Long time readers may know that we’re not rich… but we’re not poor either.
Comfortably middle class, the American dream!
- 2.7 cats (Shadow needs his teeth worked on… $700 for a tooth extraction because of kitty gingivitis?! Woah!)
- .9 kids (Alex is kinda skinny)
- 2.8 adults (I am a BIG bear butt, after all)
We also have a cheap car and a minivan. I someday aspire to being a soccer dad. I can hope.
I even have a lawn to mow, which I can then stand in to chase kids out of. It’s pretty cool.
The budget is a nightmare, but we are very blessed, and I am grateful every damn day of the summer when I can turn that air conditioning on, sit down in a chilly basement in front of WoW, and remember two things; Columbian jungle and desert heat.
And while I can’t help think of those Marines that are right now suffering in those extreme conditions… I still send a little heart felt “Thank you” up to heaven. And turn the thermostat down.
And then go back and turn it down again since Cassie turns it right back up.
But there is one area upon which we hate spending money; cable television.
Oh lord, do we hate giving our local cable company money.
We have cable TV. And we get our cable internet from them too. And oh, do we complain about the cost.
Don’t get me wrong, I dearly love our internet speed and reliability.
So we pay it anyway.
We keep looking for ways to get the few channels we actually USE, plus internet, for under, say… $100.
Stop laughing! We can dream, dang it!
A few months ago, we went so far as to try to drop cable TV for satellite, at least as far as TV was concerned.
Why did I want it so badly?
Well, for what we were paying now, we could get Satellite HD… plus a digital video recorder.
As a man that has multiple VCRs in differnt rooms because some shows we watch are scheduled for competing time slots, a DVR sounded great.
Well, the Satellite folks took our money, but when they came out… they didn’t like the fact we had a tree in our backyard. In the suburbs. Well, yeah. We live in the suburbs. There’s a tree in the yard. What, you want I should cut it down?
Oh, I could install a cemented steel pole in the middle of my front yard that would extend 50′ up to clear the tree?
But… then I’d have a 50′ steel pole in my front yard.
Hmmmm…. “can I put a flag on it?”
“No? Screw that!”
Amusingly enough, Satellite dishes don’t receive through a tree… go figure.
So, dreams of DVR went poof.
Until Cassie said, that for a teensy weensy bit more, we could get a DVR though our cable provider. And also HD.
And by now, I had so set my hopes on a DVR, that I jumped at it.
Remember, we started looking for ways to save money. In the end, I made us upgrade our cable to an HD DVR.
Thus, reinforcing the concept that I’m an idiot, and cannot be trusted with money.
So we got an HD DVR. And life went on as normal.
Now, I can’t live without it.
It’s not just that I can set it to record Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations when it’s on. Or Top Chef.
Or that I can tell it to record shows such as Fringe or Sarah Conner Chronicles, or One Tree Hill or 90210 or Army Wives for Cassie (and she has a well organized, extensive list, you should ask her about her fall schedule spreadsheet).
No, the true joy of that DVR is that I can hunt down an old TV show that I loved, that vanished from the airwaves… and tell it to record that show whenever it is broadcast again, if it is ever broadcast again, even if the times change, or the days change, or it has a marathon all day long. And to not double up on shows, so it only records a single episode once. No duplicates.
It will patiently sit and wait, for months if necessary… but if that show pops up, it grabs it. There is no “oh shoot, I missed it”.
Oh glorious day, oh happy day, oh joyful day.
Junkyard Wars is on, occasionally, on the Science Channel… and every single time that it pops up, I grab it!
I must have 10 episides waiting for me, right now, as we speak.
I measure them out carefully, just one a day. The desire to consume vast quantities is strong, but I shall prevail.
Tonight, oh happiness, my favorite Junkyard Wars team was on, the true Junkyard Wars (or Scrapheap Challenge, as it is called in the UK) team, Robert Llewellyn and Lisa Rogers.
I heart Robert Llewellyn.
Hell, I heart the Welsh, those bloody crazy red dragons, but I especially heart Robert Llewellyn.
From what I’ve heard, Robert is leaving the show next season. Since they don’t show the darn thing’s new seasons here in the States, that just means that eventual reruns that might someday make it will be short my favorite Red Dwarf.
Seriously, few shows have ever given me the joy that watching the UK Scrapheap Challenge/Junkyard Wars episodes do.
Tonight, during dinner, Alex and I watched an episode filmed in 2003, as two teams of people that remarkably enough looked like real people and not extras from a Hollywood soundstage took the field, to design and build from scratch massive spear lauching machines to throw a spear to nail a distant target.
One team made a crossbow of reasonable proportions, using a steel I-beam for a center rail, and a mass of plywood sheets layered a foot think for the draw, and a winch to pull. The other tried a fancy design that I thought was very exciting in concept, using a quarter wheel and compression springs, but was too poorly executed to do very well before it fell apart.
The crossbow launched it’s second missile in a deadly flat arc that not only struck the target but penetrated and blasted clear through to carry on a good, long range. Awesome!
On the crossbow teams’ third try, they overcranked and the plywood draw shattered.
And of course, I was backseat judging the run, wondering aloud while they were building, ”Why are you using plywood? There are trucks all over the damn place, go get a pair of leafsprings, damn it! What’s with the rope, go get some steel cable! Grab a winch! Arghhh!!!”
Now Alex is walking around, coming up saying “Look! I have a welder!”
Proud moment a week or so ago, we watched an episode about building catapults, and he designed and made one out of legos that worked. Ah, I am so proud. “Daddy, look at my catapult!”
God I love that show. You bring joy back to watching TV.
Thank you, TiVo. Thank you.