10 January 2012

The Old Man and the T…V

How about a little anecdote from my recent visit with my family over the holidays? Well, if you insist…

Let's start by stating right out there that I very much enjoy visiting my family, and will never understand those who don't get along with their siblings and parents. But that would be my apparently bizarrely idyllic childhood speaking. The only regrets from this year were that my oldest sister couldn't join us and that my brother and sister-in-law couldn't stay for the whole time the others were there. I did, however, get the chance to know my niece-in-law a bit better, which I am very glad to have done! We accomplished this over a very cutthroat game of Pictionary (boys versus girls) and even managed to defuse our most competitive moments before anyone's evening got ruined!

So what's with the Old Man?
My father has been fighting a long battle with squirrels. These are not the imported-from-Europe type that overrun city parks in the east where I live. They are the little red ones that naturally inhabit the forests of the west…and also naturally raid the various bird feeders that Dad stocks with seeds to draw an amazing variety of rather impressive birds (like the Stellar's Jay pictured here in a photo stolen from the internet).

Dad also gets pileated woodpeckers, which are scarily huge birds!

But I digress. The squirrels had another bad habit that my father is — erhelping them with. They managed to bypass various security measures to take up residence inside his roof, which is intolerable, so he was helping them to move to more appropriate quarters for rodents…the landfill!

Living in the country and away from such amenities as cell phone coverage, the internet and cable TV, Dad does what others in his situation do: he has a satellite dish to capture TV signals that offer him way more choices than I get on my basic cable plus service at home.

As we gleefully watched reruns of everything during the holiday season, something annoying started to happen. The satellite was blinking off, robbing us of our sedentary pleasures! Sometimes the blinking was so extreme that we couldn't even get through a 30-second commercial without as many as four or five blinks off. And we do love our commercials, so that was extremely annoying.

The theories abounded. Dad opined that there seemed to be a particular temperature range where there were more problems with the TV: above or below, things worked just fine. My brother's theory was much more entertaining (getting back to the squirrels). He painted a picture of a lonely squirrel sitting in the satellite dish, holding two ends of the TV cable and cursing down the hill. "You've killed my whole family! How do you like this TV reception, Old Man?!"

While that got us laughing through the blue screen times, it wasn't until my little sister (she's only 49, after all) found a loose connection and tightened it that we got back to watching such important works as Jerry Springer's "Baggage" on the tube.

Still can't keep myself from chuckling as I think about what the evil combat squirrel might do next to make Dad's life a living hell!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched one of those Stella Jays in California attack and steal a potato chip from a squirrel. I thought that they were fearless. Now I have this image of squirrel, Jay warfare going on in The Redwood Forest. That one with the surface to air gun looks guilty. It's a forest out there I guess.

David McCombs
(I need to find my Google password so I can post these things correctly.)