|Looking SE at the marsh at the edge of the cornfield.|
On the first official day of winter, we make a major change in life in Kickapoo Center.
The telephone company sends a techie to install high speed Internet. He arrives early in the morning before Jorge comes for his morning coffee. He leaves with apologies 5 hours later after drilling into one of the air ducts for the forced air furnace. In his defense, our basement is a maze of wires, beams and former structures that have nothing to do with life in the 21st century. What does that mean?
It means that in a past life as a one room school, someone decided that low voltage wiring was state of the art. Don't ask me about details. The last remnant of the low voltage wiring was a switch panel on a wall between kitchen and living room. There were 12 push buttons. Only one actually controlled lighting. And that one quit after four years. The result is that we have recessed lights in the ceiling that are always live. If I feel especially festive in this season of long, dark winter nights, I'll install energy saving lights in the fixtures. They give the living room a nice glow. The down side is that it keeps the cat awake. He prowls at night, reverting to a nocturnal ancestral urge. Usually the fixtures are empty and the lights non-existent.
The modem for the Internet is installed near an outlet in the basement. Basement outlets are scarce. There is not much choice. I ask the tech if plugging it in the furnace room will affect the unit because of the heat from the wood furnace. We decide on an outlet over the slate chalkboard for the basement classroom. The only draw back will be a decision to sell the real slate chalkboard. Then, the modem will have to be temporarily removed.
No longer will I moan and groan about downloading pictures or updates. Information I'm researching is fast and helpful. I can find the right recipe in less time than it takes to start water boiling. Dawn and I decided to
( wait for this) with the high speed Internet, to add basic TV channels. After 7 years without TV our life takes a major turn. One noon I note that I decided to watch a cooking show instead of reading the book by John Irving lying on the kitchen table. I reverse the decision, shut off the TV and go back to Prayer For Owen Meany. Over all in the ensuing the three days, we are much better informed. How's this?
We switch from the DVD of a defunct TV series late last evening to PBS. The program concerns Wisconsin wildlife. No, not the bar scene in the state capitol. We stay up much later than normal watching a segment about white ( albino) deer herds in the North and efforts of wildlife biologists to monitor wolf activity in the state. I didn't know that Wisconsin has a pine marten population that is declining.
Thanks to Governor Walker, I learned that budget cuts to education have affected the university system disproportionately. An official for UW-Lacrosse bluntly explains how cuts to their budget are in the thirty some per-cent range while other educational institutions (don't remember which segment) were de-funded to only 7%. Skippy Walker and wife's holiday cheer commercials on the tube provoke curses and verbal insults to the deaf TV monitor as a result. Like my grandmother who felt the TV was real with little people running around inside the box, we utter sneers," Yeah, you're concerned you hypocrite."
I push three RECALL WALKER signs into frozen soil which Jorge got with donations to the Democratic headquarters. In red and white letters they urge people to make a positive change for the good of the state.