The end of an era… or something else pretentious like that.

Ever since I’ve been online, I’ve been a customer of MSN’s dial up service. That is, until Monday of this week. That’s when I canceled the service in favor of BellSouth’s DSL Lite service. The DSL was successfully installed last Wednesday, by a very patient DSL technician who first fixed the problem in the line that was keeping us offline, then jumped through a whole lot of hoops with AT&T to discover that somewhere, somehow, a number was one off at the office.

We’re enjoying the new speed, and are finding that using IE7 is easier than expected. Of course, we can use the old email addresses (and add the new BellSouth ones if we want to), and I can even access five of my old MSN/Hotmail addresses without a whole lot of trouble. I plan on linking the rest of the MSN/Hotmail addresses as well a little later. Hubby is the one that has to relearn his way around; the kids have taken to it like ducks to water. And now that I’ve managed to import all our MSN favorites to IE (a frustrating experience), it’s almost as if we’ve never left MSN.

Almost.

Of course there are drawbacks to leaving the service. I had to buy extra storage space for my MSN groups so that they could function properly, and I’m slowly phasing out one or two to conserve the space. I also bought my own copy of SpySweeper as my subscription to that was about to expire anyway. MSN… excuse me… Windows Live Messenger looks different if I access it from the desktop, but the same if I use the Windows Live Home page. There is a lot more running around, it seems to get to the places I want to get to. But I’m sure I’ll get used to it. It’s just getting Hubby used to it that’s a potential problem. He just doesn’t use the internet as much as the rest of us do.

Still, it’s an improvement over the old system, and I’ve been able to get rid of CallWave, which cuts our overall cost of internet service by a third. I’m still getting used to the phone ringing while I’m online, and it’s still a surprise when I suddenly remember that we can make phone calls while still doing whatever online. It’s a good change, overall, and I’m glad we did it.

In other news, school is out for Christmas break. The kids will go back on January 3rd ("That’s a Thursday!" the Girl complained. "It’s a dumb day to go back to school. Why not the following Monday?"). When the boys return, they’ll be returning to the new-old school as the addition and renovation is finally complete. Boy #1 will be taking up a new challenge in the new semester: Physical Science via a virtual classroom. The science teacher and guidance counselor agree that he needs to be challenged more in his favorite subject, and this is the way they’ve chosen to do it. He’s looking forward to it. The only possible roadblock is if they don’t have enough students to make up the class.

I made the usual round of fudge – 15 pounds this year – and gave it out to teachers, neighbors, friends, and whoever else we felt warranted it. The Hubby took some into work with him; half of what was in the container came home. This supervisor doesn’t leave time for such frivolous activities as Christmas celebrations at the office, so the usual party planner has refused to plan. He brought it in as an offering to his coworkers. Those who took some enjoyed it. I will be so glad when he changes positions and gets a better supervisor!

The Girl also brought some for a Christmas party in her first period class. Very few students took any of the foods brought in, but all those who did took fudge. She came home with a nearly full container, which meant I didn’t have to make the half batch I was contemplating for the neighbors. And, of course, we have plenty left over for ourselves.

Boy #2 turns 12 next Monday, and we’re giving him a pizza party with his friends. I hope they can come! He’s not had a "friends" party for a while now.

Only half of the Christmas shopping is done. Boy #1 is the hardest to buy for; the games he wants for his Gameboy and the PS2 aren’t available for those formats. And we refuse to upgrade their Gameboys to the DS Lite. Those are just too expensive right now.

Our yearly letters will go out tomorrow, I hope.

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