You Shouldn’t Mess With Mother Nature

If I understand it correctly, the whole point of being a “techie” is to get out of manual labor.  Isn’t it genetically programmed that we are the weaker species…with wimpy muscles and spindly limbs?? Call it a stereotype if you want, but I like the fact that people don’t generally look to me when they need help moving their marble staircase over a few inches.  And no one ever comes to me with advice on why their car is making a “sproinging” noise, or for tips on hanging wallpaper.  My knowledge tends to extend in more of a visionary direction (read: has absolutely no common sense).

Anyway, someone forgot to tell my mother about my techie status.  Because yesterday, when she needed a pick-up bed full of gravel shoveled out into a pile in her yard, she actually called ME.  So, good daughter that I am, I strapped on my back brace (did I mention I have wimpy muscles?) and went to work.  Well, technically, WE went to work, because H-T was all over a chance to work with a shovel, and rocks, on the back of a pick-up. Yes, I’m having DNA tests administered Monday, because I’m pretty sure there was some sort of hospital switch-up when he was born.

So Timeworn-Techie, H-T, and myself grunted, groaned, and shoveled an entire pick-up truck worth of gravel over the course of yesterday morning.  You might be asking yourself why my mom didn’t just have the stuff delivered and dumped.  All I can say is that there is no DNA testing required in my case…lack of common sense tends to be a dominant trait.  In fact, just to prove it…my mom is picking up yet another truckload of rocks today!

nowork When I got out of bed this a.m., and realized that despite my back brace yesterday, some of those rocks had somehow worked their way between the discs of my back, I came to a conclusion.  Some of us simply aren’t meant to wield tools such as shovels, rakes, or even work gloves.  Whether or not you subscribe to the idea of intelligent design, you simply can’t deny that certain percentages of the human population seem perfectly suited for getting things accomplished in the world, and other – – say, techie – – percentages are better matched for somewhat lighter tasks, such as keeping Microsoft in business.  It’s just the way of the universe, people.  I didn’t make up the rules, I just follow them.  Now if I can just get my mom, who is waiting outside in the pick-up truck full of load #2, to understand this concept….

Drunk With Vista Power

My dear hubby will tell you that he doesn’t get all that much say-so in his life.  At this stage of his life cycle, he is rather on the low end of the power totem-pole.  Somewhat tied into the demands of family life, church life, and running a homeless shelter, his days and hours are pretty much mapped out for him.  Get up, go to work, come home, do family things, write a blog, go to bed, and start all over again.  Even his weekend “down time” is usually filled with diaconate classes, yard work, his teaching and serving duties at our church, and often speaking at other churches.  There just isn’t a lot of wiggle room for R-T to pick and choose what he would like to do or not to do these days.

Until now.  From the first boot-up of his shiny new Windows Vista computer, R-T knew that something was afoot.  The first thing that popped up on the screen was a question – – aimed directly at the computer’s new owner….”Would you like to register your new computer?”  Wow…a choice!  Would he like to or wouldn’t he?  Being unused to such preferences, he had to think about it awhile.  Yes.  Yes he would like to register.

And the options didn’t stop there.  In a matter of only about ten minutes, R-T got to pick his screen resolution, his background, a screen saver, and even a virus protection plan. I could swear the normal slump in his posture became noticeably straighter. 

Before long, R-T realized that Vista was a system that didn’t do anything without asking first.  Every time he opened a new program, an unfamiliar website, or tried to complete a download, he would get a pop-up screen which said, “Windows needs your permission to continue.”  What???  Someone was asking him for PERMISSION before they do something??  I brought R-T a cold glass of water, noticing he looked pale and faint.

This is a man who struggles to get his rescue mission staff members to even call him before they leave work early or don’t come in at all.  A father of two adolescent know-it-alls who think it is fine to head down to the neighbor’s house without informing him of their whereabouts.  A husband of a wife who remembers to tell him she is taking her church youth group to the movies as the movie is about to begin.  R-T just doesn’t always get the respect and deference he needs or deserves.  Until now.

Microsoft is really missing their advertising boat.  You remember that guy from the Viagra commercials who was suddenly all confidence and smiles because of his new prescription?  Microsoft needs to snatch up that idea and run with it!    My hubby would make a terrific commercial…he would walk into the rescue mission, shoulders back, chest forward, a new spring in his step, and everyone from his staff to his host of volunteers would be trying to figure out what is different about him.  New haircut?  No.  Measurable weight loss?  No.  So what is it about their Operations Director that makes him look so confident…so in charge…so virile?? 

“Sir,” says the mission cook to R-T outside his office, “I think we have a mouse problem.  I’d like to set up some traps in the walk-in, and around the kitchen area.”

R-T looks at him for a moment, and rubs his chin thoughtfully.  “You have my permission to continue.”

Who needs Viagra when you have Vista?

Do All These People Have Windows Vista??? 
Think maybe all these people use Viagra Vista?

Robbing DirecTV to Pay Microsoft

No one has ever put me in charge of anything financially important.  The US Treasury has never called on me.  My tax preparation software always asks me to double check my facts.  I even lost the 7th grade student council election for treasurer.  That has always ticked me off.  The girl who won got ‘C’s on her math quizzes.  I know because I sat behind her and always had to switch papers with her.  But C-girl was put in charge of our entire class treasury – – the whole 42 bucks!  So what is it about me that screams “financially irresponsible”??

Well, here’s one thing.  As you know, I recently decided to trim our financial waistline by cutting out our monthly satellite TV subscription.  That will be a helpful addition of $75 to our monthly budget.  Sounds pretty financially responsible so far, doesn’t it?  Keep reading.

computeritis We’ve been having computeritis in our household.  That is a degenerative condition caused by too many people, and too few computers. Fortunately, it is a disease only rampant in affluent societies such as ours.  Third world countries have to deal with slightly less distressing illnesses, such as malaria and cholera.  But in our house, computeritis is going around like crazy.  The worst symptom of the illness seems to be uncontrolled computer pouncing.  Somebody working on his blog needs to pee?  Someone else will be in his computer chair before he even gets his fly unzipped.  And God help anyone who leaves the computer to check the mail.  Probably won’t see the sight of that screen again for two hours! 

The person who gets the worst case of the malady? Poor Resistant-Techie.  I think everyone figures that he is too technologically challenged to deserve more than a few minutes at a time at the computer.  But R-T is getting quite frustrated at constantly losing the musical computer chair game.  His blog is burgeoning, he is a master I-Tunes downloader now, and his surfing skills are way beyond average these days.  Plus, his birthday and Father’s Day are just around the corner, and I usually like to make sure he understands how appreciated he is this time of year.

So…I bought him a computer.  His very own super-deluxe, easy-to-operate, resistant-techie-friendly computer.  I saw in the sales flyer, I went to see it in the store, and I bought it.  And not one person who helped me locate it, load it in my cart, or check it out for me asked me if I could actually afford it.  I took that to mean that I was getting quite a bargain.  My credit card went through just fine – – another good sign.  The store was even on the way to where I needed to drop my son off for an appointment, so I was even saving gas!  And I would definitely get the new computer desk he now needed from the local thrift store, instead of one of those high dollar department stores.

So whether or not that beautiful new piece of hardware sitting in the bedroom far outweighs the yearly savings we will get from our dropped satellite subscription, it is all good right?  Hubby is happy.  I am happy.  The computer manufacturer and the retail store are really happy.  And C-girl?  Well, she is probably sitting in her stylishly decorated Manhattan penthouse, that she scrimped and saved and lived financially responsibly for.  But is she as happy as I am knowing that my wonderful, hardworking, incredibly selfless hubby never has to worry about getting up from the computer to get a Diet Coke ever again?  I seriously doubt it. 

Two Tickets to Vegas, Baby

Ok, so an important update on our free plane ticket conundrum……we’re goin’ to Vegas!!  Well, I should clear that up.  Two of us are going to Vegas.  The more we discussed our possible family vacation, the more Uber began to ponder the unfairness of little brother’s upcoming swimming with the manatees trip.  I mean, he has no interest in swimming with manatees (unless they happen to have swallowed a wi-fi transmitter), but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his own vacation, he asserts.  And, easily guilt-ridden parents that we are, his reasoning began to sound pretty darn sensible. 

So where would a newly-14-year-old computer geek wanna go with his parent?  I suggested several options…how about Yosemite?  I figured he and his dad could have a male bonding experience among nature at its finest.  Uber tried to look enthusiastic, but I could see his techie little heart quivering at the thought of being so wholly disconnected from all things electronic.  Other options came up, such as visiting Seattle (who knew Microsoft hasn’t created a theme park yet – – Bummer!).  We tossed around the idea of heading to a video game convention, but unfortunately they are all located in places like Nowheresville, Indiana this year.  Double bummer.  So we looked through our trusty 10-year-old family travel guide, and came to the page about Las Vegas.  I could almost swear I saw double cherries come up in both eyes as Uber read the descriptions of the lights, sounds, and non-stop technotronics of the Vegas Strip.   

“What do they mean ‘The Fun Never Stops’?”  You mean you get to stay up all night and gamble and watch live shows??!!”  Well—yes–technically.  “Oh, Dad, isn’t this gonna be cool??!!”  I saw my very intelligent husband looking to me for guidance.  Was I actually going to let him take my 14-year-old impressionable homeschooled son to Sin City for a man’s dream-vacation-come-true?  Not for all the chest hair on Wayne Newton. 

So, Uber and I are taking our first ever trip to Vegas sometime this fall.  It will be a blast, I’m sure, although perhaps not quite as scintillating as the trip he pictured with his dad.  After all, my idea of gambling is sinking $5.00 at the VFW on Bingo Ladies Night. But, I have ordered the kids guide to Vegas, and have been checking out family friendly Vegas spots on the web.  There is actually a video game mega-arcade in Vegas that was designed by Steven Spielberg and the Dreamworks folks.  I’m hoping we are able to hit this high-spot toward the end of our vacation, or else we might not ever see a single other neon inch of the city.   

I will drag Uber to a show or two, of course, because I am girlie like that, but I will try to make it up to him by ensuring that at least one of them features either scantily clad gals or dancing Wii remotes.  Whoa–wouldn’t I be mom of the year if I could find a scantily clad gal dancing with a Wii remote??!! And if the saying is true that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, then we might even sneak in a tug on a slot machine handle.  But I guarantee that this will be a trip to remember.  I mean how many guys get to look back and remember their incredible teenage Las Vegas trip with their mothers??  Well, I mean those guys that aren’t currently in therapy, of course. 

p.s.  Anybody have any Vegas tips for us newbies??  Please share them below!!