Red Light, Green Light – Cats, Books, and the Internet

It’s amazing how much trouble one little red dot can cause…

Last Friday at 3:54 p.m. while I was at work, I got a text from Dan informing me we had no internet, as someone had accidentally cut the cable wires in our neighborhood. He was told by AT&T, our provider, it would be fixed by 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Rather than get upset over something out of our control, I just took it with a grain of salt and resigned myself to a night of cable TV, as AT&T is our streaming provider and continuing to binge watch our new series of choice, Justified, would not be an option.

For the cats, it was an unexpected bonus. Normally I’m on my computer when I get home from work to get caught up on things, but having no internet brought me an early retirement to the couch, which resulted in me being covered in cats about 23 seconds after I sat down. After a boring night of TV, I woke up on Saturday morning and the first thing I did was check our router. Plain as day, the infernal red dot was still flashing, meaning I would not be able to jump on Facebook to say hello to the world or do anything else internet related.

I tried my best to stay busy until it was fixed – I did some laundry, some yard work, some light housekeeping, and I wrote a Mother’s Day post I would schedule once the internet was back up. But, it became evident, no matter how many times I willed the red light on the router to turn green, that the 2:00 p.m. deadline was going to come and go. I called AT&T for an update and after picking through 45 grueling menu options, with me speaking in a withering voice to a recorder telling me to speak up, I was finally routed to a customer service agent from another continent, who, reading from a script, told me the problem would be fixed by 5:00 p.m. the next day.

Being the cynic I am, naturally, I did not believe the said person, but a funny thing happened after that. I still had the rest of the day ahead of me and I had about a zillion other things I could have tackled that did not require internet. I could have cleaned out and organized my closets. I could have gotten a jump start on organizing an agenda for the impending new role I’ll be taking in June as the President of the Cat Writers’ Association. I could have written a couple future blog posts and actually been ahead of the curve, instead of drowning like I normally am.

This was my paradise last weekend. The company of my cats, a good book, and not a computer in sight.

What I did instead, was grab a fresh cup of coffee and a book, and I plunked myself on the bed in our guestroom to read for the rest of the day. I absolutely love the room – it’s decorated with a beautiful leopard theme and it’s always bathed in a beautiful glow of sunlight, keeping it warm and cozy. The cats followed my lead and soon after the bed was peppered with an assortment of my feline friends, more than happy to nap the rest of the day away in my company. I have no science to prove this, but I genuinely think my body took over my mind and simply decided I needed a detox break from doing anything productive and I honestly didn’t have the energy or desire to argue with the logic.

The internet was not fixed at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, nor was it fixed at all on Sunday. Knowing myself as well as I do, I thought by now I’d be in a panic without connecting to the social world. I wasn’t able to post a Mother’s Day post and I wasn’t able to stop by other blogs to leave comments. I could have made the effort to bring my tiny laptop to an establishment with wi-fi to interact, but I just didn’t have it in me.

Happy belated Mother’s Day – I’m sorry I couldn’t communicate last Sunday but you were all in my heart!

When I got to work on Monday, I was able to connect to Facebook to see how everyone was doing and I was also able to see the throngs of emails I wasn’t able to access over the weekend. What did it all boil down to me missing? Not a whole heck of a lot, honestly. Nearly all my emails were spam and it appeared the world had continued on its merry axis while I forged ahead without internet.

At this point, it wasn’t even that I wanted the internet back, it was more the realization that nearly everything I do requires me to have internet. When I left work, the internet was still out at our house and I was starting to get edgy not being able to communicate – not necessarily socially, but now I couldn’t communicate in a business sense on my cat side of things. I must have walked into my office a dozen times – was the red light, green yet? Finally, at around 6:00 p.m. it came back. No fanfare, bells, or whistles. Just like that, the red light became green. I jumped on my computer, thinking I would feel victorious, but honestly, deep down, all I wanted to do was grab another book, settle on the guestroom bed with the cats and read the night away. Ironic, huh?

P.S. An update to the story – after several years of spotty streaming service from AT&T last night was the final straw. It was a tortuous night trying to watch an episode of Justified because of connection and buffering issues. We have made the decision we will be looking elsewhere – anyone have a good provider they can recommend?


As an aside, for those of you interested, our annual Cat Writers’ Conference (CWA) will be held this year at the Hyatt Regency North Houston Hotel, June 7 – 9. There will be educational seminars, a great keynote speaker (Dr. Marty Becker – America’s Veterinarian), editor appointments, a book signing event, and more. The Cat Fanciers’ Regional Cat Show will be held at the hotel and we will also be hosting our annual awards banquet. It’s a great opportunity to connect with cat-loving people and you don’t even have to be a member of the CWA to attend. If you’d like to go, we’re offering all kinds of great packages – from one-day passes to the full event. Please click here if you’d like more information or to register for your ticket. 

Calling all cat-lovers! We’d love to have you join us at our annual conference!

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  1. You did well, and I think your mind wanted the break, and your body said yup, lets go for it. How did we cope without the internet, well I guess we all read books and watched TV and listened to the radio. I think, as I have only radio, I now turn more to Erin, and a book (at the same time) than i do any other form of medium or media. I wish I could come to CWA this year but cant due to distance and circumstance. It does sound great though, and I hope that some of the presentations could be recorded and shared. I’d be happy to pay a consideration for a DVD of the event…
    Have a great week, and I hope the streaming issue gets solved

  2. Brian Frum says:

    Those internet problems are such a pain. AT7T isn’t any good here either but our only choice is Charter which we had once and hardly worded at all. Congrats to you CWA President, that’s cool!

  3. Chirpy Cats says:

    I think with how busy you are, having no internet for that short time was a blessing in disguise, as you have already seen. You probably needed that detox away from technology. I have tons of posts to do that I’m behind with and its a tough decision between doing my garden today or sitting at my computer! We’ll see! MOL Purrs from the Chirpies

  4. meowmeowmans says:

    We love that you found some silver linings during your internet-less time, Deb! The CWA Conference sounds like it will be awesome. We hope that one day we’ll be able to attend. 🙂

  5. jmuhj says:

    You’ve described me to a “T” there, Deb, except that I DO climb the walls, rattle around the house wondering what on earth to do, think about calling the ISP over and over and over, and obsess on how stressed I am and WHY CAN’T THEY FIX IT NOW?!! all the while knowing that curling up with cats and a good book is far more satisfying.

    At first glance at your photo, I got a warm glow of recognition — ah, we have the same ISP and there’s that nice gateway! Alas, I’m sorry for your troubles and wish I could recommend something better, but I can’t. I’ve had ATT since moving here and I have to say I’ve had excellent service both with day-to-day usage and on the few occasions I’ve had to have tech support come out. Friends who’ve gone from one ISP to another–and another–have discovered that ALL of them have downtime and problems. I like to think of the internet as a work in (continual) progress — it’s tempting to personalize and play the blame game, but in reality, the web is truly just that — a world wide network of people, held up and together by millions of people of varying degrees of experience and expertise, all bringing us something almost miraculous, but never perfect, because anything humans do will never be perfect.
    I’d stick with ATT. But that’s just me. Good luck with whatever you do choose! And those times curled up with cats are the BEST times, aren’t they?

  6. I also practically climb the walls when the internet goes down, but like you have found that it can be a blessing in disguise. Once I have accepted that tearing my hair out won’t bring it back any quicker I find so many other things I can do and have some me time.

  7. Life without the internet for a while can be both distressing and a revealing return to sanity.

  8. I wouldn’t handle no internet for so long very well, that’s for sure! Glad you’re back 🙂

  9. I would have gone crazy without internet or TV for that long. Seriously! We gave up on AT&T long time ago…never did like their service. ~Island Cat Mom

  10. Ellen Pilch says:

    Coffee , cats and books are the best way to spend the day.

  11. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    guyz….glad yur mom getted sum: her N ewe time: in over de week oh end

    de food service gurl haz knot had tee vee hooked up in over 5 yearz….N de
    eye pad stayz off for like 85% oh de time on de week nitez N week oh endz

    honest ta cod dee tee vee iz knot mizzed ~~~~~~~~~☺☺♥♥

  12. Some time away from the Internet can be a good thing, for sure. Cuddlin’, if you’re into that sort of thing, readin’ real actual books, nappin’, nippin’, wand toy playin’, did I mention nippin’? These are ALL things that can be done instead. And FUN things, for sure. ‘Cept maybe for that cuddlin’ part. Depends upon how you feel ’bout cuddlin’ with peeps. MOUSES!

  13. Linda says:

    Had AT & T at work and went down nearly EVERY day. Switched to Comcast at work and we have at home too. Now rarely have an issue at work and just a few at home. Nothing is perfect but I would never have At & t again unless I had no choice.

  14. Reading a book is simply too delightful sometimes, no matter why!

  15. Thanks for the share. Sometimes you have to just grab a book and relax. You have the best company to join you at the same time. Hopefully, you will find another provider to have better service. Have a great day.

  16. Heck and this is before the US government tries to kill Net neutrality! I hope you get a new provider soon.