Here’s the link to the column that ran July 2, 2014 in Bluffton Today.
Here’s the text
Mailbag time: On RVs, cord-cutting, kids growing and reserving judgment
As you read this, I am likely in serious vacation withdrawal mode after my family spent last week aboard the beautiful Carnival Freedom. It was part work (yeah, I know, some job) and part celebration of Debbie and my 18th anniversary.
Before we boarded the ship, I opened up the Over Medium mailbag. I have been overwhelmed with the response you’ve shown me since returning to the pages of Bluffton Today two months ago. You’ve shared a lot of nice words, some fun memories and asked some interesting questions.
Here’s just a sampling from the e-mailbag.
“How’s life in the RV going? I found that it wasn’t for me, just too much maintenance and not enough fun. We sold ours after about a year.”
— Ron S., Sun City
I won’t lie, we find ourselves constantly measuring the positives and negatives. It was such an ordeal to actually getting to use the RV to begin with, but now that we’ve been out on five trips now, we’re starting to feel like veterans.
This is a rolling house and so, there’s just as many little issues to deal with. Our RV has spent more days in the shop at the dealership than on the road so far. Nothing major, but a lot of minor things that are adding up to a major pain. It has us questioning the decision.
That’s just part of the picture, though. The biggest thing we wanted, that we needed, was to have an escape. It sounds odd, given that we live in a tourist community. But we just let ourselves get too consumed by the work week, to the point that we felt like doing nothing on the weekend.
The RV has forced us to get out and see the region. Even if it’s just going up to Camp Lake Jasper at I-95 Exit 8, it’s still away from the bills and worries of our house life.
So as long as the warranty keeps covering all these issues with the RV, we can put up with the small delays.
The time together with our kids and the space away from home to rediscover there’s more to life than work has been worth the albeit steep price tag so far.
“I read your column and have been thinking of ‘cutting the cord’ like you guys did. Any tips you can give me?”
— Allison R., Westbury Park
If you listen to the news, you’d think the “cutting the cord” movement took a major hit last week when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the business model behind the Aereo basic TV service. But that plan only worked in a few select big cities for now — and no one near us.
My biggest tip is to understand the finances behind the move. Most times, you’re not going to save a ton of money doing this.
You will need a higher-speed Internet connection to make this work. So you’re looking at, on average, a $30 spike in what you’re paying right there. Add in separate $8 per month charges for both Netflix and Hulu Plus and, for some, that might equal what you were paying for cable.
Deb and I already were using a higher-level Hargray Internet plan for work, so that was not a major cost. Plus, we already subscribed to Netflix.
For many I’m hearing from, it’s more about fighting back against “the man” and rebelling against not being able to pick your channels a la carte. On that front, I can tell you that we like the feeling that we’re fighting the monopolies here.
Also, get familiar with torrents and players such as Vuze and Popcorn Time. They give you legal (for now) access to shows you might not get on the streaming services, plus movies you might be missing from HBO and other pay movie channels.
“I read your recent column about your kids growing up. I wish it could get easier, but you’re only through elementary school. The closer you get to empty nest syndrome, the harder it gets. Keep strong, Tim.”
— Mary T., Okatie
I apparently hit quite the nerve with the column and induced a lot of tears, including my wife when she read it.
As much as I love that y’all have loved reading the columns, understand that writing them can be quite cathartic. By sharing those emotions, I was able to pinpoint what was troubling me about time marching on.
Between the RV and last week’s cruise, we have tried to take back control of that clock a bit, just by simply refocusing on the kids.
Deb and I made a conscious choice a decade ago in moving to the Lowcountry from up north. We weren’t going to be big-city commuting parents. We wanted to make sure we were devoting the right time to our kids.
The last few months have simply made us turn the mirror on ourselves and make sure we weren’t letting all the little moments with our kids slip away.
“I’m surprised you haven’t touched on the controversy going on with Bluffton High School wrestling coach John Hollman. What do you think of him being charged with assaulting a female student?”
— Alex M., Bluffton
Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t written about it, either. When it happened, my first reaction was to write about it. I’ve told Lawrence that I was turning something in there a couple times now. But the truth is, in this rush-to-judgment world we’re in, I’m going to let this play out in the courts.
I have been a big fan of Hollman the coach in the past. But I’ve also recognized that he has made questionable decisions when it comes to interactions with students. From what has been reported elsewhere, this situation looks like a series of questionable decisions.
But again, this is in the court’s hands now. No matter how this plays out, I will always appreciate Hollman’s positive contributions to the community. I’m truly hoping this doesn’t play out to be the negative ending it’s feeling like right now.
Thanks to all of you for the great feedback to the column thus far. Keep the suggestions and interaction coming.
Tim Wood is a writer living in Bluffton. Email him with comments or story ideas firstname.lastname@example.org.