Cool Technology

It’s the Weekend | Take a Few Minutes to Unplug

Dear Kid,

A few days ago I was sent a text. I replied about 15 minutes after I got it. Later, the sender said to me, “What’s the point of having a cell phone if you don’t have it with you all the time?”

I showed great restraint and said absolutely nothing.

It wasn’t easy.

What I wanted to say was, “What’s the point of being human if you’re plugged into your phone 24 hours a day?”

Communication in our day and age is wonderful. We get to talk and text with people near and far. We get to see pictures of newborns (Congrats, L). We get to find out good and bad news practically as soon as it happens.

The Puppy is unimpressed with cell phones. The flowers couldn’t care less about the latest box scores. The rabbit it far more concerned about finding clover than about what’s hot on Twitter. The squirrels are too busy plotting their next attack to contemplate anything. DearKidLoveMom.comBut taking time to unplug is important too. The Puppy is unimpressed with cell phones. The flowers couldn’t care less about the latest box scores. The rabbit is far more concerned about finding clover than about what’s hot on Twitter. The squirrels are too busy plotting their next attack to contemplate anything.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being connected and I love hearing from you (you should feel free to call your mother any time). But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to reply to a text 15 minutes after it’s sent (at least most of the time). And I think Mother Nature has a good idea about putting the tech away every now and then.

Love, Mom

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Heading to the Bahamas and Freedom of Speech

Dear Kid,

I’m so excited! A recorded voice just called to tell me that I’ve been selected to receive a free cruise to the Bahamas!

I’m so excited! A recorded voice just called to tell me that I’ve been selected to receive a free cruise to the Bahamas!

I’m so excited! A recorded voice just called to tell me that I’ve been selected to receive a free cruise to the Bahamas!

It will stun you to know that I hung up before finding out what “free” actually means in this case. I’m sure it doesn’t mean “free” in the sense the dictionary might suggest.

“Mother,” I hear you say, “Why, Darling Mother, in this time of spam callers and election lobbyists, did you answer the phone when there was a number you didn’t recognize? You didn’t recognize the number, did you?”

No. I didn’t recognize the number. Recorded voices (and unrecorded people who insist on calling about things I’m not interested in) have gotten smarter. They now call on numbers that have local area codes rather than toll-free area codes. And they have managed to figure out exactly when to call so that they get me at a time when Dad isn’t home. So just on the off chance, the remote possibility, that something tragic happened (like his phone died) or something urgent is going on (like his phone died and he doesn’t know whether to salmon or chicken for dinner), I answer.

The other day, I answered the phone to discover a live human (live, not friendly) calling from a polling organization and asking for your sister. I explained that she wasn’t home. Less than 20 minutes later, someone else from the same organization called again asking for her. I said she didn’t live here anymore. Less than 20 minutes later – you guessed it – they called again. Since this was seriously cutting into my NCIS rerun viewing, I let the Puppy talk to them for a while. He has Very Interesting Views mostly involving treats and naps.

Love, Mom

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Restraint or Not To Restrain?

Dear Kid,

of course you're entitled to my opinion. All my opinions. DearKidLoveMom.comI was browsing Facebook (shocking, I know) and found a very interesting thought a friend of mine had posted:

So many things to say, but not one reason in the world to say them. Don’t you just wish this thought occurred to more people before they started typing????!!!! Just saying….

What was even more interesting to me were the comments people shared (and no, none of the comments were from me).

Commenter 1: When my son (now 21) first got Facebook, as “good” parents, we insisted on being his friend so we could monitor what he was doing and who he was conversing with. Early on, he had a post and I commented on it. Shortly thereafter, he came downstairs and said, “Mom…don’t write on my wall. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” This has become our family mantra. I wish more people would take a minute to think about this before saying things they probably shouldn’t.

Commenter 2: I just heard on NPR that a teacher is sharing this acronym with her students: W.A.I.T. which stands for Why Am I Talking? If it serves no useful purpose, why talk?

Commenter 3: I have an opinion on everything. My very wise husband says, “yes, (sweetheart)….you are entitled to your opinion – but not everyone wants to hear it”

Just because you think something, does not mean you are required to share it for everyone and their brother to see (and by “everyone and their brother” I mean everyone on the planet who’s ever thought of being anywhere near social media).

What do you think? Are you entitled to say anything you think? Or should you show restraint?

Love, Mom

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Uber News!!

Dear Kid,

Well, aren’t I just the trendiest Mom you have?

This week, I Uber-ed (for the first time).

I Uber-ed for the first time! DearKidLoveMom.comMichael, my driver, is a retired Cincinnati Public School employee who has been driving for Uber for all of 5 days. He has 9 grandchildren and when he’s not driving for Uber, he’s the “personal Uber driver” for one of his granddaughters. How nice to have your own chauffer! Oh, wait. You called your personal chauffeurs “mom” and “dad”.

Michael is having a wonderful time being an Uber driver. He can’t think of anything to complain about and he loves meeting new people.

We were traveling north from downtown during rush hour—always a fun trip (and by “fun” I mean slow). Michael does not believe in sitting still, so when we encountered a traffic jam on I-75 we headed straight for the exit ramp, and proceeded north on the backroads. Then when we found ourselves facing one of Cincinnati’s never-ending trains (actual count: 783 cars) Michael hopped out of the car (I kid you not), asked the car behind us to back up, and U-turned us for smoother sailing.

We backroad-ed 60% of the way.

Michael drove extremely safely, edging us ever closer to Our Final Destination, and eventually we arrived.

I. Have. Uber-ed! (You may smile in condescending admiration.)

Love, Mom

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My Friend the Internet Turns Sulky

Dear Kid,

It probably will not surprise you to learn that Dad is watching a bio-ecology-ocean-fish TV show (especially when I tell you there aren’t any major sporting events on air at the moment).

It probably will stun you to learn that I am watching too. And I hope you don’t fall over when you learn that I haven’t started commenting about the plot (non-existent), the dialog (non-existent), the narration (monotone), or the music (snore).

I am completely and utterly transfixed by the videography.

My Friend the Internet has turned sulky. Really, really sulky.

My Friend the Internet has turned sulky. Really, really sulky.

How do they DO that? How do they hold the camera steady when the ocean is busy moving and there’s no place to put a tripod? How do they get stunningly clear pictures when all the oceans I’ve ever seen are muddy and have seaweed floating in the way? How do they manage to have air-based video, surface video, and underwater video all at the same time? How do they get the fish and turtles and dolphins and sharks to cooperate? I can’t even get the Puppy to pose—even when I try copious bribery.

So I turned to My Friend the Internet for information.

Me: How do they DO that?
MFtI: Can’t tell you.
Me: What do you mean you can’t tell me?
MFtI: Trade secret.
Me: What do you mean “trade secret”? The whole point of the internet is to share all information, secret or not.
MFtI: Possibly not the whole point.
Me: Close enough.
MFtI: Yeah. Except in this case.
Me: Who decided this?
MFtI: I did.
Me: You’re putting our friendship at risk.
MFtI: Sorry to disappoint you.

I don’t know where this new internet came from, but I am seriously disappointed.

On the other hand, the probability of me taking up underwater videography is not good. So perhaps a bit of mystery is a good thing.

Love, Mom

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Mud, Guts, and Glory. And Cold. And a Celebrity.


Dear Kid,

Last week Pi found out about the Mud, Guts, and Glory race. She felt it was too late to train for the competition, so she invited me to volunteer with her. Being the kind of Mom I am, I said yes before I found out what volunteering involved.

That is how it came to be that at extremely early in the morning o’clock I found myself sitting alone in the woods next to a pile of tires with no pen, no paper, and only 20…19…18 percent left on my phone battery. Not one of my better planned mornings.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

I’d been assigned to the Tire Carry obstacle. Really, Pi and I had both been assigned to the Tire Carry but they were short on volunteers and moved her to the Weaver. Did I mention that one of the reasons I agreed to volunteer was to spend time with her?

There I was, by myself. At an obstacle in the middle of Stage 5 of the race. I had about half an hour until the Elite competitors began and the first one wouldn’t get to my area for an hour and a half or so. Here’s what I was thinking.

My feet are cold. Really cold. How can nature be this cold in May?

I have to find a way to entertain myself. Commune with nature. Yep, there’s nature. Still surrounded by nature. Nature doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

What do people do in nature? Try to relax. People relax in nature, right? I’m not one of those people. People paint in nature. Think about whether you’d like to paint the trees. I’m sure someone would, but not me.

15%.  Why doesn’t nature come with electrical outlets?

The race starts in 10 minutes. They won’t reach my station for more than an hour. That’s a lot of nature to contemplate.

I try harder. I look at the trees. The poison ivy climbing up the nearest one winks at me.

13 percent. 

Dear lord.

I listen to the wind in the trees. I picture a gentle breeze on a hot day. I compare that to the reality of a sub-arctic morning with a 90 mile an hour wind.

The poison ivy smirks. It doesn’t care about the cold.

Did you know that nature doesn’t come with coffee? Who invented a coffee-less nature? Coffee’s natural. There should be a Keurig around here somewhere.

Oh, great. My phone’s dead.

Then out of nowhere, colorful racers burst around the corner, running easily and enjoying the course.

Nope, that didn’t happen. Not even a little bit. I was hoping it would, but it didn’t.

I started pacing on my little platform to warm up. I felt like the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo.

Eventually, The First Runner came sliding silently down the hill.

mgg-hillSerious competitors are focused. Really, really focused. Really, really focused on competing. No small talk here. The First Runner grabbed up two tires, slung them over his shoulders and headed around the loop. At the end, he dumped the tires and off he ran. I cheered for him. He didn’t seem to need the encouragement.

Ten minutes later, runners 2 and 3 arrived. They didn’t seem to need the cheering either.

The poison ivy didn’t bother cheering. Apparently it had already computed the outcome.

Eventually Pi showed up and made the day much more entertaining. She has that effect.

Michelle Warnky of American Ninja Warrior fame was the second woman we saw. She is a rock star. (This is my crazy impressed face.)

As the day went on the course, um, deteriorated. By that I mean where there had been mud, there was MUD. Where there had been slippery, there was treacherous. Where there had been sprinters, there were walkers pulling themselves along by their mud-covered fingernails. (Still, they did more than I did, so I’m not dissing.) Where there had been silence and concentration, there was conversation and camaraderie. It was fun.

The poison ivy continued to show its superior attitude. The Keurig didn’t show up. Neither did the feeling in our toes.

Still, it was a pretty cool day.

Love, Mom


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