Thursday 29 Sep 2016

The DVR
Jennifer Flaten

We had a bit of a scare today. I won't lie; it was touch and go for a while. Our DVR went on the fritz. Don't you love the way I flaunt my high-technical vocabulary? I wasn't sure our DVR was recoverable.

The day started normal enough. The kids shuffled into the kitchen. They collected their breakfast and collapsed in front of the TV for their dose of morning animation.

Sometime during the cartoon-a-thon, the lights dimmed then flickered. This is usually a sure sign that, shortly, we'll be rubbing two sticks together to produce fire. Ah, but today we were lucky the god of electricity smiled on us and we retained the ability to heat food with a microwave oven.

Unfortunately, the surge of electricity caused our DVR system to seize. Our system is overly complex and requires that our temperamental, think HAL in the movie "2001: a space odyssey," desktop computer remains convinced we aren't going to disconnect it.

The surge in power caused the paranoid computer to begin an effort to jettison us out the space door. Actually, it caused it to freeze the cable system, which in this house is the equivalent of floating untethered through space. Once the juice started flowing again, the TV screen flashed the dreaded three rings of death.

I don't care what electrical device you're using; pick anyone. If three circles appear on the screen or it begins flashing somewhere on the machine, you are doomed. We immediately began emergency resuscitation measures.

As we waited to see if the forced restart would revive the machine, we reminisced about all the great moments we've shared with the DVR. There were movie nights and rainy day entertainment, of the sort that doesn't require stitches. All made possible by the DVR.

What would we do without access to all our recordings? Yes, there's our extensive DVD collection and access to streaming movies, but we have over a 124 recordings, to be exact. Still, among our vast family holdings, not one copy of "Old Yeller," exists and that's what we planned to watch today.

I blame the kids the vastness of our holdings. You didn't expect me to blame myself, did you. Once the kids discovered the magic of the little red record button, the DVR became a repository of every single programme that caught their eye.

It started simply enough, a movie here and there. From there it was a slippery slope. Food Network Challenges, which air after bedtime for the kids, started to pile up. Then the kids taped after-school shows.

That doesn't sound awful, does it. Then you realize the kids watch the recordings, the next day, while recording that day's programmes. The vicious circle grew.

Recording after recording piled up inside the magic box. No matter, how hard I tried to convince the kids that they did not need to keep yet another recording of "Word Girl," the series only has 10 episodes, all of which we've seen 1,000 times.

I started secretly deleting their oldest recordings. If they caught me, I would blame an electrical glitch or maybe the dog.

Yes, the dog might do it. It is entirely possible that he could lay on the remote and hit the right combination of buttons. Hey, cut me some slack, these are little kids I am trying to hose here, not CSI detectives.

Thankfully, the machine burped back to life and all is right in the world. I pretended not to see the kids hug the box.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have some recordings to delete.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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