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Life goes on offline

By Erica Hill
CNN Headline News

HLN Hotwired
Internet Service Providers
Computing and Information Technology

(CNN) -- In the past, I've advocated breaks from technology -- like reading a book, going for a walk or calling a friend instead of sending an e-mail. I still think frequent breaks from your computer, cell phone and DVD player are healthy, but it's easier to take that break when it's your choice.

The day before our "big move" to the new loft, the cable company came to hook up our TV and Internet service. They came at the beginning of the four-hour window, right after our new couch was delivered. The new TV had come the day before -- we couldn't wait to check it out. In hindsight, everything was going so smoothly we should have known it wouldn't last.

The cable company couldn't hook up our service because our lines were bad. I'm not sure exactly what "bad" meant in this case, except that we had to reschedule so a technician could come out to remedy the situation. A minor hiccup on the TV end -- I watch mainly for the news ... OK, also "Newlyweds" on MTV -- but a larger issue when it comes to our Internet service. Still, we figured we could live for another 10 days without either. Little did we know it would be much longer in the end.

Fast-forward to the second cable appointment and a second case of "bad lines." The technician left us with a few more snowy channels and another appointment, but still no Internet access. In addition, our mailbox access was cut off, and likely a fair amount of mail lost.

Why am I sharing this with you? All the waiting and wondering took it's toll early on. (How would I know what was happening before I go to work? How would I stay on top of personal e-mail? How would I stay up on the latest adventures of my favorite pop couple, Nick and Jessica?) The TV I could live without, but no Internet access was killing me.

We've been offline at home for about six weeks now. We gave up on the cable and got satellite service for the TV -- and it only took two days. The DSL is another story. We're still waiting for the equipment, and I still find myself wondering how to do things without the Internet. How do I find out where to bring the old paint I want to get rid off? How do I find a gym in our new neighborhood? How do I send pictures of our new home to friends and family?

I'd like to say I've become more resourceful -- in some ways I have. I've reconnected with the Yellow Pages, asked my neighbors for the inside scoop and told friends and family the pictures and updates will come ... some day. While I realize I can make it without the Internet -- and I admit it's beginning to feel normal -- I like the convenience of the Web.

So I continue to wait and hope each day that the mail will hold more than bills -- that it just may have our DSL installation kit. Let's hope I remember how to log on when that day comes.

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