Kill Your Cable

About a year or so ago, Comcast made the fatal mistake of raising my cable bill enough in one month to make me take a long, hard look at it.

Usually, it went up a dollar here and there, which is under most people’s radar. I know it was under mine.

Then, one month, it went up somewhere around five-eight dollars. WTF? That’s when I took a good, long long look at my bill and discovered I was paying EIGHY-ONE dollars a month for cable.

WHAT??? I didn’t even have any premium channels! Oh yeah, I had the “silver” plan that had things like History Channel and HGTV on it, but COME ON! EIGHTY-ONE bucks a month?

No. Freaking. Way.

That’s when I really started looking at options. Over the air HDTV was here and, although I only had an analog TV, I had a pretty good idea I could make some changes and save myself some money.

After hours of research, I came up with a plan.

I bought a TiVo HD (anticipating that somewhere down the road I would get an HDTV, and it WILL work with an analog television, so all is well), signed up for the $8.99/month Netflix, one-disc-at-a-time service with unlimited streaming, and cut my cable to basic service only, which was sixteen bucks a month. The TiVo was around three hundred, so it paid for itself with my savings in six months.

This worked out pretty well, as it turned out – I had more TV than I could watch and was getting the basic local channels from cable. The only problem I encountered was a known issue with TiVo HD and analog cable – there were random audio drop-outs. Annoying but not fatal. I had planned to get an HDTV and then go over the air only, but the audio drop-outs started to annoy me enough that I went and picked up an indoor antenna to see what I could get.

It’s not bad! I can’t seem to get ABC, but I get all the other local channels just fine. If the weather is exceptionally bad I may get some pixellation, but overall it’s pretty damn good for free TV. I canceled my basic cable and I’m now considering trying an outdoor antenna (which, since I live in a condo, will have to be mounted on the deck, so I’m still working out the logistics of that one) and see if my reception isn’t any better. Right now I only watch one show on ABC and I get that online, so I’m not missing a damn thing.

The cable companies better watch out. Between over the air HDTV and the Internet, they just might want to rethink trying to nickel and dime the American public to death.

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Why I Love My Cat

I only have one cat, but I can clearly be designated as a Crazy Cat Lady, because I have totally fallen under the Furry Little Kitty Spell they conjure so well.

I was a bird person for years. I had a Cockatiel, Meep, for thirteen years, and somewhere in the middle of that I had Neelix, a Quaker Parrot I rescued from a woman who honestly thought a parrot and a day care would go well together (you bird people are spitting mad right now, aren’t you? Now you know why I took her).

Don’t get me wrong. I loved my birds. But birds are unlike any other pets – you can’t leave a bird with just anyone – really, birds are as smart as 3-5 year olds, depending on the breed. They are a LOT of work. They are also a lot of fun, but realistically they can outlive you in most cases, so you really need to find them a good home if you die. And you need to plan this in advance.

When Meep died a couple years ago (I was devastated; she waited until I’d left the house to pass on, as many birds do, and I was heartbroken and guilt-ridden that I wasn’t there for her) I realized that I was in my early forties and any bird I got had the potential of outliving me. This would have been okay if I had anyone I could “will” her to, but, like I said earlier, birds are a lot of work to keep, if you keep them well.

I knew I could not live my life without a pet. Some people were put on this earth to care for children; I honestly feel my purpose is to care for the fur-and-feather creatures. So, after considering my options, (and knowing I could NOT live a life without a pet) I decided I would get a cat.

I’ve never had a cat; I did HOURS of research on the ‘net about care, and feeding, and behavior issues, and decided that yes, I could take a cat into my home.

I also decided, since Meep died in early November, that I would wait until the first of the year to get a new pet.

I made it six weeks.

Just look at this face:

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I was “looking” on the Ft. Collins Cat Rescue website, just LOOKING, mind you, and I saw her. She was in Larimie, Wyoming, and I was four hours away. There was something in her face, though. I stared at her picture for HOURS. I told myself it was too soon. Ultimately, I emailed her “parents”, we agreed to meet halfway in Cheyenne, and I got myself a cat.

Oh my God. I am SO in love with her. The thing about cats versus birds, is that cats can come sneaking in your room when you go to bed, purr in your face, and curl up and sleep with you.

It took her a couple weeks, but Pixel (formerly Ewok) decided I was her human and now I have a little furry sidekick that hangs with me wherever I go in the house.

I just returned from a four day trip wine tasting in Palisade, and I got bitched out for about thirty minutes from my “calico in the front, tortie in the back” (as the vet calls her) furkid for leaving her with a petsitter.

Awww, she missed me. I know I will have a little furry shadow for the next several days as she makes sure I have no intention of leaving her again.

I can’t describe the love of an animal for a human. Or a human for an animal, for that matter. But I can tell you that this little cat has become my constant companion; my little furry validation that I am important and meaningful in this world. I will weep bitterly for her when she goes to the clearing at the end of the path.

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