Ten days prior to Turkey Day here in the black hole just outside Harmony Grove, our TV died.
My sweet Sven called the satellite company.
"A new receiver will be here in one to three days," he said.
"One to three days?"
"Maybe the TV will come on by itself," he said. "Like it did yesterday."
Sven had turned it on several hundred times, first thing in the morning, the day before. And then I did the same.
But nothing happened.
About three hours later a picture appeared, and then a blip and then a picture again and then another blip, and then, voila, it was on.
And life continued.
But that was the day before.
This day felt different.
It was already five o'clock and dark.
The fire crackled in the wood stove making us aware of the silence.
I walked into the dining room and switched on lights.
From there I went to the kitchen, stirred the sauce in the pan and poured myself a glass of wine.
"This is going to be a really long night."
Sven and I sat there staring at the flames.
Were we going to have to spend an entire evening engaged in conversation?
This was unheard of.
That was when we came up with a plan.
All we had to do was bring the TV from the spare room out and hook the thing up.
We rolled the entertainment center, now dresser, that my dad had built for their living room once upon a time, into ours.
I was filled with joy.
"Thank you, Dad, for putting wheels on this," I thought. "You always were the best."
The TV however was on a shelf that Sven had made above the dresser.
We had spent two years sleeping in that room. After year one, we grew tired of the kinks in our necks trying to see the TV sitting on the dresser. And it appeared that our now dearly departed Hunter Bunter, retired king of the jungle, world's loudest barker, was a dog who was not planning on giving up on life anytime soon, at the time, just because stairs were out of the question. As long as standing up was still doable with a little help from yours truly.
Apparently, Sven had not planned on ever replacing this particular television because he had to round up a drill in order to remove a board from his shelf, in order to retrieve the cords coming out of the back of the tv and down to the outlet.
But it must have also been his keen foresight that made him install an extra one hundred feet of cable in that room.
Setting up any kind of electronics is not for us. It is as big of a test of our marriage as building a house, raising three kids or putting lights on a Christmas Tree.
But we have lived through many years of many challenges, and we know that in times such as these, all we need is a little help from our friends. The friends Ringo sang about.
After some cursing and a bump on my noggin we had that mother all set to go.
Sven held the remote in his hand and pushed the power button.
A blue light appeared on the receiver.
"Yay!" I cheered.
And then there was a picture on the screen.
"We did it!"
But the chord to the outlet just would not do. It was too short, and someone was going to get hurt if they had to use the bathroom.
I dug up a longer one.
"Now it's not coming on," said Sven.
I plugged it into the lower outlet.
"Nothing," he said.
"But it was just working."
We tried everything possible.
And still, nothing.
We sat down next to each other and stared at two black and silent screens sitting side by side in our living room.
The fire crackled very loudly.
I went to the kitchen to drop pasta into bubbling water.
That is when I heard the first tiny blip.
Our dead TV, the TV with a new receiver enroute had had a little flash on the screen and then it sounded a half of a blip. The blip sound it makes when it is announcing that it is planning to come on.
Sven and I sat there, an anxious audience, waiting for more blips and flashes coming from a TV giving itself mouth to mouth.
"Isn't this fun?"
"It depends how long this lasts," he said.
We waited for a miracle.
Twenty minutes into quick flashes and short blips, there was a sharp sound that we deducted was part of a human word.
"Here we go," said Sven.
There were many more flashes and blips and then back to black.
And then it stayed on long enough for a woman to spit out three words.
Then it crashed.
There were more short flashes and blips.
Then some longer ones.
And then, a complete sentence about a car wreck.
"Do you suppose this TV is powering on and off like this due to the six hundred times you pushed the buttons this morning and then the six hundred more times I pushed them?" I said.
Close to seven pm that TV was working like nothing had ever been wrong with it and it seemed surprised to see another TV on a rolling dresser sitting next to it.
Sven started going through the guide to see what was available here in the black hole.
"Nothing," he said.
I think that is why he decided to mess around with the other TV.
"Maybe it's the chord," I said.
"I don't think so," he said. "It worked when we tried the light."
I found another one, plugged it in and, voila, suddenly we were sitting in a crowded sports bar with TVs blasting all over the place.
But there was nothing to watch.
"It has been five days and I do not see a new receiver!" I hollered.
The TV from our spare room was still in our living room. The living room TV had not been resuscitated since the night we had both working side by side with nothing to watch.
Nobody needs a dresser parked in a living room that will soon be filled with up to thirty guests.
Sven was back on the phone.
"There was a glitch," he told. "They are sending another one on a rush."
Tuesday, I was running a mashed potato factory in my kitchen when Fed Ex pulled up and the driver handed me a box.
"Now you can watch football all weekend," he says.
With beaters going round in a spinning bowl and another batch of newly peeled potatoes boiling on top of the stove, Sven was on the phone with, Veronica.
And somehow, those two got that TV all set up.
Once we had twenty pounds of mashed potatoes loaded into the refrigerator, Sven and I rolled the dresser back into the spare room and put the TV back on the shelf we put back together and got it all hooked up.
However, it did not work.
"I will call them tomorrow," he said.
That night, he called down from the bedroom, "Do we have a pin number for this TV?"
"Not that I know of," I said.
So that one did not work either.
And then it was Wednesday.
While I cooked turkey number one to make room for turkey number two the following day, Sven was on the phone and he stayed there until all three TVs were in perfect working order.
"You are my hero. And I really do believe in miracles," I said.
Then it was Thanksgiving.
And our TV did not work.
We rolled the dresser back out of the spare room two hours before our first guests arrived.
Thanksgiving is over.
Everything is put away.
The leftovers are gone.
The TV is on.
And we cannot turn it off.
Oops. I guess Tuna has something to say.
Written by Tuna, Cat Detective
It was our turn to host Thanksgiving.
Soon after my mom, Millie, made the announcement, is when things got weird around here.
One night I was sitting on the table on the deck peeking in the window and I saw her. The old lady cat who looks like a big slipper. She was sitting on my couch. Right in front of my eyes.
I think my mom was petting her.
I ran to the door and hung from the screen.
The door opened and I searched all over the place for the old bag.
She was nowhere to be found.
But there was a dresser in the living room with a TV sitting on top.
Why would anyone need two TVs in one room?
After that night, for days in a row, my mom would say, "Sven are you going to call about that delivery?"
I heard that somebody was sending us some kind of a device that transmits invisible waves through satellites.
It had to be Nassau.
And every day my dad would say that he would just wait for the package to arrive.
Why would Nassau care about the black hole just outside Harmony Grove?
Well as days passed mom started getting crabby and she told my dad that we should get a discount for having a dresser in our living room or else he should build it into the wall and then she started stomping around and slamming cupboard doors and stuff was boiling over on the stove, while my dad was in the other room talking to some girl with a Middle Eastern accent on his phone.
Her name was Veronica.
Why would he be talking to a woman from another country?
Probably a spy, or a double agent or something.
My mom was jealous.
I don't blame her. Those secret agents are always so sexy.
Anyway, my mom thinks that my dad should buy her a brand-new TV because we cannot turn it off anymore. And she said that over her dead body would a dresser be parked in the living room over Christmas.
But my dad says not to worry.
"The TV works fine as long as we do not turn it off."
And about Thanksgiving.
It was all going well. And then in walks Lucy, my dreaded cousin.
The one everyone goes all ga-ga over.
She is a bully.
Would not let me in the door.
Stuck her face right into mine.
My mom says that she was wagging her tail and that means Lucy is nice and that I was the one who was getting all huffy about nothing.
That dog was begging for food the whole time and never got into any trouble.
But in front of all the guests, I got yelled at just for licking the butter.