Fire Weed

It didn’t take long, 8 days, before I had to make a call to Vizio about the new TV. As predicted it had to do with the remote. One of us, really could have been either one, put the remote into a mode in which it wouldn’t control anything except the volume. You couldn’t even turn it off. I did all the obvious stuff – changed batteries in the remote, turned the power off with the wall plug and let it sit for a while before repowering it. None of that worked. Hell, I even read the manual – not a clue. It wasn’t a total disaster because all the normal buttons on the set worked so we could change channels that way. That would be a bummer if we were on cable or satellite with 1000 channels but as over the airwave purists we can zip through in a minute and in the back recesses of my mind, I was already adjusting to life without a remote.

Since I hadn’t bothered to send in the registration card, I was reluctant to try customer service. Then I noticed in the manual it said you could register online. Great. That meant I could register and then call, all within a couple of minutes or hours depending on how the dial up service was and how gigantic and fancy the Vizio site was. Even doing the online registration brought a surprise. The site brought up the usual registration form with all those fields to be filled in, some identified as mandatory, some optional. There was one unusual mandatory field – purchase price, not including sales tax. I’m thinking this is the manufacturer’s way of learning exactly what the retailers are charging. I filled in $800 which was very, very close to what I actually paid. My registration attempt was rejected with a note saying that there was invalid data in the form. I looked closely at all the complex fields – such as the 300 digit serial number field – working my way down the form to the purchase price field which was flagged for invalid data. I changed the data to $799.99 and the registration went right through. I would never have guessed that the manufacturer and the retailer were that tightly hooked on price.

Registration complete, I called tech support. I was fairly sure it was going to be an American support operation since they worked regular peope hours in Pacific Time and sure enough, a gal named Bobbi came on fairly quickly to help. I explained the problem and she said “don’t you just hate it when stuff like that happens”. I was instantly gratified that this was not going to be one of those tough tech support calls. She walked me through a series of steps and suggestions and eventually we got it working. Turns out that there are two eeny teeny buttons on the remote with exactly the same label. One in the upper right hand corner and one in the lower right hand corner. The lower right hand corner button is in with all the DVD controls. I had never noticed the lower one and honestly, even if i had, wouldn’t have pushed it. Turns out that button selects “TV” from among a selection of other devices and I guess one of us had inadvertenly pushed that when we picked up the remote. I had pushed the upper button labeled TV since I suspected that was the problem. Bobbi did tell me something the manual didn’t – better if you use the bottom button instead of the top one. Bad engineering/programming. So we’re back in business.
After pulling out a harvested broccoli plant yesterday, I spotted a large weed in the garden. When I touched it I got a stinging sensation on my finger. I pulled back my hand quickly and reassessed the weed – must be a stinging nettle of some kind but I had never seen one like this. The weed had to go so I worked my fingers under the surface and grabbed it by the root and yanked it out. My fingers still stung from the first encounter. When I pulled it out I noticed a small, low growing weed remaining. It had been hidden from sight by the bigger guy. I grabbed him and quickly learned that it was not the big weed but this little guy who was the stinger. I had fairly well wrapped my hand around it so my whole hand was instantly on fire with thousands of needle pricks or fireant bites. I ran in the house and soaked my hand in alcohol. That was at 10AM. Would you believe that my hand was still hurting at 10PM? I have never encountered anything like that before. George called it Fire Weed; Joey called it thorny nettle; can’t write what i call it.

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