I’ve been overwhelmed lately. It first started with Open Enrollment with Medicare. I had to choose a new Plan D to cover my drugs. Once registered, I was bombarded with the medical industry’s new way forward, which is to do everything online from here on in. I can no longer speak to a human being. I have to set up an account. Get yet another password and user name, register and start doing things over the most dangerous byway on the planet: the internet! Within days my Internet Security Software was buzzing that my email accounts had been compromised and I had to immediately issue new passwords.
Ditto for hubby. A complete dummy computer nerd. He knows nothing about computers nor how they work. He just knows how to complain, call each item ‘a piece of junk’ till I miraculously straighten out his mess. He also had to jump through internet hoops with his medical insurance renewal. He now needed a Primary Care doctor, internet access, a new log in and password. Needless to say, each time he logs on he doesn’t remember his password, sets up a new one, never tells me, so my records on him are always wrong.
Another nightmare: Getting all my devices in sync with the new passwords. One account could only be done, get ready to laugh, with a real human being! And of course, most computer geeks were weaned on PCs and know nothing about Macs (which is all I’ve ever had). Endless hours. So much time lost or delayed. Once I got my emails under control, I get security warnings that my iPhone OS and computer software needed to be upgraded. Does anyone know what a horror that can be? It has gotten to the point that once I get my newish iMac up and running, I can’t shut it down for fear of never being able to boot up again. AND I’M A COMPUTER EXPERT! I used to do this for a living. Thank the Lord I’m retired and I no longer have to contend with the newbie masses.
Coming to all of us right before Christmas: STREAMING WARS. We have a bunch of new online competitors coming on the market all demanding our attention (and money) to stream their channels into our homes. We now have Disney TV and Apple TV as well as some other minor entrants. Did you know that starting December 1st, Netflix, as well as Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Disney and some other streaming entities will no longer work on your smart TV? If your flat screen, semi-smart TV is over 4 years old, you are out of luck. You have two options: try a Fire TV Stick from Amazon or buy a new flat screen smart TV. That’s your choice.
I own two smart TVs. The one in my bedroom is sorta new (under 4 years) but the one in my living room, where the guests and family assemble and play, is over four years old. Sure enough when we booted it up, we couldn’t log onto our Amazon Prime account and now that I got a new iPhone 11 Pro, I’m entitled to one free year of Apple TV. Guess what? Neither one of them worked on the living room TV. After screaming ‘Gosh dam it‘ (not really. I screamed something worse than that!) for a half hour, I finally accepted the fact that DH and I had to go out and buy another smart TV before the kids came over for Thanksgiving. NOT having an updated, ready-to-watch TV meant my family wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. They might even have spoken to me and had a real conversation with me or better yet, ask me how I’ve been these last few years? Or they would all have to tumble into my bedroom and sprawl themselves all over my bed and watch my newish TV!!! No way!
So, we tried our luck first and bought a Fire TV stick ($35) from our new Amazon Prime account (don’t ask how I got roped into this one!) First we had to make sure we had a USB port. If not, we had to get an ethernet adapter. We also had to confirm that our pathetic, antiquated wireless service could even reach the living room. Not that I have a big house. It’s only 40 feet long but we live in rural America and it’s backwards country out here. We can’t get cable service let alone decent satellite service. We barely can get 25mpbs wireless service, while most of America gets 200mpbs. What? You don’t understand what I am talking about? Neither do I. But I sound intelligent, don’t I? As if I know what I am doing?
When the Fire TV stick came, which thanks to Amazon Prime was within a few hours, dropped off by robotic pigeons (just kidding). Try to imagine two seniors fighting, screaming, having frustrating fits of angst and disgust connecting our older model smart TV to this friggin’ stick of fire? Exactly. Thankfully my husband is much calmer than I am and he figured it out AND it worked seamlessly. We were up and running watching Amazon Prime and Apple TV within minutes. Our Thanksgiving nightmare was just a memory now because we had a way to amuse the kids and grandkids and force them to suspend themselves in a stupor and not bother gramps and I during the holiday season.
Now, I understand why Jeff Bozos is the richest man in the world. Getting Amazon Prime was the most costly mistake we could have ever made. Combine purchasing power with free shipping and delivery within hours and is there any reason anymore for DH and I to leave our home? I’ve even gotten up in the middle of the night to order Oil Of Olay face wash and there it is on my doorstep when I wake up next morning. Brilliant! Not only have we gotten free deliveries with no minimum purchases (which in a way, does save you money) we also have utilized the free Amazon Music (no commercials!) free Amazon ebooks (over 1000 titles) free Amazon magazines. Combined with the free Prime movies, it’s a very good deal at $12.99 a month. Now, I just have to contend with the $907 credit card bill we charged our Amazon purchases to.
But I digress. Back to my pre-holiday stress.
In addition to all the wonderful deliveries we’ve been getting from Amazon Prime, I’ve been bombarded with this:
What the heck is going on? My paper shredder is working double time every time the mail is delivered. How much freakin’ credit can these companies bombard on any one person? I’ve had to check both our credit reports almost daily looking for any discrepancies. I’M EXHAUSTED and I haven’t moved off of my computer chair! Our banker calls me almost every week telling me about all the new offers the bank now supports. 5% back when you order online. 2% back on gas. 2% back on groceries.
Folks, we are headed towards another Great Recession and we will have no one to blame but ourselves! Already 71% of Americans claim they are struggling financially and can NOT pay back their loans (click here for that info). Despite the great economy, Americans are drowning in debt because realistically, life has gotten too expensive!
Many Americans remain in precarious financial shape even as the economy continues to grow, with 7 of 10 saying they struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability, such as paying bills or saving money. Almost 20% of people earning between $30,000 and $100,000 said they spent more than they earned — an increase of more than 4 percentage points from last year.
And the banks are pushing more and more credit card offers with reward programs down our throats. With the Christmas shopping season fast approaching, what the heck are we supposed to do?
Our solution: we’re running away. Yup. We’re skipping spending Christmas with kids and family. We’re sending just the grandchildren a present (from Amazon Prime, of course) and leaving town. We’re we are going has a very weak Wi-Fi signal and we are perfectly fine with that! Gosh, we might even have to use an antenna to pick up a TV signal. Nonetheless, we need a break from this advanced, technologically-dependent thing called ‘civilization’.
Oh, and what did I get my hubby for Christmas? An Apple Watch, of course. With his heart condition and propensity to fall off of high ladders, I need the watch to babysit hubby rather than me. Of course, after he gets it, I’ll have to spend hours programing it AND teaching him how to use it.
Maybe I’ll just hit him over the head with a firestick. And call it a day.