This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

One instance in which the future looks exactly like it was supposed to

This post is brought to you by Netflix.

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I think I have referenced my malfunctioning Internet connection that has plagued the house for over three weeks — up for a minute, down for an hour, up for fifteen minutes, down until the next day — and my temporary solution has been to use my phone as a hotspot. That was until I got a text message that said I’d used 90% of my data plan. We were at lunch over the weekend with friends and Leta asked if she could use my phone to show her friend a video and I was like, hm. Let’s see… just how good is this video, Leta? It involves Justin Bieber? Sorry, I’d make the sacrifice for the royal baby, but I don’t love Justin Bieber fifteen dollars of overage costs.

This little hiccup in life has shown me just how much we rely on the Internet for, oh, every single thing: looking up addresses, phone numbers, recipes, take out menus, hours of operation, side-effects, symptoms, cures, washing instructions, fitted-sheet folding tips, and suggestions on how to calm down when failing every attempt to fold that fitted sheet.

I now only listen to music through online services, and all three of us have pretty much switched from traditional television to streaming video. In fact, we now watch shows, mostly through Netflix, on our phones, our iPads and through the Wii. Rarely do we even check the DVR anymore because even then it’s a question of, “Did the next episode record?”

HA! Did. The. Next. Episode. Record. That is just so precious.

Here I wax nostalgic to Leta about VCRs, how the tape would often get caught in the spools, and she will one day tell Marlo about how she had to wait a week for the next episode of a show to air. Imagine the hardship, Marlo. You can’t, can you? Kids in the 2000’s. They lived like animals.

Back in May I was invited with a huge team of bloggers to visit Netflix headquarters to preview a new set of features they’d be rolling out called Netflix Families in the next few months. I had no problem saying yes and being willing to work with Netflix because their model makes my life so much easier. They are how I want to access all of television and movies. In fact, this is what the future was supposed to look like: all of it, right there at your fingertips. Literally at your fingertips. Like, magic.

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(Yes, she’s wearing some of the jewelry my mother gave her. You can’t just show up to an episode of “Hole in the Wall” in your pajamas, people.)

Side note: Netflix referred to this group of bloggers as the Stream Team. A few of us who have known each other online for a while (her and her and her and some random guy) would routinely huddle up during breaks, stack our fists and then throw our arms in the air as we shouted, “STREAM TEAM!” Just in case you ever wondered why we ended up being bloggers.

We were also very excited about the return of Arrested Development, the series that was cancelled a few years ago and then picked up by Netflix. And then Christmas came early when they released 15 new episodes ALL AT ONCE.

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That’s the other innovative, industry-changing development that is happening: original programming. Whole seasons all at once. All at your fingertips. And here is where I acknowledge the four hundred thousand times people have told me that I look like Piper from Orange is the New Black:

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Yeah. Whoa. I could be her stunt double if I wasn’t afraid of heights or spiders or the sound of a balloon popping.

So. I’ve pretty much done away with clearing off the DVR so that there’s room enough for it to record what both the girls and I want to watch. Instead, when Marlo wakes up at an appalling hour I fire up Netflix, cue an episode of “Shaun The Sheep” and then catch some sleep as it streams in between this adorable request: “I want another one. I want another ‘Sthaun the Stheep.'”

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They’ve also improved the way they recommend content with new rows of suggestions. It’s no longer just “Recently Watched” or “Popular.” Now they offer a slew of titles under suggestions like “Family Movie Night,” “Classics to Share With Your Family,” and “Movies Based on Bestsellers” to help you decide what to watch. I’d love a row titled “Will Soothe Your Cranky Daughters Who Are Wiped Out After Camp and are Calling Each Other Names Like ‘Booger Face.'”

And even though my Internet service has been spotty at the house, my kids have been able to come home from camp and relax by streaming shows on my phone through my cell connection. Yes, I’m about to go over my data plan, but this actually has me considering a bigger data plan. Well, this, the royal baby, and the number of times I do a google image search for “Ryan Gosling with his dog.”

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This post was sponsored by Netflix. Netflix Families makes summer easier.

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One extra thing to mention… I am personally giving away a year’s subscription to Netflix because I like it that much. I’ll choose a random commenter on this post once I’ve closed the discussion 24 hours after it’s gone live, meaning by 10AM Eastern Time on Thursday, August 1, 2013. And then I’ll announce the winner on Friday. Whee!

  • emmtev

    Shaun the Sheep is so great. There’s no dialogue, so it’s not annoying like some kids’ shows (I’m looking directly at you, DORA). Curious George is also wonderful! And Word Girl!

  • Chelsea

    That looks really fun!

  • Alison

    Would love to have my own subscription to Netflix instead of “borrowing” from friends and family… I never noticed the resemblance between you and Piper – needs more accent.

  • Anony-Mom

    No lie: we’re netflix addicts in this house right now. Love being able to use the Netflix kids, excited to hear they’re doing even more. We have some potty training goin’ on, and being able to use the “special videos” as a treat? WIN.

  • feathermaye

    Netflix helped keep me and my husband sane during one of the roughest years of our lives. We lost our jobs (and our home, which was part of our job contract) and spent several months rolling around East Texas and taking advantage of the generosity of friends. I’d love to be able to tell him now (employed, with legitimate housing and all) that I’d scored a year’s worth of free streaming. Thanks for this chance!

  • Bridget Mc Brude

    What is this Netflix of which you speak? Giveaways? Yes!

  • lovebuzz38

    Yay! Thanks for the Netflix giveaway!

  • disqus_U6L0zBt5Ik

    I’ve been seriously considering giving up cable and going streaming. Would love a free subscription!

  • Cynthia Jennings

    Since I got rid of cable and am now unemployed, this year of free Netflix would be incredible. *crosses fingers*

  • William Bilancio

    I would love to stream through NetFlix. We still live and breath through the DVR.

  • JillyJu

    Yes, please! I thought I was the only person left who had not seen Orange is the New Black.

  • Jana

    I love Netflix and rarely watch TV any other way. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Michelle Boehm

    Maybe this will FINALLY convince my mother, with whom I live, to give up the f*cking cable, already.

  • Allyssa Wheaton-Rodriguez

    I’d love a Netflix subscription…I really want to see the new Arrested Development episodes!

  • Debbie K

    Thanks for another reason to look forward to Friday!!!

  • Amy

    I have never seen The Sopranos or Game of Thrones. Clearly, I need Netflix. Please and thank you.

  • Kim

    I would love to win this!

  • kchaux

    We live by Netflix in our house, and my son has discovered old Scooby Doo episodes from the 70s – now his favorite show! Thanks for the giveaway chance!

  • Schae

    I’m going zero TV/Cable from here on out…Netflix would help the transition 🙂

  • Carly

    Netflix is awesome. Pick me.

  • Shae

    I would love a free year of Netflix… We just got into “The Walking Dead” I know we are way behind on that train. Also I have an 18 month old that loves to watch “Elmo”. Love your blog BTW!!

  • MaryKC

    That girl who plays Piper in Orange is the New Black was in a show called Mercy a couple of years ago, and I TOTALLY remember thinking, “Wait, is Dooce an actor now?” Like to the point that I had to wait for the credits to roll to make sure it didn’t say “Heather Armstrong.”

  • Meg B

    I started using Netflix when I was pumping at work. I needed to be hands free and there’s no way I was going to sit around and stare at a wall for 20 minutes. I would sit in my little room hooked up to that damn pump and watch episodes of “How I Met Your Mother”. I’m surprised I don’t let down every time I see Neil Patrick Harris.

  • Tiffanie

    Thanks for the giveaway! We’re currently using Amazon Prime for our streaming, as we haven’t paid for cable since we had kids and got rid of our TV in our last move. A free subscription to Netflix would be awesome!

  • Alexis

    I am a random commenter on this post.

  • Kelly

    I keep thinking I want a subscription, but then talk myself out of it again. It sounds like it has improved a lot over the years, so maybe now is the time to go ahead and get it!

  • Sherryl Sanders

    Yes, yes and YES! We’ve cut the cable cord several times over the years, and Netflix – YES!

  • Nicole Cammorata

    Kids these days — they’ll never know the excitement and anxiety that comes with rushing to the VCR to pop in a blank tape when their favorite show/movie/music video (remember those?) suddenly comes on!

  • mdpendley

    I love Arrested Development! Never watched it until a couple of months ago, I’ve now seen every episode. Except these 15 episodes released all at once! Hoorah!

  • Jeninlb

    Sign me up for a year of free Netflix! I think my free trial is about to run out.

  • Josey

    LMAO, I love the pic of you ladies all on the bed like it’s a childhood sleepover. 🙂

  • rebecadee

    I’ve never used Netflix but I hear great things. This would be my opportunity to try it out :))

  • lizdesign

    Netflix!

  • Jenn

    Oh how I love Netflix. And Arrested Development.

  • Dyanna

    This looks like fun, I may actually get Netflix now!

  • Heather Piper

    I’m about as random as they get.

  • Tabngillysmom

    My family loves Netflix and we would SO appreciate the help to the budget of this giveaway!!

  • Michelle T.

    Yes, I am another person who is commenting so that I could think about netflix. I have to admit though, it’s not the real reason. We are almost the same age (July 19 birthday here too), you write in an evocative way that draws even a skeptic in, and that you are so damn honest when it comes to your struggles with depression and life. Those are more the reason for writing. Things I have always wanted to comment about, but, never had the courage to do so. (Until I get lured by netflix.)

    You are a brave, strong, courageous woman who allows us to take a peek inside your life.

    Thank you

  • Judith Baker

    I am waiting for the day that I can ditch cable. Not quite there yet, but that time is clearing coming.

  • Claire

    Pick me! I’m making my way through The West Wing on Netflix and lovinggg it.

  • Laura White

    We just cancelled our cable and were thinking of subscribing to Netflix. We are trying out their free version right now. A co-worker just told me about “orange is the new black” and yes, you look totally like her!

  • Patty

    Yes to random Netflix giveaway!

  • Isaac James

    Love the idea of original content.

  • jensolo

    I’m late to the Arrested Development thing – probably should have supported it when it was on network tv, but it’s awesome that Netflix is doing it’s new thing. Screw traditional tv, amiright?!?

  • Blennon

    Love Netflix! Great giveaway!

  • Libby E.

    I love NEtflix! So great especially during the summertime.

  • Kizz

    I do love my Netflix and I’ve been devouring their original programming (shout out to the fact that I’m on episode one of Hemlock Grove). I’m polyamorous with my DVR still, though.

  • disqus_Hs8zeT4kSf

    I would love a netflix subscription for my daughter who is about to be 1. Is it bad that i’m trying to make her watch tv?

  • MonZni

    Too small data plans. I hear that! We have Netflix too, and I love the Families idea for the separate accounts. My partner and kid use it, and I simply can’t stomach seeing “my” queue filled with Disney tween programming and B rated action films. So I’ve quit. Because we can’t afford the upgrade. Here’s to winning a giveaway??

  • disqus_Hs8zeT4kSf

    I don’t know why my name is showing up like that…terrible at this commenting business.