Search for simplicity


Okay, I’m the first to admit that I like nice things, and that I probably spend more money on a single pair of shoes that some people would spend on three or four pairs.  But when you have feet built like mine, you learn that a $30 pair of flats just won’t cut it. I recently walked into my favorite sewing machine store and walked out with a computerized, digital sewing machine. We also own (and use) four computers — two Macs, a Dell, and an HP.

But take a quick walk through my house and you’ll notice that a few major appliances are missing because (a) we don’t have them or (b) they’re so small you missed them. (A) is a dishwasher; we don’t have one. Well, actually, we have one and he never breaks down and has no interest in being replaced. (B) is a television. Technically we have one but we don’t watch tv shows on it, because (a) it is at least five years old and is your plain old, basic tv (not digital), and (b) we ditched our cable. Hulu gets a lot of our business.

 One day, long ago, we decided to buy a larger tv as a surprise Christmas present for all of us. We put it in the back of the car and covered it with a blanket. The girls got in the car, looked at the large lump and said, “New tv, huh?” So much for that surprise. It had all the usual bells and whistles, and could be seen from outside the front window. But it annoyed us. It did exactly what we didn’t want it to do — it took over our lives. It became the focal point of the proverbial “family room”. So much for “family” life.

As often happens, the children grew up, went off to college and embarked on their own adventures, leaving us with a giant tv that sat unused. We returned to our own favorite evening activities of reading, writing, and talking, and agreed it was time to downsize the tv. We sold it to the highest bidder, and replaced it with our current model with DVD and 15-inch screen. Most of the time it sits silent, hidden behind a hanging ivy plant.

Thanks to Hulu, we now watch free movies and old 80s tv series like Simon and Simon, It Takes a Thief, Moonlighting, and a bunch of great old cartoons. Our DVD collection is filled with more of the same. And somewhere up in the attic, is a huge collection of old movies on VHS. Problem is, our VCR died.

So in a discussion about what to  buy ourselves for Christmas, we settled on a VCR or VCP, thinking it would be a simple purchase. As is often the case, we were wrong. It has not been easy. We’ve combed the usual online sources only to find that the only VCRs available are reconditioned or refurbished and most of the reviews are capital thumbs down. There are plenty of DVD/VCR combos, but we have a DVD. Why get another one? This is my parents’ fault — they instilled in me the belief that one does not buy what one does not need.

Hours of fruitless searching later, I reached the conclusion that I would have to come up with an alternate plan. What’s the best way to find something with the minimum time spent? Facebook. Of course. Put my search in my status box and wait for someone out there in FB land to locate my VCR at a price I’m willing to pay.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, a friend responded that her daughter has a small tv with VCR/DVD that she might be willing to sell. Okay, so it’s not exactly what I wanted, and it will require more space but heck, I’ve got plenty of hanging ivy plants just longing for a tv to dangle over.

The only problem now is which movie to watch first.

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