The Boob Tube Family

My life just got 200% better yesterday at about 5:30 when the cable guy came, replaced our fried cable box and installed a new connection into our living room. Our living room. Let me let that sink in for a little bit. We have a television in our living room. The room where the couch is.


This means so many things. Where do I start?

I grew up without television. My parents were weird and they thought it was more healthy not to bring the outside world into our Christian home. (Not that they had a problem bringing in Harliquin Romance novels, but that’s another subject.) This lead to many good things, like reading every book I could get my hands on and being ahead in school because I didn’t have the option of soaking my brain in pop culture. It also meant I was terribly un-cool when I didn’t know what Mtv was.

Because I grew up without television, it doesn’t really play a big part in my day dreams of what “family life” should be. In fact, I shudder at the thought of growing up eating on tv trays in front of the television. That’s like eating Fritos and Mountain Dew for breakfast! Fine for college but not for a family! So unhealthy!

Toby, however, did grow up with television. But he thought my ideas about television were quaint and agreed with me that having a television in our living room was like having an idol that all the furniture gathered around to worship. We were so proud of our lofty ideals.

So we stuffed our television into the closet (on shelving of course) in a back bedroom and watched it from sitting on the floor. Who needs chairs?!!! Making things comfortable would be admitting we spend a lot of time watching television. Besides there just wasn’t any room for that much furniture in the back bedroom.

But we were fools. We watched so much television from the floor that I think our backs have permanent ridges in the shape of our baseboards. I can’t even count how many times I have gotten up in the middle of the night to find Toby asleep under his desk while the tube drones on in the background. So sad….

Then the plot twisted. We had to rearrange things to make room for a baby. I moved my office out of the back bedroom where the television was and Toby moved his office in. This meant the television was now in his office. You might think, “oh no! how will he get any work done?” Well, that didn’t even come up. He has so many piles of papers and boxes, we couldn’t even sit on the floor any more. We couldn’t even see the tv if we wanted to. Which really didn’t matter because as soon as he fired up his massive super computers, we had a power outage and the cable box died like a scrambled egg on the sidewalk in Victorville. No more cable. No more television. Life was very very sad.

We took it in stride. We were so productive. I set up the entire baby room in less than three days. Toby got caught up on work and even attempted to do some billing (his worst favorite work chore). We thought maybe not having television would be a good thing. Besides we just couldn’t figure out where to put it. Toby really didn’t want to keep it in his office and I certainly wouldn’t allow it in the baby’s room. Can you imagine? Watching CSI and having golf clubs exploding into bloddy skulls while my baby slept? The horror! We hemmed and hawed and couldn’t figure out what to do.

Predictably, the great boredom of 2006 struck. The baby’s room was done, my work trickled to a slow manageable two hour a day pace, I’m pregnant and awkward and I hate going out and I began to talk to myself as I stared at the walls all day long. I decided I really did need television.

I decided it would be nice to have a television in the living room where I could actually sit and be comfortable. Comfortable! Something I’m learning to appreciate more and more in my state of giant girth. Toby waffled. He didn’t want to buy any kind of entertainment center for the living room. He hates to spend money on furniture when we hope to move out of this flat someday. But he hated seeing me go insane too. There’s only so much sobbing a loving husband can put up with.

We compromised. We didn’t buy any furniture. We didn’t even have my brother make us a quickie plywood box. We just moved our tv into the living room and set it up in our cheap and oh-so-very-temporary-looking IKEA shelving from the closet. If Toby had his way, we probably would have just put the television on a cardboard box. But then there’s the earthquake safety issue to worry about and possibly a crawling baby.

The shelving worked. No matter how much we were prepared to hate it, it actually looked okay. Minimalistic in fact! Maybe better than some kind of fancy furniture we could have ordered out of a catalogue

And so we settled into a night of watching television. It was so cozy! The cats crawled up into our laps, the lighting was dim, our dinner tasted so good from the convenience of our coffee table. I could get used to this, I thought… We’ll just add a crying baby and we’ll be the all American family!