The Remote Control

The Remote Won
I Surrender – Slice of Life
By – Sheri de Grom

I conquered the television remote control during my recent stay in the hospital. Now if I could only say the same for the one at home. I no longer reach for it. There’s no need. I don’t know what to do with it when I have it—I’m convinced it hates me. The remote at the hospital seemed simple or could that have been the morphine drip messing with my mind?

I’ll take books, magazines, newspapers, or my Kindle any day over the television.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times I want to watch television. Perhaps a show my husband recorded for me would make a nice break in a hectic day—but which remote do I pick? For all the diagrams my wonderful, kind, and patient husband has drawn for me—I still don’t understand our remotes.

I grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas on a cattle ranch and having a television was not a high priority in our household. A black and white set entered our home when I was in third grade and it came with its own limitations and rules.

We received two stations but, more often than not, only one station worked and that one was snowy and often we could just barely make out the picture on the screen. Does anyone understand the concept of a ‘snowy television screen’ any longer? The antenna was some wire contraption on the roof of our home and it doesn’t take much imagination to recognize how well that worked in wind-swept Kansas.

My parents limited us to one hour of television per day, including weekends. After school we had chores to perform, homework, always a sit- down family dinner, and then—if time permitted—the television was turned on.

The television was never on during dinner time and we never ate anywhere but at the table as a family where real discussions were held. In later years, my brothers and I often laughed, if you weren’t at Mom’s table at 6:00 p.m., you might as well be dead. Now that we’re all in the afternoon of our lives, we recognize that Mom and Dad set honorable family values for us to carry into the world. We also know the importance of the family as a unit.

I’ve carried the entertainment concept into my adult life. I can always see a movie later, a television show on a re-run or not at all, or read a book later—we only have this one moment in time to spend with those we love.

I digress from those pesky remote controls. They’ve determined they’ll rule when I’ll watch television.

For me, the current remote is over-designed. I don’t want all those extra buttons. I become further and further lost with every advancement.

I’m tired of trying to get the TV to turn on, let alone find something once I get there. We didn’t need a TV Guide when I was a kid with one channel and sometimes two channels and I certainly don’t need one when I can’t even turn on the TV.

Maybe I’ll like this remote business when we have voice recognition. I like Dragon and other voice recognition software. But beware it may be hard to train your new device to understand more than one voice.

For now, I’ll watch or not as my husband zooms through commercials for which he has zero tolerance. Once in awhile, I’ll say, “Stop I want to see that commercial.” With a pained look on his face, he uses my commercial time to take the dogs outside.

Thankfully, I only have a few favorite shows and those can be easily recorded by my husband and not me.

Do you get along with your remote control? Do you have any secrets to share with me that will turn on that light bulb of understanding?

About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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25 Responses to The Remote Control

  1. JK Bevill - Lost Creek Publishing says:

    Reblogged this on lost creek publishing and commented:
    Yes, I remember! Getting old and it’s almost time to go jogging. Slowly.

  2. Lynn Garrett says:

    I have determined over Christmas, with my 17 month old grandson in the house, that the culprit with the remote is what I’ve suspected. As I tell my married daughters, “It’s that damned Y chromosome!” I seldom curse, so to do so means I feel very strongly about the situation. It accounts for most of the “What was he thinking?!” moments in many households. The remote control is somehow DNA-spiral- linked to the male’s Y chromosome. I don’t know how the scientist did it, but chances are he was male and was working with inside information.

    When my grandson wakes up, sleepy-eyed, he reaches for the remote and points it at the turned-off TV. Then, to avoid an early morning meltdown, I turn on the TV and let him press buttons until he gets a screen he doesn’t like and he hands the control to me. Hopefully, the few buttons I know will fix the problem. Otherwise, we call Papa at work–one case where the Y-chromosome is in our favor.


  3. Sheryl says:

    I’ll also take books, magazines, and newspapers any day over TV. And, when I do occasionally want to watch TV, the remote control inevitably seems to be misplaced. 🙂

    • Sheryl – I’ve now decided the remote control goes missing along with my telephone/address book that is ‘supposed’ to live in a drawer in a table by my chair. It’s funny how both are always MIA. I don’t know what to do with the remote when I find it – but I do know how to flip through the pages of an address book. BTW – I love exploring your blog. I’m working on a cold case murder of my aunt in 1924. I’ve only posted one blog about in titled “The Fromm Chronicles” – but hope to get another post up soon. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Mae Clair says:

    Lovely to find a blog post from you, Sheri. Welcome back! And what a great post too. It brought back memories of family dinners gathered at the table, black-and-white TV, UHF (or was it VHF?) stations and “family television night” which was Sunday evening.

    I admit hubby and I have most all the bells and whistles down to, and including, a surround-sound home theater system, and everything funnels into two remotes. I’m fairly handy with electronic gadgets, so I have no problem wielding the remotes like a pro. 🙂 The problem is there is next to nothing on anyway. It’s pretty pathetic when cable gives you a bazillion channels and you’re lucky if you can find an hour of TV a week worth viewing!

  5. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

    We have too many remotes too. I have to hide the remotes for the TV, DVD and video player because we always get them mixed up. Like you we do not watch much tv and it is easier to hide the extra’s we don’t need. But I watch a lot of movies so then I have to use the cable one, the tv one (to switch it in the right mode and then the DVD one.) All of this just to watch a movie, sometimes I wonder if it is worth is!! 😉 Hugs!

    • Patty – I always maintained reading was so much easier than all the TV remotes and now darn it–Kindle sent my latest order to the ‘cloud’ and I don’t know how to retrieve it! Guess I’m going to have to figure that one out as Tom refuses to read e-books. He still reads a book a day but holds out for the ‘real deal.’ And – if I want to watch TV and use only one remote – that means I have to watch the TV that’s in front of the treadmill–oh vey–what’s a person to do?

  6. It’s wonderful to know we’re not alone on remotes. Like Patti, we have four. I’ve figured them out for the most part but, IF I want to watch tv, I go straight to Netflix, pick a movie, turn on the surround sound and enjoy… no commercials, on demand, stop/start/pause/FF…. love it! And my husband isn’t missing as many movie endings as he used to… 😉

    • Hi Mary – Thanks for dropping in. During the 20 years I worked for the gov., each time Tom and I went to the movies, I always fell asleep. Seems that was when I finally let myself relax. I was really embarrassed when my head fell on the guy sitting on the opposite side of Tom. Tom still teases me about having to retrieve my head. Tom watches movies from Netflix but I still really enjoy the big screen–but will watch a movie at home when that’s the alternative.

  7. jbw0123 says:

    Hope the reason for hospitalization is now poof! fixed, and you are home soon and well again.

    Remotes must be designed by men for men! Some enterprising woman could make a lot of money designing a female friendly remote. Best wishes —

    • Oh what a great idea. With all the women in engineering these days we must find one to design a remote just for us. I’d do fine with one that does nothing but turn something on or off and control volume. And, oh yes – I’d want to change the channel once in a while, but nothing fancy. Thanks so much for stopping by. You have a terrific blog. I always enjoy reading it.

  8. Not being an ardent TV viewer, I have no desire to learn of this habit-forming tool. It’s embedded in my husband’s hands anyway! 🙂

    • Jeanne – My guess is that most husbands control the remote and as far as I’m concerned that’s fine by me. I do like to follow the news from a couple different perspectives. However, I’m still an old-fashioned die-hard when it comes to reading my newspapers. I don’t want to read them on a computer screen or other electronic devise. I want the print. Think I’m showing my age there.

  9. Edith says:

    Ah Sheri it’s good to hear you again! Hope all is well! As for remote controls…unless my children leave the tv controls set up for me to use in a specific way which they have explained and even illustrated for me, I can’t do it! xxx

  10. Oh yes, the remote control. I echo your sentiments and long for a tv with simple controls. Seriously, I could live without one.

  11. Sheri, I think gremlins have invaded my living space, my car and follow me on the road late at night. Remotes? When the equipment they are supposed to control actually function, I don’t understand half of the stuff I can do with them … most often … I am on the phone with the cable company and after twenty minutes of a very polite person twenlve thousand miles from where I am sitting, puts me on hold, asks me to unplug this and turn on that … I don’t give a fig if I ever see the damn thing!!

    Speaking of “remote.” Can anyone explain why I talk to a remote village in the far east to find out what’s wrong with my equipment in the southern Florida? Remote customer service … remote places out of my reach … customer service centers I would gladly blow up if I could find them 🙂

    • Oh how I know the feeling. Being on hold for endless hours and then having the phone go dead just to start all over again is enough to do any of us in. Then, when they start telling me to unplug this and that – I pretty much flip out. Just this past week it took Tom over 2 hours on the phone to order (yes, we were buying something) to make it understood exactly what he needed for his computer and what I needed for mine. I’m still sleeping so much, I’d probably nodded off on them.

  12. christicorbett says:

    I was the remote control for my parents :). I stood in front of the tv and rotated the dial upon command, and sometimes the antennas too.

    Christi Corbett

  13. Aw, Sheri, I know what you mean. We have, like, four remotes: one for the dvr, one for the dvd player, one for the surround sound, and one for the t.v. We never integrated them into one sole remote. I don’t know how to do that anyway. But REALLY? Do we need that many remotes that ALL function in a different way? I know how to use them, but it’s irritating that without them I don’t know HOW I would turn anything on!

    • Patti – I so understand. Tom combined everything to one universal remote per a requirement from our cable company. He even has problems with it sometimes. The devise at the hospital was straight forward but of course I only had 6 channels to pick from. The remote devise was more important for me in that it contained the button to call my nurse, adjust my bed, and it was how I called room service if I wanted anything to eat. This was my first experience of being in a hospital that instead of serving regular hospital meals on trays, I had a menu in my room and whenever I wanted something to eat, all I had to do was order. The hospital is really upscale but I don’t have a desire to return.

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