8 Days without internet; what I learned

The weather forced us to have 8 days of total internet blackout (except for the waning mobile data on my phone). This post is all about what I learned.

See, we had a huge thunder and lightning storm that took out our BT hub last Thursday night. Lightning struck (I’m not totally sure where, to be honest), and our hub died with a spectacular show of a huge flash of light and an extremely loud pop. It scared the crap out of me because it was right behind my head at the time. We’re extremely lucky that none of our other electronics were affected.

During these seven days of internet purgatory, I have learned the following things

  • Punky doesn’t really know how to live without being constantly connected to the internet.
  • The “I’m bored!” whining multiplies 100,000x when there’s no downloaded music or movies to consume.
  • The DVDs we do have are in pretty rough shape.
  • Trying to go to the park in 80F+ heat is a BAD idea with a boy who is acclimated to the cool and dreary typical British weather.
  • There’s only so much monopoly you can play without flipping the board in a dramatic fashion, sending cards and houses flying across the room.
  • I can write blog posts, but I can’t create the images for them because I rely on Canva, and my trial of Photoshop has ended with no way to pay for the full version.
  • Punky’s snack consumption dramatically increases when he’s not distracted by Youtube videos.
  • Some of the books in his little personal library are not as well written as they should be.
  • The shortage of PVA glue and kids acrylic paint in our home is the catalyst for our own personal civil war.
  • Even when bored, Punky will reject all suggestions to work on his therapy exercises.
  • The installation of any video games on Punky’s Xbox Live profile has been problematic. He has reminded me that he is unhappy that he’s unable to play every 5 minutes for the last several days.
  • My headache has morphed into a migraine from all of the constant noises that Punky makes. There is no sleep to be had in this house. It’s too loud.

Day 3: The whining is doing my head in

The Husband has started complaining about being unable to play video games to relax after work. It’s his only hobby, so the struggle is real. My refusal to go to the grocery store purely for snacks has been met with side eyes and grumbles coming from the males in my home. The snacks are gone. The soda is gone. Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of healthy, fresh food for them to eat, but that’s apparently not good enough.

I have been itching to get back to work, but without internet, my entire business model stops completely. I’m even getting bored and cranky, even though there is plenty for me to do around my home.

Day 4: UUUUUUUUUUUGH

Our new BT Hub 4 arrived this morning. I set everything up as per the instructions, and we still do not have an internet connection. The service shows as disconnected when we check the bthomehub/home page. All of us are getting increasingly pissed off. We have booked an engineer at BT’s insistence. We may have to pay a £129 engineer’s fee just to be able to use the service that we already pay for. The engineer will not be here until Thursday, a full week after we reported the fault in the first place.

I have errands to run. I don’t want to purely because I know that once I’m out in the world facing humanity, I’m likely to blow up when one person gives me a dirty look or says something rude. My patience has worn extremely thin. I am out of soy milk for my coffee, so I’m dealing with this amount of irritation without caffeine.

It is raining. After the brilliant summer we’ve already had, the weather decides that the one week that we are without internet access that we have to have a constant stream of water coming from the sky. Park outings are canceled, outside chores have been put on hold…UGH

Have you ever tried to entertain a child who is on summer vacation without the internet or without a full caffeine load while it’s raining from 7 am until 10 pm? No music, no movies, no cute cat videos, no online video games? It’s ROUGH. Now I know why our parents constantly said “Go outside and find something to do”… because we were getting on their very last nerve and they needed peace and quiet.

 

Day 5: Trip to the movies!

We have decided that we need a break from sitting around being mind-numbingly bored. We are heading up to Edinburgh to meet up with The SIL and BIL to go watch The Incredibles 2 at the cinema. I’m hoping that this outing will lift our spirits a bit and keep us from going totally insane.

The movie was cute, and the three of us had a pretty good time. We stopped by McDonald’s for dinner after the movie, then headed home. I wish we would have been able to stay in Edinburgh for longer, but all three of us were exhausted and it was past Punky’s bedtime anyway. Next time we head up to Edinburgh we’ll stay for a few days.

 

Day 6: Cleaning

I am on load number 97987049386 of laundry. It is all washed, ironed, folded and put away. My bathroom is clean, the living room is clean, and the carpets have been shampooed. The kitchen is sparkling. What is this madness!? I’m even contemplating going outside to sponge down the trampoline with soap and water. I’m bored, people. BORED

 

Day 7: WTF

The engineer’s visit is today. He’ll be here sometime between 3 and 6 pm. I’ve been waiting all day, tapping my foot, pacing, and peering out the window like that nosy old woman whose house you hate walking by. I’m sure the neighbors have decided I’ve gone crazy. All they can see is a pale face peeking through the curtains, eyes narrowed in a scowl, and a permanent purse to my lips because I’ve been irritated for a week.

UPDATE: The engineer never showed. Don’t get me wrong, the BT engineer sat OUTSIDE my home in his van several times for 30 minutes at a time, but never knocked on the door. He never came in to diagnose our connection issues, to replace faulty hardware… nothing. I rushed home from a lengthy hospital appointment which was to plan Punky’s upcoming dental surgery, only to be left waiting around all night.

I’m livid.

I sat on hold for 45 minutes after the engineer was supposed to show, waiting for yet another engineer booking to be made and for the fault to be logged. Even the customer service guy seemed frustrated. I was polite, waited for him to do his job, and said please and thank you several times. I refuse to yell at someone on the customer service side of the phone, not only because it’s disrespectful, but because it’s not their fault someone else failed to do the job they were assigned.

 

Day 8: It’s about freaking time!

Ok, so the new engineer came right at the beginning of the 8 am – 1 pm slot. He called my mobile phone at 8 on the dot to confirm he’d be here in 10 minutes.

It turns out that BT sent us a Home Hub4, which connects to the BT OpenConnect Modem. This modem, however, is obsolete and cannot be replaced. Our modem blew up in the lightning storm along with the Hub3 that we had previously. Fantastic.

So, after much faffing around and testing, the engineer went to his van to grab a Home Hub5, which is the next step up and doesn’t require the use of the hideous white modem. The engineer installed the new hub, tested it, and made sure we were actually connected before he walked out the door. He also profusely apologized for our lengthy wait and will be questioning why we were sent incorrect hardware. He then collected all of the packagings from the new hub, both of the old hubs, assorted cables, and the modem to take back with him.

All in all, I’m quite happy with his level of professionalism. We’re connected now, so now I can get back to work. Finally!

End Note

After all of this, I have learned the following:

  • We depend way too much on the internet.
  • My business model needs several back-ups available so it can continue to run should there be another issue with BT. Looks like when I can afford it, I’ll be hiring a small team to run the stores for me should I have any more connectivity issues.
  • Always request an engineer the first day your router or hub blows up. Don’t wait several days and try to run diagnostics several times like we did.
  • Have a large stash of snacks available at all times, like Apocalypse style prepping but with just snack foods. It’ll save you from running to the store every single day when the snacks inevitably run out. Buy extra coffee, milk, and sugar if you’re usually a fully caffeinated person. Shit is going to hit the fan.
  • Invest in board games, books, craft supplies, and cleaning supplies. You’ll need to be able to do something in a total internet blackout.
  • Buy extra data add-ons for your phone just in case the engineer doesn’t show up when they’re supposed to.
  • Would I purposefully unplug my family from the internet for days at a time again? Absolutely not!