grumpy about modern technology (the TV ain’t broke)

We have a high-def TV that’s really, really old. It’s ancient. it’s at least eight years old, which in modern technological timelines makes it a veritable dinosaur.

Sometimes it acts up and doesn’t like to turn on. You turn it on, and nothing happens. It just sits there with its little red light switched to green, teasing you but refusing to light up. Or tonight’s variation: you turn it on, you see the words “PLEASE WAIT” on the bottom of the screen (which is normal), and then nothing happens (not normal).

Whenever nothing happens, no one knows what to do except to inform me of the crisis.

“Mommy, the TV is broken.”

“Carla, something’s wrong with the TV.”

Expectant stares and long lashes blinking.

My usual solution is to turn the power strip off and on. It does the trick most of the time. I’m apparently the only one who can remember to do this. A person apparently doesn’t learn the turn-it-off-and-back-on trick while obtaining a Ph.D. in economics. Anthony is lucky to have me around to make up for these sorts of educational deficits.

Tonight, the off/on solution didn’t work. Anthony shook his head sadly. “It looks like the TV might really be done this time.”

I thought for a moment. I grabbed the TV and leaned it to the left. I leaned it to the right. I jiggled it this way and that. Then I turned the power strip off and back on.

The TV is fine. We’re watching an episode of Farscape on it right now.

Anthony was a mixture of impressed and bemused. He doesn’t understand how I fixed it.

I explained my thinking. There’s wires and stuff in there. Something must be loose. If I wiggle it this way and that, the loose thing can go back where it belongs.

You ever wonder what those peeps at the “Genius Bar” actually do when they take your advanced technological device into the back room to “fix it”? I think I have a pretty good idea.

I’m a freaking genius.

school daze

I walked out of the elementary school this morning, after dropping Nick off for his first day of full-day kindergarten, and realized that I’ve rarely seen so many smiling faces at the schoolhouse. Not the kids. The moms. All the moms dropping off their K5 kids, trying not to stomp-dance, fist-pump, and yawp-yawp their happy until they were out of sight of the minions.

I was smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. I felt like the Joker.

The day didn’t start out so great because Jesse is so very stressed out. She got out of the car when I dropped her off at middle school and stood next to the car, refusing to put on her backpack and grab her things. She also punched me. But I managed to stay patient (on the surface anyway), and eventually she loaded up. She was worried about how to find her classroom. So we marched over to the principal, Dr. Smith, who was outside at the car line to greet kids and parents. Dr. Smith, who is sometimes the topic of much complaining, has been nothing but delightful with Jesse so far. This morning, when I told her Jesse was worried she wouldn’t be able to find her class, Dr. Smith jumped in cheerfully and without hesitation. “Well then I’ll walk with you to your classroom!” She barely took notice of me, focusing all her attention on Jesse. I can see why that might bother some parents, but I think it’s delicious. Jesse and Dr. Smith turned their backs on me and were gone. I wiped my hands of that one.

Nick wanted to go home to play with me for half an hour before it was his turn to go to school. I had to hold stuffed animals (a chicken, a bird, a frog, an octopus) that were attacked and eaten in turn by Nick’s giant snakes. The fact that he would be gone for almost seven hours didn’t make it any more bearable than usual. When it was time to head off to school, Nick finally showed his nervousness and hid his face on the sofa. But he’s Nick, Mr. Easy-Peasy, so off we went after a few seconds with nervous smiles and giggles. I took him to the elementary school gym, he found his teacher, and then he had no need of me. I wiped my hands of that one as well and headed out the door with the cheek-hurting smile. I literally laughed for the sheer pleasure of my freedom as I drove off.

I had all sorts of plans for work I was going to accomplish today, for our renovation. I have a list. But the plumber is here doing major work to get everything hooked up in its final form, so the water is going to be off much of the day. Almost everything I wanted to do will require water for proper cleanup. I can’t even wash the breakfast dishes.

What a shame. Looks I can’t do much manual labor after all.

I’ve made myself a new list.

  1. Take a nap (euphemism for: “lie in bed and watch something stupid on Netflix”).
  2. Play games on an iPad.
  3. Write this blog post.
  4. Go grocery shopping (euphemism for: “eat lunch at Whole Foods”).
  5. identify and possibly order some fixtures for bathrooms, like towel bars (euphemism for: “surf the web”).
  6. Go to Benjamin Moore and find some paint for one of the bathrooms (euphemism for: “choose colors without Anthony looking over my shoulder”).

Gosh, that seems like an awful lot. I’m not sure I can fit that all in to the 6 hours I have available. I may have to stick to numbers 1 through 3.

These are glorious days, these first days of school.