September 26, 2006
Without a ínet
So I had this brilliant (ahem) idea. Iíve been feeling lost, unsure of what I want to do with myself, and very unproductive. I realized that I spend a lot of time on the computer, but I have nothing to show for it. Rather than make decisions and take action, I distract myself with the abundance of time-consuming activities on the Internet. Best way to ďfixĒ that is take away the distraction, right? Mmm hmm. Apparently, aliens ĖInternet hating evil aliens - possessed me and they ďtoldĒ me to give it up for thirty days. ďThirty days without the distraction and youíll come out a better womanĒ, the little #*&*!#ís said. So, I notified my friends online that they should use the phone if they needed me, I spent my last night on the Internet voraciously devouring blogs, gossip, news, message board posts, etcÖand then I shut it off. My ground rules (which I fully admit are flexible and have been evolving according to whim and psychotic episode) were as follows:
Truthfully, it wasnít very well thought out and really I shouldnít be allowed near important life-altering decisions without legal counsel and letís face it, a therapist in attendance wouldnít hurt either. What follows is my diary of week one. Not surprisingly, week one was a little tough.
Spent the first few hours ignoring the computer entirely. Spent the next few approaching it out of habit and stomping my foot and swearing every time. I had no idea how many events in a day are a precursor to computer time! Coffeeís ready? (Because caffeine is the new Internet, I can only give up one thing at a time.) Sit at the computer. All ready to go pick up the kids, with five minutes to spare? Check the weather. Finished on the phone? Go check the email. It just goes on and on. Already, problems have arisen. Somehow I chose to start this endeavor on the day that roadwork is being completed on my street and I will not be allowed to leave for most of the day. Not necessarily the best scenario, trust me. Also, my daughterís teacher from last year lives down the road and we spoke last night on the phone regarding the idiotic request for us all to ďpark on a neighboring streetĒ and just hoof it that last mile home. I have to email her today with the time that they started the work so sheíll know if she can get home after work! Ok so I set up my email not to send or receive without my requesting it, and I sent an email out to her without checking for incoming. I spent the morning going through piles of paperwork Iíve been putting off, so that felt good. I also baked a cake to stick in the freezer for my daughterís birthday this weekend, because the worlds collided and messed everything up and now I have to produce a cake with dolphins on it all on my own. I hate decorating cakes, not to mention that Iím really, really bad at it. Knowing my limitations, I canít leave the baking and the decorating until Friday. Problem number two arose when I wanted to refer to a web page with cake mix additives (moister, fluffier, etc, etc), a page on the Internet, of course. I decided I should be allowed to get recipes because itís not fair to make my family suffer from my decisions. Rule #4: Recipes are fair game.
Today I started an Eye on Prime Time column since Iím already seeing that I suddenly have more time for, and interest, in watching TV. I had to check some names and spellings, but I used my legal sites and avoided anything extra. Today has been a bit easier; I kept busy trying to catch up on General Hospital episodes. Met the husband for lunch, and visited the cake store to find dolphin stuff. I feel like Iím kind of getting the hang of the whole thing, Iím not approaching the computer nearly as often as yesterday. One of the hardest things is not checking the online newspaper site Ė I only get it delivered in paper form on the weekends. I feel really out of touch. I suppose staying away from that stuff can only be a stress-reliever though, so Iím trying not to declare a rule #5: Checking the news is allowed for the safety of my family. I can tell you thereís no way my husband is going to keep track of where the serial arsonist seems to be targeting next! Iím sure itís fine though. I have plenty of time to sniff for smoke now that I have nothing else to do for fun.
I know I said email checks once a week, but today is a friendís birthday and goodness knows I didnít think ahead enough to mail a card out, so Iím cheating a bit. I checked email today, sent birthday greetings, thoroughly read through every email, and found nothing to respond to. Thatís okay though, I learned a few things from some very informative spam emails, and Netflix wanted my opinion on a few things, so itís all good. Speaking of Netflix, I have to add that to the legal sites for obvious reasons. I have promised myself though that none of the legal sites are for slow perusal. I get in, get it done, and get out. Every time. I made the cake, and it turned out cute. If my camera starts working again and releases the pictures I took, Iíll post one. That took up most of the day - which was otherwise uneventful. I forgot to mention that Iíve also been checking the weather online. It is decreed that no one, NO ONE, should have to live without that knowledge. I can live without the newspaper (oooh, my father-in-law informed me tonight that the arsonist was caught, so my chances of survival went up this week, yay me!) but dressing the kids for school without weather info in September in Michigan is just not going to happen. Besides, letís not be nuts here. Itís just the forecast. Iím totally not over justifying either. Am not.
Okay, hereís the thing. My house is not any cleaner or more organized. Iím not any more caught up on laundry. The dog isnít more satiated by all the extra affection and walks (because there havenít been any). I havenít written much except a portion of a primetime column and this little accounting of my time. What do I do with all my extra time, you ask? Mostly I guess Iíve been watching 5000 General Hospital episodes from the DVR. I was way behind, and if I wish to write a Mercurial column in this century, I have to catch up. Iím not really certain how sitting on the couch watching television is better than surfing the Internet Ė at least on the ínet thereís a chance Iíll learn something other than the fine art of cheating on my wife (badly, I might add) with a drug pushing brat child. However, this is part of the plan and I suppose sooner or later Iíll catch up on the twenty or so episodes that Iím behind on and then Iíll have to do something else with my time. Probably this is also part of a little rebellion against myself. I wouldnít be me if I didnít hatch a stupid plan and then hate the whole thing and refuse to go along with it.
Last night I googled some stuff. It was my husbandís fault really, he was looking up some family history stuff and I doubted his ability to google appropriately, so I had to try for myself after he came up empty. I wonder if google should be capitalized when used as a verb? Not like I can look it up. Today was the daughterís actual birthday so we went bowling (her activity of choice). Havenít bowled in years and years. By the third game I worked my way up to a 74. Thatís WITH two strikes mind you. So probably I wonít join a bowling league to take up my extra time over the next month. Now my arm hurts. I remember once upon a time my arm muscles hurt from mouse clicking. *Sniff* Iím feeling a little emotional of late, but overall, Iím doing well. I really think I might be able to do this. Some days I really, really want to just toss it and check up on a certain message board or catch up on my EOS friendsí writing, but so far I come to my senses in time. Late at night is the worst time, usually when I canít sleep I hit the computer. Instead Iím back to watching late night television. Iím also watching tabloid shows for celebrity gossip, just in case. It would not be funny if I missed an important event like Tom Cruise admitting that little visit with Brooke Shields recently was really about thanking her for giving him and Katie the best gift ever. Same hospital, same dayÖa coincidence? I donít think so. She totally couldíve had twins and been frightened to within an inch of her life by talk of postpartum times two. You just never know. Also, FYI, Ted Turner is sexy. No laughing at my embarrassing celebrity crushes, a girl needs them in a time like this. No idea why I never noticed before but itís true, he is sexy. Watching him and Letterman discuss how women should rule the whole world last week? Well, my night was complete.
How has no one noticed that Iím not on the computer nearly as much? I didnít tell anyone around here what I was doing; I thought it would be a nice pleasant surprise. Not so much it appears. They HAVENíT NOTICED. Here I thought I was depriving my family of my time and attention. Whatever. I donít think the kids have seen me on the computer at all. The little things Iíve had to do on here have been when theyíre at school for the most part. I did do that google thing with my husband (oooh, that sounds kind of bad doesnít it, lol?) so he maybe canít be completely blamed but still. He totally should have noticed the lack of ďBe right back, gotta go to the bathroomĒ thing that takes twice as long as it should while I check the email or whatever. This is all rather disappointing. Heís out of town at the moment, so I suppose he couldíve been distracted by the upcoming trip and maybe thought I was just putting aside the Internet to spend extra quality time (pfft) but I dunno. Iíll bet Ted Turner would notice. Itís a little tougher being home alone and not getting on the computer. Thank God I wasnít possessed to do this before the new television season started, I seriously wouldnít have lasted 24 hours. Iíve decided that Tuesday will be the regular email-checking day (yeah, yeah, I know it hasnít been a week since Friday Ė itís just a scheduling thing, canít be helped!). I really hope someone has something interesting to say, because my non-computer life is seriously lacking in adult interaction. Probably by week four of this crap Iíll have turned to hanging out at the mall trolling for new friend prospects. I thought if I wasnít able to spout off my thoughts at any given time of the day or night at the click of the mouse then maybe Iíd be more apt to write them in a column, but Iím not so sure anymore. Maybe Iíll my brain will just shrivel up without the stimulation of the Internet!
Well, Iím putting this entry in early Ė the day is only half over. House is still a mess, but the plan is to kick off the ďbetter organized, new improved interested in housekeepingĒ me later today, after I get this sent off, post the primetime column even though itís not finished, and (wooooo!) check the email. Today is okay I guess. Late last night was tough, I couldnít sleep at all and really, really wanted a fix. ;) I was awake until 3:45am, tossing and turning. Guess that means tonight will be better since Iíll be exhausted. Last night I completely caught up on GH! One thing is certain; soaps are way more interesting when you have nothing else to do. I completely cried myself through some of it even. Between that, the ER season opener, and the Little House on the Prairie where Charlesí father tries suicide by setting his cabin afire, itís been really sniffly around here. You might think ďthank goodness she already heard that the arsonist was caught so the Little House episode didnít cause nightmaresĒ and youíd have been right, up until this morning when I heard on the radio that apparently there was more than one arsonist and the other one is still at large. So now Iím sorry I watched *that*. This is better than spending my time reading a snarky recap of Celebrity Fit Club why again? Heeeeeeelp! I guess if I go completely crazy and steal a fire truck to park in front of my house (for my own safety!) the good news will be that at least I wonít have to read about my insane ass in the newspaper, right? Rule #Ö5? Where did I leave off? Whatever. If I do something rash and it appears that jail is imminent, Iím allowed to email my friends to say goodbye even if it isnít Tuesday.
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