I’ve made a small investment in a simple piece of hardware that I hope will keep me from having to perform the classic “frustrated dad maneuver” this weekend – that is, threatening to pull the car over and making the kids walk.
It’s an inexpensive USB car charger.
For 14 bucks, I have a device in hand that will a) keep everyone’s electronics happily humming along and b) distract the kids from bickering for the duration of our quick trip to Atlantic City.
I ran across this potentially life-changing device in the electronics store.
I made our daughter accompany me there against her will this week. She turns 13 this month and is true to form. The last thing she wants is to be seen in public with me, but I thought ahead and offered a bribe.
After embarrassing her by just being present while she got her back-to-school haircut, I floated the promise of ice cream if she’d indulge me before returning home. She’ll do anything for ice cream, even temporarily forgetting that I should only exist when she needs money … for more ice cream.
When we got to the store, I quickly discovered the leap chargers have made since the last time I was in the market for one. Their potential to keep the peace didn’t escape me, either. I snapped up one with two USB ports.
I’m probably coming late to the whole USB car charger thing, but I have an excuse. It’s been several years since I’ve had to buy a charger. I haven’t had to think about one because my wheels are iPhone ready – meaning I can plug my phone into the car’s system and play it through the stereo while it charges.
But I don’t have an iPhone, anymore. I got a new Android this week, and it doesn’t play nice with my car. It’s rendered its iPhone capabilities almost useless.
However, my new charger fixes that. It taps into my car’s juice in the usual way, through the cigarette lighter. And while it works exactly like the chargers I’m used to, it effectively expands by threefold my vehicle’s ability to keep electronic devices ready-to-go. But the real pay-off is its potential to keep our kids from coming to blows over whose turn it is to replenish their batteries.
The kids each have their own port. My daughter can charge her phone and her Kindle on one while her older brother takes the other for not only his phone, but his video game systems. Since my wife still has an iPhone, she can use my car’s iPhone plug.
That just leaves me.
If you’re keeping score at home, it looks like I’m the odd man out.
Despite having the USB charger, I’m still one plug short. It gives me three, but four people are cramming into my car for the trip to Atlantic City.
I could make one of the kids share time with me, but that would just stir up the kind of trouble I’m trying to avoid.
The last thing I want is to be kicked out of my own car.