The Suitcase Lady


April 20, 2010, 8:37 pm

Home Control struck again last night. We had just gotten settled upstairs in bed when all the downstairs lights turned themselves on. I groaned and started to get up. “Stay put”, my husband said. “They will turn themselves off at 1:00AM.” I put the covers over my head.

I try to be a patient woman. However, my patience has to be put on overdrive when it comes to Home Control.

My husband has an abiding interest in both computers and electronics. They come together in his beloved hobby called Home Control. He spends many happy hours writing programs to make our entire house a computer wonderland. Home Control friends all over America aid and abet him via computer. I find this a much better guy hobby than shooting defenseless deer or watching 12 straight hours of football games.

When Home Control is behaving, pleasant results occur. For example, I will start to walk down the basement stairs and the lights will automatically turn on. Or the sprinklers magically water the yard by turning themselves on and off at timed intervals.

The problems ensue when the Home Control programs are in the development stages or when the power is interrupted. Then Home Control takes on a life of its own… rather like artificial intelligence with a low IQ.

I will be up to my elbows in soap suds washing the dinner dishes at 10:00 at night when, viola, the entire house is plunged into darkness. I dry off my hands, grope for a light switch, and turn on the lights. This scene is repeated four times in a row. Then I yell to my spouse, “What’s going on here?”

“Home Control thinks we should be in bed at 10:00PM,” he calmly replies.

For a period of four months our dining room light only turned on from a remote switch stored in an empty dog dish downstairs in the garage. Home Control was having some difficulties distinguishing the automatic sprinkler switch in the garage from the dining room switch. Guests were perplexed when I had to go down to the garage so they could see their dinners.

I’ve received several comments from neighbors who have observed us wasting water by sprinkling full blast during rainstorms. I assure them this is out of my control. I have absolutely no idea how to rein in Home Control… pun intended.

Finding computers challenging and electronics a complete mystery, I’m in the same position as Dave in the final frames of the movie 2001. The onboard computer, Hal, calmly says, “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

5 Comments for this entry

  • evie

    Mary–Home Control. What an apt name.
    My “next-door-neighbors” are the same way.
    This comes in handy when I house sit–I no longer
    spend two hours in the mosquito-y evenings watering
    her many many flowers . . . Happy Earth Day! evie

  • evie

    ps: “he calmly replies”–that is so like Russ!

  • marilyn verick

    What a guy!

  • Noreen Strehlow

    I can just picture that as a pilot for a sitcom! I dare say that many of your blog entries would produce quite a wonderful series.

    There is a contest starting by the Arizona Principal’s Association and I have been supported by several people to enter Pillowface. Since you are one of the teachers I mention on my dedication page, I’m really hoping that my book will get some attention. I am making sure to add a teacher page that offers suggestions for discussion questions as well as a few activities. Unfortunately, the contest runs through early 2011 so I will just tuck that away and not think about it for many months.

  • Mary

    Living with “8 cats plus 1” and home control, we certainly do have the ingredients for a great sitcom right under our roof!