Many years ago, the latest new electronic device hit the market, a VCR. For those of you who are too young to remember, that’s a videocassette recorder. Stores popped up everywhere with tapes of all kinds of movies you could watch at home through your own T and V.

Well, my Father wasn’t well so I thought, “Great, I’ll give Mama and Daddy their very own VCR for Christmas and then they can watch all the old movies in their own home.” Great intention, bad idea. They never figured out how to work the thing. A power surge might cause the clock to blink continuously so they couldn’t sleep, and so on. I was summoned at many an inconvenient time to fix the thing until I could see it was causing so much consternation that I finally just took the blame thing out.

Well, guess what? The wheel of fortune has come full circle, Lane and I can’t work our computers. The TV system has four controllers and unless I’m home Lane can’t watch TV. She’s thoughtful enough not to call me when I’m on a trip up the river unless it’s an emergency. Well, not being able to turn the TV on qualifies as an emergency.

Our kids get to where they won’t answer the phone, we call so many times with problems concerning the worldwide web. We have to leave a voice mail to let them know it’s about another matter. Lane and I even considered adopting a little Chinese girl and raising her so she could fix everything.

The most aggravating problem we had was when we moved into out new home built in 1938 with brick walls outside and plaster (concrete like) interior walls. The output from the router for the Wi-Fi was not strong enough to watch anything streaming on our Apple TV that our kids insisted we buy. So, I was told we needed a booster which isn’t cheap. Off to Best Buy I went and after talking to several very nice geeks, each one offering a different solution, I left more confused than ever.

I got so frustrated with this modern world I wished I could do just like Captain Kirk and say, “Beam me up Scotty” and I would be out of here. Well, I don’t sleep as well as I used to so one night late I was searching the internet on YouTube, “How to boost a Wi-Fi signal” when, lo and behold, up popped the simplest solution. Here’s what you do. Take a beer can (I only had a ginger ale can) cut out the bottom, then cut around the top except for about an inch behind the pop top hole. Cut the side opposite the hole long ways and stick it on the Wi-Fi antenna, spread it open and you have a shield that will reflect the signal into an adjoining room. Voila!! We’re streaming, we’re streaming!

One problem is it looks like one of those SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) listening devices. I keep expecting the space aliens to contact me. Am I in danger of getting beamed up or abducted? Any way it sure feels good for an old man to figure how to beat the system on his own.

My only fear now is that Lane will learn how to operate the TV and leave me!

By the way. Lane’s brother, Jack, a great American and an artist, pasted away a few years ago. We miss him. Anyway, he left Lane his 1996 Volvo station wagon with 30,000 miles, and a cassette tape player, and a clock you just push in the knob to change from DST. You don’t even have to get out the manual and spend 30 minutes trying to figure the thing out. Lane is the most conservative lady I have ever known and never throws anything away so we have lots of cassette tapes. Of course, all of the songs are pretty old but the kids have never heard them so they think they are new songs.


Things that go bump in the night


Well one night we’re lying in bed and we hear this thing running in the attic and it didn’t sound little either. So, Lane says “Gill, go up in the attic and see what that thing is.” I replied, “You go up in the attic and see what that thing is. I ain’t going up in no attic when there is haints up there.” So, what are you going to do, call Ghostbusters? No call Lois Swoboda, proprietor of Aloha Bugs Pest Control with eco-friendly solutions. She arrived immediately and gave me a jar of coyote urine which I took up in the attic and said hello and goodbye to whatever haint that was.


Your friend,

Capt. Gill