In some respects, it's good to start anew

Now that my family has settled into our new digs enough to call this place home, I can reflect on some of the trials and tribulations we've experienced during this hectic time in our lives.

    Recalling the last time I moved, I filled out a change-of-address form with the post office. Utilities transferred to the new address were automatically updated. Since my license was up for renewal right around that time, I merely had to change the address on the application. I officially notified a few others such as my student loan servicer and magazine vendors, of the address change. The rest found out through word-of-mouth, Christmas cards or an informal phone call.

    A lot has changed in 18 years. These days, moving requires so much more in terms of address changes. In addition to those previously mentioned, new licenses/I.D.s are required for all five of us, which also means forking out a little more cash. We have schools, secondary and higher education, not to mention a slate of others involving our daughters that must soon be notified. And that's just the physical address.

    This time around, it's the online stuff that's really bogging me down. After more than a decade with the same email address, come Wednesday, it will cease to exist. That's because the cable provider we've depended on for so long to bring us fast Internet and an array of television programming can no longer service us at our barely rural location. Never mind that Midcontinent has customers across the county road from us. We're apparently at the cutoff point that bounds us and others beyond to a single company, CenturyLink, for Internet and advanced television services.

    Having been equipped with DirectTV and Internet through this company for only a couple of weeks, the verdict is still out on which the family prefers. We really love some of the many new features that come with the whole house Genie, which allows us to record lots and lots of programs from any one of our TV sets and watch the shows on all of the TVs, not just the one that does the recording. The extra channels are nice, too, although I would have liked to have the new ME TV channel, which features oldies but goodies from my childhood and before. Adjusting to a new system can be frustrating at times, especially when the main receiver to which all the others piggyback off of decides to randomly reprogram periodically, leaving everyone to twiddle their thumbs for a few minutes as it runs its course.

    It is very possible that we will find this new service much to our liking. However, I do not like anything to be forced on me and prefer choices, choices we had while living within the city limits. Our family could very well have chosen to go with a different provider for television, phone and/or Internet service all these years, but stayed with the one we felt most comfortable with and that best suited our needs at the time. If offered a deal we couldn't refuse, though, who's to say we wouldn't have switched?

    So I have discovered, firsthand, that the rural divide is alive and well and very apparent in this place we call northwest Minnesota.

    There's a list in the works on my home computer that has all the websites and such that must get my new email, and some my physical, address. So far, there's about 35 entities on the list. That's right, and there are probably still quite few more to add. Between shopping, entertainment, gaming, education and other types of sites, there's great potential for loss should these not receive the change in a timely manner. What's going to happen if they attempt to send emails to my former address? Will they receive NO LONGER IN SERVICE messages like you get when attempting to call an outdated phone number? Will they think I'm rejecting them? And what about all those sites that use my email as my password? Will I have to create a whole new account for them.

    Perhaps it's a good thing to start anew and rid myself of those pesky spammers once and for all, but unfortunately, those are the ones that will likely follow me despite not being notified the change.