Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rural Living Finally Joined the 21st Century

In case you haven’t been able to tell from some of my photos, we live in a rural area.  We’re about 9 miles from the center of the nearest town, and even though we’re surrounded by farmer’s fields and trees and can’t see our neighbors, we do have neighbors; it’s not that rural. Our town has almost 5,000 residents covering 30 square miles, averaging out to about 166 people per square mile.  But I guess if you compare this to my suburban hometown in New Jersey, a 45-minute bus ride from New York City, with 2,555 people per square mile, it’s rural.

It’s so rural that up until last week we couldn’t get a high-speed Internet connection because the cable company—the oldest in the nation—couldn’t be bothered to upgrade our infrastructure.  The last eight years have been so frustrating, with two computers taking turns using one Internet connection.  I feel like now that we have high-speed cable Internet, I’ve finally joined the 21st century.  Thank God!

I can finally do the things I want to do online—upload photos more regularly, upload videos (for the first time ever) and upload large files for work.  Best of all, I can set up a wireless network and browse the web from my couch, the most comfortable place in the house, any time I want, without asking to switch the Internet from my husband’s computer to mine.

So right away I bought a wireless router and a shiny new laptop. In fact, I’m using it to write this post right now!  And I’m tickled pink by the convenience.  With my alone-time so limited with a little one, I love being able to quickly look up something online, blog or search for knitting patterns or inspiration while relaxing in front of the TV at night.  I feel so connected.  And best of all, my husband and I can enjoy access to the Internet simultaneously; no more archaic wire-switching that left me asking, What decade are we in, anyway?

I can firmly say we’re finally members of the 21st century, something I haven’t had the opportunity to really appreciate until now, despite the modern conveniences of indoor plumbing, oil heat and non-drafty windows that don’t require a double-take to make sure they’re actually closed.  (Before this house, we lived in a stone house built in the 1830s—it was drafty.)

There are pros and cons to rural living, just like there are for living anywhere else. It’s funny how I didn’t notice the cons as much until we started a family—how I long for stores that are closer (and better) than the ones in the town 9 miles away. The good stores are 12 miles away, and the best ones are 24 miles away. Maybe I’ll write more about that later. For now, I’m just glad I can strike lack of connectivity from the cons list and will focus on the pros. Because if nothing else, it’s beautiful and quiet in the country.

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