Frozen pipes and overpriced internet: ah, rural living

House of Cards

“A Netflix Original Series:” that translates into “Forget about it” if you’re a fan who lives in Queensborough and wants to watch it along with the rest of the world on the internet.

Last night in this space I was waxing on about one of the simple joys of living in an old house in the country, to wit shovelling snow to a soundtrack of chickadee song. But there are definitely some downsides to old-house rural living too. Tonight, for instance, I returned wearily home from work, only to discover after turning on the lights, turning up the heat (Raymond was out) and petting the yowling cat that the hot-water pipe to our kitchen sink had frozen. Again. And did I mention that Raymond was away? The past two or three times that the same thing has happened, he has done what all good husbands do, which is deal with it. Tonight, I was on my own.

Happily I was able to manage without too much trouble, with a small bit of instruction over the phone from Raymond and my trusty hairdryer turned to high. Crisis over.

But then there’s the never-ending issue of poor and ridiculously expensive internet. I’ve written about that many, many times before (like here and here and here and here), but this week there has been a considerable amount of salt rubbed into the wound. Why? Because everybody’s abuzz about the new season of House of Cards, which becomes available this coming weekend on Netflix. House of Cards, House of Cards, House of Cards – you see and hear references to it everywhere, in the newspapers and on social media and in workplace chatter. Everybody’s wondering what that evil, evil Frank Underwood and his frosty and equally evil wife, Claire, will get up to now that, as of the end of Season 2, they’ve managed to make their diabolical way to the White House. Here’s the trailer:

I’m sure you’ve seen lots of images of Kevin Spacey (so brilliant as Frank) all over the place in recent days. Why, there’s even a hilarious Sesame Street version, which, for those who haven’t yet seen it, I will treat you to here:

Anyway, Raymond and I have enjoyed Seasons 1 and 2 of House of Cards, but not on Netflix. Oh no. Netflix, you see, comes through that crazy modern invention called the “internet.” If you live in a town or city, chances are excellent that you can use all the internet you want at a very reasonable monthly fee – maybe somewhere between $35 and $50. And as of this weekend, you can gorge on Season 3 of House of Cards.

But if you happen live in some rural pockets of Eastern Ontario, like, say, Queensborough, there’s no House of Cards when the rest of the world watches it. We must wait patiently for the old-fashioned DVDs.

Here, you see, we have a choice between not-too-expensive but not-very-good (dial-up is not uncommon, believe it or not) internet, or, if you’re Raymond and Katherine, a wireless hub that delivers not-zippy but not-bad internet, at a ridiculously high price. I wrote here about our first case of sticker shock after making the rookie mistake of doing what all city folk do and listening to some online audio. There have been a few more sticker-shock bills since, including this month’s because Raymond had the temerity to use the internet extensively for the work he’s doing as editorial consultant to the National Newspaper Awards. Imagine: thinking you could actually use the internet for work!

Oh, now I’ve gone and got myself all riled up. I must try to calm my nerves with the hope that there is light at the end of this tunnel, just as there was hot water coming out of my tap tonight after a bit of water-pipe blow-drying. That glimmer of light is the new internet tower that has been erected just northeast of Queensborough, and that I believe is to come into service this spring.

An awful lot of people in our little village are pinning their hopes for reliable and reasonably speedy internet, at an affordable price, on that tower. As are Raymond and I, of course. Fingers crossed that it delivers on our hopes – and maybe in time for Season 4 of whatever brilliant skulduggery Frank and Claire can get up to.

12 thoughts on “Frozen pipes and overpriced internet: ah, rural living

  1. Actually, the new internet tower on Declair Road is up and operational…Elite Electronics [just north of Macs Milk] in Tweed has placed a portable sign just north of Hwy 7 on the Queensborough Rd announcing this [along with a very generous monthly data quota].

    Alas, although I haven’t actually checked, many of us will likely have to wait until our current 3-year contract [that was the original condition for free installation] expires in August [or so] before we can upgrade

  2. Well, think of it this way: Once you do get slow-compared-to-town, capped-use internet for $70 a month (sheer coincidence that I’m also describing ours), you’ll be so grateful for how much better it is than what you have that you’ll be dancing for joy. For a while. At least I can now do the occasional video Skype work meeting…

  3. Have you watched the original House of Cards on BBC? If you like the dark quirky shows might i recommend Rake . It comes from Australia and you might enjoy. Good luck on your internet journey. As i have always said….If you do not know where you are going at least take joy in the journey.

    • Thanks for the TV suggestions, Richard! I was actually contemplating getting the British House of Cards just the other day, so perhaps I will follow through on your recommendation. I had not heard of Rake but just looked it up, and it looks very interesting indeed. Now, if I just had Netflix and a reasonable internet plan to watch it on…

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