Satellite Blues

Last weekend, the sheer complexity of life swooped over my house and landed on our satellite dish.

And we literally chased it away with a pellet gun.

It had been snowing for days, and the winds pushed a pile of flakes over our satellite dish, which sits on the roof of our house.

We have a very tall house and a very steep roof, which is why the first satellite company we called refused to install a dish for us. They came up with all kinds of excuses about why they couldn’t do it, but I think they were just plain scared. I didn’t blame them.

The guys from a competing company showed up a few weeks later, and I thought they looked like lumberjacks: tall and brawny and unafraid. They climbed right up that roof like Santa would without a parachute or any sign of fear.

I have to say, I watched from the ground with admiration-or maybe fawning is the right word.

Before they left, one of the installers said, “If you have a problem with the dish this winter we won’t be able to fix it. It’ll be too slippery up there.”

I guess even the brawny have their limits.

To be honest, the first time I ever saw a mouse in my house I called the fire department, so that tells you how resourceful I am when it comes to homecare. That’s why I sat on the couch the day our satellite went down and came up with ideas for my husband to fix it.

“I’ll be the brains behind the operation,” I told him as I put on my slippers.

I went on the Internet for inspiration, and I was once again amazed by the creativity people display when times get tough.

One guy taped a broom to a long extension pole to reach the dish on his roof. He made a YouTube video of it and gave the starring roles to his sons. They were horrible actors, but I had to applaud their creativity. You would have thought they’d won the lottery when they knocked the snow off their dish just in time for the Super Bowl.

Unfortunately, my husband said, there aren’t enough brooms and duct tape in the world to reach our roof.

Someone else suggested a Super Soaker-just blast the snow away with warm water. But again, we were challenged by the height of our roof.

I kept my husband busy for another hour, pounding on the roof of the attic, and when that didn’t work, I gave him my best idea: throwing ice cubes at the dish from the back yard. I’m not sure even Joe DiMaggio could have pulled that off, but it was worth a try.

“You have any other bright ideas?” my husband asked when he came inside, blowing snowflakes out of his nose and holding an empty ice bucket.

“They’re coming to me slowly,” I said.

That’s when he went and got his pellet gun. He sneaked past me in the living room on the way out the door as if he were stealing cookies.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said.

Now, I know that guns are a touchy subject-even air pellet guns can be dangerous when not used properly. But my husband is a fine hunter, and safety has always been his primary concern. I wasn’t worried that he’d hurt anyone; I was merely concerned what our neighbors would think when they saw my husband in the back yard shooting at our roof. I was certain they were already aghast from watching him hurl ice cubes toward the sky just moments earlier.

“What is wrong with these people?” they were sure to be thinking.

“Honey, it’s going to look as if you are hunting squirrels for dinner,” I said. “You get one shot, and then you have to come back inside.” I figured we could live without the television until the snow melted.

Ten minutes later he was back, and to my absolute amazement when he turned on the television, John Wayne appeared on the screen.

“You actually hit the satellite dish with a pellet?” I asked, “And all the snow fell off?”

He was beaming, as he always is when one of his odd ideas actually works.

If we’d videotaped the whole thing, my husband might have been a YouTube star, but it’s probably best we don’t encourage a generation of satellite owners to be out shooting pellets at their roofs.

I called the satellite company back and told them we wouldn’t need any more help; our service had been restored.

“It was nothing a few ice cubes and a couple of pellets couldn’t fix,” I told them, with an accent that suggested I’d just stepped off the prairie.

Technology allows us to be lazy a lot of the time, but humans are often at their best when there’s a problem. Sometimes it takes a bit more gumption to fix our lives than just pressing a button.

You might need a ladder.

Or simply a husband with a good eye.