Awhile back we refinanced the house – and for those of you who’ve done that – it means that while all the paperwork is going through, you get a month with no mortgage payment.

Oh how cool is that?

I mean, what could you do with that amount of money if it isn’t spoken for?

If you have any debt, you could pay that down, but if you don’t, and you’re dreaming…

…you could have a heck of a nice dinner for 10…

…you could have a heck of a nice weekend for two…


You could have something break.

Personally, I think all our household appliances have long conversations with each other while we’re asleep, and they check to see when would be the most opportune time to break.

You know the drill –

You get a bonus at work, and the car needs a new transmission…

You get a tax refund, and the washer goes out.

You refinance the house, and – well, we’ll get to that.

Lord help you if the freezer goes out – that is just mind numbingly gross.

(and yes, I’m sure I’ll write about it – it was kind of funny, as well as expensive and gross – in fact, it was so gross that it gagged the garbage man and – wait – I’d better stop or I’ll end up telling that story right here…)

So we’ve got one month with no mortgage payment…


Which is why the TV decided  to blow up – well, not blow up, it died a slow miserable death.

I was telling my mom about it and she, knowing how I keep finding stories in all sorts of little events, said, “That sounds like a story….”


Okay – so here’s “The Story”

The TV we had (the one before this one) cost us nothing – it weighed a ton – was made right here in the U.S. of A. – took two grown men and a small child to lift, and by gummy, this puppy had dials on it.

We’d gotten it from my sister – and it was old when we got it.  Remember the phrase “don’t touch that dial”? – It’s what advertisers used to say to keep you from changing the channel so you’d watch their commercials.

This was one of those TV’s… It had “the dial”.

You wanted to watch another program?

You got your butt up off the couch and changed the channel.

With the dial.

You wanted it louder?

You got your butt up off the couch and turned it up.

With the dial.

You wanted it back on the channel you had in the first place?

You got your – yeah – you get the idea…

Under no circumstances did you “channel surf”.

My wife, bless her, has the ability to watch multiple programs at the same time.

I do not have this ability.

She can watch 3 sporting events, two movies, and a cop drama, at the same time.

And she can keep track of them.

She is fully capable of telling you what’s happened with every program going on, and what’s happened – even between commercials.

I have no idea how she does this.

She’s been known to have the radio on and be reading a book at the same time.

When she added doing a crossword puzzle to the mix, that caused my left eye to twitch a bit, but when she brought in the unicycle and started juggling flaming swords while she was doing all that – okay, I made that last part up, the ceiling’s too low for the unicycle or the flaming swords, but still…. 🙂

I cannot do this.

At all.

I, like most men, cannot keep track of that many things at the same time.  In fact, as has often been said, I, like most men, have a one track mind… (and no, not necessarily *that* track…)

The weird thing is, watching that TV that way could easily have become an aerobic event – I can imagine the aerobics instructor now for “Aerobic TV Watching”

“Read… and… left… and… turn it up! Good! Feel the burn! Now, turn the channel –“


…that’s about as far as it would go for me.

So it turned out that this TV, the one that required you to do Aerobics to channel surf, had a limited lifespan.

One day Michael called me at work.

“The TV’s broken”


I mean, the switch had broken – stuck in the “on” position, ironically – quite some time ago to the point where if you wanted to watch TV, you plugged it in.

You wanted to stop watching TV, you unplugged it.

It was definitely basic – without the cable.

So I got home, plugged it in, and it turned on fine.

“See? it works!”


And sure enough, as the picture tube warmed up – all of a sudden there was this audible “Fwip!” as the picture went cattywompus and sideways for a second and then came back.  It was like someone had smacked the TV upside the head.


What the heck is a “Fwip”?

Just about the time I’d gotten that thought through my head, it did it again….


20 seconds went by, then another.

…and another.

Pretty soon, all we had was Fwips and no picture – just a bunch of lines on the screen.


It was when the smoke came out of the back of the TV that I started thinking of Apollo 13…

“Uh, Houston, we have a problem…”

So… being the brilliant deducer of clues that I am, and having years more experience in the ways of electronics diagnostics and repair than my son did, I – uh – came to the same conclusion that he’d come up with…

The TV was broken.

Eventually – we got another one – A 27 inch TV for 179.00 at Fred Meyer.  (It was a serious sale)

It was much bigger – much better –

And it had a remote.

You could channel surf AND clog your arteries by becoming a couch potato…

Oh yeah…

That’s the TV that, two nights ago, had a couple of funny little lines on the top.

Then yesterday, it went “Fwip!”

Oh good.

Now Michael, because I have educated him in the ways of complex electronics repair, performed the first task one always does when troubleshooting and/or repairing electronics, which is to smack the living crap out of it.

Surprisingly enough, it worked…

Until I turned it back on…



So my wife and I went out looking at TV’s, and found one, bought it, brought it home, and I plugged it in, an blessed it and Oh Lordy, did this thing have a big picture… you’d think you were in a theatre or something, it was so big, and we got it at Costco, so it was a decent deal.

I figured we were home free.  We were done.  We’d gotten rid of the Broken TV, replaced it, and still had money left over.  I was thrilled, delighted, and satisfied.

I settled down on the couch downstairs where the new TV was, and watched a program, just to see it so big.  It was very cool.

But it seems I missed something when I brought the TV into the house.

Remember when I told you about all the appliances talking to each other?

They do.

And they did.

I completely missed the TV whispering to the old stove, “Tag, you’re it…”

© 2011 Tom Roush