Friday, March 21, 2014

Winter is over! At least on paper.

Spring is here.  And it's trying to show us just about everywhere.  My driveway and walkways are all clear and dry and the amount of grass that can be seen is growing by the minutes.  We went from one of the coldest, snowiest winters ever to the glorious weather which is spring in one tick of the clock Thursday.

Friday has presented us with clear, blue, sun-filled skies.  The temperature on my deck has climbed into the mid-40s, although that isn't the official temperature which is usually colder than my sun-drenched deck.

We're happy campers in Southern Maine, even if it'll only be for a minute or two.  Yes, that's right.  A minute or two.  Winter refuses to give up, even though the calendar says, "Go Away!"  You see, we have another storm heading here and it could make late Friday and much of Saturday rather miserable.  "Wish me out of here?" screams Old Man Winter.  "Eh, eh, Not a chance!"  Most of this new storm, like the one we had mid-week, will be well away from the coast, which is where I live, so we'll probably see mostly rain.  But it will bring back the frigid, arctic cold.

And to punctuate it's message even more, one of the "depending on the track" storms could bring us another serious snow deposit next Wednesday.  Or, as most of us truly hope, nothing.

Nevertheless, we are officially in the spring season.

A few days ago, I mentioned that my town, Scarborough, which has voted down any casino type gambling several times in the past, faced the probability of finally getting voter approval.  I did point out that I would continue to vote against it if the Maine Legislature did approve a ballot question.  Well, we'll be waiting a little bit longer as that law making body has put the request on hold while it does some studying.  That doesn't mean the approval won't come this legislative session, but it looks like the state is going to have to tighten up some laws first.

I've also been complaining about Time Warner Cable's channel changes.  The company moved the channels all around, clumping the similar ones together, like having the 300 series devoted to sports.  I'm slowly adjusting to the changes, but I can't see where there's any improvement I was told I wanted.

At the same time, TW announced a fee increase in several areas.  We'll see higher prices just for the privilege of using one of their cable boxes.  To use their service, one needs a box.  And, for the first time, we'll be charged a monthly fee for our local, formerly free, network stations.  There are other increases, too.

I called to complain.  I was speaking to deaf ears.  Of course it isn't the phone representative's changes so I tried to be sympathetic to his plight of having to deal with unhappy customers like me; and to his credit, he did his best to try to make me happy.

He didn't.

One of the offerings he had was to offer me three free months of one of the premium movie channels, which I never watch.  Whoopee!  I told him I'd be looking at satellite TV to replace TW. 

So I started my research. I must admit those introductory offers of satellite TV look extremely great and could entice someone to make the switch in a heartbeat.  But then, when I could get the "fine print" close enough to almost read it, that section of the offer sure does put a damper on the offer.  Damper?  Shucks, it floods it out.  The cost seems to be within pennies of TW's prices.  I will, however, continue my research.  (I must admit I really like Road Runner over DSL which I'd have to get from my local phone company.  Fairpoint is not a partner for bundling with DirecTV.)

We did learn of one of the reasons for the TW fee increase, although this is not specifically stated.  The head honcho will get an 80-million dollar "parachute" payout for his negotiations with Comcast Cable for Comcast to buy TW.  An uneducated soul like me might get the impression I have to pay higher prices to make that payoff.  That's another reason to continue my search for a satellite alternative.

I hope you have a great weekend.


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