Archive for February, 2013

More Techno Dunce Moments
February 21, 2013

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For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three. ~Alice Kahn

To continue the thread of last week’s post, here is another example of my technological ignorance: I was at the cleaners recently and saw their posters about how to download their apps to track your clothes and arrange deliveries, etc. And at the bank, there was another poster that talked about scanning your deposit instead of making an extra trip.

I thought to myself, “dear Lord, when will it all end?” I am so tired of being dragged into technological areas in which I am not comfortable.

Tucker doesn’t like it either, because one of his favorite things to do is go with me on errands like this. The ladies at the cleaners LOVE him, and he performs his happy dance for them when he enters the building. Likewise at the bank drive through, he eagerly awaits the return of the container, because our bank sends dog treats back with deposit slips.

I know I’ll have to get with the program at some point (when they start charging for processing checks instead of digital transactions). But I am not at all happy about it.

At a recent party, Joel and I caught up with an old college friend who is a banker. We discussed the fact that we don’t do online banking and the reason why (concern about personal information being compromised). He frankly agreed and totally supported our reluctance. We’ve already had our credit card account numbers lifted without our cards ever leaving our wallets.

And then, while at a meeting at church with key Student Ministry staff, we discussed the next six weeks worth of communications issues, because “deadlines” are mid month for the next month’s newsletter.

All of a sudden it occurred to me how ancient and behind the times these deadlines are in the face of modern communications. The young staff members said that the only way they communicate with their students is by text. Forget Facebook, e-mail or heaven forbid, the church newsletter.

They’ve got a way to do group texts, which is beyond my capabilities, and which I SAID that I will never read, but then when they told me how to participate, I did. Will wonders never cease?!

All the rest of the media options? They say the parents read the Facebook posts, e-mails, and maybe the church newsletter or Sunday bulletin. As for the church website, that’s for people who aren’t church members who may be church shopping.

So yes, it’s still important to cover all the bases, but I can’t help but feel like I am again being passed by technologically, and my “style” is no longer one that is pertinent. 140 characters? Sad to say, this is the future.

But it’s not just me who feels this way! I know a young lady who is a senior in high school. She recently posted an item on Facebook that made me feel better. It said, “I’ll be one of those technology-skeptic old ladies. I enjoy technology- mainly to enjoy it and have it work. I don’t like all the updates and complications and subscriptions.”

I commented on her post, “That’s me!” And then I felt better knowing there was someone else out there who agrees…

Will there ever be a Luddite backlash? One can only hope.

(note: pewperson will return on March 8)

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Left Behind
February 14, 2013

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Clearly, the days when parents admonished their kids to use cell phones only for emergencies are over. ~ Ben Rogers

Remember when people made fun of then presidential candidate George H.W. Bush when he was fascinated with bar code technology while on the campaign trail in 1988? They said he was “out of touch” with the modern world.

But honestly, you’ve got to admit that someone who had been surrounded by Secret Service agents and probably had not stepped foot in a store for almost 8 years might not be familiar with the latest technology.

Me? I don’t have that excuse. But I sure felt behind the times this week! Read on.

Recently my mom has been in the hospital after emergency surgery. She is recovering at a nearby rehab hospital, so I stop by several times a day, mostly to help her “eat” her liquid diet. The breakfast selection includes a cup of coffee, which Mom usually loves, but she doesn’t like the hospital version.

So I thought about bringing her a cup of Starbucks coffee when I came to help her with her lunch. I mean, everyone seems to like Starbucks, right? Personally, I never touch the stuff, so I have no idea if this is true or not.

I was like an alien in a strange world when I went inside. Probably I was the oldest person in the building, and I wasn’t sure what or how to order. Thankfully, there wasn’t a line, and the helpful man behind the counter didn’t roll his eyes at my ignorance.

When I explained that I just wanted to order a plain cup of decaf black coffee for my mom (who was in the hospital and didn’t like its coffee), he asked me what size cup. I DO know that Starbucks has a weird system of various size designations, but I didn’t have a clue what the smallest size was called. Answer: it is a “tall”.

(sorry, but in my opinion, that’s a stupid affectation)

Oops, he only had half a cup left, and asked if I could wait until he brewed up another pot. Of course, that was fine. I figured it would be even better fresh.

While I waited, I watched. In came a parade of young people, some of them students at the nearby high school. Do they get to go off campus at lunch? Hmm!

One would order a double mocha fat free caramel delight with extra sprinkles (I am just making that up as an example of the convoluted orders they requested, because I have no clue what they actually said).

And then… they would hold up their smart phones against some sort of scanner thing to pay for it. NO ONE used money. Except me. There I was, holding onto my wallet instead of my smart phone as I waited.

But the nice man didn’t charge me anything because I had had to wait. I appreciated that and threw some coins into the tip jar. As I left, I told him I’d be back if Mom liked the coffee…

Which she did!

Am I being left behind? Will actual cash money be a thing of the past someday? Sadly, the answer is definitely yes to the first question, and maybe to the second.

Just as I tap my foot impatiently at people who write checks in the grocery store line, I imagine that today’s young people will roll their eyes at me as I count out the right change for a cup of coffee.┬áBut please do┬ásmile indulgently as you roll your eyes, ok?

Next week: more “left behind” stories.

Team Baba
February 7, 2013

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Her children rise up and call her blessed… ~ Proverbs 31:2

It all began in the wee hours of Sunday morning. My mom (aka “Baba”) had some excruciating abdominal pain, called for help and ended up being taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Oh! She was in so much pain. They did many tests to determine the cause, but it took until Tuesday before they really came up with a plan.

The interim days were no fun at all for her; she endured more tests, all the while being very uncomfortable. Sisters, brother and nieces came and went; we call ourselves “Team Baba”. What a blessing it is to have such an extended family to share the responsibilities and burdens that cross our paths.

By Wednesday, things had reached crisis level, and things finally got set into motion. The likely diagnosis was an bowel obstruction. Mom was sedated and connected to a breathing machine; the plan was to do an exploratory laparoscopy, and to take action depending on the findings.

The hope was that the doctor could correct the problem via scope, but if not, then he would have to make an incision. Given her age and condition (very weakened), there was no assuming it would be a routine procedure. So we all loved on her (even though she was sedated) and we all worried about her, each in our own way.

(an aside. We also changed the channel of the TV in her ICU room from CNN to Fox Network News, because she can’t abide CNN. Volume was muted, but if she had been awake, it wouldn’t have been!)

In the waiting room, THREE of us were working on the Chronicle crossword puzzle, with more than a little competition. Then I looked at everyone’s horoscope. Mary asked what Mom’s said. It was eerie, and gave us all pause. It said, “You sense that you are on the verge of a new beginning. You don’t have full knowledge of this opportunity, but you soon will.”

If she had NOT survived the surgery, that horoscope would have been an incredible coincidence.

But she did! The doctor came in and said that the surgery was a success, that it was a classic case of a “strangulated closed loop bowel obstruction”. Unfortunately, he had to make an incision to fix it; it was not possible to scope it. So Mom had to remain sedated and entubated for breathing for a few days in the Surgical ICU while she healed.

Since then, she’s had some good days and some bad days. Mostly she is just tired of being poked and pushed and pinched and stuck and moved, and such. She is tired of things on her face and people asking her questions 24/7.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen some positive steps (removal of respirator/oxygen mask/feeding tube). It was such a triumph for her to be able to drink water and sip juice. Jell-O was yummy, too.

We are all still very worried, but now we are feeling more positive. If she could only get some good rest!

Her road to recovery will be long, but we are all hoping that she’ll work hard to gain her strength back and be able to move back to her apartment eventually.

My Shannon suggested that her horoscope might indicate a new beginning in her taking upcoming physical therapy seriously, and motivate her to work on becoming more mobile. One can only hope!

In the meantime, she’s got “Team Baba” to cheer her on… we’ll all be on her case to get her moving once again! Thank you all who have held her up and continue to hold her up in your prayers for healing and peace.