Thursday, January 31, 2008


Over the last few weeks I have been able to e-mail my mom copies of my little stories because my sister Lisa finally rectified a mistake we made a few years ago.
It might have been two years ago that Lisa came up with the idea of getting mom a computer so that her scattered sons and daughters could keep her up to date with e-mails and photos. I jumped on board quickly and went along with the idea. I figured my mom, who is smart and still has great vision, would gladly embrace the wonders of the computer age once she was exposed to it. The computer was purchased and put in my dads old office, at which time Lisa gave my mom a cursory lesson on how to operate it. I then took the time to fly up to Chicago to spend three days with my mom and set up the computer for her. First I got her an internet account, and set up her e-mail. Then I set up the computer so that all she had to do was click on an icon to dial up her e-mail. Simple.
While I was teaching my mom the intricacies of accessing her e-mail she kept remarking on how much easier it was with me than with Lisa. "Lisa goes so fast. All I hear her tell me is to click on this and click on that. Before I know it she's on to something else. What does 'click on' mean?".

So for three days I had my mom go through the steps over and over again, from turning on the computer and accessing her mail, to turning it off. Even though she seemed to have a problem with the concept of moving the mouse around to make the arrow on the screen move, and never really understood when I said "click on that", she none the less made it all work and I was satisfied that I would be sending mom pictures from Florida.

When I returned home it was with great anticipation that I sent my mom her first e-mail and photos from Florida. When I called her, she acknowledged that indeed she had received my mail and pictures. What she didn't tell me was that one of her grandchildren had actually signed on and retrieved the mail for her.

In fact the whole time my mom had her computer the only one who used it were her grandchildren and my brother Dave when he visited. After a year and a half, I checked with the internet provider that I had set her up with, and it turned out she had used only about thirty minutes of her forty hours per month. That is, thirty minutes in the entire year and a half. So I immediately canceled her internet and informed my sister Lisa that we were beating a dead horse. No need to provide my nephews with a portal to porn.

To rectify our mistake, Lisa purchased my mom a service that delivers e-mail to my moms kitchen automatically. It consists of a printer and a computer that automatically dials in and retrieves my moms e-mail, then prints it all out, photos and all. No muss, no fuss. So if you are talking to my mom on the phone and it sounds like someone is dialing out, it's just her machine retrieving my latest story that I e-mail her everyday.


  1. The system your mom currently has sounds perfect. It keeps her involved without requiring her participation. I'm sure she loves getting all the stuff she gets. It keeps her in touch with you all even though your not able to be there in person. I wish I had thought of that before my mom passed.

  2. By the way, I called my mom to make sure she wasn't insulted. She said she wasn't. The truth is that I edit these before I send them to her. In this one I deleted the part about my nephews and porn, and the part about beating a dead horse. No need to upset mom.

  3. You missed the part where Judy and I spent several days placing colored dots on the computer and wrote a corresponding booklet stating each step in numerical colored dot order. Of course we had to delete all those lefty web sites you signed mom up for. And to think she was always right handed.

  4. Dave, actually I didn't know about the colored dots, I guess even that didn't work.

  5. All I can say is.... how did anyone think someone who can't work a VCR would get the technology of a computer? I am always impressed when I meet people of Mom's generation who have embraced the computer. My mother-in-law won't even use a cordless phone!

  6. My impression of Ricks mom.

    Cordless phone? How in the hell do the words fly across the room to the base? Radio? Sure I've heard of radio.

  7. The remote control for her TV is almost too much technology for Pearl (Ricks mom). I can't count the number of times one of us has had to go over there to push a button and straighten things out...after she's been without TV for a day or 2. It's impossible to walk her thru the fix over her "corded phone", it's just easier to drive there!