Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tech Support

Until Monday evening, I had been feeling pretty smug about the weekend's ice storm. Once again, despite power outages across the city (and in our own neighborhood), our power stayed on. We had only a couple of blinks, and quite a few brownouts throughout the weekend as everyone else's power was worked on.

Monday morning I tried to watch the news while eating breakfast, and had trouble getting the news to come up. Our cable service routinely has trouble when it rains, so I was guessed that it was just flaky after the weekend storms. The station did eventually come up, so all seemed well.

After work, Charlotte requested, as usual, to watch Elmo (i.e. Sesame Street, recorded daily on our cable box/DVR). The new rule is that she has to use the restroom before watching any TV--partially to encourage her to actually potty, and partially to head off any accidents while engrossed in the tube. After some grumbling and pouting, she eventually decided that she did have to go, and mostly took herself. I cheered, and attempted to turn on her precious Elmo.

Receiver: On. Cable Box: On. TV: On. No Picture
Fix Receiver to display TV instead of DVD player. No picture.
Attempt toggling Receiver and Cable Box, assuming that one or the other is probably off. No picture.

(At this point it might help for me to say that the receiver, cable box, DVD, etc are in a wood cabinet with a childproof lock on it, so I can't actually *see* whether the various components are powered on or set to the correct settings while I'm usign the remote)

At this point, while Charlotte repeats "Elmo" and points to the TV over and over again, I finally walk up to the TV cabinet and open the door to figure out which piece of electronics is turned off. The TV, receiver, and cable box were all on, and set to the correct things.

We've blown 2 cable boxes in the past, and I begin to assume that one of the power surges has killed this one as well, so I offer up an episode of Veggie Tales on DVD as an alternative to Elmo. Charlotte chose her DVD, and I tried once again to get the thing up and running, but no go. Clearly the problem at this point is not the cable box...and I soon realize that even the menu button on the TV doesn't prompt a response.

Charlotte is standing next to me at this point, trying to help me solve this problem so that she can commence her entertainment. First, she points at the remote control in my hand and tells me "need batteries". Sorry, baby, the batteries are working just fine. Then she starts pointing to various buttons and telling me to push them. Again, thanks, but I've already tried that. For a 2-year old, that struck me as remarkably good at problem solving an electronics failure. We've had babysitters who couldn't figure out how to get our tv set up the right way, and here's a toddler in diapers pointing to some of the correct buttons (power, open dvd, etc), and who even knows about batteries in a remote. Scary.

Our TV is dead. It doesn't respond to any input (even the buttons on the box itself). I had to explain to Charlotte that it was broken (which she took really well), and allowed her to watch Veggie Tales on my laptop instead. BTW, she knows how to use a mouse and log herself into an XP computer upstairs to play a limited selection of child-friendly games. Again, Scary.

If you're experiencing any technical difficulties, we have a tech support staff for hire. Her hourly rate is very reasonable, but after configuring your home entertainment center or computer for you, you are required to play Elmo until she is satisfied with the quality of her work. Changing diapers is the responsibility of the customer, while she's on the clock.

No comments: