The Horrors and Joys of Unplugging

AUTHOR: | POSTED: January 30, 2014 | COMMENTS: None Yet - Post a Comment

Carolyn Savage

Sometimes I am astonished at the lengths to which my life is ruled by technology.  When this week started I had my to-do list all planned out.  Like every week, there were plenty of tasks, most of which were routine.  I knew the forecasted weather of snow and polar air were going to probably throw a wrench into my productivity, but I’m starting to get used to the kids being home from school.  Ryan’s only attended nine days since December 20th.  I’d be able to get it all done—snow, sub-zero wind chills and all.  What I didn’t plan on, however, is losing access to the internet.  Turns out my local wifi provider wasn’t as prepared for the weather.

I didn’t realize how much of my day is tied to being able to login to the rest of the world.

Suddenly I couldn’t pay my bills, bank, research recipes for my weekly radio segment, and waste time toggling between Twitter, Facebook and a handful of forums that make me laugh.  I actually had to use my phone to order a pizza.

The horrors.

Even worse, my kids were damn near paralyzed.  Try explaining to a two year old why I can’t print off her daily alphabet coloring page.

Two Year Old –  It’s letter S today.  I want my letter S page.

Me –  I can’t honey.  We lost wifi.

To which she ran around the house searching for wifi by yelling “WIFI” at the top of her lungs and looking behind the dining room china cabinet and under her crib.

The developmental stage of abstract reasoning can’t get here soon enough.

That was tragic but not nearly as devastating as being sixteen and having three snow days in a row without access to Netflix.  When I told Ryan to search for something to watch using the remote control and our television the look on his face was one of disgust.  It was as if I’d asked him to go out back and pump me a bucket of water so I could scrub his clothes on a washboard.

Of course, the level of dependence that my forty-four year old self has on the internet is just plain sad.  Thank God for my handheld access to a 4G network.  Turns out I can pay bills from my iPhone.  What I can’t do is write a blog post.  Hence my late weekly check-in.

Losing access to wifi for three days got me thinking about the way I used to do things.  Remember paper bills that came in envelopes with stamps?  Twice a month I used to gather my bill paying supplies–check book, a battery operated calculator,  a stack of envelopes and stamps–and carefully pay what I owed, doing my math while meticulously recording every transaction…using a pen…in my paper register.

It was called balancing a check book.

I haven’t balanced a checkbook in…well…I don’t even know how long.  Hell, half the time I don’t even know where my check book is which is amazing considering I used to pay for everything by writing a check.

I’m not longing for the snail mail way of doing things, but damn…this week really highlighted just how much our daily lives depend on technology.  I even had to get the weather forecast from the television.

Sometimes I wonder what the world will be like when Reagan and Isabella are my age.  When I was two years old the concept of wifi, internet, and computers were all part of the cartoon life portrayed on the Jetsons.  I vividly remember my mother getting her first microwave.  It was as big as a dishwasher and the neighbors came over to ooh and ah over heating hot water in coffee mug in a matter of minutes.  When I was a sophomore in high school my dad got a car with a phone that weighed as much as a cinder block.  I thought it was super cool.  He was annoyed that he’d be bothered by work while commuting.

Little did he know the level of connection headed in our direction.

When Mary Kate was two we noticed that she was constantly touching the television while she watched.  We scolded her over and over again but she just couldn’t stop.  One day I realized what she was doing.  Having played on an iPad, she knew how to manipulate the cartoon characters in her apps.  To her it seemed reasonable that she should be able to make Dora do what she wanted on the television, too.   Their brains are developing differently than ours did.

I wonder how that will affect them as they grow older.

Even now, as I type this blog post from 42,000 feet, I realize how much our world has changed.  When I was a kid I’d get on a plane and color while my dad struggled to confine his news paper to the dimensions of his seat.  No one has a paper made out of paper on this flight.  Not a single person.  But everyone’s reading, or communicating, or watching something.  What would happen on this flight if we suddenly we lost wifi?

Scary stuff, I tell you.  Scary stuff.

I love technology.  I deeply value the impact being connected to people I’ve never met in person has had on my life.  Heck, I wouldn’t have my three daughter’s if it wasn’t for the ability to communicate through the computer, and it goes without saying, my internet friends saved my life during my pregnancy with Logan. Sometimes I’m troubled, however, in how plugged I’ve become.   That’s why it’s important to remind ourselves to unplug and reconnect…in person… with those most important in our lives.

This weekend I’m unplugging.

I hope you’ll do the same.


Some of the fun we’ve had while being unplugged….

Winter hike this past Sunday afternoon...before the temps dropped.

Winter hike this past Sunday afternoon…before the temps dropped.


This isn't as easy as Daddy made it look.

This isn’t as easy as Daddy made it look.




If you listened to my weekly radio segment and are looking for the recipes discussed, you can find them here.

Happy Wednesday!













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