The wee ones head back to school next week, and sometimes I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew this year. As they’re getting older, they’re getting more and more involved in sports, with both Little Miss and Mister Man having practice three times a week. Gymnastics is currently 3 hours per session, while Mister Man’s TKD is “only” one hour. Add my new PTO president duties to that, and I’m suddenly grateful for the T-Mobile free tablet data plans.
I discovered these data plans last week as I was doing back to school shopping with the wee ones. It never fails to amaze me the list of things we need to buy for them, but I learned that I’m most likely to get everything on the lists – and at a good price – when I stop at Walmart first. I learned my lesson years ago after hopping from store to store in search of school supplies. Number one, don’t procrastinate or things sell out and number 2, Walmart carries more of what they need than other stores that tend to have only half the list items.
When I walked in, I saw an ad for a tablet with T-Mobile free data on the security monitors by the exit. To the wee ones’ chagrin, I had to stop to look at it because wifi at all the places I’ll be running to this year isn’t exactly available. If I could access the internet more easily, I could definitely be more productive – and not as bored when I finish a book and am still stuck sitting there for another hour. The $179 price tag for the Trio 7.85″ 4G tablet meant that I immediately added it to my back to school shopping list.
Once we picked up the wee ones’ supplies – because they would not be denied in picking out the colors for their folders – I headed back to the electronics section to confirm that this tablet with 200MB free data each month on T-Mobile’s 4G network was really as good a deal as it first appeared on the ad I spotted.
The tablet specs looked to be everything I need. It’s an Android tablet, so it has programs I know and love and is running the 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system. It connects to Bluetooth so I can pick up a case with a keyboard and really be productive. It has a nice processor with a Quad Core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB DDR3 so I can run multiple programs without worrying that I’m overwhelming it – this is sounding better and better. It connects via wifi in the times that I’m around strong networks, but the up to 200MB free data each month for all that time I spend hanging around without wifi (and I don’t care what Little Miss’s gymnastics says, I’ve never been able to connect to their “free wifi”) means I’m no longer wasting time or scooting out of practice to hunt down a Starbucks with its reliable wifi.
Into the cart it went.
I cannot wait to put my new tablet to the test this school year. I feel like my home is no longer the pretty one we bought earlier this summer. Instead, I feel like my home is the view of the wee ones’ practices. I can tell you with my eyes closed the location of every piece of equipment at Little Miss’s gym, and I may or may not have memorized the paintings on the wall at Mister Man’s tae kwon do studio. Both those views may be through dirty Plexiglass windows, but they’re mine! Combined, I’m spending twelve hours a week either at their practices or running to and from them because – lucky me – some of their practice times overlap.
And since Little Miss’s gymnastics starts at 4pm and we get out of school not much before then but her gymnastics is a drive away, I need them to not only be among the first out of school but I need to be in line in a way that lets me leave without being blocked in by other parents picking up. Yes, I have to pick my spot carefully, and that means I arrive at school early and wait. And hope that traffic isn’t too bad so that I can drop her off and get Mister Man to his TKD in a different town by 4:05. No joke. It’s possible he’s sometimes late.
I try to do some work at both locations, but it’s tough with no wifi. Usually I bring a book to read, but when I finish it, I’m stuck. This tablet is so going to save me. I can easily log onto my library and download books to read on my tablet – which is much easier to stick in my purse than a thick heavy book. Best of all? When I finish a book, I’m not sitting there doing nothing. I can use my T-Mobile 4G network to log back onto the library’s site and download another book.
My biggest win, however, will be with my job as the PTO president this year. I believe in being paperless where we can be, and our PTO has done a great job of putting information and documentation out on Google Docs. But for meetings, we still go paperless because we aren’t allowed to connect to the school’s wifi network (which I get). Instead, I lug around my PTO president’s binder because I inevitably have to refer to it during our meetings to answer a question.
But since I now have a tablet that with that free T-Mobile data plan, I can just carry that and reference all our Google Docs when needed instead – and searching is faster than poring through papers trying to find the right one. Check out the difference in size, not to mention weight. Which would you rather carry around? My chiropractor will be thrilled.
Even better, when questions come up from members about one thing or another, it’s easier than ever for me to look up the answer using the free mobile data plan. What are the dates of Teacher Appreciation Week this year? Got it. Like that. Because it’s 4G.
I can already feel my incipient panic about the upcoming school year lifting. I love that I have a plan of how to tackle all that needs to be done. With a keyboard, I can quickly and easily type to reply to more substantial emails that I receive. I can write as needed. I can chill and read. I can research whatever I need. I’m set. I’m breathing. And I’m in love with the freedom the T-Mobile free 200MB is giving me each month.
How are you planning to get everything done this school year?