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Electric Avenue

In a few days, we will be welcoming home a new member of the family.

My husband is going to finally buy his own computer.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, J and I have been living in the Dark Ages since moving to our rural property and sharing a computer. I know – how passé, how very ‘90s.

But let me tell you, I have mixed feelings about it. You see, I have a love-hate relationship with electricity, and technology in general. When we lived in Plano, having a monthly electricity bill that averaged close to $200 drove me crazy. I started cutting corners wherever possible. Started line-drying the laundry. Started turning off the hot water heater between eight in the morning until around five in the evening.

Then, I started listening to a self-sufficient podcast, around the time that J and I decided we were going to move out of the city and into the middle of nowhere. The podcast filled my mind with all sorts of dreams and ideals, the first one being that once we’d moved, we would minimize our electricity usage as much as possible and be off-grid with solar panels. We were not going to have Internet service at home – why bother when the library has free Wi-Fi? – and we were not going to keep the computer on all day like we used to when we lived in the suburbs.

One day I watched a video of a couple who lives in a tiny house in central California who live completely without electricity. I began to bemoan the fact that number one, we lived in an area where it’s miserable to e without air conditioning in the summer, and number two (a year or so later) that we chose to have an earth-sheltered house built, which would require frequent use of a dehumidifier, as well as constant air circulation via a ceiling fan.

One by one, I had to let go of my grand ideals of living with very little electricity. First, I found out that making the investment into solar panels really wasn’t going to be worth it for us. Second, about six months of hair-pulling frustration because the library’s Wi-Fi was abominably slow, we signed up for wireless Internet service. Then last year, we bought B his own computer because he’d become interested in playing video games and sharing our computer with him wasn’t the most peaceful way to go for our family.

Finally, after that, both computers started staying on all day – as well as the Internet router. I realized with horror, we were beginning to act like a mainstream family, with no regard to the depletion of resources and pollution that electricity production causes. How evil could we be, using $50 of electricity every month on average?

I had a choice to make. Continue on browbeating myself over not being able to live my ideal lifestyle, or let it all go and decide to enjoy life.

I chose the latter. See, I’m not that stupid! 😉

A few months ago, J got into playing Hidden Object Puzzle video games, which morphed into a Quora addiction. I wanted to be able to get on the computer and write Band-In-The-Box music, edit videos, or work on a blog whenever I was in the mood. But I couldn’t, because most of J’s leisure time was being spent on the computer.

So one day, about a month ago, I made a suggestion so shocking that the ground rumbled underneath our feet. I said to J, “You need to buy your own computer.”

To my surprise, he hedged about it for a couple of weeks. Typical man, he won’t take advice from his wife unless he thinks it’s his own idea. He got this brilliant idea a couple of weeks ago when he started working on a novel he’d begun a couple of years ago, and realized that the two of us might end up competing for computer time once he got serious about writing and editing.

“You know, I think I do need my own computer.”

Great thinking, sweetheart.

And now, this whole striving against electricity thing has come full circle. While I still wish it didn’t have to be this way, I’m actually more excited at the prospect of each of us having our own computer than dismayed about it. Even though all the computers will probably be on all day, every day.

Call me greedy, call me selfish, call me modern. Just don’t call me to guilt-trip me about being on the grid – and using it. 😉

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