With television broadcasts switching from an analog format to digital, the Weebles would be severely impacted. No sound, no picture, only static. They won't give me my 60 Minutes.
The easiest solution would have been to hook the Weebles up to cable. The house is already wired for FIOS with the computer traveling at the blazing speed of a giant paper weight for the use it gets. Would the Weebles watch 1,000 channels? Probably not. Dad would be happy to have his news and 60 Minutes. Not a bad thing either since I couldn't afford to pick up the tab on cable television for him. The converter box would make a nice Christmas gift.
At the beginning of December, with the looming countdown of D-Day, the day television stations would begin broadcasting a digital signal, I went online to find the coupon the government was issuing to help defer the cost of a converter box. What a surprise to find no coupon to download and print, but a sign up list to receive a coupon via snail mail. And the coupon would take 3 weeks to arrive! No worries. I signed up to get a coupon (only 2 issued per household) and sat back to wait.
The day after Christmas, the coupon arrived in the mail. I had heard we were one of the lucky ones as shortly after I signed up, the government ran out of money for the coupon program. Course if they hadn't spent a small fortune on running the countdown ads, they might have had sufficient money to fund the coupons program.
With coupon in hand, Himself went to purchase the converter, bring it to the Weebles, hook it up, and to show Dad what to do.
Then the calls.
"The screen is blue."
I happily passed the monkey to Himself. There were more lessons. More calls. More patient explanations that there were two remote controls. One to turn the television on and change the channels and the other to run the converter box. More calls, the remote went missing. Found it.
No more blue screen calls. We thought things were finally running smoothly until I stopped at the Weebles to take them to the Mahket.
There were two small black and white televisions in the living room.
"Why do you have two televisions down here?"
"Oh," said Dad. "See? The plug for the thing came out of the wall." He showed me the dangling converter box plug.
"And SHE knocked the thing over."
I could see the converter box hanging by some wires behind the television. I happily passed the message along to Himself. Since television stations are still broadcasting an analog signal, Dad brought an old black and white television that was languishing in the attic down to the livingroom. He could get his news and see 60 Minutes and wouldn't fiddle with the converter box wires.
I found Himself mumbling and making a list.
"Making a list of things I need to fix Dad's converter box. Double stick tape so they can't keep knocking it off the top of the television."
"Babies R Us?"
"Yeah, I need one of those boxes that cover a cord and wall outlet so they can't yank the plug out of the wall."
February 17, 2009 was the original date for digital broadcasting. The date has been extended until sometime in June. No matter. Dad's ready for the digital revolution. Well, his television is.