Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Next Time I'll Bring a Map

My husband is a gadget man.

I know, that's redundant. But sometimes I think he takes it beyond accepted limits. For example, yesterday I held up a pair of headphones that have languished on the bookshelves for several months and asked if these could be thrown away, as obviously they didn't work: he had another pair on his head. Let's just try them out, he says. What do you know?--they work. So why did he buy another pair? He has no clue. I told him he's turning into my father, who, when he couldn't find some tool he needed, just bought another one. My mother had one heck of a yard sale when he died.

But back to the gadgets. He doesn't just confine it to "his" area. He's bound and determined to gadget up my kitchen, also. There is a tomato slicer sitting on the Hoosier waiting to be assembled, after sitting in a box beside the Hoosier for several years. Seriously. And it's only opened because I pulled it out of its resting place and insisted he deal with it. That was 3 weeks ago.

In the bedroom is a box with some kind of storage containers for the kitchen that has been there a year. He opened it once, pulled the styrofoam out and looked at it, and put it all back together. Except the styrofoam, which I finally tossed.

In my cabinets are a pasta maker (never used), one of those handheld mixers you stick into a glass and make a milkshake or something (rarely used), an air popping popcorn popper (we have a microwave), and there's a food dehydrator in the garage, still in the box.

I really don't have that much storage space in the kitchen, so I try to dissuade him from buying more things to "make cooking a little easier." I don't like to cook. I cook because we have to eat. I have no creative genes in the cooking category. It doesn't make my life easier or my cooking better to have more gadgets. And when I mention getting rid of some of this stuff, he is offended. So now he says he is buying whatever-it-is for him, only he rarely uses whatever-it-is, and neither do I.

I married a television-shopping, gadget-loving pack rat.

His latest acquisition? A TomTom. He saw it on one of the shopping networks and mentioned several times how he'd like to have that. I'd thought of buying it for his Christmas, but one day, he just picked up the phone and ordered it himself. As his birthday was coming up, I chipped in and paid half.

He's had it a couple of weeks now, and been fooling with it some, but yesterday was his real birthday and he decided to combine a gas-acquisition trip with dinner at the Olive Garden down in Greenville, SC. (The gas obsession I'll save for another post. Suffice it to say he hunts for cheap gas like some men track deer.) I looked up the address and he supposedly programs it into the TomTom, then mounts it on the dashboard of my truck and off we go.

First The Thing tells me (in a very loud, no-nonsense male voice) to turn left out of my driveway. Yes, I have that, thank you.

Then it tells me to turn left out of the neighborhood. Yep, I know that, too. Now it commands me to turn right. Right is a yard. J-Man says it's just warning me that a right turn is coming up at the bottom of the hill. But that's not what It said. Loudly. J-Man said it needs to be loud so we can hear it over the motor. I only drive a baby truck, not an 18-wheeler.

For about 15 miles the thing is silent, which suits me fine. Actually, I begin to take a little more interest in it, and pick it up to look at it more closely. My vehicle is represented by a blue arrow along a tan strip that curves along ahead. Crossroads are white, and sometimes the name of the road is displayed. When it's time to turn, I get a green arrow showing me where. It also identifies overpasses. Well, that's kinda cool. I place it back on the dash.

Then we get to a small town between us and Greenville. The TomTom instructs me to bear right. J-Man says, no, keep straight. I stay on the main road.

A block or so later, the TomTom commands me to turn right in 100 yards. J-Man says no, we stay on the highway. Maybe it knows a shortcut, I suggest. No, stay on the highway, my husband instructs me.

A bit later the TomTom insists I turn right again. Because its voice is louder (for the moment), I obey. Three blocks down TomTom informs me we have reached our destination. J-Man informs me we have not.

I make a left turn to head back out of this town. J-Man says I should have pulled over, because you can't program these things while you're in a moving vehicle. I say it might have been a good idea if he'd mentioned that before I got onto a road with 3 vehicles behind me and nowhere to pull over.

It's getting a little frosty in the truck.

He reprograms the TomTom and we make it back to the highway (because I followed the signs while he reprogrammed.)

Sometime later, we reach Greenville. I follow the directions given to me by the Voice on my dashboard, and we "reach our destination" in the middle of an intersection.

This time, I pull over into a bank parking lot so the Thing can be reprogrammed yet again. After 3 minutes, I turn off the motor. J-Man says this is because it's not meant to be fooled with when driving. All I did was take it off the dashboard and look at The Thing. Well, you're not supposed to do that. I grit my teeth and try to remember it's his birthday.

The temperature in the truck drops another couple of degrees.

Back on the dashboard, the TomTom tells me to turn right out of the parking lot onto the main road. No s***, Sherlock. After a bit, I am instructed to turn left in 800 yards. Does anyone out there know 800 yards from 500 yards? Neither do I, and I tell J-Man I don't know when to turn because I can't see the green arrow anymore, since it's aimed towards the ceiling. He says you could see it before. That's before you picked it up and changed the angle while reprogramming, I say. He picks it up and changes the angle so I can see it again.

In a few minutes, driving along Pleasantburg Rd., the TomTom proudly announces we have reached our destination. Again. It's a Home Depot.

What address did you give it? I asked. 2209, J-Man replies, picking it up off the dashboard and looking at it again. Why does 3290 stick in my head? I ask. He shrugs.

Because that is the correct address.

I let him out in front of the door and circle the parking lot once til a handicapped spot is vacant, then join him in the waiting area. Guess what? I ask him. YOU picked the TomTom off the dashboard 3 times and it didn't mess it up!

His jaw clenches. I am SO glad we did this, he says.
Me, too, I reply.

Happy Birthday.

(We didn't stay irritated long and we enjoyed the dinner, just so you know. We also enjoyed the trip back. Probably because the TomTom's batteries had run down.)


Libby said...

*M-E-N* So far there has been no interest in one of those things around here . . . I am grateful. I prefer a good old map and maybe some Yahoo directions as a backup. When all else fails, ask a local. Yet for some reason that seems to be beyond the fellas. Oh well.

HarryJack's Mom said...

I *knew* there was something other than your beautiful work and words - I was born in Greenville, Simpsonville actually ;-) It's a small world, eh? Happy week!

Anonymous said...

Too funny. I'm horrible about getting lost. J thought about getting me one of those, but figured I am worse with gadgets, so he just plans for me to be 1/2 hour late because I got lost. Ugh.

MightyMom said...

"It's getting a little frosty in the truck."

"The temperature in the truck drops another couple of degrees."

I'm glad you're finding ways to beat the heat there in NC!! Wouldn't want ya succumbing to heat exhaustion.....cuz then you'd have to use the TomTom to find the nearest ER.


I laughed my butt off at this....

(only cuz it could have been me!!)

June Calender said...

Good reading -- fun post. I'm glad I discovered your blog. And thanks for visiting mine.

Gill - That British Woman said...

So I guess we are twins, with dh's who never listen!!!! It's funny how we posted on the exact same thing, isn't it.....

take care,

by the way what is the name of your Tom Tom? As ours "Daisy" would like to

Quilting Newbie said...

Oh my gosh, that was the funniest post I have read in a long time. Thank you for 3 laugh out loud moments and many smiles.

I have added your blog to my favourite's on my blog.