It is interesting how we get into habits and then something changes such as a move to a new area. Then we find ourselves learning new skills, experiencing a different lifestyle, meeting new people, and become more observant.
First, with our recent move from a small town on the Gulf of Mexico, to the hill country of Texas, I do not currently have daily access to Internet. What used to be a simple phone call to the local cable or phone company to have service connected in a home in town just doesn’t work in the area where we live outside of town. So I have become good friends with the Yellow Pages and my new hard-line telephone. I can’t even research Internet providers on-line unless I go to town and where I use a connection in the library or McDonald’s. However, at the library I discovered it has great Internet access and a generous check out limit of 25 books per person. Apparently lots of folks home school children so the library accommodates their needs with this limit. Nice and we all benefit. My other Internet stop is the local McDonald’s. I have seen that it is the hang-out for other Internet users and, more interestingly, the local elderly gentlemen who meet and have coffee in the morning or ice cream in the afternoon. I have learned a lot about ranching, farming, trapping “coons”, trucks, farm equipment, families, friends, and Johnny Manziel (the Heisman Trophy winner who is from the city next door), during their conversations. No, I am not eavesdropping; these southern gentlemen can be clearly heard by all. They make me smile. Like I said, a change in environment teaches us new skills and forces us to pay more attention to our surroundings.
I have learned to be grateful for the guy who climbed up on the metal roof of the house in 100+ temperatures to see if his company could provide Internet service. When he told me they couldn’t, I was so busy wondering what to do next that I didn’t even react when I realized he had mentioned the word “sweetheart” when delivering the bad news. Not my favorite term. I decided that any man who lives in south central Texas and climbs on a hot roof in the Texas sun may call me whatever he wishes. Still, no Internet and on to the next option. I think the end is in site, but only when I sit at this table and use the Internet will I declare success.
We put a hardline telephone into our new place since half the time our cell phone calls drop. Not having had a hard-line phone for personal use in a home for a very long time I decided to get the basic package with local service only. Stacks of costs for phones make me crazy and my preference is to use cell phones only. So I was proud of my cost conscious decision to save $50 a month and not have long distance, voicemail and all that other stuff. I reasoned that I could just use a prepaid long distance card and buy a phone with an old-fashioned recorder. Never mind that I used to make fun of my Mom’s use of the recorder rather than voicemail It only took me a visit to Wal-Mart, the local grocery store, and a popular convenience store to find out my calling card knowledge was lost in the stone ages. I could buy cards to call Mexico, cards to add minutes to almost any cellular phone plan, and cards for international calling (which were kept in an enclosed plastic case) but there weren’t any cards for prepaid long distance. Not giving up, I journeyed from the store to the library where I went on-line and found that yes; I could buy calling card access. I purchased 300 minutes and felt like I was redeemed. My plan worked. The other night my husband was going to make a long distance call from our new hardline phone. I told him I would dial it for him because I knew how to make it happen. He informed me he could dial a phone by himself. In the end, I did it for him since I had been practicing with that old-fashioned calling card. New habits, new people, new experiences. While we will never be back to our old normal, we will be up to a better than ever normal.
Until Next Time