My mother-in-law has recently been placed in hospice care for terminal lung cancer. My wife, Denise, has been been with her for the last several days, and I’ve been fending for myself. She came home Thursday to rest and to tend to some errands, and then we left Tuscaloosa together early Saturday morning to head to east North Carolina — somewhere beyond Belhaven — about a 12-hour drive from here. So we spelled each other driving, and I visited with my in-laws late Saturday night and early this morning.
My in-laws live so far out of town that they’re literally 45 minutes from AT&T cell phone coverage. Of course, it is AT&T. I mean, Belhaven has a Hardees, and no AT&T coverage at all.
I had to come back today to go to work tomorrow, so I hit the road to the Raleigh-Durham airport (3 hours away) at 12:30 and just now hit Tuscalooosa. I’m tired.
I’ll be meeting Denise in Gatlinburg on Wednesday, most likely. We have long-standing plans to spend a few days there with friends and then watch Alabama whip Tennessee (I say that with less confidence now that SC whipped us and then turned around and lost to Kentucky). I’m not sure what the internet connection will be like — if any — in the mountains. So I’ll try to continue the “Man or Plan” series but I may not be able post on a daily basis. I’ll try to get some new posts written the next two nights, and then it’ll be catch as catch can through the weekend.
As tough as the trip to NC has been, it’s been much worse on Denise. She’s the oldest of six, and she’s been staying up to watch her mother, who requires 24-hour supervision. Fortunately, the other kids live much closer and have been taking turns, but she’s worn out and needs Gatlinburg much more than I do. Of course, with anyone in hospice care, you have to keep your plans flexible, and so there’s no telling what the next several days will be like.
During our 12-hour drive to the edge of the earth, Denise and I tried to follow college football games on the radio (East Carolina is big in those parts) and grab internet connections to follow other games. We got to “watch” Wisconsin beat Ohio State (Go Badgers!) by following scores on my iPhone, during very spotty coverage. I literally had Denise’s phone in one hand and mine in the other, reading her play-by-play game action from Ohio State/Wisconsin and Alabama/Ole Miss as it would download via iPhone applications. Of course, we’d drop out of coverage every 10 miles and then catch up and have 5 or 6 plays at once. Still … it was better than nothing — which is about all you can say about AT&Ts coverage, especially it’s very spotty 3G coverage. It beats nothing.
I’m seriously considering switching to the Droid and Verizon. I love my iPhone. I’m actually addicted to it. But I live in the middle of Tuscaloosa, a community of 250,000 people, and get 1 bar at my house. And I live very much in town. In fact, I’d love to hear from readers what their experience with the Droid has been. Everyone here is an iPhone user, but everyone here has learned to hate AT&T’s service.
During football games here, you can’t get a signal at all — which is a serious safety concern. If you need an ambulance anywhere near the stadium on game day, you are flat out of luck. And coverage drops out at 5:00 around here just because of our version of rush hour. So AT&T has left me very unhappy, and I’m wondering whether Verizon/Droid would be better.