Tag Archives: electronics

March Column for Glo Magazine: Parting with the past

emotionalspringcleaning       At the beginning of the year, I made a big decision to reorganize my life. Now, I’m not talking about a simple spring clean or installing in a new storage system to contain my sprawling stash of “stuff.” I mean a comprehensive, conscientious overhaul of the way I live and the things I surround myself with. In short, I am parting with the past, prioritizing the present and focusing on the future.

I’m not going to lie; it is a time consuming and emotionally draining process. In the past few months, I have purged my closet of the items I no longer wear and those I never wore. I have eliminated a number of books from my library that I simply had to buy in hard back (and at full-price) the day they were published and I have tossed out the toys I was hanging onto “just in case” one of the kids wanted to play with them again. Yes, I realize my sons are 27 and 20 and it’s safe to assume they no longer have need of them, but if you saw Toy Story 3 well then, you feel my pain.

If this isn’t enough, I also pledged to cook dinner nearly every night, keep a clothing journal in order to get the most out of my wardrobe and to unplug from my iPad/electronic device at least one night a week. The first two have been relatively easy but the last one is a bit like detoxing from an addiction. If you try this yourself, you can expect to experience a few withdrawal symptoms and plenty of setbacks.

So why am I doing any of this? I’m in a new season of life and I’m making broad sweeping changes. It’s refreshing, but it’s also a double-edged sword. My mother warned me about this several years ago, but I didn’t believe her. She said there would come a point in which I would be able to have a simpler and more orderly lifestyle, but I thought she was crazy. I could not imagine a time in which I was not ensconced in a whirling vortex of entropy. Chaos and I went together like peanut butter and jelly. I suspected we would be together forever. I was wrong.

While it is nice to have a home that stays relatively clean most of the time, I miss the little fingerprints that used to smudge up every surface. Although there is serenity in a home-cooked meal for two, it pales in comparison to those frozen family feasts we used to consume on the fly. And while it is nice not to have to buy new clothes and to unplug from the virtual world from time to time, it comes with the realization that everyone has finished growing and you are no longer required to be a phone call or a text away.

“Julie, when you come home and realize everything is exactly as you left it… it will be the saddest day of your life,” Mom told me.

As with most things, she was right and it happened sooner than I ever thought possible. Yes parting with the past opens up on a fresh new beginning, but it also closes the chapter on the previous story…the one you didn’t know was over until you found yourself bookmarking the last page.

 

 

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MHH Column for June: Pushing My Buttons

best-universal-remote-controls-updated-970x0         Once upon a time, I used to get the biggest kick out of watching my mother try to operate anything more complicated than a can opener. When I was 12-years-old we bought our first VCR, a rudimentary model with a corded remote no bigger than my palm and buttons so clearly labeled that anyone with thumbs could operate them.

Anyone, that is, except my mother.

Unfortunately, the geniuses that designed the thing put the power button below the TV/Video button and if one made the mistake of turning these two things on from the top down rather than the bottom up, it would take all day to get them in sync. I literally laughed so hard I cried watching her rage against the machine that held The Thornbirds hostage.

I’m no longer laughing.

While I used to be able to hook up an electronic device inside of five minutes without looking at an instruction book, today I can barely retrieve my voice mail messages without hurting myself. I can’t help wondering: When did I turn into my mother?

The other night I turned on my television and was asked if I wanted to update my software or see an input list. Uh-huh…see, what I wanted was to watch a movie, not have a conversation with the TV set! I dealt with those issues and then went half crazy trying to get the movie started. Apparently my Blu-Ray player is the same brand as my ancient DVD/VCR combo and my remote control activates both. One wrong move sends the whole thing into chaos that requires three people, two calls to tech support and a battery change to straighten out.

As if that wasn’t enough, smack in the middle of the Beatles 50th Anniversary special in February, a portion of my cable system went out. I called my provider screaming about the musical legacy of Paul and Ringo while she resent signals from Asia in an effort to fix my problem. When nothing worked she suggested I watch the show on one of my HD channels and proceeded to give me a sequence of digits longer than my social security number. Since when do I have HDTV?

I have three remotes within arm’s reach that have 105 buttons between them and I can perform only five functions on them. Three claim to be “menu” buttons however, that operation is never available when I need it. There is an energy saving button that hasn’t spared me an ounce of sanity and four brightly colored buttons complete with an assortment of un-raised dots that strike me as a sick Helen Keller joke. I don’t dare dust them because the last time I did, the government shut down, the President ended the Space Shuttle program and my son missed a critical episode of Doctor Who.

Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m not taking any chances. I suspect that somewhere in the Great Beyond my mother has been put in charge of the Karma button, has mastered it and is getting me back for every time I laughed at her, one piece of equipment at a time.

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