Technically Superior Children of Today

cavemanLet’s face it. We are raising a generation of high-tech savvy children than make us look like cavemen banging rocks together. I consider myself pretty geeky when it comes to electronics, but the kids pick it up as naturally as holding a fork.

My son wasn’t even two when he first began using a computer. Easily navigating his educational game with the mouse while I cooked dinner, his only limitation seemed to be his size. He fell off the computer chair and busted his lip. Now almost 17, he can host his own server for online games and other technical marvels I can only admire in wonder.

mixing boardMy thirteen year old musician’s room houses a massive collection of electronic wires running from various instruments through an amp or mixing board and into the computer where she creates her own songs. Clipping, adding effects, and mixing sounds are simple to her.

Then there is my little six year old who has advanced skills when it comes to the workings of my iPhone. She enjoys recording audio clips on it in the car (I didn’t know it did that), and more than once I have come to her for advice.

My house is bursting with knowledge of all things electronic.

This is why it’s so hard for me to understand why it is the simple things that leave them staring blankly…

open bread bag with twistie tie

How does this thing work? Where is the plug?

The twisty tie on the bread bag is apparently complicated. I feel so smart that I know how to use it.

Driver Error or Plain Bad Luck?

car towIs there anything more frustrating than car troubles?

This morning I bid my car farewell as it began its short journey to the dealership for repair. It was my first experience having a car towed. Other than the good-looking tow truck driver, it wasn’t as exciting as I imagined.

Last night the girls and I piled in the car to attend my son’s orchestra concert, and when I turned the key I got a frying electronic sound, a spark, and no engine coming on. Two more attempts produced the same results.

These things only happen:

  1. After car places are closed for the night.
  2. When I have a packed schedule of places to be.

I Need A Rental Car

Patiently waiting in line, turns out I was behind the area manager for Starbucks. After mentioning my addiction to that place, I informed him that I own at least 2 chairs at my local shop.

Taking pity on me (I guess because of my addiction issue), the Enterprise rental manager gave me a free upgrade to an SUV. Sweet! Happy to have access to a car again, I headed off to run a few errands.

Noob Driver Alert

Immediately I noticed the engine was revving up to 6 RPM before struggling to shift to the next gear. Since I wasn’t driving a race car, I thought that was kind of odd and considered turning around. Instead I went to the grocery store and took the dog to the groomers.

An hour later I was convinced there was something seriously wrong with the transmission, so I returned to the rental office.

“I think something is wrong with the car,” I stated while handing back the keys.

With all the gentleness of a Kindergarten teacher, he replied “You might be driving it wrong.”

“Really?” How could I be driving it wrong? I have over 25 years of driving experience under my belt.

At his request, I got in the car and put it in drive.

“You are in manual mode.”

“What? Manual?”

I learned to drive using a stick shift and drove one for about 10 years. Arriving at the DMV as a teen, I found the instructor bewildered because no one ever shows up in a manual for their license test. Needless to say I only had to drive half the course before he stamped “PASS” on my file.

manual automatic driveTurns out some new cars have a manual mode. I was in first gear…all morning long…about 25 miles worth of errands. Nicccceeeee. I felt sooooo stupid.

See the +/- on the left. That’s the manual section.

This is a public service announcement. If this saves one experienced driver from feeling like they are 16 again, my job is done.

I’m trying to understand when you would want to be in manual mode unless you live in the Rocky Mountain area.

Grabbing my shades, I’m off to test out manual mode and rev up the engine in my cool sports car. Can’t you just see this soccer mom car peeling away at a light?
kia suv

P.S. I’m taking applications for a best friend who is also a mechanic. This is due to the fact that dealership called to tell me my car arrived safely…and started right up.

Am I the only one that didn’t know about this?

My Bucket List and Life With Rosie

Rodie and me

Rosie and I relaxing since the floor is clean.
Good times.

A month ago I watched the movie The Bucket List. Not having a clue as to what I want to accomplish in life, I still felt a burning urge to create one.

Jumping right on that task four weeks later, I present:

My Bucket List:

  1. Own the Jetson’s Rosie the Robot.
  2. Go to Paris again – my favorite city.
  3. See my kids graduate from college.
  4. See my kids happily married with kids.
  5. Put the sheet on the bed the correct direction the first time.
  6. Visit the pyramids.
  7. Get fired by Trump in the board room.
  8. See my bathroom counter toothpaste-goo-free for more than 1 hour.
  9. Have a good hair day.
  10. Find the scissors in the drawer where they belong.
  11. Win something. Anything! I’m not picky. The free toothbrush in the dentist goodie bag doesn’t count.
  12. Getting the prime parking space at the mall in front of Barnes & Noble.
  13. Have lunch with Larry David, Wanda Sykes, Will Ferrell and Jerry Seinfeld.
  14. Becoming Mayor of Walmart.
  15. See the night sky with all the stars like I remember seeing as a kid before giant city lights.
  16. And last but not least…

  17. Know someone with a fire truck.

OH YEAH! I get to cross off the last goal with minimal effort thanks to Telling Dad and his purchase of a fire truck! Thanks Greg!

Waiting for Rosie

For 30+ years I’ve been impatiently awaiting the Jetson-like future where kids fly to school in a personal saucer and dinner magically appears from a hole in the wall. The drive-thru window is as close as it gets.

No Rosie? Well the next best thing is iRobot.

Vacuum cleaners have a life expectancy of six months in my house due to:

The shedding dog that is living forever just to spite me.

dog

Don't be fooled. This IS his idea of being active - sitting upright. Don't strain yourself.



Constant small child disasters
messy room

Toddler Richter scale: 10 Catastrophic.
Little one (then 2) dumped the entire contents of her room onto the floor in fifteen minutes while I clueslessly cooked dinner just 10 feet away.

I’m certain that investing in a vacuum worth more than $50 is the answer.

My only concern is Rosie’s being able to move around the stuff on the floor.

roomba obstacles

Navigating the Sea of Crap, Rosie’s durability and maneuverability will be tested at Olympian levels.

Warned to allow three hours for sitting and watching it in amazement, I look forward to Rosie joining our family. By the looks of her face, I’m guessing she feels the same.

Happy Rosie

Happy Rosie...I think.

What Am I Missing on the List?

EMP! All Electronics Are Down!

Grounding your child isn’t what it used to be.

When I was grounded to my room, I had an old shortwave radio and record player to keep myself amused. True torture as I would rather be roaming the neighborhood on my bike.

Today your child WANTS to be in his room. So what is a parent to do?

We are a high tech loving family, so now when my children are grounded it sets off a fifteen minute treasure hunt of confiscating all electronic devices:

The Phones confiscated – CHECK

phones

The iPods – CHECK

Laptops – CHECK

Phhhhew…I’m exhausted. A large pile of equipment now clutters up my dresser where I can keep a watch on it while I work.

Bring in the EMP Personal Grounding Device

In Call of Duty MW2 the best killstreak reward is the EMP. I want a personal version – smaller than the one used in Ocean’s Eleven [link to clip] because:

  • I can’t carry that thing!
  • I have nowhere to keep it – my closet is full
  • My Home Owners Association would not look kindly at knocking out the entire neighborhood.

I need a handheld version that covers one room’s worth so only the child in trouble is affected. Then I simply walk in and shout “EMP!! Electronics are DOWN!!”

I will emulate this voice – it has to be in this urgent tone

The only electronic I don’t need to confiscate?

The alarm clock. It doesn’t work for them so why bother.

Grounding was so much easier when we were little wasn’t it?

Skype Meet Microsoft’s Phoney

Don’t we all know what is coming with Microsoft’s purchase of Skype?

Meet Clippy’s obnoxious cousin, Phoney, who likes to spew out unwanted advice.

skyping Mom
*Credit for part of this quote came from my brilliant cousin Brian!

skype ignore mom

skype late night call

skype call to girl

Sigh…

What would Phoney say to you?

Virtual Earplugs Have Their Downsides

Living in a house with three loud children who don’t understand the concept of an “inside voice” or volume buttons on electronics, I have managed to perfect my noise cancellation skills with virtual earplugs. This enables me to concentrate on reading a book while Lady Gaga blasts from one door, game sounds burst from another, and little one sings to Dora at the top of her lungs.

Tuning out the world has become my specialty.

If only I could sell this invisible technology!

Today I realized that can actually be a bad thing when I had a mishap in the grocery store parking lot.

Loading groceries into the car, I was daydreaming about cooking a real meal tonight.

People keep finding my blog by searching "dangers of ketchup" so I made sure I included a bottle just for them. Welcome! This probably isn't what you were looking for. I am, however, curious why it is dangerous other than dropping a bottle on your toe. I have no idea why I'm buying a letter t.


All of the sudden I heard a car alarm

Complicated gadget.

I hit the lock and then the unlock button on my keys thinking it was me. The alarm continued. Complicated coding and computer work doesn’t phase me, but hand me a simple device like a car remote, and I’m all flustered.

I looked over and saw another car flashing and beeping. Phew! It’s not me.

It was really, really, really loud! O.K. Now where is that Mounds bar I got...

An elderly woman was in the car next to mine waiting for someone. Upset at all the noise, she gave me a hateful look, so I returned it with a “it’s not me” and continued loading the car.

La dee da da....taking my sweet time returning the cart.

Turning to walk back to my car, I suddenly realized the alarm was still blaring. See virtual earplugs totally ROCK!

The owner of the other car was standing there staring at me with the internationally recognizable facial expression “Don’t you know it is YOU?!!??”

Oh!

How do I turn this thing off??!! *fumbles with keys*

Oopsy!

When I unknowingly hit the alarm button on my car, a chain reaction was set off that could have possibly altered the future of mankind…or it just caused the other lady to think it was her, causing her to set her alarm off, making it a deafening two car alarm blast, and annoying the elderly lady next to me.

Total time to figure out it WAS me? At least four minutes.

*Shrugs* Virtual earplugs don’t come with volume controls.

Please Take A Number

now servingFor quite awhile I’ve been threatening to install one of those deli take-a-number machines. The kids would be required to take a number and wait in line.

This desperate attempt at order is the result of years of experiencing everyone rushing at me at the same time for help. Football padding would be nice.

Conspiracy Theory…I have one for everything in case you didn’t notice

I’m convinced that my house is wired with electronic surveillance equipment that knows if I sit down on the couch. If I am seated for more than one minute on the couch, an electronic notification system is activated causing red lights to blink in the kids’ rooms.

Whooot Whooooot! the alarm sounds…“Mom is trying to relax. Code Red! Code Red!”

It’s like the emergency red phone in the White House, and the troops fly out of their rooms with a pre-selected “emergency” from their “Activities to Keep Mom Busy” handbook. I’m still searching the couches for the sensor.

The Solution

The iPhone app called “Now Serving” turns your iPhone into a digital counter display. At first I thought this was my most brilliant $0.99 purchase EVER. Each child was assigned a number 1-3 based on birth order. YES I can keep that straight if you were questioning it. Alas…I’m number 4. Since each kid only knows his number, they will think I’m busy when it shows “Now Serving 4” when I am actually attempting to sneak into my room for a power nap. I’m optimistic.

The Test

As I am writing this, I’m conducting complicated app testing. Each child has walked by and curiously inquired about the digital display. After explaining the procedure I altered the “Now Serving” number as each child got a turn to talk. Then a miracle happened. For the first time in her 5 years, a screaming overtired little girl saw it wasn’t her number, and patiently sat and waited for her turn. For ten minutes everyone waited for their number to speak. It was peaceful! Wonderful! I could actually hear everyone.

Ten minutes later…

Little one said Sissy was wasting her turn by not talking, Sissy argued that her number is 8 because it is lucky, they all tried to change the number on the display to theirs, and I got tackled.

I turned the number to four and walked away. Mom wins!…for about a minute. I’ve got to find that sensor!

The ringing in my head

phone

If you call my home phone, you are going to get voice mail. The house phone has become an ancient relic due to everyone using their cell phones. I’m seriously leaning toward getting rid of it because:

  • 95% of the calls are telemarketers
  • Usually the handsets are dead and lost in the couch

Incoming messages

This is the voice mail message I wish I could create:

I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m busy unstopping a toilet for the 3rd time today and my dog just threw up.

If you are a telemarketer, I appreciate your dedication to the job as you have been attempting to contact me 4 times a day for the last six months, but can’t you take a hint? I have caller ID and will never pick up the phone. Don’t make me answer it and hand it to my little girl who will sing Lady Gaga songs until you go away. I have no money to donate as I am currently undergoing counseling for distress caused by a constant phone ringing noise that is all your fault. Please leave me your home phone number so I can call you at dinner time to discuss medical reimbursement options.

If you are calling for one of my children, please text their cells. I’m pretty sure they don’t know how to answer a phone, since they never pick up when I call. This explains why they are coming to school in clothes that don’t fit since they ignored my call from the store when I needed to know the size. According to the data usage on my bill they are currently texting half of the population of the US, so if you don’t have the number, I’m sorry to inform you that you didn’t make the cut.

If you are the annoying friend that calls 10 times in a row if no one answers, I’m really disliking you at the moment because you woke up the baby from a rare monthly nap and my blissful peace has been disrupted. Please talk to your mother about phone etiquette and come over immediately to babysit.

If you are friends with my daughter, please be aware that her cell phone is taken away on a daily basis, and I don’t appreciate hearing the “da da ding” every 2 minutes as you frantically try to get in touch with her via text. When she does have her phone, it is like an extra appendage and she would be responding. Don’t make me text you back at 1am and lecture you on why you should be sleeping at this hour and how you are interrupting my five hours of beauty rest which may result in my scaring some small children at the bus stop this morning.

If you are calling me, call my cell phone. If I’m not in the middle of playing Diner Dash or posting goofy pictures to Facebook, I might answer. If you are my child’s school nurse notifying me that someone is faking sickness to come home, please inform them that I have a lot of cleaning to do. I have a feeling the illness will quickly disappear and P.E. will look more attractive.

That won’t fit

I can’t say all that in 10 seconds, so I think I will just leave “If you are interested in contacting anyone in this household, please go to http://www.findingthehumor.com for instructions.”

One year later…still a texting newbie

texting

My son says so

All I can say is that it’s a good thing this wasn’t around when I was a teenager.

My one year texting anniversary

After one year of practice I still:

  • can only text with my right thumb. My left is just too uncoordinated! Plus I usually have a cup of coffee or a child in the left hand anyway.
  • type slow.
  • hit send and then see that my iPhone has changed my words to something incomprehendable. Too late. I know it is too late, but I still hit the cancel button in a panic thinking it will work.

I watch in awe at those teenagers whose fingers fly at lightning speed on the keyboard.

My first text

After finally joining the smart phone revolution by purchasing an iPhone after a decade of using the cheapest piece of junk available and never remembering to charge it, I was ready to send my first text.

I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for my daughter’s drum lesson to end. I decided to try out texting by sending one to my son who was at home.

After ten minutes punching letters, backing up, retyping, etc., I finally accomplished a three sentence text. I hit “send” and anxiously awaited my answer.

Two seconds later my son answered. “What?”

Is that a joke? I’m not retyping it! It isn’t like I said it, and he didn’t hear it. Reread it!

I typed back “I’m not retyping that” which took only about 2 minutes and hit “send”.

I swear there is no way he even got the message before I got a reply back. “You type slow”.

Really?

I called him instead. He didn’t pick up. Teenagers never use the phone for an actual phone you know.

When I was a teenager…

We are talking about the world before cordless phones by the way.

When I wanted to talk to someone I had to untangle the 30 foot, curly phone cord that was attached to the wall phone, drag it across the house, and pull it as tight as it would go. I could barely shut the door to talk to my friends. I was left with no extra length, so I’m literally leaning right at the point of entry to the room to talk into the phone. That was the price for privacy.

I only remember tripping a few family members with the cord that stretched across two rooms four feet off the ground. If someone was on the phone, you had to limbo under it. There was always the fear of the phone slipping out of your hands and shooting like a rubber band back to the wall base.

The phone was a dangerous weapon in those days, and today’s teenagers don’t appreciate the ability to conveniently answer a phone from anywhere. I bet if they experienced the wall phone, just once, they would answer their phones.

Mom is texting again

Now when my kids receive a text from me saying “Can home right noe you ade late”, they know exactly what to do.

Call mom.