dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author


My husband’s in California for 2 weeks, in a training module for his new employer. The washer broke down, and after a maddening snafu with the delivery company, the new washer was scheduled to be delivered at a time I couldn’t be there — which also coincided with our bi-monthly house cleaning service. Luckily, my wonderful brother-in-law, Larry O’Donnell, offered to take care of the situation.

Larry is a retired federal agent, so I thought he was probably up for the job. Turns out, the washer was not nearly as big a problem as my husband’s complex home theater. Here’s his story:

Larry’s Adventure

It was easy to talk my 4 year old son Joe into the trip.  We were going to Gina and Gabbey’s house.   Once underway, I broke the news that Gina and Gabbey were at school.  Aunt D was at school.  Even Uncle Bobby was in a school of sorts.  Joe wanted to know if Sorcia would be at school.  I was pleased to report that Sorcia was between semesters.  I explained that our mission was to see to the delivery of a new washing machine.
 
Upon our arrival, things went well.  The key worked flawlessly and Sorcia did the yippee-dog-whirling-dervish-slurp-like-crazy greeting.  She settled down and things went from frantic to kinda boring.  So… I decided to engage Joe with the 100+ options of TV. 
 
Throughout my career I’ve had to make many critical decisions where life, death or serious injury were prizes for a poor choice.  Those occasions have now faded in contrast to my cavalier decision to use an appliance without supervision at Uncle Bobby and Aunt D’s house. 
 
I consider myself an electronic technician and I commercially ply my trade of bringing dead or sick electronic amplifiers back to life.  The only sticking point of my extensive technology knowledge is that it achieved its apex in 1962.  Yes, I am a vacuum tube, analog circuit guy. 
 
I picked up a remote control bearing the Panasonic logo, having already observed said logo on the TV.  I boldly pushed the red power button in the TV section of the remote.
 
The screen came alive immediately.  It indicated that it was in the game mode.  Then it shut down.  I repeated my sequence and was rewarded with the game screen again.  I knew that the key to this modern stuff was in the menu.  So I hit menu.  The TV went off.  I re-started the process and achieved the menu page.  The TV reverted to the game page. I pushed menu and that screen came up.  I scrolled to TV.  The TV shut off. 

I was now certain there must be some time-out feature to keep idiots from hanging out in the menu section.  I finally got the Dish TV menu and after a few more shut downs and wild variations in volume, Special Agent Oso was locked on. After wrestling with the volume, I finally turned to Joe and told him the TV was not working properly.  He proudly pointed out that he was working it fine with the remote he had…  Yes, everything I did, he had a corresponding move that checked my progress.
 
The cleaning service arrived.  I was still stinging from my humiliation by a 4 year old. The maids seemed to know I was recently humiliated.  They giggled a bit.  I realized I still had the Panasonic remote in my hand.  I could tell they knew.  They tittered about my faliure to have the proper remote.  I smiled and pretended I was just examining the remote for fresh batteries.  It was lame but they seemed to buy it.
 
So, vacuum cleaners were roaring and Agent Oso was screaming at the top of Uncle Bobby’s 128 Decibel audio system’s capacity.  I saw the TV telling me there was an incoming call.  I ran to the phone.  No circular dial, Western Electric, apparatus here.  I grabbed the phone.  I was awaiting the final approach of the washing machine delivery van.  I had to communicate with Delivery Guy, or he would put me to the end of the list or even put it off until next week.  I pushed the button that you push on my home telephone.  I got to select ring volume.  Delivery Guy was fast approaching voicemail.  With a mighty effort I grabbed my glasses and located the proper button.  I did steal a glance back at Joe to make sure he didn’t have another telephone. 
 
Somehow, the washing machine arrived and the maids left. I saw that the old washer was removed and the new one didn’t leak. 

I asked Joe to shut down the TV. He said for me to wait for the end of Agent Oso.  What choice did I have?  He had the more powerful remote.
 
I made it home and got right into a 1968 Fender Princeton Reverb amp.  I felt better after about an hour.