Monday, April 02, 2007


So, we made it over 15 months in our new house, in our new town, with no appreciable TV reception, and now we are caving. The only channel that comes in over here on the far edge of town overlooking the vast cornfields is NBC--and just barely, if you perform all sorts of frantic maneuvers with the rabbit-ears antenna. And that's just on our first floor; if you go upstairs to the family room, where we have a TV so nicely situated in front of my elliptical machine for those long-winter workouts, well, the antenna doesn't work at all, and nothing comes in. As much as I've felt quite good about watching far less TV in the past 15 months than I used to, and about the fact that it's much easier to keep one's children from watching TV if your TV is barely operable, well, it finally got to me the other night when all I wanted to do was sit down and watch an episode of "The Office" at the end of a tiring day, but, due to a rainstorm moving in from across the plain outside our windows, even the rabbit-ears couldn't pull in anything viewable. Our one measly channel, which we've gotten used to watching through the fuzz of barely-there reception, totally distorted and unwatchable because of a bank of fog and rain.

Sigh. We caved and ordered "reception cable" this week, people ($17 a month, no fancy extra channels, just the main broadcast ones like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS). I know, I know; I think it's a crime to pay for TV. We're trying to cut all extraneous expenses. I don't want to be a person who watches a lot of TV; I don't believe in kids watching much, if any, TV. Julia needs to run around, be active, play outside, and use her imagination, not sit motionless in front of a screen (and so, of course, she will still not be allowed to watch anything but the very occasional kids' TV show or DVD; in our house, TV is a privilege of being a grown-up). But, you know, I also feel like I deserve one little, simple pleasure in the evening once the babies are in bed and my workday is (sort of) over, and as much as I adore sitting down with a new issue of the New Yorker, well, sometimes a girl misses her "America's Next Top Model." Is that so wrong?

As long as we're on the subject of guilty pleasures, I have come to the realization that I am a better mom on caffeine. Isn't that ironic? I gave it up for the comfort and health of my infant, but people, whenever I do sneak in a serving or two of high-octane yumminess, I suddenly become substantially more patient, creative, energetic (obviously), and....nice. I'm serious here. It's like magic. Suck down a cuppa joe, and all of a sudden I don't mind reading Go, Dog, Go! ten times in a row, and, in fact, use different voices for the two dogs talking about the hat! I will actually willingly talk to a stuffed animal, and then answer myself back in a squeaky voice, as if the animal is having a conversation with me! I will respond to whiny, fussy demands to "spread out my Silky, Mama; no, not that way, no, not that way, no!" with impressive equanimity! Apparently, what this really means is that I'm a better mom when I'm--big surprise--LESS TIRED. But seriously, people, about how many drugs can a person actually say she's a better mom when under the influence? Ah, beloved caffeine. Where's my Diet Coke, anyway?

So, it's all about vices in our household these days. And it's Lent! Yikes. I just realized that. That can't be good. Pray for me.


Heidi said...

Well, fortunately for *you*, Easter is right around the corner!!

(I don't blame you one bit about the TV. I've never heard of "reception cable," but we got the most basic package just to get networks, too, but then we do--on rare occasion when we have time and aren't already bleary-eyed or just craving some personal reading time at the end of a day--enjoy Discovery a lot.)

Elise said...

Ummm ... you're kidding, right? Your vices are basic cable and the occasional caffeinated beverage? Woman, you don't even KNOW from vice! Only a nice Lutheran girl from the midwest would even *think* about feeling guilty for that stuff. I mean, geez, if that's cause for lenten worries, then I am well and truly hosed. Oh, well. Like I always say: heaven for the atmosphere, hell for the company. I'll save you a nice, warm spot by the fire. :-)

Shan said...

Well yeah, I'm pretty much kidding. I mean, I did feed Genevieve a steady diet of caffeine throughout her gestation without feeling very guilty about it (or I would have stopped doing it). As for the cable, the only thing I feel guilty about is spending money when our regular income doesn't cover our "regular" bills. But hey, if you're saving spots, I'm there. And yeah, I am a nice Lutheran girl from the midwest, I admit it. :)

Christopher Tassava said...

Oh, I think this list of "vices" leaves out quite a few, mostly of the chocolately variety.

And as the breadwinner around here, I have to also state for the record that we do cover our regular bills. *ahem*

Shan said...

Yes, now we do, with the addition of a second job! I'm just feeling bad for my hard-working husband who has to work 2 jobs in order to pay our basic bills! (You'll find me drowning my guilt in Cadbury Mini-Eggs while watching "Law and Order" on TV.)

Question said...

There is nothing wrong with brain candy as long as you are eating the real stuff right along with your Grey's Anatomy (or, in my case, Amazing Race).

We too have reception cable which we finally got after I yelled at John too many times for screwing up the reception (Every time he got close to the antenna, the TV would go crazy. We think he's radioactive).

Donna said...

TV should be a privledge of being an adult. My son is allowed to watch no more than 10 minutes of tv a night. Most nights, he doesn't even ask to watch tv - he'd rather play or read books. So he watches, on average, 15 minutes a WEEK. (yay, us!)

As for vices... I decided that while pregnant or nursing, I don't give anything up for Lent. After all, I've already given up so much unrelated to Lent (like caffeine and SLEEP). Heck, when I was pregnant with my son, I gave up all sweets and poked my finger 4 times a day (I had gestational diabetes). I figure God will understand (although I'm sure there are those who would disagree). I'll go back to giving things up when I've reclaimed by body as my own.

Jim said...

Its good that your association restricts permanent type things outside or your next "vice" would be a sauna out in the yard just off the patio! And I suppose there would be an enclosed walkway to it for use in the winter! Do enjoy the T-V. I couldn't belive you got by for so long when some people are spending thousands a year on HDTV and all around sound and big screens and the like. But not letting the kids watch it though is just plain mean! As for the coffee, they grow it to be drunk. (I just take a bigger heart pill each year). And as for the candy, its made for us to eat! And you do not count the calories in candy as a part of your daily calorie requirement if you are a calorie counter.