Early last fall, our eldest and very techy son, Vernon, called and announced that he and his beautiful wife, Stephanie, were going to be moving closer to their home roots.
It was music to my ears. Although we enjoyed staying with them in Iowa, we certainly would not miss the long drive.
“Since we’ll be visiting you quite often,” Vernon later informed us, “we’re going to need to make some changes at your country home. First off, we have to do something about the bed in my old bedroom and most importantly, we have to do something about that slow internet of yours.”
Apparently Vernon’s 15-year-old mattress was no longer up to his standards and he was not fond of watching that wheel spinning on the middle of the TV screen during his football games.
As I whistled out the theme song of the Jetsons, Vernon set up new routers and boosters and enough Google Minis to control the entire home as well as our antique shop with nothing more than a simple voice command.
It became quite addicting. After all, walking into a room and asking Google to play an episode of “Dateline” and having the TV turn on all by itself and air the requested series was a real hoot.
From anywhere on the premises, I could ask for a forecast, the daily news and get the answers to an algebraic equation without so much as lifting a finger.
Even my husband, Pat, the Fred Flintstone of the computer age, jumped on the bandwagon. He would walk into the family room and have Google turn on his sporting events and then settle into his easy chair and pick up his iPad to watch videos on YouTube of tractors getting stuck in the mud.
I never thought I’d see the day.
Then last Wednesday, all of a sudden and without warning, the Internet went kaput.
I was working in the back of our antique shop at the time and using the Wi-Fi on the cameras to let me know if any customers had pulled in. I was listening to YouTube radio on the Google Mini and researching an iron horsehead doorknocker on my iPad at the same time.
It wasn’t as if someone had locked me in a dark room and pulled the rug out from under me — but it certainly felt like it.
Suddenly I was without music, knowledge of my surroundings and worldwide information. I had to manually ring up sales, fall back on my own knowledge to price antiques and thankfully no one was around because I had to do my own singing for entertainment.
It wasn’t one of those brief internet outages either, no sir. It went on all afternoon and long into the evening.
“Google is not working,” Pat said at the end of his workday after he found me in the living room staring out of the window to pass the time. “I can’t get the TV to turn on or my tractor videos to play.”
“Oh, I’m well aware,” I responded.
“Well, can you fix it?” he asked as if I had superpowers that I had yet to reveal.
“Not unless you have an RCA dog that you can put up on the roof and have him hand crank something as he looks into a phonograph horn.”
We spent the evening watching TV with the antennae, turning off our own lights and much to our chagrin, some of us had to give up episodes of Zach Johnson, the Millennial Farmer, for an entire evening.
Thankfully, we were back up and running by the next morning and once again able to speak the house into existence with voice commands and turn off lights without flipping switches.
And it’s a good thing too. I’d hate it if Vernon and Steph had to suffer these kinds of circumstances the next time they came back to visit. They might have just packed up and moved back to Iowa.