Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lesson #11: How to be a battery cheater

When I was a kid I had this sweet brown fisher price cassette player. I would rock out to kids music and listen to books on tape. Mostly it ran out of batteries right at the good parts and all of a sudden everyone would start talking or singing really slowly. No worries I would just pop the cover off the battery compartment and pop those D batteries into my battery charger. Boom. Problem solved. Can you even remember the good old days when batteries died in a toy and you could just pop the cover off and replace them? I know the mere thought or memory of this is giving you some sort of awkward blood rush. The sheer freedom of being moments away from taking something from inoperable to operable can tend to make one drunk with power. Can we not find a way in this hyper modern world to replace the damn batteries in kids toys without unscrewing 89 miniature screws? Can we seriously not figure this out?

If you're a parent then you have been there. Your child brings you something that needs new batteries. Sometimes you just lie and say its broken and don't even mention the whole new battery idea. Don't worry that makes you normal. When my children won't buy that particularly unconvincing explanation, and instead insist that a repair is possible, I break out in a cold sweat as I realize the impossibly tiny battery chamber is held tight with about eight screws. Two just won't do here. Clearly most children have the fine motor skills to expertly wield and operate multiple tools up to AND including screw drivers so we have to take the utmost care that we put as many tiny screws in the damn compartment as possible. I mean really. REALLY?! Are we going for some sort of record here? Do the toy companies get paid per screw? Once I find my impossibly tiny screw driver, which by the way was left in the most logical place imaginable, the bathroom cabinet, I then spend fifteen expletive ridden minutes extracting said tiny screws. Then and only then do I realize the damn toy takes AAA batteries. Who the hell even has these on hand? What sort of black magic is this? So now I am rummaging around in my junk drawer, checking the glove compartment of my car, the bottom of my purse and the bathroom cabinet which I am now pretty sure has magically qualities. This feverish hunt produces two AAA batteries....but I really need three. SO I cheat. Battery cheating involves adding two new batteries and one old dead one. I'm told this is a bad thing to do. I'm lead to believe this is disastrously inefficient and potentially dangerous. May lightning strike me down then because I am not coping with putting a child to bed without his beloved and slightly trippy Dreamlite turtle. You know the ones that project stars onto the ceiling in different colors so your kid can spazz out instead of going to bed.
Why sleep when you can trip out?

So now that I'm an official card carrying member of the battery cheating club I do the only sensible thing and eat a cookie. Ok maybe two. If lightning is going to strike me down I would like to go out on a calorically dense high note. It seems only right. Ok, so cookie in hand, or mouth, your choice, and I go to retrieve my tiny screws. Oh dear God. I have only six of the necessary eight. Well crap. Have you eaten them? Have I lost them in the couch? So now I am searching for satans screws and finally find them and get them back in the damn holes and screw them back in using excessive force because after all I know the cold panic of losing a tiny screw. Then I press the button in order to see the brilliant starry sky in the only way it was meant to be seen, projected off of a giant sea turtles back, and............. nothing happens. What fresh hell is this? Is it finally time I am being made to pay the battery cheating piper? Crap I knew this day would come! I got cocky. So I unscrew the impossibly tiny screws AGAIN and realize I have just installed the batteries backwards. Phew. Rectifying my grave battery error and replacing the screws yields me the starry night sky I need to put the darn kids to bed. Good news this whole process took me a quick hour and the kids are now going to bed at 9 instead of 8. This is going well.

On behalf of all parents I am going to say they obvious, THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY. I need the rip cord version of battery replacement so I can get on with my day and my very important business. I don't know if you know this but I am a skilled zester of oranges for potpourri and I am very very busy. I also have quite a lot of trashy T.V to watch while my children make each other sea sick with their spinning turtle lights instead of going to sleep.

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