Northern Intelligence

Idle Hands Are the Google’s Tools

My husband’s annoyed with me.

Granted, I do something at least once a week that irritates my husband, especially since I’m not working right now. Before we moved to Yellowknife, he would come home and greet me with, “How was work, Babe?” Now his first sentence when he comes home is usually, “What the heck are you doing?” And the answer can range anywhere from “moving the furniture,” to “playing air guitar.”

Before we moved up North, I was working multiple jobs, in an effort to keep myself busy while my husband was deployed overseas. See, we don’t have any children and I was finding that I had a lot of free time on my hands. After I discovered that my television cable would reach the bathroom, I thought it might help for me to get a second job. And because I know nothing about moderation, I ended up getting two extra jobs.

So, in the last seven months, I basically went from working three jobs to working no jobs. And sometimes my household chores, daily errands, and the on-going job search are not enough to keep me occupied.

And that’s usually when my husband will come home and find me putting clothes on the dogs.

There’s also the homesickness to contend with. My family and friends are back on the East Coast and I’m used to being in regular contact with them. Unlimited cell phone plans mean that I can text message anyone at any time about anything and vice versa. (Which is why I get text messages from my best friend whenever she eats something delicious.) We also invested in a webcam so I can chat online. So my cell phone and my internet connection are practically an extension of my being. (You do not want to be around when the power goes out or my battery dies.)

When we were living in Ontario, we had unlimited internet access. I would spend the majority of my free time online, chatting with friends and family back home, settling disagreements via Wikipedia, or catching up on all six seasons of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” (Melissa Joan Hart was a comedic genius and I miss her.)

And because my husband has yet to realize the social contributions of Tyra Banks, I watch most of my shows online.
We went with the main telephone/cable/internet company in Yellowknife, and they only provide cable internet. The company also only provides packages based on GB usage. And if you go over, they charge you extra. If there’s anything my husband hates, it’s paying extra for things he thinks are unnecessary. Unfortunately, I haven’t really been able to sufficiently wean myself off of the technological “devil box”, as my husband would call it.

Apparently, downloading Led Zeppelin songs does not meet the required level of necessity to justify an extra $10/GB. The same can be said about streaming the first three seasons of “Charmed” just because Shannon Doherty came out with a new book. (But come on, who doesn’t pine for Shannon Doherty?)

The first time I almost went over, he was very understanding. After all, how was I expected to know that it uses more data to stream video from Japan? The second time I almost went over, he was gone on a Northern deployment, and I had just discovered free music downloads. (The allure of Pat Benatar proved to be too much.) But I just unplugged the modem and checked my Facebook account on my cell phone. Unfortunately, I got another email from our provider, informing us that we are at 80% usage. And we still had two weeks left in our billing cycle. I maintain that a Twilight marathon craving is warranted (and dangerous if ignored), but my husband isn’t happy.

Since becoming unemployed, I’ve already taken up knitting, began a comic strip, and tried to teach myself how to paint. I’ve even started working my way through the BBC Book Challenge (a list of 100 books everyone should read). And yet, when McEwan’s not trying to make me want to kill myself, I’m still finding time to stream cat videos. I’m at a loss about what to do.

Maybe I’ll just Google, “new hobbies” and see what comes up.

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