Tag Archives: machines

Are You a Parent Fighting the War on Electronics?

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funny-cartoons-electronicsElectronics, machines in general, and I do not always see eye to eye.  This was never more apparent than in my article about the onset of my war on electronics in the fight for control over my kids – I Am Woman (Ode to Chris the Caveman).

However, there was also the showdown with the nasty smoke alarm in Woman vs. Machine.  And don’t even get me started on my nemesis – the vacuum – as portrayed in The Day I Killed the Vaccum.

The thing is, I was recently lulled into a false sense of security when I found a way to make my big time enemy – electronics – into my unwitting ally.  Or at least, I thought I had found a way.  Today, on ParentSociety.com, I share my story of underestimation and slippery deception.

Are You a Parent Fighting the War on Electronics?

Here is something you need to know about the enemy!

Go Here! Quick!!

The Day I Killed the Vacuum

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I hate vacuums.  I can’t even express how much I dislike all vacuums. Vacuums have been a plague on my life (no drama at my house).    No matter how many vacuums I purchase, or how much money I pay for them, it is always the same story.  They don’t pick up what they should, like dirt and animal hair. But oh yes, they love to pick up what they shouldn’t, like the carpet corners and their own chords.   And speaking of the chord, is it my fault that my vacuum chord always ends up a mass of black electrical tape to fix the places where the vacuum has continually sucked up its own appendage and stripped it clean?  Shouldn’t a self-respecting vacuum be more discerning?  Eventually, my vacuums always end up spitting more dust than they pick up. And don’t even get me started on the new and improved “bagless” vacuum. Because changing a bag every once in a while was so much more inconvenient than having to manually dump the disgusting contents from the canister into the trash (as dust flies everywhere) on a regular basis!

Anyway, on the day in question, my current vacuum/bane-of-my-existence clearly crossed the line.  Now, it is only fair to point out this was not my first indiscretion where machines are concerned.  There was the time with the smoke alarm (Woman vs. Machine).  However, trust me, this time the machine really had it coming.

Last week, I was up to my neck in a heinous vacuum job involving the eradication of a summer’s worth of dead and live, scurrying spiders. It was near the end of the job when the vacuum chose to jump (ok, it might have fallen) off the step it was perched on, thus dislodging the nearly full “bagless vacuum” canister and spilling contents all over the floor.  In that instant, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the vacuum’s time had come.  And, ok, I will admit it…I was a tad peeved, and maybe a little pms, and possibly temporarily off my rocker.

Whatever the case,  the annihilation began as I kicked the offending machine…several times.  Lacking the desired results, I then proceeded to take the vacuum apart piece by piece and throw each piece violently out the back door onto the concrete driveway.  I swear I heard the sweet sound of cracking plastic and dislodging mechanisms.  The attack was only complete when the main vacuum unit was sent skittering across the driveway to its final resting place, lodged partially under a parked car.

Around this time, my sons, hearing the ensuing brawl, came to investigate.

Teen: “Uh, Mom, what are you doing?”

Me:  “Killing the vacuum.”

Preteen:  “Need any help with that?”

Me: “No thanks, I think I’ve got it covered.”

Then, I shed tears – not for the vacuum now lying scattered all over the driveway like the Scarecrow after the Flying Monkeys had their fun – but for the dusty, bug infested mess left in its wake that had to now be manually cleaned up and just out of good old frustration.  And that my friends, was the end of the vacuum, or so I thought.

For you see, sometime later that day, I looked outside to see Preteen collecting up all the scattered vacuum parts. And when next I looked out the window, there sat my vacuum on the back porch fully reassembled (and I am completely sure it was snickering at me).

I left it sitting on the back porch hoping it was reflecting on its bad behavior and fairly certain of its demise as a result of the onslaught.  However, the time came when pet hair in the house began to clump and blow in front of me like tumbleweeds in the Nevada desert.  Dreading the thought of facing yet another new vacuum purchase, to the porch I went to drag the vacuum back in the house, hoping it could, albeit inadequately, still to do its job.

That afternoon, when Preteen came home from school…

Me:  “By the way, I tried using the vacuum today and, guess what? It worked!”

Preteen:  “Really?  That is amazing!”

Me: “No Preteen, actually, you are amazing.”

Preteen smiled and then we both laughed.

As parents, it is our job to pick up our kids when they are down and put things back together for them.

But sometimes, it works the other way, too.

Woman vs. Machine

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As promised in my last post, New Years Non-Resolutions, here is my full confession…

It was a normal afternoon.  My sons and I were in the kitchen.  I was making toast. When all of a sudden, for no reason at all (ok, I may have burned the toast), the smoke alarm- where it had been strategically placed on a cabinet directly above the toaster waiting year after year to be hung from the ceiling – began to go off.

Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep.

I frantically waved the smoke out of the air and removed the offending item from the toaster (fine, I did burn the toast, happy?) so as to relieve the smoke alarm from duty.

But still – Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep.

I climbed up on the counter and brought the alarm down to show it that all was well. Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep.

I pushed its button in assurance.  Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep.

I begged, pleaded, demanded it stop.  Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep.

I threatened. I threatened it with a short trip and a quick end; as in –“Stop or I will throw you against the wall”.  You can’t say it wasn’t duly notified. Surely it could hear the crazed frustration in my warning.

And still – Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep, Bleeeeep.

So in the interest of follow through, you know good parenting and all that, I chucked it as hard as I could at the nearest kitchen wall. It crashed against that wall – pieces of plastic flying, battery hanging out like entrails, cover dislodging as it landed with a thud on the floor.

Finally…it was quiet.  We all three stood frozen in the silence; me, reveling in the peace; the boys, awestruck at my conviction (or… fearing for the potential loss of a few more cards from my deck). 10 seconds…20 seconds…30 seconds…

Then it happened.  Out of the silence in a ‘man down but not out’ kind of way, labored and painful, slurring like the moo of a drunken cow (if cows could, you know, belly up) came the smoke alarm’s final words –

Bluuurrrp, Bluuurrrp, Bluuurrrp, Bluuurrrp – As it continued, despite all aggressions, to attempt to do its job.

We stood. We stared.  Our jaws dropped open.  And then, we laughed hysterically until our bellies hurt.

In the end, it was decided the smoke alarm had earned retirement with full benefits (but no severance pay), I should never make toast without the aid of Mother’s Little Helper (the prescription kind) and Dad/Husband should be called immediately the next time a machine in our house malfunctioned (and even with this assurance, my machines have never since treated me the same…)

What is the point to this twisted machine abuse story?

Simply this- It is moments like this that I live for. The kind that get funnier with each retelling.  The kind that teeter on the edge of crazy.  The kind my kids will remember. The kind where I get to laugh with them.

The kind that teaches them no matter how bad, frustrating or crazy things are, if you can laugh, life is good.