My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful vacation. We were lucky enough to spend a week with our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons in a rented house just a few blocks from the beach, stores, and restaurants. Spending time with the people we love is a good thing, and spending time with them in a vacation setting is even better. Overall, it was a very good week.
Very good, but not perfect. And yes, few things are perfect, and the key to a good vacation is to overlook the things that don’t go quite right. We did that. When it rained, we read and did jigsaw puzzles. When it was too windy to walk the beach, we swam in our pool instead. But the problem that we couldn’t quite conquer was the house itself.
It was a very nice house, but it also equipped with “state of the art” technology. I know that sounds like a good thing, and in some houses, it probably is. But in this particular house, it meant we spent way too much time just trying to figure out how to turn out the lights at night.
Every room had several switch plates that operated the various lights and window shades, and every switch plate had several buttons and finger-operated “slides.” The trick was to push the right button and use the right slide in the right sequence, which apparently varied from day to day. What worked to turn off the porch lights on Monday night did not work on Tuesday night. Other lights turned on by themselves a few minutes after we turned them off.
And the problem wasn’t just the lights. The front door refused to lock from the outside, so we had to lock it from the inside and then exit via the garage. The ultra-sophisticated dryer started to make strange, loud noises instead of actually drying the clothes. We decided we could air dry our clothes as long as the washing machine worked, so of course the washing machine promptly broke down, mid-cycle, with our clothes inside and the door still on “lock.”
But the worst was the stove top. It was equipped with a control pad and six invisible burners that were supposed to light up when you placed a pan on them. So I put my pan on, adjusted the temp and waited for my pan to heat so I could scramble some eggs. The burner stayed cold, and the control pad informed me the “pan is not detected.” I muttered words I didn’t want my grandsons to hear and pushed the setting button on the control pad, which produced a recipe for New England Clam chowder, complete with photos. Eventually we discovered that the stove top only works with certain pans.
I’m not against state of the art technology, per se. But I am against making things so very complicated that people who are trying to have a peaceful vacation have to waste time trying to figure out how to turn off a light or scramble some eggs. I can do those things at my house, I swear. My stove lets me use whatever pan I want, and I can dim our lights with a simple dimmer switch.
Sometimes complicated doesn’t mean better. It just means more things that can go wrong. The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) motto may not be nice, but it’s not wrong either……