Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

I apologize for my recent absence from the blogosphere.

My husband and I recently moved from the very trendy, bustling city of Scottsdale; to a tiny, rural town in southeastern Arizona called Sonoita. When I say tiny and rural, I mean it’s a crossroad halfway between Tucson and the border of Mexico. There are maybe 800 people living in the general vicinity, and not a stop light in sight. 

Along with all the other lifestyle adjustments I’ve had to make - a smaller home with no closets, actual cowboys living nearby, a skunk who believes our dogs to be hostile invaders, and the nearest Target being 30 miles away – I am learning the ins-and-outs of something called Satellite Internet.

Apparently when you move to a rural area, the cable company no longer knows how to find you. They could look on Google Maps (our house is there! really!) but apparently they haven’t thought of that. So cable internet is not available in this area. OK, no big deal - I went online via my phone to find out what my options were. 

My options were 1) No internet, or 2) Satellite Internet. That was it.

The online ads for satellite internet were promising. “Faster downloads!” “Broadband on demand!” “Leave dial-up behind forever!” (Dial-up?!? Is that still a thing?) I signed up.

The satellite dish arrived the next morning with a friendly, chatty guy who hooked everything up and gave me the grand tour: basically, there’s a dish on my roof, which is connected to a modem in my office, which we hooked up to the WiFi router. I was good to go!

My home page popped right up on my screen! Emails arrived in my inbox! This is good, I thought. And then I tried to load my Oasis Renewal Center website. It. Took. For...ev…er. Well, I thought, maybe it’s just that particular server. So I tried to bring up the national news. By the time the news page loaded, three countries in the Middle East had disarmed, signed a peace treaty, broken it and bombed one another. 

This. Is. Slooooow. Internet.

OK, then. I have deliberately simplified my lifestyle, and am trying to live a more balanced life. Slower internet is just one of those things that I will have to get used to, I decided. While I wait for pages to load, I can do deep breathing exercises. This will center me, and lower my blood pressure, right? A win-win! Besides, who needs instant access to Facebook, Twitter and Not me! Breathe in….breathe out….
Three days later, the annual monsoon arrived. The Arizona monsoon is an amazing phenomenon. Rain and cooler temperatures cause the desert flowers to bloom, and the grass to turn green. The sky becomes an ever-changing panorama of captivating colors like purple, orange and red; and gives rise to enormous white thunderclouds that tower above the mountains. Those clouds open up and we get most of our yearly rainfall during the monsoon. 

As I breathed in the scent of fresh rain, and pulled on a sweater (It had cooled off to 67 degrees on the 4th of July) I opened up my laptop and… nothing. The little WiFi icon read, “no internet access.” Hmmm. 

I called Customer Support. The perky woman with the Mumbai accent on the other end of the phone asked me if it was raining where I was. (Really?) I explained that it had rained earlier, but the sky was clear at that moment. 

She said, “Well, sometimes rain can disrupt the satellite reception. The problem should resolve itself when the rain stops.”

Now, I’m no expert on computers or the internet, but I wondered; exactly how did that work? Did the internet signal waves get pummeled by large, intimidating raindrops, turn around and run home? Did lightening vaporize the satellite signal? Was the satellite programmed to shut down in case of rain? Would an umbrella help? Or maybe all those digital 1’s and 0’s just slid off the wet satellite dish? If so, there should be a large pile of them in the backyard. 

This is insane! How can rain knock out the internet!? 

Oops, almost forgot. Breathe in….breathe out…
Anyway, I guess I’ll get back online after the monsoon, assuming “the problem resolves itself when the rain stops” sometime in September. Meanwhile, I’ll be here. Breathing.

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