Saturday, January 23, 2010

Technologically (il) Literate

As a mom of three teens, I’ve relied upon them for most of my computer explaining needs. I often call them my personal “Video (Try my Product) Professors”. However, they are no longer amused, & have decided to throw me to the proverbial wolves. In fact, my daughter Aubrie said, “Mom, you have to learn this some time. We’re not always going to be around to fix everything for you.” Hmm. Why does that sound eerily familiar?

This has sent me on a journey to become technologically savvy, which is likely akin to the quest for the Holy Grail. I know it exists, I just doubt that I’ll ever attain it. Let me illustrate – with the help of my equally computer challenged friend, Michele.

We were working on a “care calendar”, which is an online organizer for people who are providing needs for the sick. The two of us were entering information like pros, & were quite pleased with ourselves. Then, I hit something on the computer & the stupid thing wouldn’t let us enter anymore information, no matter what we did. So dumb & dumber began hitting every key on the keyboard, trying to undo whatever I’d done. We must have looked like chimps as we poked at the keys, scratched our heads & screeched questions to each other. This went on for 15 minutes, until we knew we’d never figure out what I’d done. Defeated, we knew what we had to do.

Almost in unison, we hollered, “ELYSE”! Elyse is my teen daughter who was lounging (hiding) in the other room. After several attempts to get her to come, she finally accepted her fate & answered the summons. We started asking questions at the same time, however, we weren’t saying the same thing. Elyse had to shout, “Mom, Michele – one crazy at a time”. Then she rolled her eyes, sighed (heavily & audibly) & steeled herself to face her fate.

To be fair, you almost have to feel sorry for Elyse. She walked into the world of two twits, who have no earthly clue how technology works. We understand just enough to get by - & get us in trouble. Ask me about my attempt to purchase medicine online sometime. Let’s just say there is a Mexican pharmacy with my photo on the wall, & underneath is written “mujer blanca estupida” (stupid white lady).

Elyse, God bless her, immediately diagnosed our problem (although I can’t remember, or understand, what it was). And that’s when I said, “While you’re here . . . .”

I’d given Michele my old digital camera to use until she gets a new one. Silly girl, she started asking me how to use it. I pointed out that the reason I had to get a new one was BECAUSE I didn’t know how to use the one she had in her hand. The new one I’d been given was supposed to be moron proof. And that’s how Elyse was drawn even further into our little world of “crazy”. Here’s a sample of our sparkling conversation:

Michele: “What’s this do?”
Elyse: “It turns it on. Oh, & the one next to it takes the picture. Don’t do what Mom always did. She thought she was taking pictures, but she kept turning it off.”
Michele: “How do I plug this doohickey into the computer?”
Elyse: “Do you know what a memory card is?”
Me: “I tried to find it to give to her, but I don’t know where it got to.”

At this point, Elyse retrieved my new camera, pulled out the memory card & held it up.

Elyse: “Mommy, this is the reason you couldn’t find the card. Michele, you have to get one of these if you want to use the camera. Then, you take the card out & plug it in here. To get one, just go to electronics & show them the camera, point to here, & ask for what goes in there. You won’t even have to remember what it’s called. They’ll know just what to give you. Then, when you leave, they’re going to laugh at you.”

Michele: “What’s this round thing do?”
Elyse: “That’s the menu navigation. Don’t touch it. Everytime Mom did, she would end up doing something, get confused, claimed that she didn’t do anything, that it was the stupid camera’s fault, & whined until I’d fix it. If you touch it on accident, don’t do anything; just go get Alex (Michele’s teen son).”

The conversation went on for quite a while, but you get the general idea. By the time Elyse was through, she left the room muttering, “I can’t believe there’re two of them – and they FOUND each other!”

We finally got the calendar filled, two hours later. It wasn’t because the calendar was hard to work; it wasn’t. But in Lucy & Ethel’s world, finding the right button to turn the computer on can be a challenge.

On the bright side, our teens can still be roped into helping. In the future, however, we may be forced to actually, “try my product”.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How Many Kells Girls Does It Take to Put Gas in a Jeep?

By way of explanation, I’m currently battling breast cancer. This is a cross over story from that blog, The Brunette Lucy vs. Breast Cancer - & Cancer Can Suck It. Before starting chemo, we found out that I’m extremely anemic. Therefore, I needed to have iron infusions. This is the story of what happened when my daughter, Elyse, drove me.

It was the morning we were to report for my first infusion, & Elyse was driving me in the Jeep. We knew we needed gas, but we figured we could wait until after my appointment. However, when on an incline, it looked as if we were going to run out before we even got out of town. We made the decision to get gas – something we should have known would end in disaster.

You see, even though Kells girls are very self sufficient, we are also spoiled by the Kells men. I can’t remember the last time I put gas in my car. Truth be told, I don’t know what half the stuff in my car does (see “I’m Too Stupid for my Car”). I just figured that since the girls got their licenses, Matt taught them how to pump their own. Instead, their brother, Dakota, has been doing it for them all this time. Imagine my surprise when I realized that between the two of us, I was the one with the most gas pumping experience – from 25 years ago before I married Matt.

Elyse pulled into the gas station, and then quickly realized that she had no idea which side of the car the gas tank was on. Looking out the door, we saw that it was on the driver’s side. Now, Elyse is very good at driving, however, after trying to figure out which side of the car we needed to pull up to, was a bit distracted. She narrowly missed hitting the tanks. Backing up, she managed to get it in place; but it was a very, very tight fit.

She got out, & I handed her the gas card. I was sitting in the warmth of the Jeep, when I noticed that she was standing there staring at the pump with my card in her hand. I knew help was necessary – MY help, though, not so much. I’m the mom, darn it, so it was up to me. Together we stood there & read the instructions on using the credit card. She finally ventured putting it in, & we were happy to see that instructions began to scroll across the screen. Elyse got the nozzle out, & we turned to open the little gas door. She pulled, nothing happened. I pulled, nothing happened. Back & forth, dumb & dumber stood there pulling at the little door. THEN, Elyse remembered – there’s a lever in the car that we needed to push that would automatically open the stubborn tank door. She made quick work of unscrewing the doohickey, & put the nozzle in. Sadly, no gas was coming out. She squeezed, I squeezed, she squeezed again, & so did I. I looked at her & asked if we didn’t just do this dance. We stood there with our mouths agape, staring at the nozzle.

Finally, a Good Samaritan, who’d apparently been quite amused watching this little display, came over. Here, we’d forgotten to turn the little lever thing down on the gas pump. He smiled, showed us what we were doing wrong, and then thought better of it. He pumped it for us, showed us how to get the card out of the machine & sent us on our way. We couldn’t help but notice as we looked in the rear view mirrors that both he & several other patrons at the gas station were laughing their butts off.

We didn’t care, though! We had gas in the Jeep, & we were on our way. Late; but on our way. And if we ever need to put gas in the Jeep again, we know just what to do. Ask for help & forget about trying to do it ourselves. Saves time.

Hey, we may be dumb, but we learn fast.

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.