When folks say they are “off-the-grid” I assume they are out of the reach of mankind via technology. I am with my whole clan at a remote lake cottage in Canada (just outside Wakefield, Quebec) and while we are not officially “off-the-grid” we are hanging precipitously by our fingernails. We have no cell service. That is if we would even want to use Canadian roaming – which is exorbitant. There is a desktop computer here with a dial-up internet connection, Windows ’95, and Version 5.5 of Internet Explorer. It is a fragile system that has difficulty interfacing with current day website content and in most cases it either fails mid-way through the page loading (however many minutes that takes) or loads with very limited content and capability. Hence, forget Facebook or any site that is image intensive or has any bells and whistles – yes, that means most sites these days.
This no real access to the internet was inconceivable to my sons – Noah and Cory. Cory did not even believe that dial-up was an option any longer in the civilized world. And yet his mother managed to find the alleged one place in the world where there was dial-up – imagine that.
There is a standard phone line at the cottage which is comforting should there be any emergency. There is also a coffee shop about 15 minutes away that has wi fi. We spent about an hour there yesterday getting our civilization, coffee, and connectivity fixes. My primary focus with internet connectivity when I travel is my blog. I can take a few minutes to check on other items, but those really are optional. My blog is not. I blog daily wherever in the world I am – even if it requires some additional effort to find the one place in town where an internet hotspot can be found.
So here we are in Canada on our annual family trip – the whole clan committed to this adventure to spend time with Noah’s children who live in Wakefield – Noah Jr. and Cortney. When we conceived this trip I looked to the internet to find a lake cottage that would fit the whole family and offer the basic amenities we needed. Of note, internet access was on the list of desired items (note to self – dial-up internet is still alive and well in some places). The thing is, there is so much that cannot be captured on static internet property rental ads, and additionally, so much that can be omitted.
As we traveled the gravel road deeper and deeper into the remote wilderness per the instructions provided by the landlord the concerns about where exactly we were going to be staying grew. By the time we finally arrived at the very secluded cottage, Noah and Cory’s talk of murderous movie plots that originated in cottages in the middle of nowhere had reached a fevered pitch. The amount of nature around the cottage also surprised them. They expected a little bit of nature brought into civilization, but they got a house amidst a heavily wooded lot and lakefront.
It is true, the lawns are not manicured, there is no air conditioning, and bugs – good God – there are a ridiculous number of bugs, but we are about as one with nature as you can get with all the amenities of a house. It is true that it looked more civilized and resort-ified in the website photos – particularly to folks who had no appreciation of the general location – but once one’s mind re-framed the cottage in its reality it was fine (at least in this mind). But the boys’ doubts lingered. There was talk of being murdered in our sleep by a crazy murderer. They wanted to go stay at a nearby hotel.
I tried to ignore them. I focused my attention on bringing up the internet so that the boys could see that they wouldn’t be completely cut-off from civilization. Cory, Cheyenne, and I crowded around the computer and started the process to access the internet dial-up. It was then – while all of us were staring at the computer waiting for it to connect that we heard a male voice say, “murder house.” Cory’s eyes got as big as saucers, he quickly moved away from the computer, and he said in a voice a couple of octaves higher than his normal voice – “DID YOU HEAR THAT?” I had heard it, but I was so busy clicking the connect key again as the first attempt was unsuccessful that I was slower on the uptake. It is safe to say, it freaked Cory out. As for me, it took me a minute, but then I realized as we heard more talking on a second attempt to connect that Noah was on the phone line talking and we were getting snippets of his conversation as we attempted to dial-up. It was Noah saying on the phone that we were staying in a murder house (of which we caught only – murder house). I have to tell you – I laughed so hard I cried. I cannot remember ever laughing so hard. It was – far and away – one of the funniest things ever to experience.
Yes indeed, that was all within the first 30 minutes at the lake cottage. We are here for a week. The stories and the photos are already piling up. Apparently, we have all we need here at the Murder House to have a good time and it has nothing at all to do with the location – it has everything to do with the company.
Day one thousand four hundred and sixty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da