So, we made it over 15 months in our new house, in our new town, with no appreciable TV reception, and now we are caving. The only channel that comes in over here on the far edge of town overlooking the vast cornfields is NBC--and just barely, if you perform all sorts of frantic maneuvers with the rabbit-ears antenna. And that's just on our first floor; if you go upstairs to the family room, where we have a TV so nicely situated in front of my elliptical machine for those long-winter workouts, well, the antenna doesn't work at all, and nothing comes in. As much as I've felt quite good about watching far less TV in the past 15 months than I used to, and about the fact that it's much easier to keep one's children from watching TV if your TV is barely operable, well, it finally got to me the other night when all I wanted to do was sit down and watch an episode of "The Office" at the end of a tiring day, but, due to a rainstorm moving in from across the plain outside our windows, even the rabbit-ears couldn't pull in anything viewable. Our one measly channel, which we've gotten used to watching through the fuzz of barely-there reception, totally distorted and unwatchable because of a bank of fog and rain.
Sigh. We caved and ordered "reception cable" this week, people ($17 a month, no fancy extra channels, just the main broadcast ones like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS). I know, I know; I think it's a crime to pay for TV. We're trying to cut all extraneous expenses. I don't want to be a person who watches a lot of TV; I don't believe in kids watching much, if any, TV. Julia needs to run around, be active, play outside, and use her imagination, not sit motionless in front of a screen (and so, of course, she will still not be allowed to watch anything but the very occasional kids' TV show or DVD; in our house, TV is a privilege of being a grown-up). But, you know, I also feel like I deserve one little, simple pleasure in the evening once the babies are in bed and my workday is (sort of) over, and as much as I adore sitting down with a new issue of the New Yorker, well, sometimes a girl misses her "America's Next Top Model." Is that so wrong?
As long as we're on the subject of guilty pleasures, I have come to the realization that I am a better mom on caffeine. Isn't that ironic? I gave it up for the comfort and health of my infant, but people, whenever I do sneak in a serving or two of high-octane yumminess, I suddenly become substantially more patient, creative, energetic (obviously), and....nice. I'm serious here. It's like magic. Suck down a cuppa joe, and all of a sudden I don't mind reading Go, Dog, Go! ten times in a row, and, in fact, use different voices for the two dogs talking about the hat! I will actually willingly talk to a stuffed animal, and then answer myself back in a squeaky voice, as if the animal is having a conversation with me! I will respond to whiny, fussy demands to "spread out my Silky, Mama; no, not that way, no, not that way, no!" with impressive equanimity! Apparently, what this really means is that I'm a better mom when I'm--big surprise--LESS TIRED. But seriously, people, about how many drugs can a person actually say she's a better mom when under the influence? Ah, beloved caffeine. Where's my Diet Coke, anyway?
So, it's all about vices in our household these days. And it's Lent! Yikes. I just realized that. That can't be good. Pray for me.