This may come as a shock to those of you who know me well. Up until August 23rd, we used Dish to receive hundreds of channels. We had Dish pumping into four rooms of our house, including Christian's nursery! We had HD channels in the living room through our flat screen. I also had two receivers - each one was a DVR. I could record up to 200 hours on one and up to 100 hours on the other. I never came close to filling the 200 hour dvr in the living room but I reached maximum content allowed on my bedroom dvr a few times. This means I would have 99 hours worth of tv programming recorded on just one of our dvrs! It would be hard for me to keep up with a tv series on a regular basis so I would record the shows on a weekly basis and then catch up with them when I could. (Having three kids is a little time consuming!) The Good Wife and House are good examples of this. I recorded every episode last season and wasn't able to watch any of them until this summer. I then watched the whole season, from premiere to finale, in a matter of days.
I've often thought how great an invention the dvr is. It totally changed my viewing habits. It was perfect for a busy mom. I could record my favorite shows and then watch them later after the kids were in bed or when the kids were watching their own favorite recorded show. My six-year-old, Ross, has grown up with a dvr. It wasn't until recently that he even started to understand what watching a "live show" meant!! My oldest, Ethan, has known how to work the satellite remote through the dvr button but always found it difficult to navigate through live programming. They had shows I would record for them on a daily basis. The last one was Family Matters. They love watching that show! I even recorded Sesame Street for my youngest, Christian, on a weekday basis. His favorite part is Elmo's World. We even caught Ethan and Ross watching Sesame Street in their room, sans Christian! Sesame Street was a great babysitter for Christian. If I needed to take a shower or do some housework, I wouldn't hesitate to go straight to the dvr and play one of the recorded episodes. This was life here in the Newberry household up until..........
David, my husband, went on a men's retreat through our church. He had never been able to go before because he works six days a week, Monday through Saturday. The men's retreat was always a Friday-Saturday. This year was different. David just happened to schedule a week of vacation in August and later found out that he could attend the retreat this year. At first he was hesitant to go but with a nudge from me, he decided to go. He felt God talking to him that weekend. He would tell you that it wasn't through the speakers, even though they were good, but God was speaking to him through the men that attended. David felt convicted of how much tv he had been watching. You might be asking yourself, "When would he watch tv since he does work six days a week?" The answer to that question is from the time he got home from work to the time he went to bed. He would sit in front of the television and watch the History channel, Discovery channel, one of the ESPN channels, etc. It isn't that he was making poor decisions in what he would watch, it was the time spent watching.
I had talked to him weeks prior about how much tv he watched and even told him maybe he should try to find a hobby for nights and his one day off. This is now funny to me because that was definitely the pot calling the kettle black! I probably watched double the amount of tv that David did. My guilty pleasure is reality shows. Not like The Bachelor or Dancing With the Stars. I loved the seedy, gritty ones. My favorites are The Real Housewife of whichever city you choose, Flipping Out, Top Chef, Real World (yes, I am almost 40 and still watching it! Isn't the lastest one Real World 82: New Orleans??!!) Whereas David's choices were acceptable for our kids' eyes, mine most definitely were not. I would often have to quickly pause one of my shows if one of the boys would walk into my room. Isn't that pathetic? If I was running out of room to record shows on my bedroom dvr, then I would start using the one in the living room. I would always be careful what I would record on the one that the boys had access to. This all ended when David arrived home from the retreat.
He came home and I could tell he was different. The first two days home he didn't even turn on the tv. This was highly out of character for him. I loved it because I had been resenting how much tv he watched and desperately wanted him to interact more with the boys. I was digging the new David. That Sunday night he mentioned that he was going to call Dish and cancel our satellite service. Did I believe him? No! I decided to call his bluff and tell him to go ahead and do it. Not only did I think he didn't have the willpower to stop watching tv and lose his channels but I knew he wasn't one to be inclined to call a company and go through the trouble of pushing a bunch of buttons to talk to a customer service agent. He proved me wrong. Monday night, after work, he came home and called Dish. The adrenaline was rushing through my body. I couldn't believe he was actually doing it! When asked by the representative why he was wanting to cancel, David's reply was, "We were watching too much tv." Wow! They say the first step in the recovery process is admitting you have a problem. I was under the impression we would still have satellite service for a few more days. Maybe until the end of our billing cycle? Nope. It was disconnected during his phone call. Talk about cold turkey! Our boys didn't know what was about to hit them!
They had come home from school that day and started to watch the newest episode of Unnatural History. They love that show! I had made them turn it off with nine minutes left so they could do their homework. I told them they could finish it before they went to bed. Well, that wasn't to be. All the shows that were on both dvrs were gone. Poof! Just like that. They were a little upset! Other than being upset about not finishing that particular show, Ethan and Ross have handled the transition great. David and I really underestimated them. We have an antenna and can receive local channels through it. For free! We receive three PBS channels and they can watch children's programming up until nine o'clock at night. They really aren't being deprived. We also have many movies on dvd and can also pull up a lot of stuff through the internet. They really don't have a whole lot of time during the school year to watch tv. Between school, homework, Wednesday night church, and soccer practices two nights a week - they keep pretty busy. On the weekends post satellite, Ethan and Ross have spent their time drawing comics, coming up with skits, and really started using their brain power to be creative instead of sitting captive in front of one of our four television sets!
I'm loving our new lifestyle! I never would have thought, in a million years, that David would have done a 180 in such a short amount of time. I really respect and love that man! I have to admit that sometimes I remember the shows I'm missing and mourn their loss. I wonder how Jeff's renovations are going, are Amber and Gary on or off right now, how business is doing at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce...... I could go on and on. I'm not completely deprived though. You would be amazed at what shows you can watch for free through the net. We haven't cut out all electronic entertainment. We aren't one of those extreme families dissing modern technology. Believe me, it isn't like David is going to sell his prized flat screen tv! It's just that we both realized we weren't capable of just cutting back on our own. Our addiction needed swift and severe action. We still enjoy our Bluray player, facebook, dvds, and have really started liking using Pandora Radio to listen to music. The biggest difference is the about face we've done as parents and now how much time is devoted to interacting with the three greatest joys in our life - Ethan, Ross, and Christian. David can be seen now watering the flower beds with Christian playing in the water from the hose. He just devoted time to help Ross successfully learn to ride his bike. He built the greatest Lego ship with Ethan the other day.
I, too, am keeping busy. I actually have a lot of time on my hands now! I'm accomplishing a goal that I've had for six years. I've been tackling getting pictures printed from years 2002-present, putting them in chronological order, and then housing them in photo albums. I'm up to 2008. Now that is progress!
I am a wife and a mother of a 1-year old, 6-year-old, and almost 10-year-old, who also works a part-time job. My hands are full and my cup runneth over! My life is more exciting on a daily basis than the best reality show out there! I thank God for showing me my flaws and giving me courage to strive for better, side by side with my husband.