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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Dear Parents of Older, Non-teenage Boys (i.e., Survivors):

I need your advice. As you may know, I have a 14 year old who tests my patience.

But I just spent a week on a cruise with him. It was … interesting.

It started out in typical fashion. He was cranky:Once on the boat, it seemed like he would fall into last year’s freak-flag-flying habit of making a face in every photo:

But then he got sick:

And kept everyone up three nights in a row by coughing. So I got back at him in my own special way: by harassing him mercilessly:

You can tell he isn’t feeling well:

And here he is being nice to his “cousin” Mia:

But we Lysoled the place every day to reduce germs:

And soon he was back to normal, making sure the stingray was a girl before he would kiss it:

And harassing his father:

And Ryder:

And telling me he planned to troll the hot tubs to score numbers (in this getup and baby glasses he found, no less):

So my question for you is this:

How do I keep the funny, silly Dominic and get rid of the one who is such a pain on the reg?

Not fix his phone so he’s forced to communicate with us? (He’s shattered two.)

Or just accept that he is 14, hormonal, and PERHAPS too much like me?

Thanks in advance for words of wisdom.

Gratefully,
Beth, Mother of a Dragon

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Dear Apartment:

I’m going to miss all the quality alone time you and I had while the guys were out of town getting my mother-in-law’s house in Puerto Rico ready to rent out.

Don’t get me wrong: I do love them. But when I cleaned you the day after they left, you stayed clean.

You and I had so much fun together. I got to watch whatever I wanted to watch on TV. I could roam around in my underwear without embarrassing any teenagers. I didn’t have to worry about your front door being left unlocked or coming home to random friends of aforementioned teenagers inside you.

What’s more — and this probably made Charlotte next door very happy — you and I were peaceful together. So peaceful.

The communication styles of my family members are just so different.

The quietest one missed me. He texted me almost every day.

The medium-loud one texted me informative tidbits regarding house progress, interesting videos, and photos engineered to make me wish I had left you.

The loudest and grouchiest one did not talk to me at all until he wanted something the day before he came back to us.

It figures.

In an interesting twist, Dominic the Loud immediately stripped upon arriving back to you and charged around eating chicken wings.

I guess Eddie’s right: He and I are alike.

Anyway, I’m going to miss you, my fortress.

Love always,
Beth

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Dear Conference Presenters:

Congratulations on having a research paper or topic deemed worthy of presentation. You cleared the biggest hurdle!

The next hurdle is the actual presentation.

When you are preparing your remarks, keep in mind that the audience members are your peers. They come to your session because there is something about it that seems interesting. They may or may not know as much as you do about your subject.

You have a duty to prepare something interesting. Auntie Beth is here to help.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for presenting (really, any kind of public speaking):

  • DO tell a story to kick off the presentation. You can do this; humans are natural storytellers. For example, tell us how you got interested in your topic.
  • DO think of your presentation as a narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • DO have visual aids. DON’T write out all your text on the slides.
  • DO show how to use the technology if you are presenting on the benefits of an app. Every conference room has a projector. DON’T walk up and down the aisle waving your phone as a visual aid.
  • DO relax and turn on the charm. Think of it as a conversation, or at least a conversation starter.
  • DO pay attention to your audience. If they are napping, then your storytelling needs some work.
  • DON’T read your research paper, for the love of God. (I will leave your session so fast I’ll just be a blur.)
  • DON’T go over your allotted time. It’s just unprofessional and rude to your co-presenters.
  • DON’T fight with your audience. It’s OK to disagree with various points people make, but it’s not OK to get shouty.
  • DO let organizers know if it seems like the panel makeup is not as diverse as it should be. With all the focus on under-representation, you would think that all white male panels would be a thing of the past. You would be wrong. This guy gets it:

Remember to breathe and have fun. If you aren’t having fun, neither will the people who came to see you.

Go get ’em, Tiger!
Auntie Beth

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Dear Dad,

The last time I wrote to you here, I had satire on my mind. This time it is to complain. Thanks to you, I feel the need to bleach my entire body. This weekend cleaning out your garage was rough.

Even before you passed, I had marshaled the troops (i.e., your son in law and grandchildren who had no choice) to get your garage hoard somewhat under control. Just one bay of the three took us almost an entire weekend, including two trips in two trucks to both the dump and Goodwill.

Since your September demise, I’ve spent many weekend days inside your house going through mounds of paperwork (Why would you save owner’s manuals for appliances you gave away in the ’90s?), office supplies (so many office supplies) and CDs (Four copies of the same Flatt and Scruggs recording? What the heck?!) in just one room alone. At least I was in air conditioning and relative comfort.

This garage cleaning, though … sheesh. Here’s what I personally handled in just three hours:

1. Empty and near-empty bottles of all manner of small engine fluids
2. Stacks of 78 rpm records
3. Hundreds of jars of dried-up model airplane paint
4. All kinds of outdated technology (a slide projector!)
5. At least 45 different species of spiders and bugs, most of them alive and ready to rumble

Some people (you) might say, “Hold on — that’s valuable stuff!” Well, Dad, not when it has been in a detached garage without climate control and regular roach bombings.

Three more trips to Goodwill and another trip to the dump, and I’m not done yet. I see at least three more days of purging ahead of me. And maybe some therapy to address my new daddy issues.

I know it’s bad form for me to be upset with you when you aren’t physically present to defend yourself. It’s frustrating, though, because I remember the week I spent — using vacation days from work, no less — cleaning this very same garage after Mom died in 2009. And you were not happy about it (even though you asked me to do it).

When I tried to get rid of your model-airplane parts, you yelled at me that you were going to get back into building planes. When I questioned the need for 400 cassettes, you said you still listened to all of them — even though there was not a tape player in sight (the reel-to-reel player doesn’t count). When I started to throw away some dry-rotted Christmas decorations, you claimed you used them “just last year” — a statement we both knew was false when Frosty melted in my hands.

I begged you to be more aggressive in your tossing. I remember saying, “Dad, please don’t leave this all for me to clean up when you die.”

Now it’s almost 10 years later and everything is exactly as I left it. Except you’ve added more. For example, what’s this collection in the corner, Dad?

I really don’t want to put my hands in that pile.

I was not prepared mentally or physically for this garage showdown. For one thing, I forgot to bring gloves, a mask, boxes and industrial-strength garbage bags. When Katherine brought out some trash bags from the house, I felt encouraged that they were laden with “rodent repellent.”*

mint-scented rodent repellent bags

That is, until I got a whiff.

Remember my last post in which I said I have a “titanium stomach and a broken sniffer.” Yeah, well, mint-scented rodent repellent apparently is my kryptonite. I could smell that very well. And my stomach did not approve.

I really needed a hazmat suit, a cheering squad for motivation, and an OSHA-approved eye- and body-wash station. I even considered another trip to the Jeju Sauna. That’s how bad it was.

None of my friends should wonder why I like the show, “Hoarders.” It provides cognizance, comfort and coping skills all in one!

I realized, though, while I was doing an extended-surface and deep-body-cavity cleansing afterward that you are still teaching me even though you have moved on to the great beyond.

The lesson?

Never do this to your kids.

Mine will be lucky to get a footlocker from me, as I plan to chuck almost everything long before I kick it.

You know I love you, but I did not love this.

Sigh.

Say hi to Mom and Gram for me.

Your organized and aggravated daughter,
Beth

* Note that it says it is effective against raccoons. Two things:
1. Hando did not come with me on this adventure, so I guess it works on dead raccoon parts.
2. It does not work on live ones, or at least live rabid ones. Katherine tangled with one on the front porch just moments before we got there. (Ironic, no?) The rabid brethren of Hando then tangled with a car and lost.

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Dear God,

After this weekend, I’m certain you exist. The proof: My father is still alive.

I asked you for patience, and you granted my wish.

Here’s a refresher on the circumstances. (You know this already, but I know you have plenty on your plate with all the election-related prayers.)

My cousins were visiting my dad, so Eddie and I made the four-hour (one way) drive to visit him/them. As soon as we got there, and I settled into a chair for a chat, Kat (my stepmother) asked me to fix their DIRECTV setup.

Me:

irritated

 

Hell to me is being tech support.

While trying to get that sorted, Gideon discovered my father’s WiFi connection was down.

Me:

rage

 

I called DIRECTV tech support as it was clear the issue was bigger than something I could fix, and gave their phone to Eddie. I took my phone to the so-called “computer room” to sort out the modem issue with Windstream.

While on the phone with Windstream, we determined the phone jack might be bad. The following ensued:

Me: Dad, where is another phone jack?
Dad: It’s at the end of the phone.
Me:

wtf

 

More troubleshooting followed. Meanwhile, I was trapped in this “computer room” feeling like I was in an episode of “Hoarders” and wanting to do this:

 

"Citizen Kane" room trashing

If you would like to answer another one of my prayers, you can inspire my father to get rid of the two late ’90s computer systems and desks, floppy disks and miscellaneous paper that clutter this room. And maybe you can compel Kat to get rid of the four creepy dolls, fake ferns and flea-market clocks.

Anyway, thank you for helping me summon the patience necessary to keep from throttling my father. And thank you for helping arrange technicians for both DIRECTV and Windstream to come out Monday. That truly is a miracle.

I’m a believer,
Beth

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