Monthly Archives: December 2022

The definition of insanity…

A wise man once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. While I agree with this to an extent, I feel the definition of insanity is more likely buying a new television, and expecting the same results as the old one!

It was decided at my house (not by me) that our old television just didn’t have it anymore. The television was now 12 years old and I finally had learned how to use it. I knew which buttons to push for which items and I even learned how to do new stuff, like play DVDs and watch Netflix. I had that television and its controls down and it only took me twelve years.

But my husband, the football fan, decided that he should turn his living room into a giant ESPN scoreboard. All we lack now is the bar and the betting pool. The television is in place.

Small problem: There are now even more remotes to handle and they are even harder to learn. For instance, there are three remotes which currently turn the television on. There are two remotes that will give you the regular cable channels and two others that take care of Netflix. We can no longer play the DVDs–no hookup and no remote.

Here is where the insanity starts. If I turn the television on with this remote, it will not bring up cable, but I can watch Netflix. If I want to adjust the volume, that requires an entirely different remote. However, if I use another remote to turn on the television, you guessed it. There will be cable, but no way to get to Netflix–UNLESS you use a further remote, which will put on Netflix, but throw you off cable.

I was busy trying to make a chart of which remote, used in which order would operate what thing, when Roy came in. He picked up the large black remote and turned on the television.

“Where’s the game?” he asked, staring at the blank screen which stared back at him.

“Is the game on cable? Because for that, you need to turn on the television with the gray remote,” I said, checking the notes.

“Well, why can’t I just switch over?”

“Because, if you hit the wrong button, you put it into some kind of sleep mode and then it takes three other remotes and a few hours to bring it back. What station is your game on?”

By now, he’s sorting through the various remotes like a woman does earrings in a jewelry box. “Well, I think it’s on Prime,” he said, sounding somewhat confused.

“Oh, for that you need this other remote over here. You turn it on with this small black one and you find your Prime station with this small white one,” I said, handing them over. “But if you need to adjust the picture or the volume, then you will have to turn it all off and start again with the large black remote.”

“You’re making this up, right? You just don’t want this new television,” he was very suspicious now.

“Of course not! I love the new television and if I sound like I’ve lost my sanity, that’s because I have discovered that loss of sanity is a requirement to operate this machine.”

He stood and looked at me and the dizzying assortment of remotes and then at the television, still staring blankly at him. Then he left the room.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“To find the old television,” he replied. “Maybe it will allow me to watch the game.”

“Oh, I don’t know. The remotes for that television are now programed to the new one. It will take hours to redo them.” Married couples should do things together. So I think it’s appropriate that we go out of minds together, trying to use the new television, don’t you?

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The Case of the Missing Phone

I promise I’ll explain the weird picture in just a moment, but first I must climb upon my soapbox and rant about my favorite topic: the addiction of the human race to the cell phone. The worst thing that could have happened, in my opinion, is for the portable phone (a necessary item, I admit) to be reduced from a cumbersome bag with a telephone inside, to the point where it can be held in the palm of one hand. Add to that the fact that the so-called “cell phone” isn’t so much a telephone anymore as an appendage connected to the hand. This appendage is so amazing because it can do everything except produce your offspring…and I dread the day when they figure that out!

Given that this is how I feel about the cell phone, it is probably surprising to people that I actually do have one. I use it once in a great while to locate Roy when we are in public and separated, but mostly it just sits in the bottom of my purse and runs down its battery…until Roy thinks of it and charges the poor thing! Getting the phone was at the insistence of Roy because I travel 28 miles one way in the country in South Dakota to go to work. I see the sense of it, but for the record, in the time I have had it, I have used it on the road once, and that was not a weather-related call!

The world has not caught up with my bad attitude about phones, since it seems that now, you can’t even make a purchase without giving out personal information.

“That is 30 dollars for the paint and could I get your phone number,” said the young clerk at the hardware store.

“What?” I said, in an unnecessarily loud voice. “Young man, did you just ask me for my phone number?” He was reduced to a flushing, flustered mess and guess what? I was allowed to buy the paint without giving my phone number. Cell phones! Bah! Humbug!

I have never lost the phone, but to be fair, I don’t go looking for it, either. Usually my phone is, as I said, at the bottom of my purse. That is, until this week. And that is when the trouble began.

We have been experiencing a storm, this week, of a size and length that has not occurred in quite some time. As the white stuff piled up outside and the wind began to howl like something out of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Long Winter, Roy and I settled down and resigned ourselves to getting whatever work we could do at home finished. Roy had some hook-up needed whereby he used his cell phone to set it up. However, in the middle of the operation, he needed a second phone to call his co-worker.

“Where’s your phone?” he hollered from the house desk.

“In my purse, where it is always is,” I answered.

“No, it’s not; I’ve looked. It isn’t there,” came the ominous answer. I walked into the dining room to find my purse, looking much as it does in the above picture with my wallet, combs, pens, kleenix and spare cough drops spread everywhere.

“Now I’ve got to put all of that back,” I whined.

“No you don’t, you’ve got receipts in there from Tucker’s Grocery Store,” he replied, still raking through the things he had dumped out as if the phone would magically appear.

“So?”

“So it hasn’t been Tuckers for five years. You have five-year-old grocery receipts, but no phone. Where is your phone?”

Suddenly, I was talking to Perry Mason, Dick Tracy and NCIS, all rolled into one. I had to search the car, my coat and other winter wraps and my sewing basket. No, I don’t know why I had to search the sewing basket, but the Crime Scene Investigator wouldn’t shut up until I did!

Finally, he did what all who search for a missing cell phone do…he called it with his phone. He got voice mail and we heard no locating ring from it. Now, I don’t have one of those phones that can tell you where it is, so the case of the missing phone was not to be solved. I took some comfort from the fact that, according to what I see on the crime shows, if I’m ever on the run, they won’t be able to “ping” me to find where I am hiding.

Now, between you and me, I am guessing that my phone was probably left at work. There is really no other place it could be, unless, somewhere between the school and my house, it hopped out of my purse on some “suicide mission” and is now buried under four feet of snow. But we are not going to tell the cell phone Nazi that, unless we have to. Right now, suffice it that he is cleaning my closet, my underwear drawer and the kitchen freezer in the hopes of finding the phone. At least, I’m getting some cleaning done and he is well occupied!

In the meantime, I will enjoy the fact that no one can call me and I don’t have to worry about whether the darned thing is charged or not. Happy snow storm to you all and to all–a good night!

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Rockin’ round the Christmas Tree

When I was a child, I remember, my parents would buy a real pine tree and bring it home. Oh, we were so excited! But, as an exercise in patience and endurance, they would leave it resting in the garage, keeping it cool. We walked by that tree every day, wishing and waiting for the day when we got to put it up.

I remember my mother would help my father get the tree in one of the old screw stands–you know, “screw that one in a little further, it leans to the right” and then, for added fun, she would make us leave it another day so that it could “warm up.” I didn’t want it to warm up, I wanted to put stuff on it! Eventually, eventually, we got to decorate that tree and it smelled terrific and it looked even better! We kept it watered, enjoyed the ambiance and swept up all the dead needles when Christmas was over.

I never knew how much I enjoyed those days until I came to the modern Christmas tree. I remember being shocked because I saw someone had a silver aluminum tree. There were no lights on it…just a revolving light on the floor that turned it various colors. I vowed on that very day that I would never have a fake Christmas tree. Even when they started coming out with passable green ones that allowed lights and decorating, I was still determined. No artificial tree for me.

My resolve began to weaken as the years went on and I had to wait longer than anyone else to put up my tree because it was live and then when it was over, I was reduced to getting down into the carpet and picking out those sticky, dried-up needles that had adhered themselves so much to my carpet that even the shop vac would not get them. My bare feet, though, they picked up dry, prickly needles nicely!

Okay, so I pulled the last of the razor sharp needles out of my feet and went shopping for a “fake” tree. There were masses of them. I finally managed to choose one and, avoiding the clerk’s suggestion that I buy some fake pine smell to spray over the fake tree plastic smell, I headed home.

Now, I have always regarded the tree stand as the ultimate test of our holiday spirit. If you can get those little screws into the base of the tree so that it stands up reasonably straight and you can still smile, you pass the test. However, if you can get those plastic wedge things properly seated in the grooves provided on a fake tree and not wish to hit the inventor of those tree stands in the head with a hammer, well, you’ve more Christmas spirit than me! Either way, the chances of the tree taking a header after it’s fully decorated because the stand gives out are very high. Some people have a drunk uncle who runs into the tree and knocks it over. The rest of us have an unstable tree stand!

Just getting the fake tree upright is quite a chore, but once you’ve done so, there is still more to do. Unlike the real tree which must be “warmed up,” the fake tree instead must have its branches “fluffed”. You see, a fake tree has been smooshed into a box with all of its little green wire branches adhered to the main branch so tightly that the whole thing resembles a fat marching baton. You must artfully bend and move and “fluff” these branches until they look like “real” branches.

Decorating has never been a problem for me. I slap on the lights and always secretly wonder what led the early proponents of the Christmas tree to put lit candles on a dead tree, but I am grateful things have evolved since then. I love bulbs and all manner of interesting ornaments. I know of a woman who used to put the same color and style bulbs only on her tree and she measured with a tape measure to make sure they were exactly placed. This is not me! I put the darn things on willy-nilly and usually spent the rest of the holiday rearranging them as I notice where I may have left “blank spots.”

My mother was a big fan of tinsel, those little silver strands that cling to more things than glitter. She made us put them on one at a time and take them off the same way. It was years before I realized that some people just throw bunches of it on the tree in random fashion. This seemed sacrilegious to me considering my upbringing so in the end I solved the problem by not putting tinsel on my tree. I prefer festive garlands that never fit over the whole tree and always stop at awkward points in the tree’s decor. It looks like the tree was getting dressed, but got caught trying to fit it over their ample middle and therefore, ran out of garland!

Nonetheless, my tree is now up, the stand is in place, the plastic smell has been disguised, and the branches are all fluffed. The decorations are in place…at least for now. I sat down with a sigh of relief and then I made my fatal mistake. I asked my husband what he thought.

“Well, the top branch is bent awkwardly because your lighted star is too heavy, part of your string of lights is not working over on this side–you should have checked that before you put them up–and the cat is currently sitting about a third of the way up on that branch over there that is sagging under her weight. However, beyond that, it almost looks like a real Christmas tree.”

If I was speaking to him after that, I’d have told him it IS a real Christmas tree. Ho, Ho, Ho!

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