Getting Rid of the Cable Guy?

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl this year. I didn’t even look online for a link to all the Super Bowl ads. I had read that Jim Carrey was going to reprise his role as The Cable Guy for a Verizon ad, and only recently watched it. It wasn’t until a week or so ago that I have been forced into the position of ditching cable. Here’s that story.

If I am being honest with you, there are very few shows that I watch on TV. As a matter of fact, when the TV is on, it is usually playing PBS shows, Nick Jr. or Disney Jr. for Ella. We have a DVR that Sam records Grey’s Anatomy, This is Us, and her shows, but it is mostly filled with Ella’s shows.

For Christmas, my dad got Ella her own tablet. When connected to the internet, she can play Alphabet games, watch PBS shows, and listen to kid songs. Without the net, her choices become limited.

Sam and I connect to the Wi-Fi when we are at home so we don’t use all of our data on our cell plan. We can watch videos, listen to music, make phone or video calls, and search Facebook all while connected.

Recently, we started to notice the internet would go out for a few minutes. Then we started to notice that the DVR would stop midway through a show we were watching saying the internet was out. Our Amazon Alexa started to tell us, “I’m having trouble connecting to the internet. There may be a problem with your router.”

It got to the point where the internet was out more than it was working. I finally gave the cable company a call. I explained what was going on and they ran some diagnostic tests while I was on the phone. “We show you currently have three devices connected to your internet.” I laughed out loud and said, “They may be connected, but the internet isn’t working.” Then, almost on cue, Alexa once again spouted off that she was having trouble connecting to the internet. Thank you, Alexa.

The woman on the phone stated that she could probably get me a new Wi-Fi gateway in about 14 days. I told her that was not acceptable. I finally got her to get one out within 5 days. When it finally arrived, I had to download the app on my phone and log in. Once logged in, it searched for the router after I scanned that little square “Q” code thingy and found it. It then said it would finish the set up, which would take “10 minutes.”

After about 18 minutes, the app flashed a message that said, “We cannot complete your set up at this time. Please try again.” I tried a few more times to no avail. I had to break down and call the cable company again. I spent about 35 minutes on the phone and the set up was eventually complete.

A day after the new equipment arrived, my wife got the monthly bill from the cable company. It had suddenly jumped up about $60! That was all it took. I was furious! There was no indication that there was a charge for the new equipment. Hell, it was their equipment that we were renting. If it broke, they should have sent us a new one at no charge, right?! So why is it all of a sudden that much higher? It’s anybody’s guess.

When we first signed up with the company, all we really wanted was internet. We were talked into getting the “bundle” with a home phone (which we never use), the internet, and cable. In all honesty, all we need is internet. We stream half of the shows we watch anyway.

I have yet to call them to cancel our service because I am hoping that I can nab something through Verizon (where we already have our cell phones). It would be nice to combine internet and cell phones into one bill, which would probably bring the cost down a lot. I’m working on that.

One final funny story involving the cable company. They told me to make sure that I returned the old equipment when the new piece arrived. I could send it back in the box it came in or drop it at a local store. If I did not do this within 7 days, we would be charged for said piece of equipment.

I threw the broken one in the new box and took it back to the store over the weekend. Sam had told me to make sure I got a receipt in case they tried to charge us for it. I walk into the store and a gal barely looks up and me and says I can place the box on the counter next to her. I do and ask her for a receipt. She hands me what I think is a receipt and tells me to stand in line to talk to someone.

URGH! All I wanted to to was drop this thing off and go. Now I am waiting in line to be called over just to get a receipt. When I arrive at the front of the line a big overly smiley guy calls me over. I hand him the paper I was given and he asks what my “business” was with them. I told him I was bring a router back and all I needed was a receipt to prove I brought it back.

Guy Smiley asks a few questions about our address and such and then begins the sales pitch. “How are you fixed for cell service?” “What about your cable package?” “We can put your cell phones, tablets, cable package, home phone, internet, and blah blah blah ….” It takes all I can muster to not tell this guy to stop. “The more stuff you add to the package the less it costs you a month…” Brilliant.

By now he has had my receipt in his hand for who knows how long. I want to just grab it and go! “No, thanks” “No, I’m good.” “No, we don’t need that.” “I’m really not interested in that…” He will not get the hint. I finally tell him that I don’t make any kind of decisions without my wife. With that, he finally gives me the last ditch “I can get you this deal … BUT ONLY UNTIL MONDAY.” Yeah, I’m sure.

He handed me his card. I think he put his cell phone, the store phone, his home phone, and the number to his third cousin once removed on the card so that would be able to reach him. It was only then, that he finally handed me my receipt! I was exhausted by the time I walked out of there.

It will bring me no greater joy that to make the phone call to cancel my cable service.

Playing Doctor

When I was a kid, I remember having one of those Fisher Price Doctor kits. As a matter of fact, I think it remains a staple in every kid’s toy box!

I remember how cool it was that you could hear your heartbeat with the Stethoscope. Of course, you always had to give every one in your family a “shot!”

Today, my friend Margaret stopped by to drop off the kid’s Christmas presents. Naturally, Ella was excited to see her. She loves Aunt Margaret! She knew that she probably wasn’t going to get to see Ella before her birthday next month, so she also brought her birthday present.

I put the gift bag aside and figured I’d give it to her closer to her birthday. I was standing in the kitchen and Ella found the bag. She looked in it and started yelling “CoCo Mel!” “CoCo Mel!” which is Ella talk for Cocomelon. Aunt Margaret got her a Cocomelon doctor kit.

When you push the bandaid on the “bag” it sings and stuff. She was so excited to play with it, so she got her present early.

Of course, she had to give mommy, daddy, and baby brother a shot. Sam told me she was playing doctor all night. She takes liquid vitamin D in a dropper every day and AJ takes GERD meds in a syringe. So was walking up to him and giving him “medicine” (the shot) like his syringe.

When Sam told me this, I was reminded of an event that happened when I was probably a couple years older than Ella (maybe 5 or 6). I was playing doctor as well…and it put me in the hospital! Remember how Grey’s Anatomy had Dr. McDreamy and Dr. McSteamy? As a kid, I was Dr. McDummy!!

Growing up, when we had a fever, mom used to give us baby aspirin. It was orange flavored and I remember thinking it tasted like candy.

I want to say that the bottle did NOT have a child proof cap on it. I know that because of what happened.

My brother and I had gotten up and we were watching TV. My mom was still in bed sleeping. I grabbed the old Fisher Price doctor kit and we were playing. I told him he was sick and needed medicine. Mom kept the medicine up in a cupboard in the kitchen. It was a high cupboard and I had to work to get to it.

I pulled over a kitchen chair and climbed up on it. I don’t remember much, but I do remember grabbing the baby aspirin and taking my brother’s temperature with the fake thermometer. I said he needed medicine, but I was always the one who ate a baby aspirin. I don’t know how many I wound up taking. I do know that mom found me in the kitchen and I was off to the hospital to have my stomach pumped.

I don’t remember much about the hospital stay or any of the aftermath. I hadn’t thought about this incident in many years. Maybe I’ll call my dad this weekend and see how much he remembers. I can’t even imagine how scary this had to be for either one of them. I wonder if Dr. McDummy’s antics led to the child proof caps?

What’s Up, Doc?

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This week I found out that the doctor’s office where my primary care doctor practices is going private. To be honest, this is the first time I have ever had this happen. They offered all of the current patient’s the option to stay with the practice – at a cost. So for $90 a month, I can stay with my doc, get his cell phone number for after hours questions, unlimited visits with no co-pays or deductibles, “unhurried appointments that start on time”, and a bunch of other “perks”. While this sounds great, I still have to pay my monthly insurance in case I need to go to ER or have a hospital stay. Bottom line: it’s gonna cost me more money.

I think the hardest part about this is the fact that I finally found a doctor I like. He’s Italian (we’ve talked about Italy and Sicily often). He listens to me. He doesn’t rush me. He is honest. I trust him. I’ve really only had a few doctors where I felt like this. Now, because the entire practice is going private, I have to begin a new search for a doctor!

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Finding the right “doc” should be an easy task, right? Well, it really isn’t for me. Because I work an hour and 15 minutes from home, AND work for a health system, I have to take the insurance provided by them. I have to use doctors that are affiliated with the health system. This is not really a big deal. What makes it difficult is that the closest practices are about 30-50 minutes south of where I live.

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Not only do I have to find a new doctor for me, but the new doctor has to be one that I can take the boys to as well. The options keep getting fewer and fewer, especially since there are only a few practices in that area.

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The old doctor will see me through the end of December. So I have about 2 months to research, visit, and make a choice. Oh, and amidst all of that, it is time for open enrollment and there are all kinds of changes in that too that I need to look at and consider.

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Why must health care and insurance be such a major pain in the ass?! Urgh! I am really hating that my doctor’s office is doing this!! I understand why, though. I mean, really, if I were a doctor and could avoid all the insurance company bullshit, I’d do it too! It’s just very frustrating and unfair to the patients who are established. To assume that a patient can afford an extra $1100 a year on top of what they already pay for insurance really sucks!

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It is no secret that in many cases all it would take is one major medical emergency to put a family into financial distress! Hell, one ER visit with my son, at the health system I work for cost me over $800! He wasn’t even admitted! Health care costs are astronomical (not to mention pharmaceutical costs)!

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So the search is on … I have a short time to interview, research and make the decision on my new doc. I am loathing ever damn second of it. Who is the right Doc??

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Doc Bricker?

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Doc Brown?

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Doc Severinsen?!?!

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Doctor Howard? Doctor Fine? Doctor Howard?

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Dr. Van Helsing??

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Dr. Nick?!?

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Gratuitous Grey’s Anatomy photo (cause my wife loves that show)

Doctor McSteamer? McSteaming? Or McDreamy? Whatever the hell they call him?!?!

Wish me luck … I am NOT looking forward to this at all ….

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BLOG ADDITION!!!

My brother read this blog and reminded me that there are many other doctor options that I forgot.  So, here are a few more I will look into:

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Dr. David Banner – although his temper may be an issue.

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Dr. Samuel Beckett – though he is often in and out

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Dr. Bombay – he’s magical!

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Dr. Frasier Crane and Dr. Niles Crane – they are crazy fun!

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Dr. John Watson – The game is afoot!

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Dr. Rumack – I am serious!

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Dr. Honeydew  and his faithful companion, Beaker.

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Dr. Richard Kimble – although he’s on the lamb

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Dr. Bob Hartley

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Another Dr. Bob …

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Dr. Zhivago

Dr Zaius

Dr. Zaius

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Dr. Strangelove

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Dr. Fu Manchu

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The Family Practice of Dr. Jones and Dr. Jones

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Dr. Frankenstein – it’s not pronounced how it looks.

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Dr. Cockroach – he creeps me out a bit

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These doctors!

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Dr. Spaceman – not pronounced how it looks either!

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Dr. Teeth – I have all his albums!

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Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz – He has his own jingle and nemesis.

With all of those wonderful choices …. I may just go with the Dr. I can relate to the most … perhaps you have heard of him….

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Dr. Johnny Fever!

Thanks to my brother for reminding me that I have many more options … LOL!

 

Why no, I haven’t seen that …

As a morning DJ on the radio, I was expected to watch all the “hot” shows.  I was on air when the first season of American Idol was on, when Desperate Housewives debuted, and when Grey’s Anatomy premiered.  I watched most of those shows.  What made it very difficult was that most of these shows came on after 9pm and I was up at 3:30am to be on the air at 6am.  That’s where the show prep services came in handy.  Many of them had “recaps” of all the things that happened in those hit shows and we could easily sound like we were “in the loop” with them.

Now that I only do radio part time and have a full time non-radio job, I rarely watch any of the “hype” shows.  My wife, who started watching Grey’s Anatomy when it started, continues to never miss an episode (even when she has to watch it a day later online).  There are very few shows that I have any desire to watch.  If I have time to watch TV, it is usually something old that I have on DVD or watch on YouTube.

Every day when I scroll Facebook, I can see the things that are trending and can honestly say, “I’ve never seen that.”  The past couple weeks there have been plenty of memes saying “I have never seen an episode of ….” or “When you talk about _____, I honestly just nod because I don’t know what the hell you are talking about”.  Yeah, that’s me.

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That’s right.  I have never seen a full episode of Game of Thrones.  I have seen bits and pieces because someone may have been watching it at work or in a room I walk through.  I know, it’s a big deal – to some people – not to me.

Another show I have never seen an episode of is The Walking Dead, or the various spin offs.  I know that some big characters were killed off on the show and caused a ruckus on social media, but I couldn’t tell you who, how, or why.  The whole “zombie” thing is something I just don’t find interesting.

Then there is Stranger Things.  I saw an episode or two of this.  I might watch it, if I had the time, because I think the nostalgia part of it is neat, but in all honesty, I’d rather watch one of the many old shows I have at home on DVD.

Now before you get angry, let me preface this next section by saying I have seen Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and The Avengers Age of Ultron.  I think I saw them because my boys wanted to see them.  It’s not that I am not into the whole Marvel thing, I enjoyed some of the Spiderman films.  It’s not that I don’t like super heroes, I enjoyed a few of the early Batman films.  It just seems to me that there is an over abundance of these movies out today.

These super heroes were all over my TV growing up.  They were in comic books.  They were in cartoons on Saturday morning.  I love super heroes, but to me these stories are more and more special effects than a good story.  Yes, the effects are important, but so is the story.  Some of these stories are just rehashing of the same premise.  They did Spiderman with Tobey Maguire … did we need a new series of them?  They did Superman with Christopher Reeve … did we need a newer version with what ever the actor’s name is?  I thought Michael Keaton was good as Batman … now there is a slew of Dark Knight films.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all a buzz about this Avengers movie coming out.  I have a co-worker who literally threatened us to not tell her what happens in the movie, because she isn’t going on the day it opens.  I don’t see what the big deal is.  It’s just another super hero movie.  It will be filled with good versus evil, loud explosions, maybe someone will die, and millions of dollars in special effects.  I won’t be seeing this in the theater.  I probably won’t even rent it on DVD or watch it on Netflix.

Maybe I should be ashamed of that.  Maybe I am a little bit.

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Maybe, I am not.  I heard someone say once “an old movie you have never seen, is a new movie”.  The same holds true for episodes of TV shows you have never seen and books you have never read.  My book shelves are stacked with books that I have yet to read.  I have complete series of TV shows that I have yet to watch.  I’d much rather be watching those.

Just my opinion.