September 30, 2013

why i don't miss netflix

When I wrote about dumping Netflix a few months ago, I closed with the following:
As of right now, I think I'll come back to Netflix someday. But maybe I'll discover that I don't miss it much at all.
Well, I was right ... about the second sentence. I don't miss Netflix, not one bit. Here's why: for the first time in my life, I'm experiencing the wonder that is the DVR.

When I moved, I intended to just move my internet service (through CenturyLink) with me. I hadn't paid for TV since I lived with a friend in Grand Island from 2005-2006, so I planned to move my antenna that picked up five stations (on a good day) with me, as well.

That all changed when I called CenturyLink to request a transfer of services and try to negotiate a better rate. I went through the appropriate menu options and waited. And waited. And waited. After 20 minutes without reaching a live person, I hung up and dialed CenturyLink's main competitor in my town: USA Communications. In less than a minute, I was speaking with a customer service rep, and I learned that, for approximately what I was paying for internet through CenturyLink, I could get internet, cable, and a DVR. These prices are the introductory 6-month prices, and the rep urged me to call back when those rates are close to expiring—she said they are nearly always running retention specials for their current customers. Sold!

When I called CenturyLink to cancel—thus pushing different automated menu options—I was on the line with a customer service rep in less than two minutes. So apparently you're much more important to the company if you're wanting to leave than if you're calling for any other reason. I get it, but it's still frustrating.

My introduction to the wonderful DVR commenced the next week, and I quickly fell in love.

What I love most about the DVR is it allows me to watch TV on my schedule. (Yes, the VCR I had hooked up to my parents' cable TV did this too, but the DVR is simpler and doesn't require tapes.) Rarely do I stay up late watching something—I can always record it! And if I have two shows on during the same timeslot? I can either record one and watch the other live, or I can record both and watch them later. This saved me last Tuesday, when NCIS (a show you know I'm obsessed with!) and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered at the same time, and I had a meeting at work. With the VCR, I would have had to choose the more important of the two (and NCIS would have won with no question), but thanks to the DVR, I could watch both!

Side note: The NCIS premiere was as great as I'd hoped it would be, and I can't wait for part two of Ziva's goodbye tomorrow night. S.H.I.E.L.D. was okay—I enjoyed the witty Whedon-esque dialog, but the plot didn't enthrall me. I still have it set as a series recording on my DVR, but I'm not sure if I'll keep watching.

The DVR is not essential—neither is cable, for that matter—but I'm certainly enjoying it! I realize that I've done this backwards—most people dump cable in favor of Netflix, not the other way around. But I didn't really dump Netflix for cable—the cable was just a happy, unexpected development. Seriously, though, with all of my expanded basic cable, DVR'd Hallmark and Lifetime movies, and Amazon Prime offerings, who has time to miss Netflix?

My current DVR'd programs. In between the girly movies and Lifetime movies-of-the-week, I do go for some culture. See? Henry IV!

September 2, 2013

35 before 35: #17

#17: Get a house cat

After going nearly two years without being able to cross one of my 35 before 35 off the list, I accomplished two in two days: buy a house and get a house cat. Well, technically, I got three house cats.

In July of last year, I got three cats: Isis, Hammond, and Skaara. Per my lease, they had to live outside. When I decided to buy a house, one of the things I was most excited about was the prospect of having my cats in the house. They almost didn't all make it, though ...

The night before I moved, I came home from my parents' house and saw Isis lying by the door. Initially, I was thrilled to see her. For the last few weeks, she had been spending only minimal time at home, and I was afraid she'd be off on one of her adventures when it was time to move. But she didn't get up to greet me, which I found odd, and when I got closer, I saw a pool of blood beside her. I called my mom, who came right away, and we tried to determine where the blood was coming from. We couldn't find it, and the bleeding seemed to have stopped, but she was very lethargic.

A few minutes later, she was bleeding again. By this time, it was after 8 p.m. on Friday night, and I didn't know what to do. We ended up cutting up one of my old sleep shirts to make bandages of sorts—we wrapped the strips around her middle (we still weren't sure where the blood was coming from) and tied them. Each time I checked on her, there was more blood, and she seemed more out of it. Her ears, nose, and paw pads were also getting cold.

I spent a lot of time with her that night, though I didn't know what to do for her other than lightly stroke her back. When I went to bed, I told her goodbye—I truly believed she would be dead by morning.

The morning of the move, I got up early, and the first thing I did was check on Isis. She was still breathing, though she didn't even lift her head when I approached. She had unwound the makeshift bandages in the night, and she was no longer bleeding. Blendy helped me move the other cats (Hammond, Skaara, and Sam the stray—a cat who had adopted us) to the new house. Then when my mom came over, she helped me move Isis. We put all the cats into the spare bedroom while we moved my things. Throughout the day, people would go check on the cats ... and each time someone went in, Isis seemed a little stronger! By that evening, she was moving around and even eating a little. And by the next day, you couldn't even tell she'd been at death's door!

The crazy thing is that Isis's brush with death seemed to give her a new personality. Before, she didn't like me very much and hardly ever let me pet her. Now, one of her favorite things is to perch on my side when I'm laying on the couch. She also makes it her personal mission to make everyone who walks through my door like her. It's bizarre.

It's been a month now, and everyone is healthy and happy. Well, everyone except Sam the stray. I never intended for her to be a house cat, so I put her outside (in the fenced-in backyard) after a couple days. She disappeared almost immediately, and she's been spotted at my old house. But Isis, Skaara, and Hammond? They couldn't be happier. And neither could I.

This is, without a doubt, their favorite place to be. Hammond, Skaara, and Isis.
Hammond and Skaara. These brothers love each other!
Now that Isis has decided she likes loves people, she has decided that people should love her equally. Whether you're a cat person or not, she will do her darndest to make you like her. This often involves trying to rub her face against yours. 
Sometimes, glimpses of the old feisty Isis do emerge. In this photo, she's attacking the pins that hold the shelf in place. Shortly after I took this photo, she knocked over a glass candleholder, which shattered all over the floor. Needless to say, all the breakables have been removed from the bookshelves!
So here's our best guess of what happened to Isis. I had some evil neighbor boys—and I do mean evil. They had threatened to kill my cats in the past (while screaming obscenities at me) ... and they can't be more than 10 years old! On moving day, when Mom and I were describing Isis's wound, my uncles said it sounded like she'd been shot with a pellet gun. We later found a scab on her left side. And then we felt a bump on her right side—a bump that feels suspiciously like a pellet. The prime suspects are those boys. I'm very thankful that we never have to see them again!

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