Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009: A Technology Oddity

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Frankly, it gives me a massive headache.

I admit I am a bit technologically-challenged. I got a new cell phone last fall and it still takes me two minutes to find a picture on it. My son and daughter can do this in less than ten seconds. I don't know how to download a photo on the computer. I did a happy dance when I figured out how to use the DVR function on the television.

My real challenge is when something malfunctions. I have a printer that I use to print out photos for scrapbooking. Suddenly, every photo it spits out looks like there is a two-year-old inside it filling in lines with a set of basic-color crayons.

I have run an ink flow check. I have run a paper check. I have run a check on the program settings. I have run an FBI background check. My photos are still coming out looking like a page from a Dr. Suess book.

I have spent probably three hours online with the Epson troubleshooting website. I have wasted numerous sheets of paper, loads of ink, and hours of time.

Perhaps it is time to move on to the next diagnostic step:

1. Disconnect power cord
2. Disconnect printer cable from computer
3. Chuck printer out of window into path of an oncoming semi-truck

I am starting to miss the days when I dropped off a roll of film at the drug store and it magically appeared as pictures a few days later. Perhaps many would accuse me of living in the "stone age" for not enthusiastically embracing technology. Frankly, I would rather wrestle a sabre-tooth tiger with nothing but a wooden club to defend myself than spend one more minute psychoanalyzing a photo printer.

Gotta go. I hear a semi-truck approaching.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Let a Sleeping Bear of a Husband Lie

I made a huge mistake last night--I woke my husband out of a dead sleep.

Cliff has always been a very solid sleeper and has never been pleasant to wake up. I found that if it is necessary to wake him, it is best to just poke him with a 20-foot pole and run like the dickens out of the room.

Last night when I got home from my exercise class, he was parked right in front of the garage, completely blocking it. Since I could not get my vehicle in, I thought I should ask if he was starting a project and did not want me parking in the garage tonight.

When I got in the house, he was sound asleep. Since I did not have a 20 foot pole nearby, I had to wake him by calling his name several times (from a safe distance, of course).

He was actually in a pretty fair mood when he woke up and said he was planning to clean out his company van but fell asleep on the couch. Because it was already 8:30, he indicated he would move his van and pull mine into the garage.

I figured I had gotten off easy until I walked back into the room five minutes later. Cliff was once again sprawled on the couch fast asleep.

Not wanting to push my luck, I decided to let him sleep and handle the situation myself. I picked up his coat to look for his keys. He immediately jumped off the sofa, told me I was impatient and used some words I cannot repeat in this blog.

Was I upset? Of course. Is it worth dwelling on? Probably not. I know how he is when he wakes up from a dead sleep, and he probably does not even remember the entire incident.

The next time, I will definitely let a sleeping bear lie. And if he yells at me the next day for touching his stuff, I will not get angry. I will simply let the air out of one his tires. (Kidding--maybe.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From Baby Steps to Stepping Out

My 14-year old daughter reached a milestone last weekend--she attended her first formal dance in high school. As excited as I was for her, it left me pondering that question that all parents ask: How is time passing so quickly?

It seems like yesterday Shannon was playing dress-up to look like a princess. Today, she is looking like a princess stepping out to a ball.

It is funny how life occurs in circular patterns. Mothers of little girls love to dress them up in frills and bows. When our daughters reach the tween years, they would rather go out dressed in a potato sack than be seen in anything with ruffles and lace. Now we are once again shopping for beautiful dresses.

With her emerald green satin and sequined dress, wearing a pair of high heels and with her hair swept up on top of her head, Shannon looked so grown up it was frightening. Of course, five minutes later she is making a smart comment to her brother and rolling her eyes at something I said. Some things just don't change that quickly.

But I know this is a glance at what is to come. She is becoming a young woman preparing to step out on her own in a few years. Cinderella entering into her carriage to be carried away into the world.

For now, however, she had better be home before midnight or she will have much bigger problems than her carriage turning into a pumpkin.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teachable Moments

All of our children experience difficult moments and situtations from which we will not always be there to rescue them. The best we can hope for is to turn these moments into an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson.

Recently, my son was spending time at the home of a friend. This particular friend had several other boys there that my son does not really know. Sadly, these boys felt it necessary to exclude and make fun of him. And unfortnately, my son's friend decided to join in.

This of course led not only to hurt feelings, but also to a minor scuffle. My son left feeling very angry, upset and ready to let a long friendship go.

While discussing these events with Sean, I asked why he had not come to either me or the boys' parents for help. He said he wanted to handle it himself and thought that the bullying would only get worse if he involved adults. He was probably right.

I told him he had every right to be angry and never speak to this friend again. However, I thought a better approach would be to give his friend an opportunity to make things right. He could do this by contacting him and explaining how hurt he was that someone he thought was a good buddy would turn against him.

Next I asked Sean a very important question: What would you have done if the situation were reversed? If you had several boys over and they decided to gang up on your friend, what would you do? Without hesitation, Sean replied," I would tell them to stop. He is my friend and that is not cool."

Finally, I asked him to remember at that moment how it felt to be picked on. I want him to never forget those feelings of being left out and belittled when he sees it happening to another child.

It is up to him now whether the friendship continues or not. But I am hoping the lessons learned will last a lifetime.