Living at Home Diaries: Teaching Your Parents About Technology

Recently I wrote about how moving home to live with my Mom has turned me into an Honorary Senior Citizen, and all of the fun perks that go along with that like special discounts and never having to explain why you’re wearing comfortable walking shoes. However, if you are considering moving back home (especially if you’re planning on working from home) what I failed to mention is that you should be prepared to spend at least  35% of your week helping your parents understand technology. As I’ve learned, being an Honorary Senior is all fine and dandy, until you realize you’re the only one  in the room who knows how to use Google.

It’s a vintage Will Smith kind of day.

Also, be prepared to explain or deal with the following:

1. All the Computer Things: My Mom lives in one of those West Coast modern houses that’s all big windows, cedar beams and stacked vertically like a townhouse. My bedroom/office is on the second floor, the kitchen & den are on the third floor and the top floor is a loft-style living room. A huge portion of my day is spent running from my office up to my Mom’s office every time I hear her say something like:

“AHHHHHH $%#$#$$$$ THE MOUSE IS BROKEN! I CAN’T SCROLL”

“Hold on, I’m coming Mom”

(I run upstairs)

“See, it won’t work!”

(I fix it)

“Here you go”

“Thanks Simone”

(I run back downstairs)

“AHHHHH $%#&****$$%%%%%%! SIMONE!”

“What’s wrong Mom?”

“There’s these things that keep popping up and I don’t want them there!”

(I run upstairs again)

“Mom, those are pop ups”

“Well, I never asked for them to be there!”

“No one does, Mom”

*click, click, click*

“Thanks Simone”

(run back downstairs)

“Simone?”

“Yes?”

“I’m really excited about this free beauty sample I just ordered online”

“Oh no, Mom! Did they ask for your credit card information?”

“Yes, is that bad?”

(I run upstairs)

I figure the only way I’m able to get as much done as I do living here,  is because I no longer have to spend as much time on the elliptical machine at the gym.

2. All the Blackberry Things: My Dad likes to think he’s pretty tech savvy because a few years ago he was given a company issued Blackberry and learned how to use Google Earth (which he likes to spend hours on Googling what, we’re not sure) However, recently my Dad’s friend decided to give him his old Blackberry that has a touch screen and all hell broke loose. A few weeks ago I get a call from my Dad and I can hear this high pitched alarm going off in the background.

“SIMONE?!! THE ALARM ON MY BLACKBERRY IS GOING OFF. HOW DO I MAKE IT STOP. DO YOU THINK ITS BROKEN!?”

(read more insanity after the jump)

As someone who jumped straight from a flip phone to an iPhone, I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to using a Blackberry. I discovered my ineptitude when I was in Vegas and used Abby’s phone to send a text to Jen that looked something like this “Hey$ J7N, its Simo(ne. How are Yux? THTS isn’t my P^h^ne.” When Jen and I met the next day, I think one of the first things I said to her was “I’m not stupid, really.”

(My Dad wasn’t too pleased when I suggested the solution to his Blackberry woes was to buy an iPhone.)

“SIMONE CAN YOU COME DOWN AND FIX IT? IT’S BEEN GOING OFF FOR A FEW HOURS. I DON’T THINK I’LL BE ABLE TO SLEEP TONIGHT”

It was late, so I explained to my Dad that I was already in my pajamas and without a car to drive the 10 minutes to his house.

“Dad, doesn’t your friend who gave you the Blackberry live a few blocks away? Maybe he’ll know how to fix it?”

“GOOD CALL. OK BYE!”

Two days later:

“Simone, do you know how to turn up the ringer on this thing?”

AHHHHHHHHH!

3. All the LinkedIn Things: I really didn’t see this one coming considering my Dad was on LinkedIn before I was, but the other day he calls me up and says:

“I need to get a hold of ______ (old family friend) but I don’t have their phone number. Can you look them up on the internet for me?”

(after a quick Google search…)

“Dad, _____ is on LinkedIn, why don’t you just send them a message? Or find them on Facebook”

“But, I don’t have his email”

“But that’s the point of LinkedIn and Facebook, you can find people and message them”

“Yes, I get that Simone. But I DON’T HAVE HIS EMAIL.”

A few hours later, my Mom comes into my room.

“Your Dad is really concerned about this whole LinkedIn situation. He says that _______ only has his phone number and he’s afraid he’ll call while he’s on vacation”

“Yes, but Mom – doesn’t Dad have voicemail? I’m sure _______ will leave a message and then Dad can just call his voicemail and pick it up”

“You can do that?”

AHHHHHHHHHH.

4. All the Roaming Things: Because our town is so close to the American border, often if you drive down by the beach you’ll get a text message saying “Welcome to the USA” and roaming charges will kick in. It’s kind of annoying. The other day my Mom and I were driving along one of the coast line roads when her phone beeps.

“Don’t pick it up Simone! It’s just a text message telling me I’m now ROVING”

“You mean ROAMING”

“Yes, ROVING

5. All the Facebook Things:  My Dad just joined Facebook recently. When I called to wish my Dad  “Happy Birthday” this year he said:

“Simone, all these people wished me Happy Birthday on Facebook. HOW DID FACEBOOK KNOW?!”

I just bought a new MacBook and will be giving my Dad my old one. I’m hoping with a new computer he’ll learn a few things however, I’m not holding my breath. The first thing he asked me about the lap top is:

“Will I be able to use Google Earth on it?”

So, if you don’t me on social media as much these days, it’s probably because I’m answering my call of duty:

“SIMONE! THE COMPUTER! $%%^%***T&&^&^&&T& AHHHHHH”

Signed,

Simone

aka Tech Support.

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