Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wired

Dolores and I have arrived without incident (for once) and have had a chance to poke around a bit in my parents' new house in Kokomo. It's a pretty place, comfortable but not ostentatious, with a grass airstrip out back (Dad flies small planes) and an actual cornfield, with corn in it, across the street.

The last time I saw the house it was a wreck, in the process of being de-uglified and fixed up. Now that my folks have well and truly made it their own, it would be an earthly paradise if it didn't scare the hell out of me. It's alive.

Nothing in the house works the way you expect it to. Both Mom and Dad are gadget and gizmo freaks, and Dad is an experienced electrician and all-around tech guy. They like to think of themselves as simple people, but the fact is that they can't stop tinkering. There's nothing that works so well that it can't be supercharged in some manner. For a visitor from a backwater like Chicago, the sudden immersion in a fully-wired environment is disorienting.

Upon entering a room, you don't flip on the light. The light switches have been disabled. You have recourse instead to a keypad, which requires you to enter a numerical sequence and an access code in order to enable one of 240 pre-set illumination configurations. Before I sat down write this, I punched in a wrong number and the desk lamp spit out two twenty dollar bills and a receipt.

Everything either beeps, chimes, or talks to you. Weather reports issue automatically from the telephones. The telephones talk to the oven. The washer and dryer offer commentary on world events. Push down the lever on the toaster and the garage door opens. They're going to be ripping out the master bath in a month or so, and installing a toilet that will sense when someone comes into the room and automatically lift its lid.

I don't think I would be able to pee if I felt the toilet were watching me.

I can't turn on the stereo because there are twenty-two unlabeled remote controls on the coffee table, and I'm afraid if I push the wrong one it'll start up the lawn mower or retract the roof.

We've already had a brouhaha this morning when my father's automated recliner shot Dolores across the living room and into the fireplace. As we pulled her out of the flue, covered in soot, she gasped, "I was just trying to check the Weather Channel."

I have to go take a shower now. If you don't hear from me by Monday, you'll know I was eaten by the laundry hamper.

23 comments:

dragon knitter said...

omg, does this mean i'm first!

that house sounds like the jetsons. does it have an automatic treadmill?

hard to believe that dolores was innocent, for once

FiberQat said...

I was going to say something snarky but these are your parents, so I'll be nice. After all they have to deal with what happens when the power goes out (will the lid of the toilet come up?).

Happy birthday, Franklin's Dad!

Sarah said...

Wow, that sounds like Home Improvement, where anything can be made BETTER! ;)

Ack, good luck staying alive during this weekend.

Sarah

pacalaga said...

LMAO. That is hilarious. I would love it. As long as I had my crank-handled flashlight next to my knitting chair for, you know, those Tim Taylor moments.
It reminds me of the House of the Future, which I toured in 1984 in Ahwahtukee. Judging from my experience in said house, all I could figure was that the future was filled with bad furnishing and walls that talked to you. Glad your parents' place is much better. :-)

Ana said...

I loved your description of your parents house! I am just glad our son does not have a blog.

Christina said...

Kokomo, land of fathers (my Da lives there)!

Liz K. said...

I have been lurking at your blog for quite some time now. So what brings me to comment? Your parents live in Kokomo?

My sister-in-law grew up in Kokomo, and she has, well, stories to tell! If you ever want to know with whom to party or where to secure various, um, illicit substances, she knows....

Actually, she is one of my favorite people, as are her whole family, so I truly believe great things come from Kokomo.

All the Way With Knitting said...

hummm...very reminiscent of my uncle's house who as a flight engineer, had lights that turned on when he was out etc.This is in the 1960s English folks still lived in mud huts except him.My dad was a postman who mended everything with plasticene .We would go to tea with these "posh" relatives and dead on 6pm the huge French window curtains would swish into place .Had his plane been in a disaster the passengers might have found thet were catapaulted into their own living rooms.

Ellen said...

Oh, Franklin, living on the edge again? The only danger my laundry hamper poses is that it is never empty and somehow I am expected to take care of it! Sigh!

Anne said...

I hope you two get home safely, and in the same number of pieces that you were in when you left!

Okay, not very well worded, but I'm sure you get the drift.

Have you visited the yarn shop yet?

Kathy Merrick said...

Oh, Franklin, ha. Just ha and an airkiss across several states.

You de man.

Kat said...

Your parents were featured in Home Movie? I didn't know your last name was Skora.

(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275408/maindetails)

Anonymous said...

Hello from Lafayette In. Your dad sounds like mine. He fancies himself a plumber. When he installed the new shower he got the hot and cold backwords. First few times I showered there it was a chilling experience.
Michelle O
River Knits

Ted said...

Have they named the house "Hal"?

Riin said...

Gee, I wish my lamps would give me money...

Steph said...

Your father and my father in law were separated at birth.

Didn't either of them watch 2010 A Space Odyssey?

PuppyMomma said...

Am I the only one to say Poor Delores?

All the Way With Knitting said...

Funny old World isn't it? I just got the news that my technophiliac Uncle died this morning .God will no longer have to get out of his seat to put on the stars ...he might even get his sound-system fixed so he can shout out of the sky again .If we are lucky sometime soon a deep voice will bellow "GEORGE..a word" .

AuntyNin said...

Dolores? Innocent? That's a first!

Your description of your parents' wired home made me laugh so hard my colleagues thought I was having some kind of seizure... many thanks for the giggle.

Rich Rostrom said...

Back in the 1970s I worked for a tiny company that was trying to develop a fully controllable automated home. The hardest part was a user interface that was both convenient for simple stuff and powerful for complex stuff. We never did get it right.

We did come up with a good wall switch scheme - a button that activated a user-defined sequence. Power didn't have to be routed through wall switches, saving a huge amount of conduit.

The Purloined Letter said...

Um...Can the toilet tell if the person is a man or a woman? I'd be afraid I'd fall in again (which I worry about every time I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night in my otherwise all male house).

String Bean said...

I love reading your blog!

The toilet still has me laughing. I'm here for you. I wouldn't be able to pee either. Just think, at least you don't have to sit on the toilet while it watches you...

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