The day the (satellite) signal died


Saturday was our last day with DirectTV. After 34 months with them and the twelve previous years with Dish Network we’ve decided enough is enough. Enough with spending over $1200/year. Enough with the open sewer pipe pumped into the house. Enough cycles around the remote control in search for something to pass the time.


Netflix costs $79/year and we’ve gotten used to it since beginning a trial subscription in June. I’ll likely add Amazon Prime and am already checking into subscribing to next spring. Combined these three things would equal a small fraction of what I was spending annually for satellite service.

As it was the final things we saw piped through the dish and into our home were pretty special. I saw this on Wednesday night:

Followed Saturday morning by the parade through Boston that ended with this:

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

And then there was this on Saturday night from downtown Lincoln:

On Sunday my daughter went to the library with my wife and came home with three books. She eagerly tore into them Sunday afternoon and finished them by supper. She read them again on Monday and is ready to go back to check out more. While she read on Sunday our 10-year old was playing outside with his buddy and our beagle and our 17-year old was finishing up his homework and his binge-watching of Breaking Bad on Netflix. I’d never watched it but he heard all the hooplah as the series came to a close last month and has been watching the entire series ever since. My wife having spent three weeks with me watching the Red Sox through the entire post-season and cross-stitching has been trying to finish our oldest son’s Christmas stocking.

And me? Other than the installation of an antenna so that we can pick up local channels in high definition I plan on spending more time with family unfettered by Spongebob, zombies and commercials for Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family (which really is the opposite of a family channel but that’s another rant for another day). My wife and I are thinking of setting aside time each night for a family rosary once again as we used to do years ago. It’s only been a few days since the satellite signal ceased but everyone has already adjusted to it pretty quickly and with little complaint. Sure we can afford the bill but I can afford the price of crystal meth, too. Just because we can afford something doesn’t mean it absolves us of the responsibility my wife and I have as parents to be good stewards over the young minds in our care or our family finances.

Ok, so that’s perhaps a reductio ad absurdum. How about I just say that I find it to be an expensive time vampire?

miss-havisham-gillian-andersonWith the “fall back” due to daylight savings time it’s darker sooner. So when I get home from work and finish spending time with the kids before their bedtime I’ll more times than not be found catching up with one of my books. I’ve amassed a sizable library during our satellite years and aim to work my through many of them. I do admit I spent time last night watching part one of the 2011 Masterpiece Theatre broadcast of Great Expectations. It’s one of my favorite books and the film adaptation has been very good so far (Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham [see photo at right] was a pleasant surprise). I look forward to watching parts two and three sometime soon.

I’m looking forward to regaining a semblance of balance and putting the tool that is television back into a supporting role and not one of dominance. To it being used as something enjoyed in limited amounts and in the quality of what is shown instead of watching my kids (and yes, me) turn it on as a background noise generator.

Mostly, I look forward to some quiet. A little extra money in the bank account won’t hurt either.


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