There are certain moments in my life that have given me a savory sense of accomplishment, a feeling of personal power. Giving birth to my strong, handsome, and kind sons ranks in the top two. Earning two degrees, surviving brain surgery, and assembling Star-Wars Land Cruisers on Christmas Eve made the cut, too. Most recently, though, is installing a new receiver box for my t.v.
I’d like to blame a recent thunderstorm for knocking my DirecTV reception cattywumpus. But you and I both know mashing every button on my three remote controls — two for the t.v. itself and the one remote for DirecTV — was the kiss of Death. When no amount of button-crunching did the trick, I bit the bullet and called Tech Support. After working with me for an hour, Ardella was as stumped as I was.
“Sounds to me like you need a new receiver, Ms. Terry, ” she finally admitted. “We’ll be sending you one with a new remote and access card by Tuesday. Simply follow the directions in the manual and then call this number I’m going to give you to finish the activation process.”
Uh-oh, I thought. There’s that word: Simply.
Understanding those manuals is no simple matter. Reading them requires a Master’s degree.
Hold on, I reminded self. You have a Master’s degree. This is do-able.
Still, at that moment, I yearned for a good old black-and-white Motorola like my grandparents had. You know the kind. One with rabbit ears, a fistful of local channels, and no remote? Yeah, one like that.
Just as Ardella promised, I found a humongous box at my doorstep in less than a week. So, around 7:30 in the evening, after bringing Russet in from her walk, I grabbed my toolbox and managed to remove the cords and wires from the old receiver. I was off to a good start. My arm ached from patting myself on the back.
But installing the new receiver burst my bubble. I had replaced the cords and wires that I had rubber-banded together. For most, it was simply a matter of screwing them in. But the worst part — the tangle of black cords that writhed and twisted around each other like mating Black Mambas — still lurked in the shadows behind the t.v. stand. Each one I touched slithered out of my hands and back to the twisted den below.
At that point, I looked around for a hidden camera. Surely someone was recording this YouTube-moment-waiting-to-happen. Tired, sweaty, and frustrated as all get-out, I grabbed a flashlight and contorted myself this way and that to plug one of the cords into a wall outlet.
Nothing. Blotto. Zip.
Okay, Kim, ol’ girl, there are only two possible places and umpteen-gillion black cords. One of them will be the lucky winner.
After trying one black cord after another and muttering a few choice words my mother taught me never to say, I finally saw a heavenly blue light flash on the receiver. Grabbing one remote after the other, I pushed the t.v. input button and looked at my watch. It was 10:30 p.m. when I called the number for activation instructions.
An hour later, thanks to another Tech Support rep named Brittany, I once more had t.v. reception.
As I put away the tool kit and moved the t.v. stand back in place, I felt delicious.
Today, I managed to replace a t.v. receiver. Tomorrow, who knows what I’ll take on? Changing a tire? Figuring my own income-tax return? Possibilities abound!
So, gentle readers: what accomplishments have given you a tippy-taste of power?