Last week I really impressed myself. While my family was away, I managed to operate the DVD player – not to watch one movie, but three! Okay, I didn’t actually operate the player using the remote control. I pushed the buttons on the DVD player until I got the thing to load and play. But I’ve come a long way….
A few months ago I decided to take a mental health day off from work. The kids would be at school, my husband would be at work, and I would be all alone…in my own house.
It was going to be great. I had fantasized about this day for two weeks. I’d sit in the recliner – the one in perfect alignment with the big TV. The one in perfect reach of the phone and end table where I would place my ice cold Diet Coke and box of Cheese Its while watching All My Children – in real time.
The day had finally arrived and I had everything in its place. And then I saw it. The Comcast remote. That’s when everything went black.
I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to turn on the TV, much less get it on the All My Children channel. I sat there. I thought, I have a Ph.D. for goodness sake – how hard could this be? Little did I know, I was in way over my head.
I pushed this, I pushed that. I actually got up from the comfort of the recliner and pushed the “Power” button on the TV. I was feeling much more confident now in my ability to problem solve. I knew for a fact that if any member of my family had trouble with the remote, they never would have thought of pushing the actual button on the TV. While there was an aura now on the TV, there still was no picture or sound. There was only one thing to do. I had to text my daughter at school, hope she would have her phone on (which of course was explicitly against my rules) and ask her how to operate the TV. I looked at the clock and realized that it was 4th period. She’d be in Trig. Trig? All My Children? Clearly I had deserved this mental health day and she would need to be interrupted so I could watch TV. So what if I caused her to flunk Trig and not get into college. She could get a good job working the TV remotes for Seniors at the assisted living homes – and probably make good money doing so. I texted her. HOW DO I GET THE TV TO WORK? LOVE, MOM. Nothing. I couldn’t believe she would pick the absolute worst moment to follow the rules.
As much as I hated to, I picked up the phone to call my husband. I hated resorting to his help. He and I have a tight competitive bond. If he found out that I couldn’t operate the remote it wouldn’t be long before he’d find out that I also couldn’t operate the GPS on my phone or that I didn’t get the on-line banking thing. Then my cover would be blown and soon he’d start questioning my claim at parenting superiority. It was important to show no real weakness. I couldn’t be obvious.
I called. He answered. I asked, “Where are you?” He replied his usual answer to this question, “In the car.” That’s always his answer to that question just like when the kids ask what’s for dinner he says, “food” or when I ask him what he’s going to wear and he says, “clothes.” He has such a way with words.
I said, “You know how it stormed last night? I think something must have happened to the TV. The red power light is on, but it’s not really on. I mean I can’t see any picture.” There was silence on the other end. Sometimes he does this silent thing on purpose just to see how far I’ll go.
“No seriously, I think lightening knocked out the TV. You probably should come home and check on it and do some damage control.” He then proceeded to tell me how many patients (he’s a physical therapist) he had to see that day, how some had just come home from the hospital, how he had to give CPR to some guy yesterday, blah, blah, blah. I could see where this was going. I was on my own.
I spent the next 10 minutes pushing all the buttons on the remote. By now Erica Kane had married and divorced her 12th husband. I was wasting valuable time. My kids would be home soon and I still had activities such as picking out and eating all the good jelly beans in the candy jar and eating chocolate frosting straight from the can. I had to cut my losses.
There I stood, leaning on the kitchen counter watching the 9 inch TV. This felt vaguely familiar. Oh yeah, this is how I watch TV every night while cooking dinner.
Later that evening when my husband got home he sat down to watch TV. I could hear him from the kitchen shout, “Who fooled with the TV?” I hollered back, “I told you you should have come home!”
Parenting Pearl: Take care of yourself. Every now and then, you’ve got to recharge your battery.
Life Lesson: Push TV. Push Power. Push Auxiliary. Push Power. Push Cable. Push Power. Push 03. Push Enter. Seriously!
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