Monday, October 29, 2012

A Giant mistake

I did a bad thing. It was during the baseball playoff games last week. I’m not into professional sports, but even I noticed all the sports fans going gaga when the Giants and the Cardinals were duking it out for a spot in the World Series.
My husband, the Giants fan, was definitely interested.
He started taping day after day of baseball games on our TV. Hours of pitching and hitting were recorded on various channels at various times.
Meanwhile, my new favorite shows like “Revolution” and “Call the Midwife” were getting pushed to the bottom of the recordings list, sandwiched between multiple innings of Major League Baseball and a 12-hour “Lost” marathon the girls taped.
There was too much willy-nilly recording going on, I said to myself. The list must be culled, I decided.
I started hitting the delete button on the remote.
Goodbye “Adventure Time,” so long “Survivor” and sayonara “American Pickers.” Delete, delete, delete.
Clearing out the recordings list felt good. It was like cleaning out a virtual closet. Look at all the hours of recording space I’m making room for, I thought. Isn’t efficiency a wonderful thing?
Can we delete this old baseball game? I asked my husband. It’s been on the list forever.
No! he said. That’s Matt Cain’s perfect game.
What about this other baseball game?
Definitely not, he said. That’s the 2011 World Championship ring ceremony. I was at that game, he said.
I am guilty of hoarding a few shows myself. I may or may not have recorded the entire British royal wedding of 2011, the day-long river boat procession from the Queen’s jubilee earlier this year and
60 minutes of ooohing and ahhhhing over the crown jewels.
A few days later, I went on another deleting binge, zapping episodes of “Switched at Birth,” “The Amazing World of Gumball” and some “X Factor.”
I scrolled down the list looking for more easy pickings.
“Which of our girls taped a ‘Cheers’ episode at 4 p.m. today?” I wondered. Sheesh, these kids are supposed to be doing homework, not watching ’80s sitcoms. I really should have a talk with them about this.
Delete.
As soon as I hit the button, I had a bad feeling. Something about baseball came to mind. Could I ... did I ... possibly … just delete part of a Giants playoff game?
That “bad feeling” feeling was getting worse.
I could be in big trouble here. Should I confess now? Maybe no one would notice, I thought.
Yeah right.
About an hour later, my husband yelled out, “Who deleted the baseball game?”
I was busted.
“Um, was that the ‘Cheers’ episode?” I called out, while hiding upstairs.
“Yes!” he said sternly. “You just deleted the last two innings of th

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chill out.

Over the past few months, I had heard the sounds of death in our home, and they were coming from our kitchen.
About every four hours or so, it sounded something like this: “KaaaaaLUNKALUNKALUNKA…kalunk.”
All eyes were drawn to the white elephant in the room — our 17-year-old refrigerator. When your fridge starts making a choking noise, you know it’s bad.
But like a patient who doesn’t want to admit she’s got a terminal disease, I pretended not to hear them. Maybe the noise would go away, I thought.
I should have been careful about what I wished for. The noise stopped all right. And so did most of the cold air in the fridge.
It was the soft ice cream that got my attention. No one expects to open a freezer and find soupy mint chocolate chip.
This is not a good sign, I said to my husband. Last year, he managed to bring our teenage stove back to life. Would a similar rescue be possible?
He shook his head.
I already looked it up, he said. A new motor would cost about $500. No one wants to invest $500 in an appliance approaching its third decade.
I took a look at our rapidly defrosting chicken, pizzas and Eggo waffles. I knew where this was going.
We needed a new fridge and we needed it now. We headed over to Home Depot.
I guess it’s no surprise that fridges have gone high-tech. It turns out that today’s “ice box,” as my grandma called it, has multiple “chill” zones, ice makers, water filtration systems and computer panels.
And LED lighting. LED lights are big, said the refrigerator sales guy. With a regular fridge, the light is located in the back, causing “shadows” to fall across the food. Not with a LED-lit fridge, he said.
Big deal, I thought. Who ever worried about shadows on the food in your fridge?
And then I opened the door of LED-lit fridge. Cool, blueish light flooded the interior. It was like watching a UFO from “Close Encounters” landing. There were LED lights on the side. LED lights on the top. LED lights in the back. The LED lighting would make our food look like it belonged in a “Bon App├ętit” photo shoot. It would probably make it taste better, too.
In an attempt to get over my newfound LED light obsession, I concentrated on cubic feet. With three teenagers, maximum fridge and freezer room is a must. We have been known to return from a Costco trip with 10-pound bags of frozen chicken and fish, sacks of French fries and cases of Lean Cuisines. An economy-sized appliance was definitely out of the question. We needed the big daddy of refrigerators.
Unfortunately, our nonexistent new fridge savings account wouldn’t cover the extra cost for both LED lights and a jumbo-sized freezer bin.
We’ve had our new refrigerator for about a week now. Sure, we don’t have LED lights, but we have solid ice cream.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Get up and go


I married a car lover. Not only does he love classic American-made cars, he comes from a family that owned an auto parts store, the inventory of which was always a complete mystery to me.
I’m definitely missing the “I love cars” gene. To me, a car is just a really expensive appliance on wheels that inhales gas at $4 a gallon. An older car is always one turn of a key away from not running, after which it ends up occupying valuable real estate in your driveway or garage for months. Or years.
If you ask me, any car that’s not being used on a daily basis is no better than a giant hunk of steel that might be better off recycled.
Car enthusiasts are probably shuddering in horror at reading this. Blasphemy! A classic car is a jewel that must be preserved and cherished, they’ll say.
Give me a nice Honda or Toyota, I say. Something with airbags and power steering. And Sirius radio.
Car guys think nothing of buying and selling cars like they’re swapping baseball cards. They see an old car and can’t wait to get elbow deep in grease.
I see an old car, and I think DMV paperwork and smog fees. I know, I have no imagination.
For a long time, we had typical “mom and dad” kind of cars — a minivan and a truck. Then an older Corvette came to live in our garage. She’s cute enough, but hardly practical. You can’t schlep three girls to volleyball practice, 4-H meetings and Girl Scouts in a two-seat convertible.
A few years ago, my husband and father-in-law became infatuated with a 1960s Mustang. They bought it as a “project” car, and soon enough, I was keeping track of four cars in the family. Four registrations, four insurances, four gas tanks to fill. Next, our oldest daughter inherited Grandma’s old Toyota, and then there were five.
Lately, I have been bugging my husband to sell the Mustang. I had to tread carefully. Asking any Huffman to sell any car is a delicate operation. You don’t just come out and say it. You have to work up slowly to the idea. Otherwise, the Huffman will go “Punxsutawney Phil” on you. If he sees you with a “For Sale” sign anywhere near one of his cars, he’ll go underground and it will be a whole year before you can talk to him about it again.
However, it turns out that a friend of a friend of a friend also likes Mustangs, and the two men started talking about buying the car.
After one phone call, my husband brought me his laptop to show me a photo. Look at this 1983 Mustang convertible the guy owns, he said. It has only 64,000 miles on it. We can trade our Mustang for some cash and this Mustang, he said.
Wait, I said. I thought the idea was to get rid of the Mustang.
Yeah, he said. But this is a really good deal, he said, staring at the picture of the car on the monitor.
I knew better than to say anything.
Maybe the new Mustang will have four seats.