My Internet Was Down for 26 Hours Over Two Days – The Rest of the Story of a Work From Home Entrepreneur
A few days ago I wrote: My internet was down for 15 hours.
“I market my business online. I follow up with clients online. I do almost everything online. It was so down, that I couldn’t even access data through my cell phone. There was some huge break in system 250 miles away, effecting a large portion of the state. I have no TV and no Radio, so I essentially was in an information blackout – which is part of the story I will share – AFTER I hear how you would feel.
At first glance , I want to know your feeling. Would it be a blessing for you , or a curse, or a non-issue either way.
How would you feel with no connectivity for a period of time?
Blessing or Curse?”
Many have commented on this post and shared their feelings so or experiences of related to loss of connectivity. Now for the whole story I promised I’d share.
It was about 10:00 PM at night. I was doing my (somewhat unhealthy) late night sitting in bed replying to comments and emails, along with outlining my weekly blog post to have it set up to finish and publish the next day, which is part of my schedule as a work from home entrepreneur.
First things got a bit funky. I was online, then I was offline, then I’d refresh the browser and be back online for a few minutes. Then — Nothing. We have a new microwave-type high tech high speed router and antenna to finally solve the very slow DSL issues. Naturally I thought it was that. I’ve only had it for two weeks and figured it has a glitch.
After checking all my devices to definitively eliminate the issue I walked downstairs to look at the router and the outside antenna. “Interesting” I thought – all looked good. I unplugged and reset the router for good measure and tried again. Nothing.
This was weird. Turning on my smart phone to send a email through my cell to the local service provider I encountered something ever more weird. Though I had cell service for phone and text, I could not send nor receive data through the cell. “Oh dear”, I thought – the mystery deepens.
Then a brilliant thought occurred to me. I would disconnect the new high speed router and reconnect the old DSL router which runs through my land line phone line and an entirely different provider. Now I was on a mission! I waited for the old work horse to boot up, confident that we’d be back online shortly and I’d get my work finished before heading off to sleep.
It tried a few times, but the little internet light just flashed on and off and there was no connectivity.
Now the fun begins. You see I live in a very rural area. I’m anti-TV so we barely have one – I can get two channels with an antenna on a good day – Discovery and Create(PBS). I also have no regular radio because we have a challenge picking up any stations except for the local public radio station with a lot of static. Instead we have taken to listening to the radio over the internet.
I tend to be one who thinks the world is teetering on the brink of anarchy. We are at high risk from both rogue groups and global disease. We are so dependent on centralized food, water, information, etc… that the tipping point is quite different than 100 years ago when people had the abilities to be more self-sufficient . It’s one of the reasons I live where I do, in this relatively safe and isolate mountain valley. Our rivers and warm springs flow. There is food in the forest and only one road in and out. I heat my house with the sun and wood. We could survive completely off the grid if necessary.
Terrorists are just waiting for an opportunity to impact the USA in a huge manner. I believe there are many smaller terrorist attacks in our country which are kept from us to not invoke panic. What would I do if I wanted to wreak havoc not only on the USA but on the world? I’d disable the communication infrastructure. (Or the water supply -but that’s a conversation for another day).
So here I am at 11 PM , with absolutely no communication outlet, and I think “I wonder if a terrorist attack hit an important juncture in the internet web somewhere ?” Seriously that was my predominant thought. I went to the TV and explored the two working channels – nothing there, though the Discovery Channel has never shown any news to my knowledge. I thought about making some phone calls but by then it was really late.
I can be a bit imaginative. You are probably reading this thinking that maybe “overly dramatic” might be a better description, and maybe so. I’m wracking my brain to figure out how to get some information. Information to me has always been the solution (or at least a feeling of a solution) to anything stressful. Ah. An idea. I can access the local radio from my car. So off I went into the garage to turn it on. Nothing unusual was on the radio. Just the late night local DJ garage punk music. “Should I call the radio station?” I thought, to see if they’d heard anything.
Deciding that was overkill and there was nothing to be done at that moment, I went to sleep wondering what I’d learn the next day when I awoke. As I lay in bed, I seriously listed in my mind the food we had in stock, the gas in the car tanks, firewood in the pile.
The next morning I realized I didn’t even know the temperature outside because after our thermometer died I just used the an app to check it. How very silly of me. A few minutes later there was a text from my local service provider – “Large internet outage near Denver effecting Colorado”. No mention of terrorists so I lay that concern to rest. Now to figure out how to do my work for the day.
As many mentioned in their comments, we tend to have almost absurd addiction to the internet. When it’s taken away expectantly the entire day seems to become unfocused initially and uncomfortable. This was my starting point. I work a few hours every day, writing on my blog, promoting my work through social media, replying to and sending emails to clients and colleagues. I have a weekly rhythm and a daily zero level plan. It was all disrupted and I felt out of sorts and mildly anxious.
Luckily I had a walk planned with a friend and some household chores. As I was cleaning and doing laundry I thought deeply about this internet thing, and the draw to be in touch and connected all the time. For me, it’s information. I was an information junkie even when high-tech was micro-fiche at the library. The internet grabbed me 20 years ago, as I gobbled up information at my fingertips. It’s only got better and better from there, though the garbage is more too, so much grad school researching skills come into play to sort the good wheat from the chafe.
Often I spend planned time disconnected. I camp and hike quite a bit. We travel outside the US and often have to pay for access (which I tend to do only once or not at all in a week long trip). Even then, there is a 24 hours period or so that feels truly like withdrawal. But once that is-passed, it’s amazing how much I don’t miss. Certainly the checking-social-media-to see-what-is-going-on habit dissolved pretty quickly. When I come back I and find out how little I actually missed, it reminds me how much time is spent on non-essential filler.
We all do it. It’s so simple to glance at the phone apps when bored, angry, stuck on a problem. We have learned to disengage from our surroundings and ourselves with the click of a button. Tim Ferris in the Four Hour Work Week talks a lot about segmenting online time and email time, maximizing efficiency and getting rid of distractions. I agree in theory, yet continue to be pulled by the allure of someone wanting to say something important to us -so we look and look and look, to the detriment of focus and productivity.
As I pondered this that morning, I came to a zen-like comfort with the lack of internet and a grand plan for all the work I was going to get done on a workbook product I’ve been creating. My friend arrived and we walked and talked for two hours. That left me the rest of the afternoon for writing. And then came the text. “We are back online”.
Did I ignore it? Did I stick with the plan? I wish I could say I did, but instead I instantly checked my email, completed my blog commenting from the night before, checked in with all the social media, laughing all the while that I am such an addict! I wrote to my upcoming clients on my calender to let them know that my internet had been down, and if in fact that happens again and they can’t reach me, to text. By the time I finished all that, the time for intensely focused writing was over.
I was sad. I had gotten comfortable with the idea of working offline, and then succumbed once again to the pull of the internet drug.
The following day I got a gift. We went down again! This time I was prepared (and didn’t worry about the terrorist thing – LOL). I got to work on other things with not much emotional attachment except for a small amount of concern with some incoming emails that I knew were coming and had to be dealt with. I focused. I got things done. I reveled in no distractions for most of the day.
Then I got in my car to drive the 30 miles to pick my daughter up from school and was able to reply to those important email in just 20 minutes on my phone in the library (who got their internet from elsewhere and had access). That was it. Internet related stuff done in less than 30 minutes and a fully productive day!
The moral of this story is quite clear to me.
1. I should have a functioning radio in the house, with AM/FM and short wave, for emergencies.
2. At least once per week my schedule should include a non-internet day. Even when I write I usually pause the flow to check-in somewhere. Imagine how much more efficient I’d be if I just did what I was doing – or had my breaks be a yoga pose or a moment of meditation rather than a scan through the Facebook or Twitter feed!!
3. Buy a replacement for my outside thermometer!
So I challenge you, my readers – to create and share – your own plan for claiming back your self time as my blogging friend Karmakar so eloquently spoke about in his comments on my initial internet down post.
Share one of your thougts in the comments below .
Share this post on your favorite social media site. I would hazard a guess that many would benefit from making a plan to both be prepared in our dangerous world, and disconnect for greater focus!
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Carol Jones says
Greetings Deborah from rural Australia,
I find your terrorist concern very topical. The Australian government has just issued high grade warnings that Australia is now a prime target for the ISIS group. And our Federal Police have just broken up large terrorist cells in both Sydney and Brisbane. The Sydney cell provided proof that there were plans for public beheadings of random residents in the streets of Sydney.
Like you, at times like this I’m extra pleased that we live on a remote rural property and are not the target for such acts of mayhem and violence. And our water supply is super safe. We exist on rainwater tanks for our house water.
When I lived and worked in Sydney, I was a high profile business woman. And was on the Board Of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce. And had many reasons to visit the US Consulate. One being they were one of my clients.
In the late 80’s, The US Consulate in Australia had a bomb go off. And from then onwards, it was like getting into Fort Knox. I had to allow an extra hour to wait in line to pass through all the security and screenings. And even after that, I was anxious when getting into a lift with too many people. I often found myself holding back and waiting for a lift that I could have to myself. Which was possible if I waited long enough. It was all about timing.
One day I was passed through by a guard who knew me. Without a full screening. I was just about to say to him that I should have a more thorough search when someone waiting in line shouted out “Stop that woman! Make her empty her handbag and brief case on the table for a thorough search. Like the rest of us.” I couldn’t agree more. We were all neurotic.
All public buildings in Australia demand that motorcycle helmets be removed when entering so security cameras can see a face. So the full Burqa worn by Muslim women is now an issue. Why are they an exception? And should they be segregated behind a glass wall when entering our House Of Parliament in Canberra? For security reasons. Meaning. Is the person wearing the Burqa friend? Or foe?
Terrorists make life miserable for law abiding people from all countries. And Australia is one of the most diverse multicultural societies in the world. But they are a threat. And like all threats, they need to be contained. And many law abiding citizens react with alarm during threatening times. And people from Middle Eastern countries now find themselves vulnerable to abuse.
So don’t feel that you’re alone in your concerns. We share those concerns in the land of Oz.
And the debate both for and against the Burqa is raging on Twitter!
Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies. Tantrum free products made with love and care in RURAL Australia by men and women who have a disability.
Deborah Tutnauer says
Quite a disturbing and compelling story you shared Carol.
I always think of the good old USA as being much more in the terrorist’s sights, than Australia. Yet what you wrote paints a very different story.
I am thrilled to live far away – though not nearly as far away as it sounds like you are. Though isolated we are just four hours from Colorado Springs, which is such a heavy military area plus NORAD is located there. It’s a prime target in the US.
I think the people who build bunkers and store a few years worth of dried food, keep their money in gold bars and are prepared to live totally self sufficiently for a long period of time, are not being silly. It may be the rest of us, who play on the edges of being prepared and sticking our heads in the sand, who are naive.
Carry on my friend. Wonderful to hear from you on this topic.
Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…How to Accept Fear as a Positive Part of Authentic Business
Ravi Chahar says
I am sorry to hear about that.
You have asked as if having no internet connection for long hours is a curse or blessing? I mean how can people think it as a blessing? Having no internet connection mean nothing to do online.
I used to think about it when I don’t have internet connection as how would I work? We are the people who work online and if we don’t have internet then somehow our life stops for some time.
During last few days I was not able to come online due to internet connection problem and I know how it feels when we want to come online and don’t have any source for that.
Thanks for reminding me the importance of being online.
Hope you are having a wonderful day.:)
Ravi Chahar recently posted…What Are Crawl Errors And How To Remove Them Using GWT?
Deborah Tutnauer says
As always I am so glad you stopped by.
For me, the importance is not only internet access, but access to all that we are and do without electronic connection also. We get stuck, I think, in almost an addictive manner to our devices.
At the same time, as people who create an income through the internet, it is our tool box, much as a doctor requires a stethoscope, or a farmer a plow. Beyond a day or two, it will have an impact on our business if we cannot access our tools!
I hope you are enjoying your week Ravi
Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Entrepreneur Business Coaching – It is in the Doing That Your Being Becomes
Marcel Spitz says
Another great post from you.
26 hours no net…sad to hear.
No net. No cell. That must be real bad.
You do not like watching TV????
Heating your house with sun and wood? WoWWW!!!!
You are an amazing person!
1st of all thanks for sharing my comment… 🙂
I am really glad that you liked it… 🙂
Yes you should have a Radio with FM functionality… 🙂
Karmakar recently posted…The simplest ways to make the best of Klinkk
donna merrill says
I sure can relate to those thoughts running through your mind when everything went down! I was living close to the towers when they went down, and still can feel and smell it to this day. It did have a heavy impact on me and yes, my mind used to wonder like yours did.
I lost friends and many of my clients that day. It hit home and is clear in my mind to this day. But, with all that is going on in the world today, I had to live my life, stay strong. So I worked very hard to change my mindset.
We are so reliant on our phones, computer and all the rest of technology, that we do need to be in nature every day, even if it is only 10 minutes. I had to make it a practice to drag myself out to do so. I actually even moved to a small town in southern Maine where I am near the ocean, forest and a little town (cannot take that city girl completely out of me lol)
I moved here specifically to get back to nature and to be unplugged every day for a while without stressing. Hey it worked!
There are times when I cannot be available on line and I do make it clear to just about everyone that I do this. I’ll take a few days sometimes whereby I’ll only answer my phone just in case of emergencies.
I do find that now I can work smarter not harder and I get more done now than ever! So enjoy your forest girl! Spend time every day walking in it without your phone. I think this was a blessing to you. A great lesson that showed you why you live where you do and to savor it. But most importantly, a lesson to work smarter and not be at everyone’s beck and call.
Hey, right now as I write this my phone is ringing and ringing. But no worries, I will get back to my clients in due time….my time!
donna merrill recently posted…Thank You To Some Amazing Bloggers
Deborah Tutnauer says
I am so sorry for your experiences with 9/11..and thankful that you have found a way to move through the horror and grief.
Environment/Nature is one of my top 3 core values. I so appreciate that you consciously made and continue to make, decisions that put your in an environment that feels nurturing and safe. That is a huge part of why I live where I do, and have since many years before 9/11. Prior to that I lived about 30 minutes north of where you live now in Maine…and right before that, about 30 minutes south on the water in New Hampshire, right on the Maine border.
We must nurture and care deeply for our soul as we do our work of caring deeply for others.
I just love that a conversation such as this arises from a broken internet. We are always offered gifts from the universe. Learning to see them and pay attention is a huge part of our work here on earth.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences Donna. I appreciate you.
Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Entrepreneur Business Coaching – It is in the Doing That Your Being Becomes