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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The I-Groan, Part 2

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved to learn Indian Smoke Signals

I was beginning my second minute of lecturing on the virtues of taking notes on paper versus electronic devices at the AT&T store, when the eleven-year-old rolled her eyes completely out of sight. That signified total shutdown from listening to anything else I had to say.  I have seen this before many times.  I don’t think Alex, the AT&T employee who was helping me, had.  He was making the sign of the cross, even though I was sure he was Baptist, and dialing 1-800-CALL-An-EXORCIST.   I stopped talking and her eyes came back into view just before he hit dial.  The color came back to Alex’s face and we continued.  I completed my notes, paid for the phone, and we left.  Alex held the door open calling out “God Bless”.   I am sure we will be on every prayer list in town by Sunday, both for her sake and mine.

That afternoon with I-Phone, charger, adaptor, and notes in hand, we loaded up the children, packed the RV and headed for our favorite camping spot.  I decided to try out the new I-Phone on the way.  Now, just so you know, we have a family plan of 700 roll over minutes of which I used 5 last month so I basically have to review my notes every time I answer any cell phone.  

I had already learned how to translate toddler gibberish, speak fluent two-year-old, and decipher every nuance of eye rolling before the first six children were in high school.  I was tri-lingual before these last two were even born. The children never bothered to learn even rudimentary “Senior”.  We were destined to have a failure to communicate.

“I think I will try out my new I-phone and call my sister and tell her we are on our way,” I confidently said.

“You might want to practice first,” said Miss Eleven-Year-Old-Know-it-All, between the sounds of her texting, the whirling sounds of sending, and the beeping notifications of receiving on her cell phone.  “I’ll call you.”

I was waiting for my phone to “ring”.  Instead, it shocked me and I dropped it.

“You’ve got it on vibrate.  Do you want it to vibrate?”

“No, I want it to ring.  I don’t want an electric shock in my hands or my pants.”

“Which ring tone do you want?  You can have a ring tone that is different for each person?  Do you want separate ring tones for just our immediate family?”

“Ten ring tones?  How will I ever remember ten ring tones much less which tone is for which family member?”

“You can put a picture of the person calling you so you will know who it is.  Here, I’ll put my picture so it will come up when I am calling you.”

“Couldn’t I just say ‘Hello, who is this?”

“Fine,” eyes rolling toward the ceiling.  “Here is a high pitched ring that you are sure to hear.”

My phone rang.  The sound of an alien spaceship circling our car sounded, the dog began to howl, and the eleven-year-old’s picture appeared on my I-phone screen.

“Answer it!” my husband yelled above the howling dog and the sounds of the alien space ship trying to land. 

“How?” I queried?

“Slide the bar at the bottom and tap on the number.  Here let me” came from Miss Queen of the I-Phone.

“No, if you do it I will never learn.  Now where is the bar?” I said scanning the tiny screen.

“I don’t know but I’m looking for one” came from my dear tee-totaler Hubby as he swerved the truck from side to side. “Just answer the phone so the dog will stop howling and the space ship can land.”

“Hello?  Who is this?”

“It’s me. Look at the picture.   I’m right behind you.”

“Ok, I think I have that.  Slide, tap, say hello.  Got it.  Now how do I text?”

“Well to text, you tap the green oval at the top, type in the address from your contact list, type your message, then hit send.  If you are texting and someone is calling you, you can tap accept, reject….”

“STOP.  Don’t give me so many options.  Speak slower, not louder.  You aren’t making any sense…”

My husband reached for his cell phone.  “9-1-1?  What is my emergency?  Are you kidding?  I’m in a four passenger pick-up truck with a Shih Tzu, a seven-year-old and an eleven-year-old who do not speak ‘Senior”, a phone that E.T. tried to call home on, a wife who can’t see a bar when it is right in front of her and it’s an hour and a half to our destination.”

“Yes, sir.  Stay calm.  Alex notified us. There is an I-Phone Crisis Counselor about a mile behind you.  He has been following you since your wife left the store.  He is a certified Instructor for I-Phone 4 and he is fluent in “Senior”.  I’ll stay on the line until he catches up with you.”

My husband pulled the truck, trailer, two kids, one dog, and three cell phones safely to the shoulder of the road and waited for the I-Phone Crisis Counselor to catch up to us.

As the I-Phone Counselor spoke to me slowly, using simple one syllable words, I said to myself:

“Who needs a cell phone anyway?  Maybe I’ll just send out smoke signals.   There’s plenty coming from my ears right now.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I-Moan Part One

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for I-Phone lessons

As I am about to enter decade number seven, I am determined to have an up to date telephone.  I can handle technology even if it is changing faster than my moods.  I am an intelligent, creative human being.  Over the years I have created stunning set designs with nothing more than toilet paper tubes,  nylon trotline twine, and a can of spray paint.  I have altered size 4 costumes to accommodate a size 14 body.  I can certainly learn to use an I-Phone 4.  Besides, I have a seven-year-old and an eleven-year-old on call 24/7 for tutoring.

I began my quest into 21st century technology with a visit to my AT&T store and Alex, a knowledgeable employee who, despite his mere two decades of age, spoke fluent "Senior."

"Alex, I want a new phone."

"Good decision," he said as he looked at my paint less flip-phone. "And what do you want to do on it?" he said speaking in flawless "Senior."

"I want to call somebody, answer it when it rings, and text."

"This I-Phone 4 will do that."

"Will it do anything else?"

"Yes, but only if you want it to."

"Like what?" I asked fearfully.

"You see that I-pad you are carrying?  It will do everything your I-Pad will do. It is just smaller.  And this phone will serve as your hot spot for wi-fi so you will have one less thing to keep up with."

"Ok, let me have it."

"Good. It will take just a minute to set up your new phone so you will be ready to use it.  And before you leave, I will show you how to call, answer, text and I will connect your I-Pad to the Hot Spot.  While I do that, here is a bottle of cold water for you to drink."

Somewhere, Alex's Grandmother is beaming with pride.

In just a few minutes Alex returned with my phone.

"Now here is your password, you answer it by sliding this bar and tapping this..."

"Wait a minute.  Let me write this down."

At this point the eleven-year-old rolled her eyes and said pitifully "She has to write everything down on PAPER."

"For your information, young lady, paper and pen do not require batteries.  If I drop it in the pool, I can still read it.  It never becomes outdated nor is there ever a need to update it.  No password is required to access this information. Should I ever decide to pass this phone on to you, you will have written instructions on how to use it."

"By then the I-Phone 24 will be out."

The next day we left with the two kids on a road trip.  I was to get my first lesson from the eleven-year-old on using the I-Phone.  Let me just say right here that despite the fact that I learned to speak two-year-old fluently  and was fairly good at deciphering toddler jibberish, my children failed to learn to speak "Senior."t

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Old Quilts, Old Songs, Old Joy

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved....for days such as this!

The Piece Makers, our local quilting guild, have been meeting at the Treatment Center for  Alzheimer's every Wednesday for several decades. The money they make for quilting for the public goes toward helping to fund the center.  They also make quilts for their annual bazar.

I have been a volunteer "guest" quilter off and on for the past twenty years.  I enjoy the conversations and the fellowship.   I am in no way up to their level of artistry or standards, but I do fairly well on a straight line.

This past week a lady brought in a quilt started by her aunt many years ago.  When the aunt passed away and her house was being disposed of, the niece found all of these tiny two inch squares scattered in the yard and throughout the house.  Tiny pieces from sugar sacks, flour sacks, and woolen shirts. Each piece had been meticulously cut.  Some of the squares had already been pieced into what would be a "nine-patch" pattern and some had only been cut.  She could not stand for this piece of family history to be treated in such a manner, so she gathered them all up.

At home she washed and pressed each piece; then pieced them together in the pattern her aunt had started.  She brought it to the Treatment Center to be quilted.  That was the quilt we were working on this Wednesday.

This quilt was pure art and fine craftsmanship.  All of the square corners matched exactly. Each nine patch was precisely six inches square.  As I was threading my needle to begin, I thought of the hours  and hours it took to get the quilt to this point.

As we laughed and talked I found myself wishing I knew the story behind each square.  Was this patch first a flour sack, then a little girl's dress or maybe an apron?  After being handed down and worn again and again, were these two inch squares all that could be salvaged and used yet again?

As we quilted and discussed the intricate squares,  an older man and a few members of his church choir arrived to entertain the alzheimer clients.  They were in the recreation room right next to the room where we were quilting. As they were setting up, I mentioned that I would like to find a country church that still sang the old church songs I grew up singing as a teenager.

"Well, I go to a little country church but that doesn't mean they still sing the old songs," commented the lady to my left.

"No, you would be hard pressed to find a church that still sings the old songs," said the lady quilting across from me. "I miss those songs."

Just then we heard the sounds of the piano giving the introduction as they began to sing.  Floating into the room, a strong single voice carrying the melody amidst beautiful accompanying harmony came "I'll Fly Away",  "In the Sweet By and By",  "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Amazing Grace", "The Old Rugged Cross", "Just as I Am", "Shall We Gather at the River" .  The songs continued for another twenty minutes; each one calling up forgotten memories; each song seeming to make the needles glide effortlessly through the quilt. Aged backs straightened a bit, smiles creased lined faces, and our voices joined in singing the familiar words.

Had a photograph  been taken at that moment, no doubt it  would have captured pure joy...and, yes, it probably would have appeared as a brown tintype.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gold Fish, Rightly So

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for doubloons 

Every kid wants a gold fish.  The parents buy two or three and get an aquarium.  In a month or so the kids lose interest.   The fish die and you flush. End of story.  Oh, there is the occasional funeral and even a rare commercial for Mr. Gold, a fish, who did not have life insurance but for the most part it is not a big deal...until now.
Two years ago the nine-year-old wanted gold fish.  For her birthday I got the aquarium, filter, light, bubbler, and three gold fish.  The first two followed the traditional path, died within two days, and were soon flushed.  She wanted replacements.  What the heck, at 18 cents a fish I could afford to be generous, so I bought two replacements expecting all to be over within a month.
When the fish were four months old, I had to find solid food weekend feeders for them as we were going away for the week-end.  When we planned a week long cruise, I had to search all over town for three somewhat expensive seven-day solid food feeders for the now one-year-old fish.  When we returned I half expected to have to flush some skinny fish.  Not so.  They were thriving.
When I mentioned this to my friends they said "What, you didn't have the one way valve connectors for the bubblers?  Man, you are lucky the electricity didn't go out while you were gone.  You could have returned with ten gallons of water syphoned out onto your carpet and some smelly 


Before our next trip, I bought the one way valves for the bubblers which were not cheap.
At two and a half years old, the three fish are still alive and have grown to be five inches long lips to tail fin.  Every time I pass by the aquarium, I swear they are laughing.
Night before last, the eleven-year-old came running into the bedroom.
 "You've got to help me.  Margarita (I swear I don't know where she got that name although I could have used one right then) is being beaten up on by Tiger Eye and Goldie Locks.  They are pecking on her (I thought only birds pecked) and pushing her up against the glass.  You've got to do something."
My first thoughts were of an old cheer we used to do when we played John Tyler High School in football.  FLUSH THAT JOHN!  FLUSH THAT JOHN!  But knowing how tender hearted she could be when it came to dumb animals...and fish...I went to see what was happening.

Sure enough, Tiger Eye and Goldie Locks had it in for Margarita. 
"You've got to rescue Margarita." The only thing I had big enough to accommodate Moby Dick was my cut glass punch bowl, not exactly what my mother had intended it for when she gave it to me.
Nevertheless, we filled the punch bowl with dechlorinated water and moved Margarita into her new condo.  She did have a few scales missing and was listing a little to the left; Margarita, not my mother, although my mother does that, too, from time to time. 
"She should be fine," I said as I eyed the toilet.
"What about a bubbler?  She's going to need air."
"She will be alright tonight. In the morning I'll get a multiple connector for the pump.  Now go to bed."
The next morning I got up early to do any necessary flushing in case Margarita hadn't made it.  She was laughing at me on her side.  The bubbler that at been in the aquarium was in the punch bowl and my daughter's alarm had been set for midnight.  She had been switching the bubbler from one tank to the next all night.
I bought the multiple connector at Wal-Mart.  Last night we tried putting Margarita back into the aquarium with the bullies.  Nothing had changed. Margarita went back into the punch bowl.  At least there would be no switching bubblers back and forth during the night.
I googled "bullying gold fish".  According to the experts, a ten gallon aquarium is too small for three gold fish the size of ours.  Back to Wal-Mart for yes, another ten gallon aquarium, pump, filter, bubbler, lights, and plant.  Ka-ching.
I set up the aquarium and all the gear. I put Margarita in her new single digs.  She straightened right up, swam around, and I swear, smiled at me.

The relief on  my daughter’s face when she arrived home from school and saw Margarita swimming happily  in her very own ten gallon tank was worth all the trouble and expense to me. 

 However, later  while looking at the sales slip, Dr. Hubby commented "Now I know why they are called Gold Fish."
"You better hope she takes as good a care of us in our Golden Years as she does these Gold fish."
"Good point.  Maybe you should get a waterproof TV  to keep Margarita entertained.  After all, we want her to be happy."