Yesterday, Congress refused to extend the deadline to switch over from regular signals that have served us well since the dawn of the 50's to the new digital signals.  Do I sound bitter?

Yes, yes I am bitter. Ledcat and I do not have cable.  It isn't a noble gesture of anti-consumerism.  It is a practical reality based on our priorities. I'd rather pay for high speed (no, we don't watch tv online) and she'd rather go to concerts.  We both prefer to enjoy the occasional nice restaurant and pay for gas. And student loans (sigh). It doesn't make us noble or snobby, just a little less up on pop culture. 

We ordered those damn rebate coupons and didn't realize they expire.  While they are bright and shiny, we figured we had until the deadline to buy the damn boxes.  So I tried to order a replacement. No dice.  Ledcat's Mom bought us one box for the holidays.  Then I had to buy a new power strip.  Then we realized we lost channels.  Well, we did gain all those sub WPXI channels, including Retro Television Network for which there is no schedule anywhere in the universe, but we lost ABC/WTAE completely.  Bye, bye Penn State and Oscars.  WQED comes and goes, perhaps related to the pledge drive follow through?  CBS/KDKA is in box format and fizzes out, most frequently during the news.  WPXI is great so I believe Medium will once again become my favorite show.  Sorry, The Mentalist.  It was nice, but your leading lady reminds me of a cricket and kind of creeps me out so maybe it wasn't meant to be.

So we have to buy another box for our upstairs television.  We already have a power strip so that's a savings.  We only get two stations upstairs so that's sort of a crap shoot. 

People using get rather defensive when we mention that we don't have cable.  It isn't a hair shirt, people.  Peek into my debit card receipts and you'd see plenty of ways I blow $$ on my own steam.  If I bothered to save those receipts.  See?  That's not very budget conscious.  But I've noticed that half of people who learn about our cable free lives immediately try to convert us to suscribe to Comcast or the Dish Network, even shoving coupons off on us.  This is usually followed by some story about the cable/dish going out right in the middle of Grey's Anatomy (did anyone catch Ireland Baldwin diss her Dad by saying she watches Grey's Anatomy instead of his show?  Pretty funny retaliation and with a lovely smile, too!).  And bemoaning the cost. 

The other half openly admit they are addicted, blame it on the kids/spouses/live in parents and stare me down with a defiant look challenging me to cast the first stone.  No stones here, honey.  I'm not a parent, but I can't imagine forking over $100/month when there is plenty of interesting television on regular network television for children, spouses and live in parents.  There's even a $16 cable package available from Comcast that takes the edge off and saves a lot of money.

Still, I can handle a few defensive friends and strangers who question my sanity/self-righteousness when this topic comes up.  I'm not pleased that the Government is forcing me to make this switch and spend this money.  I'm especially not happy that people most vulnerable are getting screwed by this process since the friggin coupons have run out.  I work in the human services sector and no one from the Government ever called me to make sure I am helping my folks get boxes and coupons.  Now it is too late.  Buying a $50 box (the cheap ones don't work) is a hefty investment on a fixed income.  Plus, the potential need for extension cords and/or power strips. 

So if you have a coupon and don't need it, please send to me.  I have a host of folks (not me!) who don't have a box at all.  If you have a box you aren't going to use b/c you succumbed and got cable, send it to me please. 

And please stop trying to convert me to cable.