Technology has played a big role in my life. I loved it from the time we went from a party line to a private phone line all the way to being able to Facetime with my grandchildren who live in England. I view technology as my friend and have an array of devices. Recently, however, technology has been causing me a lot of headaches—in the form of my husband making our home an electronic paradise.
My husband is an engineer. Those of you who live with this species know they must always be doing something. Engineering made the term “tinkerer” an art form. He has done it all his life. It began with building projects he found in his Popular Science magazine. Since his father was also a hands-on type of man (I have a lamp in my home made from an antique blow torch), I guess it’s in my husband’s DNA.
First, he decided we needed the latest in electronic thermostats so it could be programmed to keep our home cooler or warmer when we’re not there. Apparently, it’s set at 80 degrees while I’m at work and is back down to 76 by the time I get home. That’s fine except for the days my boss feels generous and allows us to go home early. I arrive to a sauna until 5 o’clock, when the temperature begins to lower. He told me it was easy to override the programming, and I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t get it to work. So, I now have a small fan beside my chair in the living room.
Next, we needed a new alarm system. The one we’ve had for years has worked quite well but it was definitely out of date and we needed to upgrade. For many, that would mean picking out a new alarm company and having them install it in a few hours and signing a check. For me, it meant three Saturdays of listening to the most annoying little beeps all day long as he was learning to program the new system and add the elements he wanted to it. There were thoughts of murder, but then I remembered how sad the children would be, and I hate making my children sad.
Oh, I forgot to tell you he’s also an amateur radio operator, and one of my beloved guest bedrooms I was so proud to have so all my children had their own space is now a radio room. It is filled with numerous radios, microphones, a collection of old telegraph keys, an antique phone, and a set of golf ball South Park characters. OK, the man does have a touch of whimsy. When all our children were home last August, my daughter had to sleep on an air mattress with the grandchildren.
The latest project is security cameras. To install them, he had to make countless trips through the door from the garage, walk through the house, and out the front door. Now, just outside our garage door is a sidewalk that leads to the front porch. Obviously, it wasn’t as much fun as going in and out. At times, I feel like I have a toddler who can’t decide if he wants to play outside or inside, and I can’t make this one stand in the corner. I could lock him out, but he has keys.
Anyway, the cameras were finally installed, and I was certain he would put the monitor for them in the blessed radio room. (Stop laughing. This isn’t funny.) There is now a small television mounted on the wall beside the large chest of drawers in our bedroom. I suggested the radio room before he mounted the TV, but he informed me we needed to be able to see from the bedroom in case we were in danger.
Now, I know I can be a victim of crime at any moment. However, most people don’t even realize there’s a subdivision at our turnoff from U.S. Highway 441. We’ve never had a crime reported in our neighborhood, and we have two policemen who live there with their patrol cars parked in front of their homes. I’ve stayed alone many times and never felt frightened.
Still, I can now monitor the activity on the front porch, the driveway, and inside the garage. I must admit, the last one confuses me. Why do we need a camera inside the garage? If they’re coming in that way, we’ll see them in the driveway. It makes no sense to me, but somehow it does to him. Personally, I think he just likes to look at his tools and workbench. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
So, yes, I love technology, but I do believe I’ve reached my limit. And while I’m ranting—whatever made car dealers think they could sell more cars by having their dogs in the TV ads? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know the answer.