The South Paw Shuffle

Imagine the worst possible scenario for your family.  Your house floods, your dog dies, or perhaps your next door neighbor starts up a zydeco band.  For our family, true tragedy struck just a week ago in the form of my 13-yr-old son, Uber-Techie, breaking his arm. 

Now if Uber-Techie had just stayed put in his butt-worn computer chair, none of this would have come to pass, but you could make a case that the whole incident was my fault.  I made the foolish suggestion that Uber-Techie and his 11-yr-old brother, Hyper-Techie, go outside for their weekly supply of fresh air and enjoy the newly fallen snow. 

The story gets a little fuzzy at that point, because they hadn’t been outside long when H-T came dashing back inside saying something about them trying to build a snowman (how 20th century and quaint), and U-T had somehow slipped, and could I come quick.  I’ll admit, I was picturing U-T hidden behind the deck post ready to ping me with a rock-hard ball of ice, but mothering instincts kicked in, and I thought I’d better check just in case.  Sticking my head just outside the door enough to watch for incoming frost pellets, I saw U-T. On the ground.  Moaning and holding his arm.  What kind of mother was I, anyway?

Well, three hours, two Xanax, and $1,700 later, poor Uber was stuck on the couch, his arm in a cast, and his spirit crushed. You see, life was now essentially over for U-T.  The arm that he had broken was his right one – – his mouse-scrolling arm, his Wii-remote-controlling arm, his texting arm, and….God help us…his wiping arm.

“If you had just let me finish my level on Final Fantasy, none of this would have happened,” U-T lamented.  My head drooped. What kind of mother did this kind of thing to her thirteen-yr-old son?  Sent him outside in the god-forsaken cold, unsupervised, to build a man out of freakin’ frozen precipitation when he could have been safely tucked in his room chatting with strange 37-yr-old men on the net and drinking cocoa.  I pray no one calls social services….

I know what to do! Passing the buck always makes me feel better.  It could have been those stupid tennis shoes uber picked out last month.  I told him he should have gone with the cute blue and white high-tops with TREAD on the bottom, but did he listen?  Of course not.  And now look where it got him…..whew.  Guilt relieved.  I’m feeling totally better now.  Oh God, I just heard him call me from the bathroom. 

WHY did it have to be his right arm??!!  This is going to be a long six weeks.

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The Geek Gene

In my sixth grade class, the geekiest kids got the most privileges.  The word “geek” didn’t even really exist back then, but we knew who we were…Beta Club members, library volunteers, Olympics of the Mind participants.  Snubbed, of course, by the popular clique, but secretly knowing that our book smarts gave us a serious leg up in the school hierarchy. 

We got out of class to help chaperone field trips for the younger elementary classes, to work our time slots in the school library, and to serve as messengers for the school office.  Thank God we liked to read, or we would have never learned a single thing in all of middle school. 

But the biggest privilege of all for us geeks was getting to spend time in the computer resource room.  In the early eighties, my school’s “computer lab” was  a partitioned off corner of the teacher’s resource room, stocked with three microwave-sized monstrosities called ‘Apple Macintosh IIe’s.  As my homies and I huddled around those three marvelous machines with their flashing cursors of promise we could foresee a bright future for ourselves…

Twenty-odd years later, that future has arrived, in the form of Blackberries, GPS, iphones, and wi-fi spots in every popular eatery.  When I was learning how to draw stick figures using BASIC on that black and white monitor, I could have never even fathomed an image of my future son sitting in his bedroom Skype-ing with his buddy about his latest Runescape acquisition, playing a multi-player online game with 450 other people, and tweaking the design of his own personal website-all at the same time!  But, oh, it would have made me so proud!

Something I didn’t know about those formative years with the flashing grayscale screens was that I was making impressions not only on my psyche, but on my genes as well.  No studies were being done to test whether geekiness was a nature or nurture kind of thing, so no one told me that my passion for all things techie would somehow create a genetic mutation.  And seeing as how I fell in love and married a man so wholly terrified of technology in general, I saw no reason to expect that the geek gene would be a dominant one.  And then they were born, the two miraculous loves of my life….in all their geeky glory.  

So, as you might expect, this blog is the story of one chaotic, technotronic, moronic homeschooling family who embraces their cyber-life and makes no apologies.  We are happy for you to laugh with us, at us, or any combination of these.  Just so long as you are along for the ride.  Welcome to our topsy-techie life….