A smashing idea…

Lately my technology has been going out more than I have.

This month has been a total technology fail for me. Here is the list of things that went out this month alone:

  • My computer at work
  • My printer
  • My monitor
  • My cell phone

Last month my daughter convinced me to upgrade my iPhone 5 at a Black Friday sale. I was hesitant. I hate updates and upgrades. It makes me feel like an idiot. Just when things work perfectly fine, there is another update that I have to spend 3 hours learning. I had the phone over 3 years and just figured out how to use it. Not to mention that it has been almost impossible getting another phone case for my running belt…Knowing my luck, the phone would probably fall out when I am running breaking my new phone and my leg in the process using the old case.

But my phone was starting to glitch out on me. Sometime it would freeze. The worst thing was that I no longer received my WP notifications…Blogging just wasn’t the same without the WP ping. It made me feel like I was writing on paper with a sore inky south paw hand.

On Black Friday, I upgraded to an iPhone 7. I didn’t spend the extra money on the insurance plan for myself, but did for my kids. Seriously, like adults need to worry about cracked screens or smashed phones??

Last week I smashed my new phone.

I was in a hurry like I always am…running late. I grabbed my phone as I ran out the door. My husband was waiting for me in the truck. As I lifted my leg to get into the truck, my phone must have slipped out of my jacket pocket. Once we got to our destination, I couldn’t find my phone. I thought I must have forgotten it at home. It was kind of like a ‘did I turn off the oven’ back burner thought to me. I thought I took it with but second guessed my memory in the rush to get out the door.

I couldn’t find my phone when I got home. Finally my husband found it frozen in the driveway. It looked fine on the outside. I wrapped it in my arms to warm up. But it was too late. It was dead. I took it in to get fixed. Once they opened it up, it was smashed inside.

I had to buy another phone. I also got a new computer, printer, and monitor at work. Now I even have two monitors so I can read your posts when I am sitting half the day on hold at work. I won’t even mention the internet, software, or phone problems at work…just this month. It’s insane!

I spent so much time this month irritated by technology. I even had the opportunity to hear our IT guy swear for hours on end as I sat helplessly watching. What a waste of time!

I want to take all of these items that failed me into a dark room with a baseball bat. I want to bash the monitor…crack my cell phone…smash the computer to bits…and pummel my printer to paper pulp. I might need a padded room. Not for myself! I don’t want to chip the walls.

I can almost hear the glass shatter in my mind. I love the sound of it.

It is so hard to be gentle towards our fragile devices that cause so much rage.

I’ve always had the fantasy of smashing computers…almost like having the car seat burning party I talked about but never had once I was done with all of that.

It sounds like a smashing idea, doesn’t it??

Back to the past

Over Thanksgiving we played the game Loaded Questions. It is a great group get to know each other kind of game. Perfect Christmas gift idea. You’re welcome!

The main object of the game is to ask a question in a category and try to guess who wrote what response. Every player gets a chance to be a judge.

When I was a judge, I asked the question…If you could live in a past time period, when would it be?? Paul said it was taking him awhile to write a response because he was having a hard time spelling his answer..

Here were the answers:

1960’s

1970’s

1970’s

1980’s

1980’s

The Renaissance period (obviously Paul’s answer)

An hour ago so I wouldn’t have to play this lame game (obviously my son)

I found the answers interesting. My mom and Darryl wanted to go back to their teenage/young adult years…but what I really found interesting was that 3 out of 4 teens wanted to live in the time period that I grew up in…I was shocked..

But, but, but, but…there was no internet back then.

The teens said that they didn’t care.

I asked my daughter Angel about it later…Why did you pick that you wanted to live in the time I grew up in??

She had two answers. First, everything today is fake. She said that she knows of an ultra thin uTuber that spent hours posing with an ice cream cone that she never ate. She said that although she is a normal weight that it made her feel fat. Also, people only post good things about their life…which makes her feel like her life is boring or that she is not happy enough. (At this point, I should’ve shared with her about all of the personal posts here on WP but I missed the opportunity to tell her that other people’s lives do suck sometimes).

While we were in conversation, she took my picture with her a couple of times for snapchat. People were sending selfies back with little comments on it. She said I should join. Why would I want to send pictures of myself back and forth to people all day?? I don’t understand.

Second, my daughter said that all of her social contacts are on her phone. I guess that means instead of hanging out with friends in person, they send pictures back and forth all day or play games. She said that putting her phone away for a short time would mean that her social interaction is gone. She talked about a challenge at college that included giving up a phone for one day. Teens become a slave to their phones. Funny thing is…I never see them use their phone as a phone.

This is what it was like growing up in the 80’s…

 

The weekends always held a sense of adventure. After watching the Saturday morning cartoons, the neighborhood kids would ride around on bikes without helmets. Sometimes our chains would fall off or we would fall off our bike miles from home. We had to work together as a team to figure out how to fix problems. No one ever knew where we were.

I really loved the monthly trips into town to go to the library. Sometimes I could read a book a day. I would drool over the new releases that could only be rented for a few days. I couldn’t wait until that book was out on the shelves. I always checked the return pile for coveted books. I loved the silence and the smell of musty old books. Sadly, I haven’t been to a library in years.

It was exciting to hear a new song on the radio. I would listen for hours just to get the chance to pop a cassette tape in and record the song. Of course, I rarely got the whole song on tape. I had a weekly date with America’s Top 40. The weekly countdown was big excitement.

In the evenings, we would go on walks to visit with our grandparents or great aunt and uncle. I think I miss this the most…just walking in as if expected…unannounced visits. People just would stop in and talk for hours. People would drop whatever they were doing and listen. There was never a ‘let me check my schedule’.

We loved playing outside making forts out of wood or in the snow. We were never in a hurry. I loved going to the post office to see if I got a letter in the mail. We would pretend to ‘smoke’ candy cigarettes. We played in the sprinkler and drank water out of the hose. We ate raw cookie dough and ate homemade meals every night. We only had our picture taken on special events. I loved the big poofy hair and the big boxy cars.

We had a computer at home that I learned how to make my name scroll across the screen. It was exciting! Sometimes I would even change the color of my name. I loved to play Donkey Kong. We had an Atari and a VCR. I had a Michael Jackson record player from when he was still black. I spent hours playing with Barbie and Ken. I could spend hours watching a slinky go down the steps. I loved the game of Life. We never heard bad world news, unless things were really bad the adults didn’t tell us.

The strange thing is, although you might say that there was nothing to do, I can’t remember ever being bored.

I would challenge the young folks to spend a weekend without their phone to see what kind of adventures are out there..

What were your favorite memories growing up in pre internet era??

 

 

 

 

Parenting in a different language

I have been following quite a few parenting posts lately and wanted to share my thoughts..

Imagine if your child was born speaking a different language. Perhaps you would feel frustrated that you didn’t understand. In fact, the child you should be teaching ended up teaching you. They made you feel like a complete idiot that you don’t understand. When you do learn a few words, your pronunciation is all wrong.

When I was graduating from college, a new technology came out called the internet. Along with it came something called email. I really didn’t know how to use it, but it really didn’t matter. I would be graduating soon. Maybe it was a fad. I used articles I found online to write papers, but there really wasn’t a way to document the sources. No one really knew how.

This year I asked my kids what a gif was. I showed my husband how to take a selfie.

We get criticized as parents for everything we do. There is no guidance. No one knows. How much time should we allow our children to spend online?? Should there be a limit or will they end up being behind?

The people older than us have no advice to give. We never had to deal with this, they say.

So we stumble along. We have our children teach us how to set up parental controls that they can get around.

We should be watching everything they do online…but we are still living in the 1980’s where we would be mortified if our parents listened in to every phone conversation. Is it really necessary to invade their privacy?

They is a good ten year gap of us parents out there that have never grown up with the internet having to parent children that have never lived without the internet. It is incredibly difficult.

Most of my closest friends aren’t even on Facebook.

I tried to have a conversation with my daughter last night about sexting. Seriously mom, I learned about that in grade school. You are so out of touch.

I thought my parents were out of touch because they didn’t know anything about MTV.

I consider myself having average computer literacy for my age. I can’t keep up.

How am I supposed to be fluent in a language that I don’t speak with my native tongue?

I have hope that the next generation of parents will be so much better than we are. We are doing the best we can, yet are failing miserably. The gap is too wide to cross. We are judged harshly by others that don’t understand our struggle.

Thankfully the next generation of parents will be able to speak the same language.

Journal 5, part 3

It has been a rough week of posts here, hasn’t it?? Here is the funny post that I promised…It is akin to my parents stories of walking uphill to school both ways.

10/10/1990

I am feeling tired today. Last night I watched a movie at my friend’s house. Her mom rented a VCR and we had to take it back to the rental place by 10 PM. We left her house at ten to ten. On the way there, the car broke down. We knocked on a couple doors, but no one answered. We walked back to her house which took almost an hour. By the time I got home, it was 11 PM. That sure didn’t help my cold any..

Young folks, times were hard growing up. Watching a movie wasn’t as easy as perusing Netflix for the perfect show. From this journal entry, I am going to assume that the VCR rental was for my friend’s birthday which was a few days before the journal entry date. We watched Gone with the Wind and Adventures in Babysitting (great old movie BTW). I had no recollection of this event before reading about it…the previous day’s journal entry mentioned the movies that we were going to watch. I vaguely remember walking back to her house on quiet country roads late at night.

You were pretty much screwed if your car broke down in the middle of nowhere at night if no one answered the door. Forget Uber. Of course, sometimes you were screwed if someone answered the door. As a teenage girl, it was creepy going into a stranger’s house to use their rotary phone. It was also creepy allowing strangers into the house to use the phone. I think it is something the kids of today are told not to do…allow strangers in your house or go into a strangers house.. Of course, kids of today don’t need to worry about taking rented VCR’s back or leaving the house without someone having a cell phone.

Even going to the movies was complicated. We had to watch the newspaper for the new listings. Or sometimes we would call on a Friday night to listen to a long automated message stating the new showings. Sometimes the phone was busy.

Remember having to rewind the VHS tape after viewing? That took almost as long as the movie. The rental tapes would be plastered with stickers that said ‘Be kind, rewind’ and other obnoxious things. Then upon returning the movie to the store, the clerk would always pop open the tape case while glaring at you with an eyebrow raised prejudging if you were an evil offender that didn’t rewind. If you were a few minutes late (probably due to rewinding) with the rental drop off, you would be fined a couple bucks.

I can almost imagine the fines my friend received for returning the VCR the next day. Maybe the cops were called. Uh huh, car trouble you say…I bet your dog ate your homework too..

I never had to worry about renting a VCR at our house. We always had at least 10 VCR’s in our house at all times. Unfortunately, none of them worked or they ate tapes. My dad repaired them as a living and was always doing favors for neighbors on the side. People would literally stop by with their junk…broken VCR’s, stereos, TV’s…Discombobulated machines laid on our table and were strewn all over our house for months. My dad was a procrastinator. By the time he fixed the broken machines, the people forgot about them or were on their third one. But he charged them next to nothing.

I wonder how much time we wasted on video tapes?? Almost as much time as we spent waiting by the phone…

How did we ever survive???

 

 

Parenting from my horse and buggy

A few weeks ago, I received a text from another parent regarding my son.

Surprisingly, it was not a late Friday night knock on the door.

She told me that my son was driving 15 mph over the speed limit on the highway with her son in the car. She knew this from an app and suggested that I get the app too.

I decided not to.

When I confronted my son about his driving, he became upset.

His friend got a ride with him to the band concert because his parents didn’t want to attend. No one bothered to show up on his behalf. But they complained about my son’s driving.

My son said that if they have a problem with the way he drives, then maybe they should take their son and be involved in his life.

I don’t want my son to speed on the highway, but I have to agree with him. What good is constant nagging without being an involved parent??

I already have the app that tracks my children. I know where they are at all times.

I have the app that tracks their grades. I know about every missing assignment, every time they were a few minutes late to class, and every bad grade.

Every night could be a nag fest.

Did you turn in that assignment yet??

How is it going to make them responsible for their own lives if they constantly have mom and dad telling them what they need to do?? How can they think for themselves if we already have a solution for every problem??

Sometimes I think parenting was a lot easier when parents didn’t know so much.

I remember bringing my report cards home and the screaming and threatening only lasted a day or two. Sometimes I was even surprised by my grades.

I remember going to the library (where people smoked cigarettes) if I needed answers to questions. Shocking, I know. This comment should almost give my blog an R rating. The librarians had all the answers or knew where to find them, kind of like Siri.

I remember my parents saying that I had it made in my day because a bus picked us up for school. They had to walk uphill both ways to a one room schoolhouse that didn’t have indoor plumbing.

Every generation seems to think that the next generation has it so much easier. But is it really true with this generation?

When I was a kid, I spent my summers riding my bike around town from morning to night. Sometimes the chain fell off or I got a flat tire. Sometimes there was a storm.

I didn’t have a phone to call someone to pick me up. I had to solve my own problems.

I feel like some of that is missing in today’s world.

I wonder when we convinced ourselves that it wasn’t safe for our kids to ride their bikes around all day.

Parents worry about sexual predators, but somehow we convince ourselves that having our kids inside on the internet is safer than riding a bike around town.

To think we didn’t even wear helmets. That would be considered bad parenting today.

Now my kids can’t live without their phones. My daughter called me from her friend’s phone this morning saying that she forgot her phone at home and asked if I could bring it to school for her. I said ‘no’. I told her that I lived my first 18 years without a phone. I’m certain that she could survive for one day.

The kids of today have phone separation anxiety. They are bored or antsy when they have to be without the internet or their phones for more than a few minutes. They run up huge amounts of data on long car rides. They don’t know how to get anywhere because they never look out the window, yet they are lost without their phones.

What kind of life is that?

I think that my kids are wasting their young years watching everyone else live online. But yet they need to stay up to date on technology if they want to have a good career. We’re damned if we do. We’re damned if we don’t. We struggle with them and ourselves over limits.

We don’t know what to do. We can’t relate. We never had this. More often then not, we need our kids help to make technology work. It can be very frustrating.

There is such a huge technology gap between what I know and what my kids know. I would need them to set up the parental controls. Why bother? They are always 10 steps ahead of me. How can I adequately monitor them?

It will be interesting to see how the next generation of parents respond to these issues. I think it will be much easier for them since there won’t be as much of a technology gap between the generations.

Forget helicopter parenting! I feel like I am parenting from my horse and buggy. Meanwhile, my kids are driving the fast snazzy automobile of technology. I can never keep up.

For the first time in history, I think that our children are teaching us more than they are learning from us. This scares me..

 

Surviving the time change

My mom said earlier in the week that the risk of having a stroke or heart attack increases significantly for those 65 and older two days after the time change. My mom said she was planning on having the heart attack and my dad was planning on the stroke. Or maybe it was the other way around. Nevertheless, they survived another time change and it looks like you have too.

Last Sunday, my mom invited my family to her church for a chili meal. Before the meal, we all went to church with her and Matt. We didn’t fit into one pew, so Paul and Alex sat in the pew in front of us. During the prayer time, Matt announced loudly that he needed to use the bathroom. He kept saying it over and over until my mom nodded yes. Then she rolled her eyes and smiled at me. Matt will be Matt. When Matt got back from the bathroom, he sat down next to Paul in the pew ahead of the one that he was previously sitting in. After a few minutes, he looked at Paul and did a double take. He shook his head in shock and disapproval. Then he got up and sat down in his original spot.

After church, we headed to the chili meal. Matt has a special diet, so my mom brought his food to microwave. When she heated up his meal, it blew a fuse and the lights went out along with the power to the slow cookers. Whoops!

I am not crazy about chili. I like the flavor, but it really upsets my stomach sometimes. It didn’t help that on my second spoonful I almost ate some hair that I found in my soup. I did eat it though, albeit rather slowly.

Then we went back to my parents house. My dad was sitting on the couch in his shirt and underwear. He had a blanket slightly draped over his legs. Remember earlier when I said that I don’t embarrass easily? I just had to find a guy that would be able to tolerate my eccentric family. Of course, I was expected to return the favor.

My dad is a hard core pessimist. His common words of wisdom are shit happens and life’s a bitch then you die. Paul’s mom is a hard core optimist. She told the kids that when she retired she would buy them a swimming pool and spend time with them. It doesn’t seem to matter if the cup is half empty or not, neither one of them lives in reality.

My dad does have a few redeeming traits though. He has a great sense of humor which is one of the few traits that he seemed to pass down to me.

My dad was complaining about having a virus on his new laptop. Apparently he received an email from a deceased friend. He had to click on it to see what kind of message was being sent over from the dead. Then my mom clicked on the email too. I said that she probably didn’t even know that the guy was dead. She didn’t.

We spent a lot of time laughing at my dad’s story of his computer virus. He gets so worked up about technology issues. He even called the anti-virus software. They told him that he probably had a virus. He over the top thanked them for being so helpful. We briefly talked about getting together to smash our computers with bats. Now wouldn’t that be a smashing party??

They may have gotten a virus, but at least they survived the time change.

Just one of those days

It’s been one of those days. It started with an argument with my husband, well more of a disagreement. Over what? Making plans for next summer. It has started before the calendar has even been turned to 2016. Next summer is getting booked up. What about this date? You know it is my mother’s birthday. Maybe she wants to go along? Well, don’t forget that is when the school usually has their summer school musical theater show. And when do you think we will need to move our daughter into college?? Yadda, yadda, yadda. Oh my, we surely don’t want to start double booking summer events already. Summer is short and the list of things to do is long. I have an idea, maybe we should plan summers 2 years in advance. Geez.

Then I decided to go for a 12 mile run before work. It went pretty good except now I am tired and every part of my body feels sore. Yes, even my toenails. Yes, even my hair. My stomach has been upset all day. I just don’t feel well.

I got to work and the internet and phone lines were down for hours even though our provider said that our service would be disrupted for about 20 minutes. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting around doing nothing when you have work to do. Except paying someone to sit around doing nothing. I decided to send our employee home to work out of the house after she came in this afternoon. I also went home. When I got home, I received the great news that everything was up and running again. Then the calls started pouring in from clients asking why things were taking so long.

Maybe I should just go back to bed! But I can’t. I volunteered to sing for the Advent service tonight.┬áSome days I feel as gloomy as the empty grey days. Blah. It’s just one of those days.

Does anybody know what time it is?

Every time I think about the clocks in my house, the Chicago tune ‘Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is’ pops into my head.

“Does anybody really know what time it is

I don’t

Does anybody really care

About time”

Time after time, I start my day off on the wrong foot. The clock on the left is in my living room. This is the clock that I rely on to get the kids on the bus in the morning and it is the clock that tells me when I should go to bed at night. I am not sure how a digital clock loses time, but this one does. After a month, the clock loses 10 minutes. You would think that 10 minutes really wouldn’t matter, right? Have you ever had a kid miss the bus? Not something that you would want to watch. Or have you ever had to deal with me when I don’t get exactly 8 hours of sleep? Don’t wind me up.

The “clock” in the middle is my iPhone and it is always right, just like me. Okay, okay the clock is always right and I always write. Wrong right. Sorry.. Time to switch gears.

The “clock” on the right is my iPad. It has never been right (except in this picture). I think that it was probably designed for a procrastinator. The strange thing is that if I publish a blog on the iPad, it won’t actually publish until 12 minutes later because it seems to be confused about the time. Has anyone ever heard of an iPad with the incorrect time?? People just give me a strange┬áconfused look if I tell them my iPad is off. I can tell they are thinking that I am a little bit off. It ticks me off a little, but not to the point where I want to clock someone.

Post modern parenting

Last week I had the opportunity to go a really nice indoor waterpark in WI Dells, the waterpark capital of the world. Why the supposed waterpark capital of the world is in a cold climate is beyond me. They only keep the outdoor parks open 3 months of the year. I absolutely love waterparks so I decided to tag along with my husband while he went to a conference. The first body slide I went down, I banged, bruised, and scraped up my elbow. By the end of the day I had a matching bruise on my other elbow and another on my back. Seems like I can no longer have fun without somehow hurting myself.

That day I ate lunch by myself at the waterpark. By MYSELF! That hasn’t happened since at least 1994. It gave me time to people watch, one of those hobbies that I don’t seem to have time for anymore. As I was waiting for my lunch alone at the table, I became surrounded by babies. There were strollers everywhere. I had to go through a maze to get back to my table with my food. As I watched the young parents, I noticed something. As soon as the babies fussed at all, the parents handed over iphones to pacify the infants. The babies watched music videos of some sort. It didn’t sound like baby music, but had more of a dance beat. Gone were all of the ridiculous toys to pacify babies like the plastic keys that I used to use. Gone also was the parental entertaining of infants. Gone was the opportunity to ask the babies how to set up parental controls for my teens.

What is going to happen to these device pacified babies? Will they be texting and getting their own phones at 3? Carpal tunnel at 4?  I remember being told that it was bad parenting to have your infants and toddlers watch TV or movies. What about cell phones, ipads, and/or kindles as babysitters? Who knows? When my kids were little I would have given anything to sleep to 8 AM. I was thankful if I could get a shower in. I wasn’t going to get up at 4:30 in the morning to take my shower before they got up. During the day, I would sometimes pop in a movie and take a shower with the door slightly ajar. That didn’t keep one from escaping. Little Arabella when she was around 2 took off for the road while I was in the shower. I remember running down the driveway after her wrapped in a towel with soap in my hair screaming at her to stop. Those were the crazy days of parenting. Now I wake up at 6 AM regardless of how late I stay up. I would give anything to go to bed by 10PM, but have to wait for my teens to get home. Oh, how parenting changes. Pity the poor parents with babies and teens. Do you actually sleep?

As I was sitting at the waterpark eating, writing blogs in my mind, and reflecting on the life cycle of parenting, I was also scrolling though facebook. That is when I found out from a post by Paul’s cousin that my mother-in-law was in the hospital. It is always great to find out things through social media, isn’t it? Especially when my husband was in meeting and I had no way of contacting him. I certainly was NOT going to wander around the conference hall sobbing and sopping wet in my swimming suit blubbering around with waterpark bruises all over my body.

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. It is great to be able to be in contact with anyone anywhere. But you can never truly get away from life’s problems and busyness unless you put your phone away. I long for the solitude of a phoneless weekend. Someday I will do that, until then my phone is two inches away still waiting for test results for Paul’s mom. We are hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.