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Shell Shocked: Connecting the Digital TV adapter to the refrigerator

June 10, 2011
Art Stevens
The directions looked easy enough. They said to plug the cable connector into the "in" plug on the TV set which then gets plugged into the back of the digital cable adapter which in turn gets plugged into the cable outlet which in turn gets plugged into the back of the TV set. This wire goes here and that cable goes there and that plug goes that way.

What the cable company didn’t count on is I have three left hands. I am so mechanically deprived that I require technical assistance from some phone service in India to charge the battery on my electric shaver. Plus, a follow-up call to change the rotating blades once a year.

I almost always need assistance when devices go haywire. I have no natural talent to fix them myself. Buzz Murphy is always available if something goes wrong in my Sanibel home. If I hear beeping somewhere or the water pressure gets dangerously low; or the hot water isn’t hot enough; or there’s a small leak from one of the air conditioning vents; or the water filter needs changing – it’s Buzz to the rescue.

But for some masochistic reason I decided to try to install the digital adapter myself. If it weren’t for my wife, I’d be completely lost around the house. She’s incredible at assembling anything that comes out of a carton. You name it – a chair, table, cabinet, --she can assemble it. She’s got the gift. Sometimes I think she can assemble a Boeing 747 if they’d just let her. But my wife and I draw the line when it comes to turning on the air conditioning system, the DVD player, the clock radio and the sprinkler system. She’s never bothered to learn how to set and turn on systems. So our arrangement is that she assembles – I turn things on. She also replaces the batteries in the smoke detector devices. That’s the story of our marriage.

But recently I volunteered to attach a digital adapter device to the one TV set that wasn’t serviced through a cable box. My wife was astonished that I volunteered to do this because she assumed I would be calling India for technical assistance.

I had assumed that the cable company would send a technician to attach it. Little did I know that the cable company would simply send the device with all the cables and wires in the mail with instructions on how to assemble them. My wife normally assembles things, but she draws a line in the sand when it comes to TV sets and cables boxes.

When the instructions made it clear that even a child could assemble this simple device in five minutes, I decided to give it a try. Obviously, the cable company’s instructions weren’t meant for guys like me with three left hands and 15 thumbs. Five minutes? It took me four days just to work up some courage to give it a shot.

So there I sat reading the instructions and getting my equipment lined up: the digital transport adapter, a 3-foot coaxial cable, a power cord, a remote control signal receiver, adhesive fasteners and a new remote control.

I tried to discourage my wife from watching and told her to go water the flowers. Not a chance. She wanted to be in the audience to watch a klutz at work. I guess I was a bit nervous with her watching me and almost strangled myself with the coaxial cable. This got a chuckle out of my wife. She would now have one new anecdote about my manual dexterity to share with our friends.

So I huffed and I puffed and began plugging wires and cables into what I thought were the appropriate outlets. When I thought I was done I tried turning the TV set on. Nothing except a stifled giggle from my wife. I invited her once again to water the flowers. Back to the drawing board.

I restudied the instructions and realized that one of the cables should have been connected to the "in" plug and not the TV plug and went at it again. I clicked on the TV set again assuming that all was well. Nothing. My wife cleared her throat.

"Can I suggest something," she asked.

"Dear, I’ve almost got it. What is it," I responded haughtily.

She suggested that I connect the power cord from the digital device into the electrical outlet. I did so and when I turned on the TV set again I got a fine looking picture. I was feeling proud of myself when my wife told me that I had removed the refrigerator power cord from the outlet and plugged in the TV.

I rebooted the fridge and found a free outlet for the TV. My wife broke into sarcastic applause and told me that she was very proud of me. I actually did it all by myself – with one final suggestion on her part, of course – without having had to call India for technical assistance.

We now get all the TV channels that we couldn’t get when the universal TV system went from analog to digital. So I’m on a roll and am now confident that I can set the alarm button on my travel alarm clock without any assistance whatsoever.



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