Help Me! TV or No TV at the Cabin???

Can you find the TV in this cabin?

Do we need a TV at our cabin? 

If you have a TV at your cabin, how do you use it? If you don’t have a cabin, does your (G rated) cabin fantasy include a TV?

I need to know because……

After Janie Our Real-tore hands us the keys to our new cabin, Liam proclaims loudly “We are NOT getting a TV at our cabin!”

To say that this takes me by surprise is a huge understatement. There are so many things a mother longs to hear from her children….things like “Will you read to me?” and “I don’t mind being seen with you” and “Do you mind if I do my homework right now? I know it’s not due until next week but I really like to get a head start on things.”  But this one means more to me than all of those things combined. This one restores my faith in his potential to be a contributing member of society and removes every worry I’ve ever had about my inability to engage him in worthwhile, enriching childhood activities. Maybe he does like nature and maybe he can find something creative to do and maybe he even likes spending time with us! Really? Can I be this lucky?!

And I’m not saying this to brag, like “Oh Liam doesn’t really care for sweets…”

Okay, fine, I’m totally bragging. And I deserve it because I’ve spent the last twelve years trying to get him to do something, anything, that is not TV.  He will sit for hours and watch pretty much anything unless, of course, it’s something I would like to watch. God forbid you should spend just a few minutes watching “So You Think You Can Dance” with your mother. It would make her so happy.

After Liam spends all of third grade within three inches of our 54″ TV (goddamn that thing!), we finally pull the plug on cable. I launch a raging campaign to get rid of those snotty Disney Channel kids that moved in and metaphorically ate all the food in my fridge without asking and then skipped away without cleaning up. It’s not enough that they put a hex on my child so he can’t stop watching TV, they also kidnapped his brain and made him sound like a perpetually indignant asshole. So they are no longer invited into my house. I don’t care if they come with a big Ed McMahon-sized check, they can sit on the step all day long but I am NOT letting them in.

After pulling the plug, Liam complains that there is nothing to watch – but that doesn’t stop him from consuming. He is no quitter. Instead, he watches hours and hours of the new “Let’s Make a Deal” with Wayne Brady (let’s see what’s behind curtain number one!). Which really doesn’t bother me because I’m so overjoyed that the vile Disney urchins are gone. And because Wayne Brady is a totally underutilized talent. (Did you know that “Let’s Make a Deal” is an hour-long show? Every day? That just seems like a lot but, like I said, totally underutilized talent).

But you know what cracks me up? It takes a year of “Let’s Make a Deal” for Liam to figure out that we have Netflix…

Can you say Trojan Horse??? For a whole year, I hold my breath every time he turns on the TV, knowing that the icon pops up automatically. I wait for him to say “What’s Netflix?”  I practice saying “It’s all the best educational programming in one place, sweetheart.” When it finally occurs to him to click on the icon I feel smug enough to let him go for it; and because the characters he finds on Netflix aren’t Hollywood High vixens/he-idiots who put TV hexes on him and teach him new ways to be disdainful, I’m okay with it. At least the guys on “Storage Wars” are doing math.

So you can see why I actually get choked up when he says he doesn’t want a TV at the cabin. I get momentarily verklempt, knowing that maybe he will aspire to a future outside our basement after all. And, more importantly, that the cabin represents something for him that is real and true and completely divorced from popular culture and the disease of hyper connectivity – something that will put hair on his chest and immerse him in the natural world and the comforting embrace of his family.

No judgement at all to those of you who enjoy TV at your cabins. And, if you do, I would love to hear your Cabin TV philosophy. I would love to hear all of your Cabin TV philosophies, both pro and con, because if there’s a way to successfully watch an occasional scary movie after dark, that could be really fun. Please share!

In the meantime, I will rest well knowing that this simple statement – “We are NOT getting a TV at the cabin!” – has assured me that this impulsive decision to buy a cabin may not have been a huge mistake. And that perhaps I’m doing something right……

Photo credit: Interior Collective

5 Comments

  1. Woohoo! Way to go Liam! No magical cabin memories include anything with a TV. Yes, we do have one with no reception that the girls use for watching movies. At some point, I’m sure my parents brought it up in hopes of watching the Masters or something. I’d be happy to get rid of it but that is so much harder than never having one in the first place. Stay strong! You’ll be happy you did even if it requires dealing with some whining on rainy days.

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  2. Our cabin, bought by my Grandparents in ’45, didn’t have electricity (or plumbing) until the late 80s. I loved it.

    Sometime in the late 90s, my Dad brought an old TV up there, & a VCR ~ which was replaced by a DVD player eventually.

    We didn’t get reception for TV channels, so we only ever watched movies. I liked having the rule that we’d only watch “classics” at the cabin. And we usually only watched them later in the evening.

    So this worked for us. Most of us, old & young, would rather read, walk in the woods, sit by the fire, & play board games anyway. 🙂

    You’ll notice my comments are in the past tense ~ which is because, as I’ve mentioned here before, my Dad made the difficult decision to sell “Grandpa’s Cabin” a few years ago.

    I still catch myself thinking, “Hey, I haven’t been Up North in a while…I wonder when Dad’s heading up there…” And then I remember. 😦

    That’s why it’s such a pleasure to follow your adventures, Kristin! 🙂

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    1. Erika, your comment makes me have cabin sadness…… :(. But I love that you only watched classic movies. There’s another cabin destination from my past where the patriarch had a huge collection of classic movies – on Betamax! Much of my movie knowledge comes from those cabin visits. I’m adding this to the list of options to consider!

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