Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas Is To Be Like You

Not your figure or your taste in fashion, but what is on the inside. Let me give you a list.  You like lists.

1. Good cheer.
I'm sure you meet more rude people in one day than I do in a month, and yet you have not become grouchy or cynical.

2. Boundless energy.
You get out and about every day, you shop till you drop (except you never drop), and you don't need an afternoon nap to get through the day.

3. Priorities.
You have stress level has got to be overwhelming during the last months of the year and yet you make time for everyone. How do you do that?

4. Outstanding memory.
You're how old? And yet you remember every name, every list, every address and every change of address.

5. Keeping up with technology.
This is a big one. You've progressed from the old magic slate to ipads, from wood blocks to microchips, and from analog to digital.

What brought this on, you ask? Well, you see, I've been talking to my mother and spending time with my mother-in-law, and it scares me to think that is my future.

The other day my mother wanted my daughter's and son-in-law's Christmas lists. They sent us Amazon lists and mom wanted me to give them to her over the phone. I told her I needed to email it to her but she hasn't gotten her email set up with her new ISP. She's been waiting for a couple of months for someone to come do it for her. She's not as old as you, Santa. She's only 82, but I can see that she has slowed down a lot in the last few years. Kudos to her for getting on the internet fifteen years ago, and keeping up with upgrades, but, well, let me explain.

I set up a free email for her a couple of years ago just in case something happened to her ISP, but she forgot about it. So I told her I would set up another one if she thought she could use it. She assured me she knew exactly how to use it. So I created a new email, and made it easy by just using her first and last name, sent her the Amazon lists and then called to tell her. That conversation went something like this.

"Hi mom, I set up an email for you at It's your first and last name, no space between."

"Let me go get some paper."

"No, you don't need any paper, it's your first and last name, no space between."

"I need to write it down. I'll be right back." I hear rustling noises

me (in a raised voice):
"Mom, you don't need paper. Did you hear me? It's your name. Your own name. You don't need to write it down."

"My real name?"

"Yes, your real name, first and last, with no space between. Doesn't matter if you use capital letters or not. Your password is the same as the one for your other account, and it is taped over your computer. Type it in just the way it is written because passwords are case sensitive. The email account is at Look for mail, or a word with mail in it, in the top right corner of the screen and click on that. Do you remember how to use the email or do you need me to tell you each step?"

"Yes, that's easy. I have set up as my home page already; I've done it before and know exactly how to do it. I'm going to bed in an hour so I don't have time to get on the internet tonight, but I'll get online tomorrow."

Good. So the next day she called back.

"I can't find the Christmas lists."

"Let me check your email and see if they are in spam." I check and they are the only emails in her inbox. "They're right there, mom. Are you in the inbox?"

"I don't know. Does it look any different than the page? I typed my name, no spaces, and my password into the search box and it came up with a lot of links, but they aren't Amazon links."

"Hmmm, that doesn't sound right. You clicked on the mail in the top right corner, and it went to a sign in page, right?"

"No, I didn't have to click on the mail because the cursor was blinking in an empty box when I opened the page, so I put it in there."

" is a search engine, mom. You put your name and password into the search box of the search engine."

"What's a search engine?"

"It's how you search for information on the internet. You've done it before. You've even done it with your own name before. Remember how you freaked out when you searched your name and found all that information?"

"Oh, yeah. I thought it looked kind of familiar."

"Okay, let's do this together. Go to Are you there?"

"Yes, I'm there."

"Do you see the word with mail in it, in the top right corner?"

"Yes, I clicked on it, and I see the log in. I'm typing my name and password in it now." A pause. "Something's wrong. It says "invalid ID or password."

"Did you type in your name, first and last with no space, in the top box? And then your password in the lower box, just as it is written on that paper over your computer? The password is case sensitive."

"What is case sensitive?"

me (beating my head against the table):
"Case. Like upper case is a capital letter, lower case is a little letter."

"Oh yes, of course, I knew that. Well, I typed everything into the top box. My name with no space, then a space, and then my password. I have the Caps lock on because it's easier to see and you said it didn't matter."

me (and Santa, I'm afraid I rolled my eyes and sighed here):
"No, it doesn't matter about your name, but it does matter about the password. The password has to be typed exactly like it is on the paper, with Capital letters where they are, numbers where they are, and lower case letters where they are. And the password is typed into the lower box. Only your name is typed into the upper box, no space between your first and last name. Try it again."

"Okay, it worked this time. I see the emails with Lil's Amazon lists."

me (hesitantly):
"Do you think you can click on the links in the email and go through an Amazon checkout or do I need to walk you through it?"

mom (in an annoyed tone):
"Of course I can buy something from Amazon. I know exactly how to do it. I've done it many times."

Scary thought. 

Scarier is that this is my future too.  Santa, can you help me out?



Nancy said...

Yes, I'm afraid we are all headed down that road sooner than we care.

Marti said...

My great grandmother was sharp as a tack at 103. I can see I'm not going that direction and I've still got over 40 years to 100. I don't want to be one of those people slumped over in my wheelchair in the nursing home with my mouth hanging open.

Grandma K said...

I really am worried about my mental status right now - as you know. There are times when I feel like I have suddenly forgotten everyday things that then come rushing back! They are saying that our electronic devices are destroying our memories! That sounds like a wonderful excuse to me!!!

Marti said...

I know! I joke about it, but I worry about it too. A lot. I can't remember a word, or someone's name, or where I put something. I worry that I will forget appointments. I've already missed paying bills, as you know. And to think that it will get worse. Eeek! Maybe electronics has something to do with it, I don't know. I know I sure like the electronics, and I hope I continue to remember how to use them.

Kate said...

I keep telling myself that with all that is stuffed in my head, it is no wonder I can not remember everything. I so get what you are saying,