Friday, April 13, 2007

Giving and Taking

Over Easter, every relative we visited had incredible cable or satellite reception. We have been limping along on regular cable since we moved here. To be fair, we started cable with a very basic package before we even had jobs-- we needed internet. Cable internet had a much shorter waiting list than DSL, and our apartment was cabled for fiber optic. Unfortunately, this regular cable, that requires no converter, displays an unbearable amount of artifacts. Easter was the last straw. Life is too short-- and our TV is too good-- to be wasted on regular reception.

I spoke with Lise, or rather bugged her incessantly, about upgrading to a digital cable package. This would also include a DVR box, which we had back in Minneapolis. I viewed it as the greatest invention in the history of mankind-- and it had an added value now that we had Julian. We could always pause a show, or record a show to watch later. Anyway, early this week I called our provider, with the new, but dubious name, Get. We will have extra channels as well- like Discovery, Animal Planet, all the usual US cable channels. I skipped the movie channels. We had too many of those back in the US. All the great HBO shows like the Sopranos, Rome, etc. end up on NRK anyway. So I am happy.

On the other hand, yesterday an alarm company stopped by our house offering security packages. I was at work, and Lise scheduled the rep to stop by when I returned home. I am not a fan of security systems. Sure, we had a break-in a few months ago across the street-- but that was rather random. We basically live on a dead-end street in a rather secluded area- apart from our neighbors. It is secluded in the sense that no one can see into our back door or windows. But we share a wall with a neighbor in a side-by-side house-- although we rarely see those neighbors. It is highly improbable that we would be victims of a burglary.

The other factor working against my interest in alarms is that we lived in the US and never had them. When I first moved to Minneapolis I lived in a bad, bad neighborhood. Our windows were shot out, someone started a car on fire on the street in front of our house, a woman was murdered in our yard, and we had three break-ins within six months. I broke the lease and moved-- without much consequence. I lost some music equipment in the break-ins, but it was insured. I later lost a bike when my storage locker in Uptown was broken into in the apartment building I was living at the time. I experienced a few credit card thefts over the years. Beyond that, I really haven't worried too much about crime. We lived in about as safe a neighborhood as you can find in Minneapolis when we had our house. When we were living downtown, it was protected like a fortress with a private army. Those rentanazis were a bit overzealous, and towed my car out of its reserved parking two weekends in a row, damaging it both times. They were worse than criminals. But out of principle, I do not feel compelled to have a security system living here in Norway.

Despite my attitudes, it seems a huge percent of homeowners have alarm systems. This house had one when we moved in, but we chose not to continue the contract. After the break-in across the street, Lise has been concerned every time we return from being away. I can see her point, but I also know that this feeling will fade over time. But she wanted an alarm for peace of mind. We still have the stickers from the old alarm service on all our doors and windows, but I have come to find out that company no longer exists with that name.

Before the alarm rep arrived, I did some homework online, and was surprised how reasonably priced this company was. We need a few extras, since we have pets, and we do not have a proper phone line. For a few dollars per month, they add in a GSM dialer- like a cell phone, and motion detectors that somehow can ignore pets. The entire system is wireless. The system no longer has the primitive key pad- well it does, for backup, but it also has key chain controllers, like remote entry for cars. They probably use all this gimmickry to appeal to the toy loving male minds, because I was finding the technology the most interesting aspect. With all the travel that I do, and the amount of time that we are beginning to spend away from here on Kvitsøy, it makes some sense to have an alarm. We should also save a little chunk off our homeowner's insurance. Still, I believe the best deterrent are the alarm stickers that we already have... and maybe we could trade our cats in for two large dogs.


Lectron said...

So, basically what you're saying is that you're gonna quit cycling and stay upstairs in front of the TV with the alarm on all day long?

filtersweep said...

It is a strange time of year to upgrade the cable... now that I think about it.