The Internet Experiment: Unplugged 24 Hours

I wish I could say it was easy.

I wish I was one of those people who engages and connects with physical things and not so much more with cyber things.

I wish I could say it didn’t change me, but it did…..

You wouldn’t think it would. A mere 24-hours with no access to games, Facebook, or email. No big deal, right? Normal people do it every day.

Do you know the last time I was without internet access? Before my laptop days…..before my smart phone days…..too long ago to really remember.

It makes me realize how I traded out one set of addictions for another (theory of my life).

The good news is…I did it.

I shut down the Mac. I powered off the iPhone and I put it on a shelf for 24-hours.

In fact, I left my phone on the shelf and left town. It was not even in my possession.

In a way I think I cheated a little. I knew I would be in a car for 6 hours of the 24, and in my defense, I have service during those three hours. But isn’t it a little easier to entertain oneself in the car versus a regular every day? Probably…

At 8pm, I faced the unknown. What do I do with NO social networking? No screen to tap. No notifications to review. I felt really bitchy twitchy. I felt a little out-of-body. I tried watching TV, but I just couldn’t get into it. Finally, Sydney, Brandon, and I went to out to eat. We left Jason on his Mac (no fasting for him!). Upon return, we fired up RockBand and I banged out my frustrations on the drums (such a great stress reliever). We actually toured with our band and did pretty well.

I went to bed EARLY, and the next morning…it wasn’t so bad. We left for Oklahoma to see my mom. I read a book (and darn near finished it). I tried not to look at Jason or Sydney’s phone. I was a little fearful I would SNATCH it from their hands and begin tap tap tapping the screen. I had to hold my fingertips close to my chest. Thankfully, I never embarrassed myself in the heat of an iPhone moment.

I watched the clock most of the day, and hated myself for it.

Sydney and Brandon watched ME most of the day (to see if I’d break down? Cry? Convulse?).

I did none of those things. I imagined life without an iPhone and internet service. I imagined the olden days when I lived in the country and we did not even have cable.

We explored the creek beds. We played board games. We talked. We listened. We had friends and family we visited in person.

Maybe, at the end of this experiment, I realized…….there are a lot of issues about the operation of my life I need to examine.

I’ll be honest. I really didn’t miss much. In fact, I probably missed the internet more than it missed me.

There were certainly some emails I expected to get that I didn’t.

It was disappointing…..yes…..but also, life enhancing.

I don’t have to be addicted to anything. I can put my phone down for a day.

I can disappear and it’s ALL okay.

I thought this post would come out differently. I planned this post to be funny. Amazing what happens when you are faced with yourself and nothing in between you and your soul.

I highly urge you to unplug one day, and just see what happens to the you that is waiting there.

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become. -Unknown

Car Swap

It’s been (almost) five months since the worst car accident I have ever experienced, never mind that I wasn’t even in it.

I’m thankful for the last five months. I am thankful the scars are not as pink. And I am thankful the physical therapies, the tests, and the lawsuits are at their end.

It’s been a long road. A road of patience, and perseverance, but we did it.

We survived the aftermath and the after of the after math.

Since Jason’s precious Jeep was totaled back in April, he has been car-less. He has been in Jeep mourning day after day. The Jeep was/is his dream car. He still gets the Jeep magazine and holds on to it for dear life. But, as hard as it is, not having the Jeep, it has also been a huge blessing. For one, I don’t have to worry about it rolling with all the children inside. For two, one less car payment. You could say blessings both physically and emotionally (for me anyway).

What is not easier is having only ONE car between two adults that work full-time. Not only full-time, but also a good twenty-miles apart, and with a custody arrangement to contend with.

We have managed ……..for FIVE long months.

Some days, I take him to work and pick him up. He is usually at his office from 8:30am-7:00pm. Other days, the days he picks the girls up from daycare, he takes me to work and picks me up. Sometimes, I get a ride home from co-worker. Other days, I wait at the office until 7:30pm when he picks me up after he drops the girls off. On those days, I am at the office from 9:00am-7:30pm.

When Jason takes me to work, he drives over 80 miles in one day, just to drop me off, and pick me up.

In ONE day.

Every weekend plan involves who needs the car and who can do without a car. Usually, we all go, or don’t go.

But we have done it……and I am extremely proud.

I don’t think a lot of families could make the sacrifices we have; to save money, stress, and some environment pollution.

Truth is…there was some talk at my job about sending everyone in the office to work from home. About half did get sent home, the other half (all four of us), still work in the office, and possibly plans have changed about us working from home.

Who knows? Apparently, it’s not something I can bank on.

Having one car and me working from home is not a big deal. But one car and Jason driving 80 miles in one day is.

So after five months, we are going car shopping.

Yes, finally.

It won’t be a dream car, but it will be an enormous relief.

I will be glad to be able to go to/from work without waiting. And planning weekend activities independently (if we need to).

I will miss our morning commutes together. I will also miss our impromptu dates, because of traffic (wink,wink), to eat at our favorite places for dinner.

I will miss ALL those things, but really, I am just glad to have more time at home.

I think it is worth every penny.

So wish us luck as we car shop, and end the swap.

And don’t worry, we have plenty of time for dream cars. I promise honey!

The Summer of Hot


Today will mark the 39th day of temperatures soaring to over 100-degrees in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Thirty-nine days of melt everything-in-your car searing heat. Thirty-nine days of risking serious burn putting on your seat belt. Thirty-nine days of hovering in front of an AC unit, just to survive. Thirty-nine days of crispy brown grass and dead – way dead – plants.

Thirty-nine days.

And that’s not even the record. The record in 1980 is listed as forty-two 100+ days in a row.

Which we will beat – according to forecasters – on Friday.

It’s not just the record number of 100+ days in a row, we are, also, breaking temp records each day. Record low at night, record high during the day.

Today, as usual, we could break a record high. The record is 106. Temp today? 107

Two things I can assure you.

One, it’s not a dry heat.

Two, there hasn’t been a drop of rain either (oh, there are urban legends of rain, and/or mirages of rain), it’s not real. If you have seen rain, you risked outside exposure one too many times.

There is a small – obviously sick – part of me that looks forward to the new blazing summer record.

Hey, we got this far! Might as well make history.

Unless something crazy happens, we definitely will.

Now more people can understand why we have tinted windows in our cars and swimming pools on every corner.

These are not optional, they are required.

I hope wherever you are… are cool. In Texas, we are just HOT.

Happy Summer!

Hardest Part of Post a Day 2011?

Ahem. Posting every day (did you know I was going to say that?).

I am lucky in a way. I haven’t had to use some of the very helpful Daily Post Blog prompts. I have them handy if I need to. I think participating in my daily photo project has helped. I always have a picture to write about, taking fresh ones every day.

The hardest part of taking pictures every day for my Project 365? Picking which picture to use.

I thought the hardest part would be finding things – people, places, objects, and animals – to take pictures of.

So far, noooo. It’s the choosing. I probably spend a half-hour trying to decide.

I can’t decide.

I waffle.

I get opinions from Jason, then Sydney. Which by the way, they NEVER pick the same one – ever. Annnnd???? They never pick the one I’m leaning toward. Of course.

It’s only Day 28. I am sure my eagerness and perfectionism will wear thin. I’ll start using my iPhone for pictures and be done with it (not that there is anything wrong with that). I’ve seen amazing pictures with iPhones and Blackberry’s. Seriously! Really impressive stuff. Of course, my goal is to get better at using the manual settings on my DSLR. Using an iPhone each day would be like skipping class.

So every day. I write. I photograph. I choose the best photo. I decide the best words.

My story last night was completely unplanned. I saw the prompt yesterday and I was intrigued. I had an image of the hallway and it never left my brain. I wrote from that image keeping within the 1,000 word limit. I am sorry. I did leave you hanging. It was not on purpose, just following the rules. And? I’m happy with where it’s at. It could go in so many directions. That prompt opened up a creative flow. Isn’t that what daily writing is supposed to do? I couldn’t stop it if I tried. So, yes. There will be more – much more – and maybe a few surprises.

I am extremely grateful for all your comments and support. Truly….what an honor. I don’t think I have a tenth of the talent some of you do. But. I’m learning, and thankful for that.

Learning to pick the best photo of the day is quite the lesson too. I thought I’d share some that didn’t make the cut. These pictures were taken from Monday thru Friday of this week. Enjoy!

Nosy nose.
The one that got away (it was quickly retrieved).
My dog...half greyhound...half anteater? It may or may not have been the marble she got.
Bridget proudly displays a FRITO as I photographically journal my love for White Trash. Hmmm....
A very, very close second on Day 24.The heart was drawn on her hand at her school.
I swear, I can see myself in her eyeball. I even cropped to look. I'm there. Camera and all.
Day 28 Picture. It wasn't hard picking this one. Blessed with Loved and happiness. Or remote and recliner?