe during an election cycle, this is one of those times where not having regular TV is not so bad. It forces me to be fully informed and think about what I think we need to do, not what some one tells me needs to be done, with half-truths and twisted facts.

Movie Night a Holiday Tradition

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As we watch a movie it moves from the left unwatched pile to the right side viewed this year pile.

Every family has holiday traditions one of ours is to watch a holiday movie every night starting the day after Thanksgiving.  We started this tradition years ago when we got the ABC Family station and they had 25 days of Christmas shows and movies.   Some of what was shown was classic holiday shows, some shows were new and others were reruns from previous years.  Each night we watched what they presented. It was time for popcorn, turn on tree lights and have romantic evening on the couch with RangerSir.

This inspired us to create our own collection.   We have been collecting holiday movies now for years.   Some DVDs in our collection are classics and others are multipacks put out by Hallmark or other source.   Even though we have quite a stash now, we still find ourselves pulled to the $5 bin at Kmart or browsing Amazon looking for something that we don’t yet have.  New things are coming out and even old classics are being discounted all the time. We have enough now that we don’t watch everything every year.

The tradition of watching a show a night is a sort of guilty pleasure because some of the movies are possibly cheesy at best, and surely others would scoff at some in our collection and our use of time. We don’t care.  One night is lady’s choice and the other gentleman’s choice. We sometimes laugh at one another because of our choices.   It may seem a little crazy that we watch some of this, but is is quiet time together in a crazy mixed up season.  Time well spent in the company of my love.

Whatever your traditions enjoy them and your time with family and friends.

Watching TV when you have no TV

We are a bit of an unusual family in that we have no broadcast television.   By that I mean that we have no over-the -air television, no cable, nor satellite television to watch.  This is not to say that we don’t watch TV and we possibly watch too much TV as thousands, perhaps millions of Americans do as well.    Having no broadcast television  makes our TV watching somewhat different than most in that we can never turn on TV and surf the channels and pick the best of what is currently broadcasting.   For us deciding what to watch on TV is a an active and  conscious choice.     We must put an effort in to deciding what to watch.   The household mood is the overriding factor as we choose what we will watch, along with how much time we are willing to commit.  We can pull out a DVD with a movie or a TV series we have purchased and watch that for the second, third, or possibly even more times than we can count.  If the night is right we can stream something with Amazon Prime.   Our high-speed internet is questionable at best and if all the other neighbors decide to stream too, it is instead slow-speed internet, we understand the limits of the bandwidith.   We never imagined that we be streaming TV but we do.

We are very much behind the times because of TV watching limitations.   We know what we have seen in hotel rooms and as a result are pretty sure what we are not missing.   Yet we hear the buzz and wonder sometimes what we are missing.

Our most recent discovery on Amazon Prime is Downton Abby.   Now I know millions of of you are already huge fans, but we haven’t had PBS since we left Michigan.  We have finished episode one and are working our way on episode two (our high-speed became slow-speed part way through and so we stopped for tonight).   It is so different from the Master Piece Theater of old with Alister Cook, where a long series would take up a month of Sunday nights.      I sure wish that we had found this show during the long nights of winter, because the nice weather is coming on in Montana and there is much more to do besides watch TV.   In spite of that I am wishing for a snow/rain just plain nasty evening so RangerSir and I can binge  watch the down and catch up with the rest of you.   TV or not, good shows seem to always find an audience.

Vacation of Uncertain Kind

My husband out there in the elements trying to adjust that little antennae

My husband out there in the elements trying to adjust that little antennae

Last fall  we  planned our vacation for this week.  We had made  lots of plans that we were quite excited about.  We had hotel reservations that ensured we were going to be leaving Dodge and take a “real vacation.”  Something we seldom do.   Then life happened.  My husband is a federal employee and sequestration and the debt ceiling suddenly made things uncertain.   My employer had a tough year and I may have reduced hours.   It no longer made sense for us to take off.   That vacation fund might just be needed for other things.   We decided that we would stay home  finish up projects in our kitchen that we had planned for later the year.

This vacation has been a comedy of errors.   We tried to replace the lights only to discover that the conversion kit need for the vaulted ceiling cost more than the new lights did.   They went back to the store.   We discovered that the salesman for the flooring was not fully informed and it could not be laid on the existing subfloor in our kitchen .   The new flooring is going back next week.   Our old range  had died beyond repair.   We had waited  ten days for the new one to be delivered, only to discover it had been damaged in transit,  again beyond repair, and would have to be replaced.  Another two weeks without a range  is on our horizon as our old one was already on the way to the recycle center.   Our TV quit working because they changed the “repeater” towers for our over the air TV.   My husband spent the cold day out in the wind trying to get the over the air antenna to pick up three stations.  No such luck only two or one the towers are just too far apart to work with our little antenna.  We had planned to hike and ride our new bikes.  Instead we have had snow two days already, when it has not been snowing, the wind has been howling.

This could be a disaster.   My husband and I could be fighting about all our frustrations.   Instead we are somehow enjoying the time for what it is.   Every time we drive two hours to the city to buy or return something we treat ourselves to a nice lunch.    We are foodies and love to enjoy food that we can’t easily find in our neck of the woods.   We love to sit in a restaurant and compare how we saw things and our plans.    One day we split a Cubano sandwich and salad, another I had a Thai chicken salad with mango, and he had a southwestern style sandwich, yesterday we found a Mediterranean café and split a trio/combo lunch.

No this wasn’t how we had planned our life, but it is ok .   It is a vacation of a different kind.  A vacation to reconnect.  A vacation to enjoy simple accomplishments.   A vacation not to be spent hurrying trying to squeeze as many things a possible things in a five-day-long holiday.  It has been a holiday that we have savored the time together, and the trials that have reminded us that together we are stronger than we are alone.

Life without TV

Once again we are living life without TV.   The last time this happened I was protesting that congress sold off analog TV frequencies to businesses and forced all of its citizenry  to buy converters or new TVs.  This time it was of my own doing, we just had a new metal roof put on our house.  This meant that our little antenna in our attic could no longer receive a signal.

Gone is the nonstop chatter that goes with morning news.   My husband turns on the TV first thing when he rises and watches the early morning national news at 5, followed by an hour of the local morning news show as he gets ready for work.   These newscasts are valuable for about 15 minutes after that they repeat the same news over and over.   News shows should just go back the 15 minute format that they were  originally, or spend a little more time and report either in depth, or find some other headlines to report.

In the evening we were  like so many others; we watch stupid shows because night has settled in and we were out of the habit of doing something that takes a little brain power.   We had done our evening chores,  taken a walk and could  now justify vegging in front of the boob tube.  It is made worse because so much of what is on TV now is reality TV.   Lost is the era of scripted TV, not that it was all good, but at least with a scripted show there was a plot you had to think about or could get lost in.  Even in situation comedies (do they even call it that anymore?) there would be a moment when you laughed not because you thought it was funny, but the moment rang true in your life.

Now, like the last time we were without TV, we are doing different things in the evening.   We have taken to never eating in front of the TV, not that we did it a lot but it is completely gone now. Dinner lasts a little longer when you eat at the table with dinner conversation.     We are getting a few more of our tasks crossed off our “honey do lists.”  We aren’t always rushing through our chores, but enjoying our animals and new trees that require our time. Of course our reading time has gone up.    We  were readers before, but now we are flipping many more pages in a night.  One of the biggest throw backs is we are playing games again.   It tends to not be the same every night, some nights it word games like Boggle, others backgammon, and sometimes cards. It is good because these games unlike vegging out do require us to think, but also enjoy some those qualities of one another that we did when we courted.   Being highly competitive there is also lots of laughing when plans backfire and one of us goes down in flames.   I can tell you that the competition of  game night takes your mind away from the stress of work that you were never going to solve at 8pm at home in the first place.

I am not sure when TV will come back online in our house, last time it was months before we succumbed.   In the mean time we will be visiting Goodwill to see what games the rest of you have sent there because you are no longer having game night at your house.