Monday, April 17, 2017

Cell Phone Fable-tale

Once upon a time, a family of four bears got new cell phones.

Papa Bear and Baby Bear got their phones first. They transferred the data from their old phones to the new phones with no problem.

“Easy peasy,” said Papa Bear.

“Lemon squeezy,” said Baby Bear.

“So, all I have to do to make my new phone work is read the instructions and follow directions?” asked Mama Bear.

“That's right,” said Papa Bear.

Baby Bear rolled his eyes.

Sister Bear got her phone next. She transferred the data from her old phone to her new phone with no problem.

“Easy peasy, lemon squeezy,” said Sister Bear.

“So, all I have to do to make my new phone work is read the instructions and follow directions?” asked Mama Bear.

Sister Bear rolled her eyes. Then she went online and found instructions on how to activate “Grandparent” mode, making the Galaxy s7 “super easy” to use. Then she rolled her eyes again.

At last, Mama Bear got her new phone.

“So, all I have to do to make my new phone work is read the instructions and follow directions?” Mama Bear asked Papa Bear.

Papa Bear rolled his eyes.

Mama Bear carefully took the phone and all the accessories and instructions out of the box. She read the instructions thoroughly, because the instructions had big pictures and few words. She followed the directions and called the 800 number to transfer service to her new phone. She followed directions to turn off her old phone. She followed directions to turn on her new phone. She watched the spinning circle and read the cheerful greeting.

The cheerful greeting said it could take up to five minutes to transfer service.

She waited and watched the spinning circle spin some more.

“Is it supposed to take this long?” she asked Papa Bear.

“It takes a while,” he said, rolling his eyes, “but it's easy.”

Mamma Bear waited and watched and surfed the net on her laptop and looked at all the pictures from Billy Joel's latest concert at Madison Square Garden and played a game of spider solitaire and checked her email again and repainted the Sistine Chapel.

Finally, the spinning circle stopped spinning.

The cheerful message told Momma Bear the data from her old phone could not be transferred to her new phone.

Mamma Bear considered throwing the phones across the room, but it was a very small room and she figured they would probably ricochet and hit her in the head, killing her or causing extensive brain damage. At the very least she knew she would have to clean up the mess herself.

Mamma Bear cussed and read the instructions even more carefully. She Googled “How to Transfer Service” and cussed some more. She followed the directions she found on Google. She looked through her secret files to find the WiFi password. She found the WiFi password. She found her Googlemail password, her social security number the name of her great-great-grandmother's dog's veterinarian's cousin's neighbor's first-grade teacher, the square root of Pi, and her natural hair color. She typed it all in.

None of her information transferred.

“That's OK, “ Mamma Bear sighed, “I can put all those numbers in by hand.” Then Mamma Bear tried calling the home phone land-line number, just to check out her fancy new cell phone.

It didn't ring. Service had not transferred.

Mamma Bear tried to call from her old cell phone. No service there, either.

Mamma Bear considered punching a wall, but the contractors had just installed new drywall and she didn't want to impede progress.

Mama Bear took a nice, hot, relaxing shower. She poured a glass of wine. She poured a BIG glass of wine. She took a deep breath.

Mama Bear turned the new phone off. She did another Google search. She told Google what they could do with their search results. She told Samsung what they could do with their 3-step instructions. She took a wild guess.

It worked.

“Easy peasy,” she said.

“My ass.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Greetings From The Great Beyond

If you are reading this without an Ouiji board or a crystal ball, color me surprised.

Apparently, without my knowledge or consent, I have expired and passed to the other side. At least that is my conclusion after trying to communicate with my son – the boy child formerly known as The Little Prince, when I was not so annoyed with him.

I have become accustomed to talking at the boy, but lately I've noticed my words seem to bounce right off him and fall to the ground at his feet without so much as ruffling the bushy mass of hair hanging over his ears.

At first I assumed that the poor thing had had been struck deaf – perhaps as a result of playing the drums, or from listening to heavy metal music. But he seems perfectly capable of hearing the TV, his friends' cars arriving curb-side, and the ding of the microwave.

I accepted the increasing one-sidedness of our talks as typical teenage boy behavior. After one recent exchange – which I took to be a semi-active discussion, but turned out to be a monologue – he replied with his usual noncommittal shrug and vague grunt.

*Shrug* Eh.”

I interpreted this as “Yes, Mom. I understand what you're saying, agree with your conclusion and will endeavor to act in accordance with your wishes.” Especially after I point blank asked him “Do you understand? Can you do that?”

Instead, what he really meant was “*Shrug* Eh.”

Or perhaps, “    .”

Maybe even, “     !”

But more likely, “      “

There is a chance I've brought on this escalation of indifference myself. Frustrated by his ever-shrinking verbal exchange rate, I told him I was going to set a daily word goal for him. I was hoping to squeeze 20 words per day out of him.

He was thinking of a smaller number.

Like zero.

Of course, if he is purposely rationing his responses, that means that he can hear me – even if he chooses not to listen.

Which is good.

Because I really hope hears me when I tell him I hope that someday (in the far, distant future) he has a child just like him.

Friday, April 7, 2017

If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Rid of the Kitchen

The remodel reached the critical mass stage – or perhaps that is critical mess stage – as destruction of the kitchen commenced.

Right now, the area once occupied by cabinets, appliances and food is utterly and completely empty. It is also much larger, as we succumbed to the HGTV mantra of “open concept.” It is now a straight, open shot from front to the back of the house, from the living room through the kitchen to the dining room. One caveat not disclosed on television programming: no walls to obstruct the view also means no walls on which to place light switches.
Open concept, front door to the back door.

But that is a different worry for a different day.

My immediate concern is organizing a makeshift kitchen in the recently completed craft room. Recently completed as in I had just enough time to organize and then completely dis-organize this cozy room, before pushing all that mess to one side to make room for totes and boxes filled with kitchen stuff.

Totes and boxes which are, of course, completely dis-organized.

Despite my haphazard planning and chaotic implementation, I have absolutely no idea where anything is. I tried to be methodical, packing like-items together, but that requires time, energy and attention – resources I exhausted in about 15 minutes.

My original plan was to pack the contents of each cabinet in its own tote, tote the totes downstairs, then recreate the same cabinet layout with the totes. This may have worked, if my cabinets hadn't been so poorly organized to begin with. Then there's the whole time/energy/attention thing.

Actually, when I had all the boxes and totes scattered about the kitchen, it made some sort of sense (to me). I packed all (most) of the pots and pans together. I packed all (most) of the dishes together. Same with the glasses, bowls, spices and all that stuff that had been pushed to the back of the cabinets and forgotten about. I packed it all (most) together.

It's that (most) part that gave me fits. Somewhere along the way I had to tweak the ratio of “all” to “(most)” in order to create the proper ratio of “weight” to “breakage potential.” Then I started filling in the cracks with “what the heck is this” and “why do we have this” in order to balance the ratio of “time is running out” to “just get this crap packed up.”

It was much easier to move the food items. Once I culled all the foods that were past their expiration dates I only had about half as much to transport. On the other hand, I found twice as many snacks that I had hidden from the rest of the family but then forgot about. I dutifully found new hiding spots for them, then promptly forgot where I stashed them, so that's a wash. Unfortunately my new food-organization system is so well organized (unlike my previous system) that I still can't find what I'm looking for, despite the wide-open shelving concept.

All it not lost, however. One of the first things I did was to set up the coffee maker and necessary accoutrements in my temporary office/ the Princess' bedroom/ the cat's refuge.

It's all about priorities.