Tuesday, March 03, 2009


So our VCR broke and our local electronics repair place wanted $50 dollars just to diagnose the problem.

"Well," Mike said, "I took it apart and I can see what the problem is. There's a gear that doesn't turn."

"Right," said the repair guy, smugly. "Leave the diagnosing to us."

Like they've been sitting around just hoping for a juicy VCR mystery to sink their teeth into. I can picture Jerry Orbach saying that at the end of a Law & Order scene.
In the electronics repair system, the electronics are represented by two separate and unequal groups. The stupid people who own the electronics, and the genius super-repairmen who know everything and aren't afraid to charge accordingly. These are their stories.

Dunk dunk!

For $50 we could buy a new VCR, so we decided to pass.

Anyhow, I was telling my co-worker this story and she said that we were welcome to her old VCR, which has been sitting in her basement, unused. Thank goodness, because we were getting tired of this conversation:

16-Year-Old Sales Clerk: Hello, thank you for calling _______.

Mike: Hi. Do you sell VCRs?

16-Year-Old Sales Clerk: Are you looking for a DVD player, sir?

(I imagine this kid feels the same way I feel when someone comes into my library and wants to know where the card catalog is)

Mike: No, I have a DVD player. I'm looking for a VCR.

16-Year-Old Sales Clerk: Uh.... you definitely don't want a DVD player?

Mike: Correct. I do not want a DVD player; I want a VCR.

16-Year-Old Sales Clerk: It's probably better to just use your DVD player, since you can't get movies on VHS anymore.

Mike: Right. I just need the VCR to record stuff.

16-Year-Old Sales Clerk: To record...?

Mike: Like, we don't have TiVo.

16-Year-Old Sales Clerk: That's horrible, dude.

Mike: So do you have any VCRs?

16-Year-Old Sales Clerk: Dude, I don't even know if they still make those! I'll have to check.

Also, the other day we asked Mike's mom to keep an eye out for some kind of wicker storage box for Lion's toys. His nursery is very small and already filled to capacity with a crib, dresser, and rocking chair, so toy storage will have to be located elsewhere in the house. (the bedrooms in most of our neighborhood's houses are tiny. Many people have installed lofts for their older kids so they can put a desk or dresser underneath. Just like college! Ah, reminds me of the tiny, ancient dorm room I shared with my friend when we were sophomores. She had a loft, while my bed was up on cinder blocks piled so high, I practically had to pole vault into bed. But there was a working radiator in the room, and it was very cozy).

Anyhow, I thought that a toy box made of wicker could go anywhere in the house and just look like a piece of furniture. Since Mike's mom is a thrift store maven, I asked her to keep an eye out for something that might work. She's already found several items for Lion at bargain basement prices, like a brand-new snow suit for two dollars.

The next day, she sent us an email saying that she had ordered a new wicker toy box online and that it should be arriving at our house within the week.

Wasn't that nice? Still, I feel like we have to be careful about what we say around her, so as not to abuse her generosity. It feels weird, and wrong, somehow, to accept gifts when it's not someone's birthday or a major holiday. I know a toy box is a relatively small thing, but still, it cost around $100 plus shipping, and we wouldn't have spent that much if we'd done the buying.

Is it wrong to accept pricier gifts from parents? Or is it just me?

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Blogger BabelBabe said...

no, it was very nice of her. accept graciously.

I am currently scrabbling in my brain through all my stuff to see if there's anything else I can send you : )) hmmmm....but we use our VCR too.

10:47 AM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

i have a perfectly nice but teeny toaster that turned breakfast at our house into an exercise on both delayed gratification and frustration. want that? :)
we had to buy a 4-slicer...

am i being too mean? : )

10:49 AM  
Blogger His suzy said...

I'd say that if you asked her to keep an eye out, and she decided to buy it new and have it shipped to you, then that was her choice, and you can accept it. :)

Our VCR is a little iffy sometimes, and I'm worried about what happens when it dies. We don't have TiVo or anything like it, and I still have a lot of movies on VHS. I hate the idea of having to buy them again on DVD!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Babel- you could probably use a 6-slicer. Check it: http://www.dealtime.co.uk/xPF-Rowlett-8ATW-100

Suzy- check Craigslist, Freeycycle.org, and eBay... I bet you could find one there. 'Course, Craigslist and Freecycle are the best because presumably you're buying locally and there's no shipping cost!

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Frema said...

I have the same "problem" with Luke's parents. We mentioned wanting to upgrade our phone to one that has a second base, and suddenly it turned into a "Welcome Baby Brother" present from them to us. And when Luke asked his dad to come with him to Target while he picked up a swing for Nathan, his dad insisted on buying it, even though they purchased his crib and mattress. They are very generous people, and I'm very appreciative, but the phone and the swing seemed wrong to accept, since they already do so much for us. But in these situations, what can you do? Insult them and not accept? All we can do is pay it forward to others who actually need it.

For Kara's (and now Nathan's) board books and toys, we have cloth bins scattered all over the house--two in her room, one in Nathan's room, two in our loft, and four in our living room. It makes clean up a breeze, having so many strategically placed containers anywhere she might be playing. Plus, I love the colors!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

I see you are reading Heart and Soul :)

I want her to come out with a new one! But I must wait...

Re the present - I always just accept. I figure they want to give, and even if you say, "Oh, you didn't have to," they'll just say, "I know," and they're not going to return it or stop giving you gifts, so...

7:58 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Then again, they don't buy him anything that costs $100. But still, I would just accept it...I think the same principles apply.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I mentioned that I felt weird about it and she said, "Oh! It's... an Easter present!"

Right. :)

9:06 AM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

ohmigod, it's TOASTER PORN!
everyone could have their waffles AT ONCE.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

sorry, make that *8*-slicer. WITH CRUMB TRAY.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Parents like to do that kind of thing. We don't need them as much when we are adults so I think it helps them feel more "parently". I doubt that is a word. LOL

2:38 PM  

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