The Signs are EVERYWHERE: why I might need to dial back my “screen-time”

Beware of Dog


I used to be one of those people that would look for signs everywhere. I would think to myself, “hmm, should I do this or that,” and then I would wait for a sign to show up leading my in that direction. When I met Boof I learned that not the whole world worked that way (what? people don’t go to India because they had a dream? And then the next day there was a talk about India? And then you saw a sari in a shop?). I guess, other people in the world don’t go looking around for confirmation from the heavens or fortune cookies or the internet for advice on which way to steer their ship.

But I do.

I mean, I’ve tried to ignore it, but those little internal proddings toward a direction feel right and I usually stuff cotton in my ears. And then I put a pillow over my head. And then I should “lalalalala” really loudly to drown out the still small voice that says, “hmm, maybe you should or shouldn’t do this particular thing.”

So, for the past month I’ve been irritated with all things…media. I’m talking about the Queen Bee (Facebook) and the wannabee’s (Pinterest) and the allure of the minions (DVR and Netlifx). Because, I have turned into a media junky. Seriously. If you cut me open and found Facebook beating instead of my heart, I wouldn’t be surprised. I look at it ALL the time. Once I tried to “give it up” and found myself checking it 2 minutes later. I am the equivalent of the woman on TV happily smoking through her trach-hole.

But let’s be honest, my irritation with all-things media gets directed at Boof. I seethe on the couch (while facebooking), resenting him playing Angry Birds instead of chatting with our son. When he turns the TV on to some mindless channel to pass time I feel like thousands of nails are on the chalkboard. I mostly am feeling this irritation because it’s something that I don’t want to be doing anymore, but it is WAY easier to focus on what HE is doing/not doing. Because removing a plank from my own eye is rather heavy and time-consuming and that little itty bitty splinter over there just needs some tweezers…

I digress…

So of course I’m frittering away my time on Facebook when I should be grading the stack of essays, and come across THIS article, which is entitled The Unplugged Home, and chronicles a family who lives in a house with all things old fashioned, like rotary dial phones and manual (what are they even called?) clocks that don’t flash or blink. And they do things like:

grind their own flour for pancakes, then flip through a print edition of the  newspaper over a hot breakfast.

Whoa. I think that’s going a BIT far don’t you think? I mean, I would say that I felt pretty damn pleased with myself on Saturday when I vowed to not watch TV until Potamus was napping (11am) and baked myself some homemade banana bread from SCRATCH. But it certainly didn’t involve planting my own bananas and grinding the flour. Boof has been extra tolerant of my foray into “artisan vegan cheese” making from scratch for my dairy-free attempt, but he might start to wonder who I am if I am suddenly elbow deep in home-made pancake flour. I mean, seriously. Though, my yard does need a good clean for spring. I guess I could do that.

Trying to not get hung up on the extreme screen-free aspect of the article, I did contemplate what my life could be like without a TV (or if it’s turned off for more hours during the day). But then I also wondered if I would go batshit crazy. Because, most days I do enjoy spending time with my little love-bug, but I also enjoy a good foray into the adult-conversation realm and facebook is full of that. Right? And there are always adult things, like pictures of shoes, and homemade crafts, calling to me on Pinterest. Surely that is more exciting and adult than spending time actually making crafts…right?

So, about 56 seconds after I read the almost-but-not-quite-becoming Amish article (or so I’ve dubbed it), I went on my merry way…graded a few papers…checked Facebook…popped on WordPress to look at some blogs.


Another one.

Seriously Universe, you’re starting to be a LITTLE BIT ANNOYING. Because there I am, perusing my Reader and I’m struck upside the head with the article It’s time for me to go to rehab over on Keeping Up with the Holsby’s. Funny. She sorta puts what I had been thinking into words. Like when she says:

I can check every damned thing all the time wherever I am. Problem is, I do. On the toilet, in the supermarket queue.

In my car. At the lights.

Invariably, I’m not missing anything but I just like to be reassured of the fact

Can I get a hand-raise for those of us who check at the lights? Please? I need to know that we’re not the only ones. I alternate between putting on mascara (one eye at a time) at lights and checking Facebook. Because I might miss something important. Which is why when I am really tired or really drunk (shh, that’s never happened) I have a hard time going to bed because I DON’T WANT TO MISS A THING (cue cheesy Aerosmith right now).

Wait. It gets worse.

After leaving a fun little comment on aforementioned blog, I headed over to Huffington Post to get some distraction from the nagging signs swirling about. Intrigued by the title: Why My Son’s Perception Of Life At Home Surprised Me, I mindlessly clicked on the link. Too Much Screen Time was what it was actually entitled when I clicked through. Damn you Huffington Post for tricking me into thinking this was going to be some cute, fluffy story about weird dinner tastes or quotes by children. But it got me thinking….what does Potamus see?

I know that he crawls around the house with his old cell phone, pretending to jabber away in it. I know he notices when I’m checking my texts behind his back when we’re watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or he’s playing with a toy. My gut (and the signs) are telling me I should make some changes.


Am I ready?


It’s like Christmas…every two years…

Every two years comes the amazing Christmas-like day, where you KNOW you aren’t getting a dumpy sweater or a bag full of socks. No no, you are getting some hot little techie number that sometimes you’ll use to make phone calls. But mostly you’ll hold it and stare at its beauty like Narcissus and play Angry Birds and check what people are eating rightnow. rightrightrightnow. Whatcha doing rightnowdamnitiwannaknowbecauseitsbeenatleast10seconds.

Yup, you know the day. Cell-phone upgrade package day!

The industry is in bed with the devil, but man it feels GOOD. I’ve been hobbling around with my HTC Evo Shift (slidey keyboard fun! yay!), that had been dropper (er, thrown at a wall when Potamus was so upset and I didn’t know what to do) and fixed once, okay, twice, in two years (because one time it randomly stopped letting me hear anyone on the other end of the line). As we head toward home plate we were downright limping. The ringer didn’t work, the SD card was almost full up of cute wittle pictures of babykins and everything just felt…slow..

Boof’s phone crapped out last week and so he went in to his super-stealthy Sprint highschool buddy and learned he could get an upgrade for his phone for CHEAPER than fixing it. WTF, but talk about jealous running through me as I have piddly slow “old” phone and he’s flashing is hip new HTC Evo upgrade. But, I learned that I could get an upgrade, too, and those last two days of waiting before Saturday was exactly like how I felt as a kid waiting for Christmas!

I chose the LG Optimus G, a flashy new phone with…get this…THIRTEEN megapixel camera. Boof was unimpressed, saying “but you have a nice camera that you use all the time.” So? Now I have an awesome tiny point and shoot that also makes phone calls. So, neener neener!

So far I am pretty darn happy. Cool features like photo-password unlock the phone (though not always reliable in poor lighting or with different hairstyles, boo), the camera is awesome (ability to take pictures WHILE filming!), and all the other neat flashy features of smartphones these days. I love a big screen and have found myself reading more of my phone-kindle, just because it’s easier to see than the old one! The one drawback is when I am running and the stopwatch is on, but the phone automatically turns off and so I have to keep logging in to see how long I’ve run. I know I can just change that in the settings, so no biggie. One worry is that I will run out of memory, as it doesn’t have a spot for a micro-SD card…it’s all just built in memory (but 32 gb of it, should be okay!). Might mean I can’t keep 8,000 photos on my phone…but that’s probably a good thing, right?