AM I THE ONLY ONE…who has received that well-meaning Christmas gift?

By:  Donna Hale Chandler

giftIt was Christmas of 2008, my sweetie gave me what I’m sure was supposed to be a Christmas gift that would bring me hours of pleasure and simplify my life in the process. I am a technology-challenged 60 year-old female so when I opened the shiny new DVR, it looked to me like a nightmare from hell. Not only would it need to be hooked up PROPERLY to my television, I would also need to LEARN how to use it.

Oh horrors! This man is smiling at me as if he’s given me the world and my head is already starting to ache in protest. I’m doubtful that the old brain cells are able to learn one more new thing. I don’t want to seem ungrateful and I certainly don’t want to appear stupid so I squeal with delight, declaring that this is exactly what I’ve been wanting and I can hardly wait to see how it works.

Hours later, ‘honey’ goes home and leaves me with a DVR all correctly connected and a brand new remote control in my hand. Although he has several times, explained how to use the remote, he could have been speaking a foreign language as far as I was concerned.

I, however, am not a quitter and a few days later I at least know how to turn my TV on and off when suddenly something goes wrong. Oh no, what did I do to break it? No picture, no sound, this can’t be good. Track down the Owner’s Manual, find the troubleshooting page. No picture, no sound, check connections. Well, unless the DVR demons came in while I was sleeping, the connections should be right. It worked yesterday.

Ah ha, an 800 number, just what I need. Ages and ages and ages later the nice, polite DVR service rep decided that I must need a replacement. One would be mailed to me the next morning. Yikes! That means, disconnecting and re-connecting the thing AGAIN.

Sure enough, the replacement DVR is delivered, the broken one is re-packed and taken to UPS to ship back and the replacement DVR is hooked up. When I turn on the TV, there’s no picture and no sound. Again, I unhook everything, starting all over by hooking it up all over again. Still, there is no picture and no sound.

Now where did I put that 800 number? It was just like an instant replay, push this button, disconnect this wire, reconnect wire, and push 3 buttons at the same time while singing American the Beautiful, nothing worked. AGAIN, it was decided that another replacement was what I needed.

By the time I stopped crying from frustration, the THIRD DVR arrived. Again, I pack away the non-functioning one. This time however, my son was visiting and everyone knows that young people automatically know now how to hook up anything and everything.

“No,” he says, “He doesn’t need the instructions.” I pace the floor as he twists and turns this cable and that cable, connects this wire, unhooks that one. Finally I hold my breath, and push the On Button. Picture, sound! I had picture and sound! I could even change the channels! The DVR Gods had taken pity on me.

I still need to learn to use the record, pause, back-up and go-forward buttons, set my ‘season passes’ etc., but I’ll manage somehow. Be careful, though, because believe me, a DVR would be hazardous to your blood pressure, even when it’s a gift from your special someone.


Gram use’ta sayOld Lady 7“You have to wait until evening
to determine how wonderful the day was.”


From The Hints Book Almanac
By Donna Hale Chandler and Richard Lee King


4. Decorate a cake – No pastry bag? Not a problem, just use a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil to form a tube. Fill it with frosting and toss it away when finished. No pastry bag to clean.
5. Make a salad bowl – The next time you’re invited to a pot luck and are assigned the duty of bringing an extra large salad, don’t panic if you don’t have a bowl large enough. Just line the kitchen sink with foil and toss away.
6. Keep rolls and breads warm – Wrap them in a napkin and place a layer of aluminum foil underneath. The foil will reflect the heat and keep your bread warm for quite a while.



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