Tuesday 25 November 2014

Me vs The Internet Connection

I realize I’ve moved to a small town, and with that comes some major life changes.  Some changes are fantastic. People are great, there is no soul crushing hour-long commute to a thankless job, and there is a pleasing lack of precipitation. Friends tell me I will miss the rain eventually, but that hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t see that changing, well, ever. If it does I will invest in a sprinkler and a lawn chair, and let nature take its course. 

All those wonderful perks must be tempered by some shortcomings, of course, or this would be a dull story. 

One of the most notable downsides is the internet connection. It’s nice having a connection at all, however we would probably get similar results using carrier pigeons with USB sticks. I guess that’s still a step up from smoke signals? Honestly though, my phone is 3G, and my at-home connection is somewhere around 3G and a half. The dead chipmunk in my kiddie pool moves faster. 

Before our move to Small Place, BC, I came from a technological wonderland where if it took more than a second or two to load a page, that page was closed. End of story, find another site. There are literally millions that will load faster. If that still didn’t work, you changed internet providers. On a monthly basis we would get calls from these guys who were throwing all kinds of free shit at us to promote a jump to their new and improved faster something-something service.   

Now that we’ve moved and left that glorious speed behind us, the problem is two-fold. First, I live in an extremely small town. Secondly, I don’t actually live in that town; I live 6 or so kilometers outside of it. Most mainstream internet providers won’t even service the town, and those that do offer a sub-basement version. Read: Not fast.  Actually, read: So mind-bogglingly slow that videos on YouTube take longer to load than their actual play time.  Get a book, you have time to catch up on your reading.  And to learn a new trade.  Become a plumber.

Outside of town you haven’t got a hope. Those companies that do provide service don’t have the words “high” or “speed” in their vocabulary at all. Netflix still runs, but buffer time is painful, and if you can avoid those irritating auto-play Facebook videos, all the better. More often than not, the whole thing works better if only one system is running at a time…no World of Whatever group gaming marathons for us. Not that this is really something I was looking for, but still, options would be nice.   

Not Siberia
And don’t even get me started about getting these guys out for a service call. You’d think I live in Siberia. I don’t, although the snow belies that sometimes.

Society is all about getting things fast, finding things quickly, and optimizing everything.  In the workplace this can be bloody annoying. If one more person says to me “Lets streamline this process to optimize our productivity this quarter!” I think I will punch them in the throat. That said, lets make my internet connection as fast as fucking possible. I’m impatient, and I accept that. I’m also aware that this is contradictory. I also accept that.  Slow loading recipes on Pintrest suck. Don’t judge me.

This all said, to be fair to these smaller local providers, their customer service has been better than the larger company which I now have to put up with. And for the most part, the speed it pretty much the same: glacially slow.  And sadly, on the days when nothing will do but a marathon geek-fest of Sherlock and Firefly, it would be nice to have a bandwidth that supported me in that antisocial predilection.  I don’t think that’s a lot to ask, and yet apparently it is.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Me vs the Mice

Just over a year ago, our family relocated from Big Place, BC to Small Place, BC. This meant we hadn’t yet lived through a full cycle of all the seasons, and while this may seem obvious, the seasons bring more than just weather changes, they bring about changes in animal behavior as well.  
What we had managed to skip last time around was early Fall in the magical forested woodlands where we lived. Again, doesn’t sound so bad. You’re wrong. It’s terrible. September in mouseland means that while it’s still nice during the day, it gets colder at night. This in turn drives all the mice to find comfy, warm places to breed their little food-lusting offspring.

As an aside, I want to point out that outside I don’t mind mice. They are reasonably cute. I just don’t want them inside, and to be fair, I generally don’t want many animals inside. I imagine I would feel unhappy about a coyote in my living room too.

The mice had been around all year. We caught the odd one under the sink and in one of the downstairs closets, but that was about it. I’d just learned to live with that. It’s amazing what you grow to tolerate. The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, started with a short vacation to visit family.  We do this often, and had never had problems before. Why would we expect anything different this time? Because fucking mice, that’s why. 

We arrived home to mouse poop all over the kitchen table and counter tops. Somehow, they hadn’t found the pantry yet, but I knew fear.

Rather than eating dinner that night, I washed the kitchen in bleach. Well, not bleach exactly. In my panicked haste to avoid contracting the Hanta virus, I bought ammonia instead of bleach. Close enough. Mouse shit in your house blurs the lines a bit, and cleaner is cleaner.

My thought process went something like this: If it burns my eyes and makes breathing an unpleasant task, it must mean mouse-bourn viruses are dying. I also took the hypochondriac-based precaution of warning friends and family that if they didn’t hear from me for a few days, it probably meant the family was dying from the Hanta virus. Please send help.

I'm going to lead this next part with I can't make this up….

I was 110% done with vermin, and I was starving, having forgone dinner to clean. Kids had been fed pseudo-food and were hustled off to bed, and Husband went out on the deck to light the barbeque to finally make dinner for adults. He glanced over at the kids baby pool on the deck. Hanging out on the bottom of the pool was a very small, very dead, chipmunk, in what was fast becoming our watery chipmunk trap. This was the second floater of the season, and I was having a difficult time explaining to the kids why swimming was off the table until the pool was disinfected again. How do you tell them that their pool ends small cute furry creatures? I was 150% done by then.

Ignoring the suicidal chipmunk for the moment, we refocused on the barbecue, my hunger blocking out the untimely demise of a stupid rodent. One less to worry about, as far as I was concerned.  Husband popped open the barbecue. Inside was a rodent nest, full of little rodent collectables, poop, and hate. I missed the city that day.  Deeply.

I didn’t sleep much that night. I waited to hear the small, delightful sound of a mousetrap closing in on its victim. Creepy, yes, but revenge is sweet.

Day Two opened with the satisfying discovery that we’d caught one of the fuzzy bastards overnight.  The celebratory feeling that washed over me brought an unsettling thought to the surface: I was not nearly as horrified by the corpse of a dead mouse under my kitchen sink as I felt I should be. I actually enjoyed the fact that I'd reduced the population by one.  

The contents of our kitchen
When did this happen? A few short months ago I would have run to Starbucks to get a large caffeinated beverage to calm my shaken nerves if such a macabre discovery had been made. The lack of Starbucks up here not withstanding, I conversely felt like celebrating over my catch, and so help me, I was tempted to stake the carcass out for fellow mice raiders to see and know fear!

My feelings of elation vanished quickly. Opening the pantry showed me that in retaliation for their fallen comrade, they had upped the ante, turning our food stores into provisions for increasing their population.

After another fun-filled day of cleaning, bleaching (ammonia-ing), throwing away half our food, and reorganizing the entire kitchen, I began to consider burning down the house as a viable anti-mouse tactic. The Mice had declared war, and made their manifesto clear, and I was answering their call to arms with my own: an arsenal  of mousetraps, cleaning products, and a cat. Vive la resistance!

As I write this I’m looking at my kitten. He’s cute, but for the most part a useless hunter so far. He eats spiders, which is handy, though with only about a 70% success rate, but that's about it.  And though part of me wishes he was a ninja-like mouse assassin, the other part of me enjoys not finding mouse entrails on my pillow each night.  

The other aspect of this drama that still weighs on my soul is that I will never know if I’ve won. There is no mouse-count that tallies up the kills against the remaining population. I can never be sure I’ve decimated their forces sufficiently, and without stemming the constant flow of new recruits, I can never be safe from their furry blitzkrieg. I still know fear.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Me vs Me finally getting the internet back!

Well, it finally happened. After a month and a half of carefully focused hate, I finally got through to the internet company and it seems I have internet set up at the new house. It isn't really fast, but I will expand on that later.  At least it works. 

Now, I need a computer desk. Perching on a moving box with my computer on my dresser isn't really conducive to comfort. It is, however, a great way to develop a hunch. 

You'll also notice my cat glaring at me in the background. He's plotting his evening assassination attempt. While he looks innocent, understand that he hugs with his teeth, and that my hands are a study in feline dentition patterns.  

More to come soon, now that I've finally rejoined the internets. :-)

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Me vs The internet provider

First off, please excuse any terrible errors in this post, as I'm being forced to type this on my phone because the fuck ups who were supposed to install my internet BEFORE we moved in basically gave us the finger and went home. 

in case you were wondering, apparently a months worth of notice to get our internet hooked up just wasn't enough. I thought that would have been reasonable...we aren't living completely in the middle of nowhere, but nope, I was wrong. 

Yesterday we were told it was hooked up, and maybe we were just doing it wrong. 
Today, well, let's just say we discovered it wasn't us, it was them. 

Basically fuck all has been done.
And then this conversation happend:
Me: When will the internet be hooked up?
Them: Oh, well the work order has been put in.
Me: Um...good. When will I have more than my phone for internet?
Them: Oh, someone will be out to set it up soon. 
Me: Soon?
Me: Define soon.
Them: No. 

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Me vs Daylight Savings Time

An open letter to Daylight Savings Time:


I used to love you. 

Now I have kids. 

Kids don't understand the extra hour of sleep you afford. They don't respect your authority. 

Now I get no extra sleep, and for at least two weeks my kids are demon spawn at bedtime. They don't care that the clock says 7:30pm, they say 6:30. Fuck you.

Now you're an asshole. 


Sunday 2 November 2014

Me vs Not having enough hours in the day

Sorry for the lack of posts this week...and if I'm honest, for this upcoming week as well. We are finally getting the move underway, and I'm a bit behind on the packing. And by a bit behind, what I actually mean is that we're so far behind that I'm unable to decide where to start, so I panic and eat a piece of cake, then go to bed. 

Hopefully life will calm down somewhat in a week or two and I will go back to my normal craziness, which at least I am proven capable of dealing with. 

Now, back to the boxes. Oh look, Halloween candy!!!