Tuesday, August 02, 2011

This almost NEVER happens on a Date In Public. (The Great Ranking Of Problems.)

The other night, Sweetie and I had a "Date At Home," which is where we do all the stuff we'd do on a date only we never leave the house; Date At Home's are great if you have hyper 4-year-olds and difficulty tracking down your older kids to arrange for a babysitter on short notice, which this was, as I'd only proposed the Date At Home on Wednesday or Thursday.

So our Date At Home was this: We'd order in pizza, which we hadn't done in a while (and which would constitute the second, or maybe third, time we'd have pizza for dinner that week) and watch the movie Battle Los Angeles, which we'd both decided we wanted to see when it came up repeatedly on previews for other movies we'd recently watched.

We'd also, we decided, put Mr F and Mr Bunches to bed early, so that we weren't eating pizza at 9 p.m.

At 7:30 on Saturday night, then, the twins were secured in their bedroom watching, I don't know, some movie or other. I can't keep track of them all. We had our pizza, and I was preparing to take all the fixin's and the movie upstairs to watch in our bedroom when Sweetie surprised me:

"Let's watch the movie downstairs," she suggested.

That surprised me because Sweetie never wants to watch TV downstairs. I assumed that Sweetie hated the downstairs, something that always made me sad because downstairs is where we have the Big TV, and I do mean Big; it's a projection TV that has something like a 65" screen, a TV that we only own because in the Year We Had Money (which was a long time ago) we found a huge sale on this TV at Circuit City, which has subsequently gone out of business, and so we got this TV for something like 15% of its real cost.

That doesn't stop people who see it -- the rare person who gets past our defenses and enters our house -- from commenting on how big the TV is and how rich we must be to own it. Those people ignore the fact that the TV is surrounded by furniture which was obviously bought secondhand or on clearance, furniture like "Frankencouch," the existence of which clearly shows that (a) I have no taste and (b) we only buy furniture when it's extremely on sale.

We almost never watch TV downstairs, though, because Sweetie got accustomed to watching TV in our bedroom when she was pregnant with the Twins, and also because there's no air conditioning downstairs, and also because for most of the past two years, The Boy watched TV downstairs and so going down there meant you might accidentally expose a motherload of surliness that would detonate into complaints about having to take out the garbage.

I don't think that Sweetie and I had watched TV together downstairs on the big/good TV in probably two years, except when I duressed her into it by suggesting that if she was part of the family, she'd come watch Wipeout with me and Mr Bunches while Mr F jumped on his trampoline, and except the time we all risked surliness and watched the Super Bowl together.

So I was surprised by her offer to watch the movie downstairs, but after ascertaining that she was serious and not under duress -- duress being bad for Dates -- I went downstairs to hook up the DVD player.

That was necessary because one of the 23 billion cords that our house contains had stopped working the other day, and this is where the Problem comes in, and that requires a little more explanation.

We have a DVD player, and a satellite receiver, hooked up to the Big TV downstairs. Each attaches to the TV with a cord and the cords are, more or less, identical.

On Tuesday, Sweetie had said the receiver wasn't working, and so I went down to look at it. Sweetie frequently dispatches me to look at things, as husbands are the first line of defense in any household for any problem, with problems ranging from

-- "Ewww, what's that thing?" (a situation where I must identify the thing. This week's things have included "an old stuffed mouse toy that the cats left behind and which was under the stove" and "a cicada on the screen door" and "a potato that I found in the cupboard and put in a glass of water so that I could plant it in the garden")


-- The toilet is plugged (wherein I try to stick a coat hanger down to fish out whatever toy has been flushed down it, until we break down and call a plumber)


-- Various electrical/electronic devices aren't working, which was the Tuesday Problem.

Using my full liberal arts education, I unplugged and re-plugged the cords several times, because what else can I do? I don't know anything about electronics. If I opened up the DVD player and saw either that little Flintstones bird in there, or a tiny wizard, or nothing, it would all be the same to me -- and probably make more sense than the actual inner workings of that player.

Unplugging and replugging the cords did nothing, and I was about to call it a day, when I had a stroke of genius: check and see if it was the cords, and not the devices, which were the problem.

So, leaving each cord plugged into the back of the TV, I simply switched where they went. Cord A, which had been plugged into the DVD player, got plugged into the receiver, while Cord B switched places, too.

With that, the receiver worked, and the DVD player did not -- so my experiment had worked and decades of college had not been wasted. I told Sweetie we'd have to get a new cord and that I'd do that that weekend, but until then, I said, "Just switch the cords depending on what you want to use" and I showed her how to do that, switching the good cord back and forth.

That's important to keep in mind: I switched the good cord back and forth. Remember that as we go back to Saturday night, when I've now got my pizza and my movie and my Date/Wife, and I'm also excited because we're going to watch it on the big TV and that never happens, and I go downstairs to switch the cords...

... and I can't.

The good cord-- which, mind you, was connected to the DVD player all its life up until Tuesday night -- would not plug into the DVD player.

I'm not even kidding.

I could not get it to plug in.

Did you ever pull out a pair of pants that you hadn't worn for a while and they used to fit but now they just won't button and you're mystified why that is? Me, too -- I can't figure that out.

That's what happened with this cord. All its life, it had been plugged into the DVD player. But in the four days that it had been plugged into the receiver, it had somehow changed its dimensions subtly, and now would not plug back into the DVD player.

I tried for 20 minutes, saying all kinds of magical incantations like "But I took it off of here on Tuesday!" and getting Sweetie to agree with me that I'd done so -- in case the cord was listening, so it would know we were on to it and it might as well give up its little trick and plug into the DVD player.

But in the end, I could not convince the cord to change its mind and go back with its previous BFF; and in the end, we had to watch the movie upstairs after all, although I dealt with the disappointment gracefully, and still managed to eat about half a pizza.

But that is the latest addition to the Great Ranking Of Problems:


Who needs 'em? Am I right?

I'm going to rank cords very high up. Even above shower spiders, which previously held the highest-rank on this as-yet-unfinished list. So,

Cords, you are ranked at number 17.

Prior entries on The Great Ranking Of Problems:

17. Cords.

20. Shower spiders.

72. The pen ran dry midway through my signature (legal documents)

Family members imposing their diets on me

99: Spousal PB&J Incompatibility.

100. Sweetie's advice to wear a sports bra while running.

103. Mail being delivered at the wrong time of the day.

173: Preshoveling & reshoveling snow.

What to do about stuff I was going to buy but then it broke in the store and now I still want to buy the stuff but I don't want to buy something that was broken?

413: Guilt Over Meanness To Sentient Paperclips
. . .
502: Having to wait forever, seemingly, for Italian food to cool down.
. . .

721: Printer not holding a lot of paper at once.
2,624: Unidentifiable Mystery Song Stuck In Head.
5,000: Lopsided Nail Clipping.
7,399: Potato(E?)s?

. . .

8.766: Uncertainty over how long my magazine subscriptions last.

13,334: The pen ran dry midway through my signature (signing stuff that doesn't really matter at all, so why am I signing it?)

14,452: Worrying that there's too much peanut brittle leftover to eat before it goes bad.
15,451: Almost napping.
22,372: Having hair which isn't quite a definable color.
22,373: Having too many songs on an iPod

22,374: My iPod won't let me skip songs while running.


Rogue Mutt said...

That's the problem with all these electrical devices; they've all got cords! Even the ones that work cordlessly like cell phones or laptops need a charger with a cord. Or when I need to connect my MP3 player or camera to the computer for downloading/charging I have to figure out which cord goes to which one.

Someone needs to invent like a Swiss Army knife cord that has all sorts of different heads and such to plug into anything.

Michael Offutt, Author said...

New electrical devices use HDMI. You just plug the HDMI cord into the television, the other into the receiver. Then run one HDMI to the Blu-Ray or DVD player and done. Everything connects itself through the HDMI. All you have to do is select the proper input channel on your t.v. In short...I love HDMI

Raeza Judette Quinto Rolluqui said...

Usually here in the office, there's a lot of computers, so the cords can be categorized as "CHAOTIC". The solution we had was to buy wireless computers, less cords/wires, less problem - and less dust as well. *sniff