There was a time when I could walk into anyone’s house and answer the telephone, turn on the TV, operate the stove, and flush the toilet. Not anymore.

Remember when you just picked up the telephone handset and said ‘hello’? Now it’s punching a button to talk and another to hang up, assuming you can find a landline these days. 

When I go to my children’s house, I sweat bullets if they leave before the boob tube is on.  Which is the correct handheld control? What button is pressed for ‘on’? Sometimes I punch a bunch of buttons and end up with a mess. I did that one time on my own TV, and after the dressing down from my husband, I remain terrified to experiment.

To this day, my own stove intimidates me: bake, convection bake, roast convection, broil, cake, bread, and pizza settings. I’m scared to use any of these settings except for bake. Don’t get me started on the timer, delay start, or turbo boil.

The monster even has a Shabbat setting. Quite a bit of research went into discovering its purpose. While Orthodox Jews are observing the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, they are not permitted to turn off or on electrical appliances. So, the stove overrides the factory preset to turn the device off after twelve hours and stays on until further notice.

How this level of sophistication ended up in La Grange, Texas, is a mystery to me. Basically, it was a scratch and dent with a steep discount, so my husband bought it without consulting me. (Disclaimer: He does most of the cooking these days, but only uses the bake setting.)

I even fly into a panic when confronted with the new-fangled toilets, and can never remember which button to hit for a small load versus a big one. At least if I keep punching, eventually, it all goes down the drain. Oh, what a relief that is!