Crumpling The Cable Bill

Month by month, the major leading cable companies increase their prices, promo and additional fees. I would say majority of people with a cable setup have a bundle with internet or phone service, or both. However, with landlines phasing out, and a larger variety of home internet providers and options – many are choosing to cut their cable services. This is with no surprise, but as more people leave these businesses, they seem to be putting their rates up for the customers that are staying, and how is that fair? If you have a quality cable provider, you can do things at your leisure like pause Hockey Night in Canada, without having to worry about missing any game play. You can record the latest episode of Seeking Sister Wife and watch it before bed. You can access digital or satellite music stations, and unique children’s and fitness apps. These are all excellent features of cable, and there’s more, but it has become a turn off to many as the cable costs continue to rise. If you are one of those people on the fence of deciding whether or not to cancel your service, it would be good to explore the alternative options you have.

There are numerous ways to illegally stream movies, and your favourite television programming, and these sometimes work very well, but only for a short time. Illegal streaming is great as a solution when you have no other source, however sometimes streams can be spotty, or freeze, or may not even contain the entire program. These are the risks you take with illegal downloads and streaming, as quality may not always be there.

First thing you’ll want to invest in is an HD antenna or two – these can be found from your local Wal-mart, electronics store or Amazon. They range from a modest $25 to hundreds, but honestly they all seem to work the same, with the same goal in mind: to access your local channels, with a clear, digital picture. That said, I wouldn’t spent a fortune on one of these things if I were you. You will only be able to get 2-6 channels probably but keep in mind it is better than nothing and view this as your “essentials” solution. “Essentials” meaning you’ll be able to access the local news, programming and weather – and this is especially good for someone that prefers to keep up to date with current events.

Next, if you have a tablet, or laptop – figure out how you can tap into the convenience of various network’s on-demand and online streaming. CTV and ABC are two networks that offer this, and I’m sure many others do as well. So this means, give it a day or two and you can view the latest episode of This is Us online!

The next thing is… Netflix. Many people hate on Netflix, and I wish they wouldn’t! To be honest, Netflix is clear and concise to use, offers a variety of languages and impaired hearing programming, and has become compatible with just about any smart device. While I will agree there is a huge difference between U.K, Canadian and American Netflix, I certainly don’t believe this is a reason to bash Netflix. Netflix offers both TV series and movies, for young children, youth and adults. Netflix also has its own original programming, you can browse through these movies and series, claimed as Netflix Originals. Netflix originals have been edgy, attractive and entertaining ever since their beginning of time, and the Netflix original Birdbox not only starred the stunning Sandra Bullock, but also became a viral social media conversation, and went on to win 2 awards, and numerous nominations. Stay tuned for my piece on Netflix recommendations, coming soon!

Lastly, maybe it would be a good time to go back in time, or get a little old-fashioned. Do your children even know what a VCR is? Perhaps, find one and introduce them to it; a great place to find VCR and VHS tapes is your local thrift shop. Utilize the box sets of TV shows you have, perhaps you are one of those people that have all the DVD sets of Little House on the Prairie, or The Waltons sitting around, well dig them out, and get watching them. If you are canceling your cable services, there is no reason why you can’t utilize all those dusty VHS and DVD tapes you have sitting around. You never know, it could be more fun than you imagine or bring back fond memories!

If you are having problems justifying or validating your decision to cut your cable, look at your savings if you were to do it. Let’s say you save even a hundred dollars – a hundred dollars could be a husband and wife’s date night, or a hundred dollars could be stashed away, and quickly add up for your dream vacation. You never know, eh?

Reasons More People Should Believe In Multi-Generational Living

In certain cultures and countries – multi-generational living is a regular practice – compared to North American culture where most families prefer to stand divided. While there are certainly ups and downs to shared living – there are many perks that come along with it. There are blessings in disguise that many are unaware of.

MULTI-GENERATIONAL LIVING BROADENS YOUR PERSPECTIVE

There is a common misconception that if one ventures out and lives on their own, it will make them independent, stronger or teach them things they can’t learn elsewhere. This is what society teaches – that you’re better off on your own. This however, is not always true. Multi-generational living teaches that even through quarrels, we are stronger together. It teaches tolerance and how to have a sense of unity among people who have different opinions, beliefs, habits and practices. And, most importantly, it does teach independence. It teaches the healthy balance of being around people and not, and stirs up a sense of independence that is complimented by a greater support system. Within this support system, there may be an aunt, sister, cousin or grandparent that one feels most comfortable with, and can confide with. Whether it be pregnancy, loss of pregnancy, common interests or illness – there are things in life that will draw certain individuals of this support system together. This is good for mental health, and broadens one’s perspective on relationships, family roles and support systems. 

MULTI-GENERATIONAL LIVING IS A BENEFICIAL LONG-TERM INVESTMENT

If yourself, your family and in-laws decide multi-generational living is right for you – decide together, invest together and do it right with a happy heart and for the right reasons. Consider down-sizing, establish private & common areas, pool money together, have a vision in mind and work hard to keep that vision alive. Consider sustainable options, and designate who will pay what. The initial work and funds to find, build or customize a home may be quite steep – but if you all pool in money together and ‘get handy’, many hands does mean less work. In the end, you will save in many ways and perhaps be able to do other things such as travel more or dine out more often. If more people would consider the concept of this, there would less distant families, impoverishment, and homelessness. Now, I never said its a cure to impoverishment or homelessness, but rather a good preventative measure for those that have family to reach out to. The problem is most wouldn’t.  That mind set needs to change. If a person is dealing day to day with an unexpected pregnancy, illness or job loss or trying to get clean, it should be a societal norm that they can reach out to their aunt, sister or brother (for example). This is because the multi-generational home should be a safe place and melting pot of family, consisting of in-laws, siblings, nephews, etc. It should be a safe place for family that is not limited to parents, grandparents and children.

MULTI-GENERATIONAL LIVING TEACHES THE VALUES OF SHARING AND COMPROMISE

The values of sharing and compromise are very important to the life style of multi-generational living. For example, if you, your siblings and families are investing in a home with four connecting units – you’ll have to negotiate, share and compromise in many areas. Who gets what unit? Should the person with no children get a smaller unit than the rest? Who will your great granny live with? These are just some questions you might have to address in this situation. Other scenarios might have more unique compromises, such as shared washrooms. Who shares with whom? A common living space and kitchen might be something your families want. One person might say they like the idea of a common living space, but they don’t want any pets in it. So, see this would be a compromise: you can have pets, just don’t bring them in the common areas. You might say the same for ‘couple time’, keep the common areas PG/kid friendly and ‘private affairs’ in your private quarters. With all these compromises, there comes a great sense of sharing, that is passed down as an excellent influence on children in the dwelling. It may sound odd to dine at a table of 14 on days that are not holidays. It may seem odd to have a living room three times the size as most, and to share it with so many other people. But these things fall into place and become your own kind of norm. And soon enough, you’ll be looking forward to Friday night movies in the common area, snuggled up with your kids and completely at ease – knowing you’ve done the right thing for them, yourself and every other person in that house.

MULTI-GENERATIONAL LIVING ALLOWS EACH GENERATION TO TEACH EACH-OTHER AND ADD DIVERSITY 

In multi-generational homes, it is common to often have three generations, and if you’re lucky enough, 4 or 5 generations. The way to look at it is, the more generations, the better. This is because with each generation comes life experience, influence and great volumes of diversity. If you are truly blessed to be in the midst of a four generation home with a variety of family members – recognize that this is an ongoing positive influence and teaching opportunity. While you may have veterans, retired doctors or family that came to the country with just a pack on their back, these are valuable attributes but understand the eldest generation in your home is not the only one that can breathe and speak knowledge. Don’t be ignorant with assumption that the oldest generations are the wisest, while the youngest have much to learn. There is an equal need for transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next, whether it be from the eldest to the youngest, or the opposite. The younger generation need to be taught compassion for the older generation and understand they have been shaped and molded as a result of the country and era in which they lived. The older generation need to swallow their pride and show more patience for the generation growing up in a time when technology is growing faster then they are, and hard work is not as ‘hard’ as it use to be. If someone in the household worked her life as nurse through the 1940’s-60’s, it would have been an extremely different experience than someone entering the nursing field now. Not only has the medical technology advanced, the scope of responsibilities have as well. This is not necessarily a good thing or bad thing – but it is an opportunity for a grandmother to discuss with her granddaughter their nursing professions. They can compare procedures and the shifts in roles, and if they truly want to, they can allow it to be a time of seeing into their field – at a different time (period). The opportunity for this insight is one of the many diverse benefits of multiple generations under one roof.

©Leah Finlay, October, 2017 – All rights to Leah Finlay, the blog of thinking out loud, permission required for copying.

Oh God, Sometimes I really can’t stand people!

You know those moments ….while you’re working at the McDonald’s or local motel, and you look tired and a guest, client or customer notices…and thanks you for your hard work. Deep down, you don’t want this person to think you are a broke ass individual working for not much more than minimum wage, because you are so much more than that! I mean they look at you and see a lobby girl all in black, overworked and tired – but she rocks at her job. They look at you and see a fast food clerk, sweating and trying not to lean but remain standing straight as your feet kill you…and you greet them with nothing but a smile. You rock at your dead end job, you shine within it, and treat others well…that is what they see.

Have you ever humanized yourself to them? … that’s what I am getting at here. You want them to realize, hello, I’m so much more than a short, chubby girl in a sweaty uniform here to serve you. I’m so much more than the lady I am while flipping hamburgers.

Have you ever thought of saying to them:

‘I have a master’s degree, I’m probably smarter than you and your three children, though I sit on sixty thousand dollars of debt.’

‘I am a single mom of two, they are my life, and I do everything I can for them and my sick mother that lives with me. They are my world and my light.’

‘I come from a family of wealth, but I choose to work….while attending school.’

‘I work twice as many hours and twice as hard as rich assholes like you, and at the end of the day I am still serving you.’

‘My husband is in prison, so I work three jobs. I am sorry you feel the need to pat me on the back and shrug your shoulders like you’re better than me – because I am a woman of color, because I am a female and a service worker – I feel sorry for people like you.’

‘Thanks for all your life stories. My life story is told by the cracks and scars of my hands…take your coffee and leave.’

We clearly can’t/won’t state these things, as it would ruin our image. Because despite the scenarios of daily lives listed above, we still remain the hot waitress, the cute, flirty girl that makes your coffee, the good looking bus driver that takes you to work each day. However, all this and more makes many reasons why one should appreciate the customer service and front-line service they receive each day. People who work in these service industries truly make the world go around, and they don’t want to deal with rude or belittling assholes – but they do! They also don’t want to be treated like they have gold up their ass, for what they do – because at the end of the day, that too, is condescending. Just appreciate, would you?

If you are one of these people, I am sure you can relate, and know how important you are to the everyday occurrences in your community. And for everyone else, show respect and remember to say thank you, maybe actually say hi to your grocery clerk rather than stare down at your phone the whole time they bag your food. You expect they’ll bag your food whether or not you say hi to them, or that it’s only proper they greet you first. At the end of the day, they kind of expect the same courtesy – that just maybe you’ll stop screening Porktober Festival and tweeting the latest minion picture. It would only seem human to switch off your phone and greet the kind, young man bagging your groceries, for example.

As service workers, sure we may not be able to reveal ourselves ‘naked’ to the public, but we sure can do the most important thing by being ourselves, and continuing to go the extra mile – knowing how much of a difference we make in daily lives. And as public, while we may wonder about the deep details and lives of many of these individuals we often encounter, they will remain blind to us, outside of uniform… But we must remember there is another side to them, an outside, impacting life. We must remember this in order to humanize them away from just the girl that makes your extra sweet soy late each day. Then, it’s nothing to smile at them, like you would a friend, thank them, as you would your parents, pray for them, as you would your children. Then, you’ve done well.

 

Originally Printed: October, 5th, 2015