Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Cable Cut

We have been reevaluating our budget lately. It isn't pretty. The infertility and new furnace/AC bills are hitting us hard. Toss in some uncertainty about Nick's job (He works in fossil fuel research here at the University, but their funding comes from an Ear Mark that has been removed. We are keeping our fingers crossed that a last minute grant will come in to save the department, but that is still very up in the air.) and you have one family that is living tight, and has the fear of needing to live tighter soon.

So, we had to make the hard decisions on cutting back. And one of the places to cut was the Cable. We didn't turn it all the way off, but cut back to basic, which took us from like 500 channels to like 6 watchable channels, but we kept the internet and the DVR. Sounds reasonable, right? It should be reasonable. Here's the thing. Watching TV is what we DO. I know that sounds awful. Like, shouldn't we DO more productive things like quilting, or exercising? Maybe wood-working or puzzles? But we don't. What we DO in the evenings is watch TV and eat. And TV is good. So is food, but that is a different matter all together.

Do you know the very worst time of year to turn off your cable? It is the summer. I mean, you would think with all those daylight hours we could just enjoy the great outdoors... but it is Burning Blue Blazes hot around here, and there is NOTHING ON Basic TV. Like, we just look at it, then turn it back off. Nick will say "Well... lets see what's on. Nothing. Again"

We are watching a lot of Futurama and Mystery Science Theater 3000 on instant Netflix... we watch the news, which turns out is extremely depressing. Some Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. You guys, I am really realizing how much TV we actually had been watching. Because now that anything good is gone, we seem to be left with a lot of free time. I am reading. A LOT. And I am enjoying it, but it is a solo activity. I can't bring myself to read out loud to Nick, as if it were some play or something. Like back in the day when people sat around the fire and read stories to each other. I could do it... but no. I can't. That would be ridiculous.

I mean, I know we could just TALK. But... we talk at dinner, we talk during the day. We talk ALL THE TIME. We can't just spend hours each night getting to know each other with deep conversations. The Gig is up. We have been together 12 years. WE KNOW EACH OTHER. If the TV was on, we could discuss the fact that we had no IDEA that was how marbles were made or something. But now, I read, he plays video games. Sometimes we play games together. 'The World of Goo' on the Wii is fun. We play with Henry, who seems to not care in the slightest the that cable is gone. We still have DVD's of Nemo and Woody. All is right with the world according to H.

But I am really ready for the summer break on TV to end and for the shows I enjoy to come back. I miss them. Which is sad but true. I would like to say I have become independent from TV, that it is easy to give up! But damn, we miss it.


  1. I know this one! We've been on the tightest of tight budgets most of our time together and things like cable are luxuries we really have to justify. We have the basic package and sometimes we wonder if it is really worth paying for it when we hardly ever watch anything on more than the 5 channels we'd get for free anyway (well, free if you don't count the TV license which I think sucks seeing as though you have to pay it by law to have a tv and yet it all goes to the BBC and we watch far more than just the BBC these days!)

    One thing we did consider was joining something like I love Film so that we could pay a monthly fee and just rent out DVDs, but again with Tim's shift patterns these days we actually find we do a lot more things separately (Tim plays on his xbox and I read or surf the net). I'm lucky in that I like to craft, and if I'm not actively watching the tv I don't miss it. But then I hear about or see an advert for some awesome things that we just don't get to watch and I realise that it does indeed suck not having that option.

    We work our way through DVD sets we have like The X Files, Firefly, Buck Rogers, Babylon 5 etc but there's only so much of one series you can take before you want to watch something a little different, right?

    I hope tv on the basic channels picks up soon (why is it that autumn is the only time anything good is on tv?) and really hoping that grant comes through for Nick's work!! We've been there with the uncertainty of work and where next month's rent and other payments might come from and it's very unpleasant, so I'm really hoping it all works out xx

  2. Thats how we are in my house too. It's sad and slightly embarrassing but true. Unfortunately we are about the make the cable cut too and I am absolutely dreading it! I don't know what im going to do with myself! :(

  3. You know there are a ton of tv shows on the computer, right? Hook up your laptop to the tv and you have a ton of choices. And what about Netflix?

  4. Do you guys have any interests that you could pursue? Between cutting out our entire TV and IF, both DH and I found hobbies that we could pursue.

  5. we cut our cable in February- all of it! we got an antenna ($15), Net Flix $12.00/month and Apple TV $100/one time fee - and save around $100 a month. Do I miss DVR yes, but I can rent the show on Apple TV for 99cents;)

  6. It is hard at first, but you'll adjust to it eventually. We cut ours like 3 years ago and I only miss it when new seasons of Dexter start airing. (Which has been solved by my parents recording it for me on a VCR! Old time, yo!)

    Most of the shows I watched anyway were on the channels that we now get free - ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the WB. We probably watch PBS the most around here now! (Kasen loves Caillou, Word World and Curious George!) My husband does miss SyFy and sometimes I miss TLC, but really, the cash spent is not worth just those two channels!

    I know what's on throughout the day and if I miss it, I don't really care. My life doesn't revolve around the TV schedule any more and my bank account thanks me :)

  7. Too funny...we just did the same thing so we could save for adoption. Hubby practically burst into flames from the frustration of nothing being on. We turned it back on. Ugh.

  8. Ive been debating this a lot--need to figure out some ways to cut back! Its sad the way we all come to looooove our TV--Im guilty of it for sure!