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I dug in, dirt jamming under my fingernails.

Elbow deep now, I wasn’t sure what I would find.

I was on a quest, and I had no choice but to press on.

We’ve sent a man to the moon.

We’ve harnessed the power of the sun and wind.

We’ve built refrigerators that text us when they are out of milk.

And yet, no one in this amazing world can get my television to work with less than three remotes. One of which I was currently spelunking for in the inner recesses of my couch.

As usual, I was horrified by my discoveries.

“What is this? Chocolate chips?”

And dirt. Socks of every shape and size. Hair bands and hairballs.

They’re the type of furniture revelations that make you want to toss the thing out of the picture window, set it ablaze in the front yard and just buy new.

Our remote situation stands like this: There is the cable remote. The DVD remote. And the most important remote of them all, the television remote that does absolutely nothing save for supply one button that allows me to flip between the settings of “HDMI 1” and “HDMI 2,” a feat that is as vital as it is mysterious.

This remote is the Lord of the Remotes. One remote to rule them all, one remote to bind them. And this is the remote that inevitably gets lost in the outer darkness roughly once a week at the exact moment I want to watch something.

I continued my search across the room, hurrying now, as I did not want to waste a moment of my very special time. I was alone. At home. And I couldn’t wait to go wild.

Television. Laundry. Potato chips. Might even clean the toilets during commercials.

But I couldn’t do a thing without that stupid remote.

I returned to the couch, this time with the vacuum and its buffet of attachments. I couldn’t in good conscious replace the cushions without waging even a minor campaign.

Now I know what you are thinking. There must be a button somewhere on the television to perform the sorcery needed to move between the realms of HDMI 1 and HDMI 2, and I will tell you most assuredly there is not. I have pushed every button on that machine. I have changed volume. I have changed languages and set timers. The power I truly desire, however, remains elusive.

I had now moved on to looking under the couch, pausing long enough to wipe the hardwood with a damp rag and cleaner, as it was dusty under there.

Then I cleared off the coffee table. Put away five pairs of shoes. And vacuumed the rug.

Then I reached down into the recliner. My fingertips touched the corner of something. I had found it! My precious ...

“Hey, Mom, we are home.”

... remote.

Martha Petteys writes a weekly column for The Post-Star. Write to her at or visit her on Facebook.


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