Men are misers. I myself am always trying to do something on the cheap, which rarely actually works out that way.
Case in point. I first taught myself how to lay woodflooring when I got the quote from the woodflooring store – the wood was $5.50 per square foot, as was laying it. I successfully convinced “she who must be obeyed” that I was an expert woodfloorer. “Honey, imagine how cheap it will be to do the rest of the house!”
As it turned out I had to buy a bunch of power tools, a table saw, a circular saw and a reciprocating saw to complete the task, so the first go-around was much more expensive than my half-the-cost pitch. But I imagined it to be much cheaper. Actually if I’m honest, the reciprocating saw was gratuitous, but it has come in handy many times.
Just to get my money’s worth on those tools, I have now just finished woodflooring the fifth and last room in the house.
But it doesn’t stop there. With miserliness as a guiding principle, I often get myself in a fix. I have cable TV downstairs and I wanted cable TV in my bedroom upstairs. Any normal, sane person would pay the extra $7 a month to get a second decoder box. Not me. I bought a 50-foot HDMI cable, dropped one end of the cable from the attic, down inside the wall to the decoder, ran the other end over the attic floor to the bedroom, dropped it down inside the bedroom wall to the TV outlet. Only two days work and much drilling.
What’s the point of that? How are you going to change the channel? Asked “she who must be answered”.
Ah hah! That’s easy. I’ll spend $50 on an infra-red repeater, mount the transmitter in the bedroom and the receiver downstairs and cunningly conceal it in the ceiling above the decoder box. Sorted.
Unbelievably, this works. Despite what the guy in Best Buy said about HDMI cables over 12 feet. (Incidentally, I can’t figure out whether the recent article about the “brand new” DVD player bought from Best Buy which had an “adult” DVD in it, is a reason to continue going to Best Buy or to stop going – link).
But here’s where my cunning plan fell down. I made the mistake of buying the same brand of TV for the bedroom that I have in the family room. The remotes are exactly the same. The net result is that if I turn on my TV in the bedroom the one downstairs turns on too. Or as more frequently happens, when I turn off the TV in the bedroom when I can barely keep my eyes open, the one downstairs turns on, as I have frequently discovered at 4:45 in the morning as I leave for my run. I think I have halved the life-expectancy of viewable hours for my TV. Did I mention its a 55″, 120Hz, LCD? Its awesome and very, very, shiny around the edge.
So it was with this in mind that I read The Universal Remote Dormant in Your Smartphone in the NY Times last week. I’m so excited I can hardly breathe:
Some engineers got to thinking: There is a growing number of touch screens in the world, in the form of smartphones. And since more and more entertainment devices are Internet-enabled, and since smartphones are as well, they don’t even need an infrared transmitter; they can control equipment using Wi-Fi.
A group called UiRemote has created an infrared transmitter for iPhones and iPod Touches to be released this year.
So now all I need to do is replace my decoder and both my TVs with Wi-Fi enabled ones. Oh, and then I’d need to buy an iPhone.
If only I’d coughed up the $7 a week… I am a miser.