Thursday, January 19, 2012

Emergency Alert System

An open letter to the PA Emergency Alert System
(in jest, of course... with just an edge of pissed off mama!)

To whomever decided that the monthly Emergency Alert System test needed to go off during the time at which the toddler/preschooler educatational programs are running on PBS...  Thank you.  Truly.  Without your expert timing, I might not have to break promises to my 2 year olds!  Does it ever occur to folks that kids dont want TV every second of every day and therefore, when their daily dose of Super Why is disturbed, it is heartbreaking for them?

Don't get me wrong, person-responsible & in charge (PRIC for short).  I get that we need EAS.  And, when it goes off monthly- every single time (it seems) my kids are ready to put their hands in and transform with the Super Readers to solve the super story answer, I explain to them that it's just a minute... that we can still transform and be ready when the Super Readers return... that we can still solve the mystery.  And I even give a primer on why we need EAS (not that they get it any more than I did when I was 2 years old).  Does it piss me off, PRIC?  Yes it does, but I deal.  Because it is a community service that is needed (even though most people I know have emergency alerts set to go to their mobile phones these days!).

So imagine my surprise when, once again, we are ready to transform, and the EAS doesnt just run for the minute of beeping...  But then it switches to some infomercial about arthritis supplements.  AND DOESNT GO BACK TO PBS.  We waited for a bit.  I even tried turning the cable off/on.  But no.  Informercial.  Eventually, I turned it off and apologized, and tried to distract the kids to something else.

Why is this a big deal? Why am I more ticked off about this, PRIC, than just another average day?  Let me tell you why...  My kids dont watch a lot of TV.  Normally, this is when they watch Super Why, but this morning, they were watching the earlier showing so I could make breakfast.  When I turned it off (just prior to transformation), I said those special Mama words "I PROMISE YOU CAN WATCH IT AT 9am.  LET'S HAVE BREAKFAST."  So, they fulfilled their part of eating breakfast and not worrying that they were missing Super Why...  And, at 9am, I turned PBS on... And they were excited... And then, PRIC, you decided to run the monthly AES.  I was irritated, but it was okay.

Until someone got lazy and made it so that, once the test was over, an infomercial ran... On the EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM.  So that NO ONE could change channels or get back to their regularly scheduled programming... like PBS.

So, thank you, PRIC.  Thanks for my peanuts crying because they couldnt transform into Super Readers to help Whyatt solve the super story answer.  Thanks for making it a fairly TV free morning, not by choice but because I dont let my toddlers watch fake doctors hawking their fake treatments for real ailments.  Thanks for screwing up what's normally a happy, education-filled half hour with the favorite characters of my kids current imagination.  Thanks for screwing up a brand new episode of Super Why!  I appreciate it.  WE appreciate it.  Really.

Perhaps the next time you run the emergency alert, you could do it at 6am?  Or how about 11pm?  You know, when toddlers and preschoolers arent normally watching TV?  I mean, I'm just saying... Especially if it isnt a real emergency and all...


Mom of SadToddlers
(whose also ticked that you ruined her recording of a new Super Why)

UPDATE @ 11:46am:  Thank you to Comcast for finally figuring out the problem (apparently the EAS froze certain people to whatever they were watching post-the test) and working quickly to fix it!  We will be taking the old "new" episode from another PBS station tomorrow!  Crisis averted!!!  (although I had to call several state employees who didnt answer their phone, had emails bounce back for "security reasons", and finally had the lovely lady at Comcast handle all of it for me... No wonder people get ticked off trying to call govt offices!)


Debbie said...

I noticed that at the end you were recording the show. Maybe you could get some DVDs so this wouldn't be an issue. I can't imagine that they are very costly. I know it would exceed your normal TV viewing time, but why not start anew show from the beginning so they can solve the puzzle? I, too, get irritated when I am watching a show and it gets interrupted 10 minutes from the end to tell me that the update is there is not update on said "breaking news". Clearly, I can control my emotions better than a 2 YO tho.

Michele said...

They are a bit too much, since you buy them by the episode. We DVR them and then delete as the year goes on. But when EAS is on, you cant access DVR. And, since they still havent woken up, it is still screwing up the tv- hours later! LOL... As long as Super Why is back for tomorrow, the peanuts should be happy!