The $1,000 Cell Bill and month and a half headache.

My mom has many great traits: she is a wonderful photographer,  a loving mother, a hard worker, and Irish.  Not that Irish is a trait, but it is in this sense:  her idea of going to the doctor is talking to the pharmacist at Walgreens and chewing two Tylenol for whatever ails her.

She spends a month here in beautiful Rehoboth Beach in the summer — sometimes going home for a quick job on Capitol Hill, but mainly she chills with me, my nieces, my sister, my sister’s husband, and my Aunt Jean.  They rent a beach house, the same one every year, and life is good.

Except, no Internet.  The last few years she mooched off the neighbor’s unsecured  Internet, but apparently he found out, locked it up, and so my mom was screwed.  She does have a cell phone hotspot, but it didn’t work in this remote neck of the woods — at least not well enough to download movies, stream video, blog, or do anything useful.

So, I convince her to go to another provider.  I won’t mention the provider’s name (cough, Ver, cough) because I LOVE this company.  Their Internet ROCKS.  Suddenly I have 4G service in places I never have had 4G service, and I’m totally amazed.  I communicated this astonishment to my mother, and she bit the bullet, going to a local store and signing up for a 4G plan.

Let me back up.  I get (irritating) notices from this provider every few days: YOU HAVE USED 25% OF YOUR DATA FOR THE MONTH.  YOU WILL RESET IN 28 DAYS.  Then, two days later, YOU HAVE USED 50% OF YOUR DATA FOR THE MONTH.  YOU WILL RESET IN 26 DAYS.  And so it goes on.  I, however, use my hotspots (I have 3 of them) at big events, streaming photos to social media — sometimes I use two at the same time.  At an event like a race? I can burn a couple gig in one day.  But my mom handles smaller, more intimate events — with lighter demands on Internet — so I wasn’t worried about usage.  Besides, there were those notices, ever 8 seconds.  Consequently, I assured my mother — my 75 year old mother, grandmother of three, that there was NO WAY in HELL she could go over her data allotment and not know it.

So, that’s why she let my niece, Carrie, watch High School Musical 82 times.  All streaming beautifully, and quickly, without any buffering, on her 4G hotspot.
The bill came.  It was $1,000.00.  I am not exaggerating.  My mom and my niece had watched nearly a TERABYTE  of High School Musical 1 & 2.  My mom went into complete shock.  She called the phone company.
In fairness, they were very sympathetic.  It seems, since it was a new account, her email notifications weren’t set up.  The operator on the phone said she lived in fear of receiving a $1,000 cell phone bill. They reduced the charges by…
Now, my mom’s been suffering from headaches since this fiasco began.  Severe, burning headaches.  And as someone who never has known a sick day, those headaches worried her (and me) all the more.  She actually went to the doctor.  A real doctor, not the pharmacist at Walgreens.  She received an MRI, and luckily, it looked OK.  But the headaches have persisted.  I am convinced they are a result of watching a terabyte of High School Musical, but she says, no, not possible.  The headaches are  severe.
UPDATE:  Mom went to see a neurologist.  This goes against everything in her Irish DNA, but she was left little choice; a month and a half of headaches will do that, even to the strongest of us.

 WHAT do you think this highly trained doctor said?    Pinched nerve.  Possibly caused by watching movies in an uncomfortable position, like, say, on an iPad.  Prescription? Spa, massage, wine. And stay away from High Musical….