When You Reach the End of the Internet, Keep Calm and Go Fishing. (And Call Prince Charming.)

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (41)

As seen at the Phipps in Pittsburgh, PA
August 2011
Photo Credit: Melissa Firman

So yesterday afternoon we’re hanging out online, me and the kids, when we reached maximum overload.

Internet-wise, that is.

It has been an incredibly full summer, one that has gone so much better than I would have ever predicted back in June with the prospect of 12 unfilled weeks ahead.

(Tight finances this year = no summer camp for kids and curtailed activities.)

We more than made the best of it by going to the pool, the beach, the library, gymnastics lessons, riding a bike for the first time (and for an hour a day afterward), sleeping in, having an extraordinary evening in Ligonier, getting into an enrichment camp program through school, picking blueberries in the backyard, picnicking, reading a ton of books, playing tourist in Pittsburgh and in neighboring Ohio, making movies at Apple camp, attending a church program, and visiting grandparents for almost a week.

We are also bigtime Internet consumers. Biiiiiiiiig.Tiiiiiiiiiime. We get spoken and unspoken shit for it from relatives and friends, I know. Between the freelancing and the Facebooking, the resume-sending and the researching, the news-junkie consuming, The Husband’s watching of sports, The Boy’s video making and watching, The Girl’s self-described “One Direction infection” (oh, yeah, we saw them this summer too when some tickets serendipitously appeared) … well, we’re kind of Internet dependent.

I’ve been making an effort to be more unplugged. (See the summer list above for proof.) And it seems that my Internet provider is fully supportive.

With minus 48 hours left to go before school starts, we’ve more than Passed Go via a vis the dog days of summer. The Boy is in Heavy Denial Mode and hence, was coping yesterday in the way he does best: chilling out online, watching videos.

“Uh, Mom?” he said. “I’m getting a message when I go on YouTube saying that if I do, I’m going to be charged $10.”

“The hell are you watching?” I said, thinking Miley Cyrus had released her latest “Twerking for Tweens” video.

“Nothing. I just tried to go on YouTube and I got a weird message from [our Internet provider.] I already emailed Dad.”

Because of course Dad, who was at work, could naturally fix the situation from his office 25 minutes away. Because that’s what he DOES.

“Just ignore it,” I said, offering up my solution for everything. “And for God sakes, don’t click on anything.” 

“Dad will look at it when he gets home,” I added.

Not long after this exchange, I went onto LinkedIn, wanting to update my profile there.

Or, tried to anyway. Instead, I got a message similar to what my boy described. Apparently, we were nearing the end of our “Internet capacity” and we would be charge $10 per every GB that we went over.

“Hey, pal?” I said. “Can you show me the message you got when you tried to go on YouTube?”

He clicked. Same warning.

“Oh, wow,” I said.

“Are you gonna email Dad?” The Boy said.

“No, I am not gonna email Dad,” I said. “I’ll take care of it.”

Which I did, by taking a picture of the message on my phone. This might make a good blog post, I thought. (See what I mean? Internet addicted much?)  And when The Husband came home, I showed it to him.

“You seen this?” I asked. “What the hell?”

“That doesn’t look right.”

“I know. I think it’s some kind of scam. A phishing thing, maybe.”

“I am NOT going fishing,” said The Future Mrs. Harry Styles (a.k.a. The Daughter).

“Nobody’s going fishing,” I said. “Get me our last bill. I’m calling them. I’ll handle this.”  Because, you know, nobody messes with mama and her Internet. Especially not with 48 hours left before school.

I dial. I muster up my professional tone that I reserve for such occasions. I use words like phishing to impress Steven on the other line, who needs to advise me that our call may be recorded for training purposes.

“Actually, it’s not a scam,” Steven says.

“Huh?” I say, all professional-like.

“We do this when customers, such as yourself, are close to reaching their maximum Internet usage. So you know, before you get charged extra.”

“Wow. I must say, I’m kind of astounded. For what I am paying each month, rather significantly, I might add, this is news to me that there’s this …this CAP.”

“The good news is that your usage resets tonight!” Steven said.

It’s finally happened, I thought. I’ve become freakin’ Cinderella. Bring on the pumpkin and the mice and my Prince Charming in the form of Steven to save my boy from a meltdown about school and needing to placate himself with his videos.

I debate how pathetic I will sound by asking Prince Charming exactly what time tonight the Internet will reset.

I go for the gold.

“You’re ABSOLUTELY SURE it will reset itself tonight?” I say. I feel like I am talking to a wizard, the Grand Poohbah of The Internet instead of Steven Stuck in a Call Center Making $7.50 An Hour.  I imagine if Steven hasn’t already pressed record on this conversation, he’s about ready to do so.

“It really will.”

I breathe. “Okay.”

“Here’s an analogy for you,” Steven says. “Imagine the Internet is like a river. And you, the customer, is like a pipe, siphoning off what you need. Some customers take more, some less. We could charge more for those who take more, or one flat rate – up till a certain point. That wouldn’t be fair, right?”

I’m thinking Steven is really either a philosophy or a poetry major with a six-figure student loan debt.

“Um …uh huh,” I say, wanting to add that we are lucky to live in a city with THREE rivers so there should be unlimited Internet, with liberty and justice for all.

“Does that make sense?” Steven says.

“It does. So, then. We’re good? This is a real thing then, the message? That was my main concern, that it was some kind of scam. A phishing thing. But thank you for reassuring me. And the Internet resets tonight?” I said, once more for good luck.

“Yes.”

“OK. Well, then, that helps. Thank you.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you this evening?” Steven says, probably hoping to God I would say no.

“We’re good here. Thank you for your help.”

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Waiting for Prince Charming
Strathmere, NJ
Photo Credit: Melissa Firman

Blueberries 4

Blueberries in the backyard on the 4th of July
Photo Credit: Melissa Firman

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The best kind of web on summer vacation
Strathmere, NJ
Photo Credit: Melissa Firman

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Fish at the Carnegie Science Center
August 2013
Photo Credit: Melissa Firman

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Strathmere Bay, Strathmere, NJ
June 2013
Photo Credit: Melissa Firman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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