VCR woes put me on ‘remote’

Herald Writer

When you get new electronic equipment at your home, who does the installation?

My husband has always been our wire man. He recently fell down on the job. When he got pokey about hooking up a new machine I was desperate to use, I told him to pack his stuff and get out.

The VCR broke on my big TV/VCR combo unit. It cost $40 for a repair person to make a house call and it was too clunky to take to a shop that would need to keep the TV for six weeks.

We didn’t even know if the thing could be fixed.

Living without my bedroom VCR was a pain. Yes, I am a princess. We have two other video machines in the house, but I don’t know how to work them. Everything came to a head the morning I wanted to tape Britney Spears singing on the "Today Show." I ran around from machine to machine but couldn’t get a darn tape working before I left for the office.

I was grumpy that night, you know, having missed Britney and everything. We calmly addressed the problem and decided to buy a new VCR to hook to the old TV.

Wouldn’t you know, my favorite cable shopping channel offered one the next day for $75? The Today’s Special Value item did everything but make toast. I assumed Chuck would have no trouble with the installation. He has a TV in the living room with different remotes for the stereo, TV, WebTV, satellite and VCR.

In the rec room, there is a VCR, TV and satellite connection. I couldn’t even memorize my kids’ cell phone numbers so I don’t even try to remember how to run so many appliances.

When Chuck got the new machine placed in our bedroom, he began showing me how to use my TV remote to turn the set on and off, then switch to the VCR remote to operate everything else.

I didn’t want to use two remotes but tried using the silly dual system for a couple of nights. My disdain flared when I wanted to tape. When I pushed record, the TV turned to a blue screen. Chuck grudgingly left a Mariner game showing in the living room to offer assistance.

Using both remotes, one in each hand, he clicked a succession of buttons as if he were driving the USS Enterprise from the bridge.

Just show me how to tape, I whined.

With the Mariners in scoring position, he rushed to the VCR shelf across the room from our bed and manually hit the record button.

"Just do it that way," he said, then fled back to Jay Buhner.

I seethed. I didn’t want to get out of bed and hit the record button. I wanted to use one remote while enthroned on my fluffed pillows. I fell asleep, then ambushed Chuck at 6 a.m.

While he tied laces on his work boots, I stated I wanted to say three things and he wasn’t to speak until all three things were on the table.

1. "I don’t want to use two remotes."

2. "I have done oodles more house- and yardwork in our 27 years together than you ever thought about doing so you are in charge of the electronics."

"3. If you want me to do what I consider guy stuff, like program the VCR, you might as well pack your stuff and get out."

He said: "Good morning to you too."

He called me that afternoon after work. I asked if he found the suitcase. He didn’t remember what I was talking about. I reminded him of my morning edict.

Oh yeah, he said.

See what a dramatic impact I have on him? What else could I use for a threat? How about no kisses? I like kisses so that would punish me. I could vow to stop cooking, but I don’t cook now. In the heat of marital battle, I used to threaten to move out and take his kids, but they are all grown up.

I could tell him I was leaving with the cats, but he would never stand for that. I could go, but Morgy, Guy Guy and BB would stay with Daddy.

You know what finally got the job done? I was sweet. I asked him in my nicest voice if he would do one teensy-weensy thing for me.

Then it was no problem. I now have a snazzy VCR that even tapes a channel while I am watching a different channel. He took the time to figure out how to run the equipment and clued me in.

Britney, come back.

Kristi’s Notebook appears Tuesdays and Fridays. If you have an idea for her, call 425-339-3451 or send information to

o’harran@heraldnet.com.

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