Category Archives: Uncategorized

Then/Now (back in the day)

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Then/Now (back in the day)

I noticed a sign outside a restaurant:

“No wifi.

Talk to each other.

Call your Mom.

Pretend it’s 1993

Live”

Normally I would agree.

grumpy1I have made of career of complaining about NOW and how it was better THEN. And based on all the positive responses I get, many of you feel the same.  But it’s like we have become our parents, grumbling and saying things like….

(Back in the day we didn’t need 600 on-line friends.  We had five or six who were from the neighborhood who didn’t need to plug into anything to have fun, and were usually waiting outside to play ringalerio).

There’s a lot of complaining about today’s technology and what it’s done to us on a personal and social level but I’ve started to embrace the fact that there are some real positives to being “plugged in”.

(Back in the day, we didn’t have texting.  Your boyfriend had to break up with you in person)

THEN, there was the telephone. NOW, there’s texting.  Without it I would never hear from my kids as much as I do.  Granted it’s embarrassing when I text something to my son that was supposed to go to my brother but as grumpy2soon as I see, “huh?” I know I’ve done something wrong.  It’s also clear that I’m not quite getting through to my mother (who calls me every day, sometimes a few times a day) on the difference between texting and FaceTime. Patience I remind myself.  It will help me get into heaven. My daughter says, “Nanny’s face keeps appearing on my phone during class”. Practice patience I tell her.  It will help you get into heaven.

(Back in the day we had to read a map).

NOW, I couldn’t live without GPS.

grumpy3THEN, I remember being in a constant state of lost. My blood pressure rising while valuable minutes slipped away. My way around this was 1-800-CALL-DAD but first I had to find a phone booth and hope I had dimes.  NOW, with GPS I’m never lost. My blood pressure remains constant while a sweet voice calmly recalculates without ever once saying “Lady, WTF?”  My husband asks, “Don’t you want to have an idea of where you are going before you head off?” No.  I do not.

(Back in the day we were happy with AM radio and the music was better).

NOW there’s my beloved IPOD. THEN I carpooled to middle school while a friend’s father insisted on listening to opera and wishing I had a pencil to stick in my eye. NOW I never have to listen to someone else’s music; not grumpy4to mention all the great music apps that I don’t mind paying for. And since everyone in my family, including my 84 year old Dad, uses my password to share their music stations it’s very eclectic to say the least. Think the following playlists: John Phillip Sousa, Lil Wayne, Rolling Stones, Judy Garland, Bix Beidebecke,  Country Fitness, Akon, 50 cent, Bruce, Broadway, Glenn Miller and NO OPERA.

But my all time favorite thing about NOW is Google search and my personal assistant, SIRI.  There’s something wonderful about typing the word eschatology on the dictionary app and instantly knowing what it means. (Back when I was your age we had to walk over to the shelf and use an actual dictionary).

grumpy5NOW, I can find a solution to getting oil stains out of a sweater, if it’s safe to freeze chopped liver, how to mix a Moscow Mule. NOW, we can look up a new drug for Alzheimer’s, listen to how a song is supposed to be played on the piano before practicing it wrong for 2 weeks, get a list for the best Caribbean vacation spots in December,  amazing hotels,  what they look like, and some reviews.  We can find the weather in Canberra and pack accordingly, track a flight, find cheap gas, check the NASDAC, reserve a cab, map the stars at night and know how to perfectly poach a chicken, …INSTANTLY!  (Back when I was your age we had to read a cookbook).

And these are just on my short list of what I love about NOW!  So instead of complaining about the disappearance of all that was THEN, make your own list of what you are better for NOW.  You might be happily surprised of all you have gained.

I was.

Then turn off your WIFI and go call your Mom. It will help you with your patience and getting into heaven.

grumpy7

 

 

 

 

I’m scrolling…

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I’m scrolling…

facebookWhen I first activated my Facebook account I loved everything about it because it provided me with opportunities not otherwise available.  I could connect with relatives from Italy that I had heard about my whole life but hadn’t met.  I could follow my brother as he traveled the world. I could see what my friends from high school had been up to for the past 30 years.  I could follow my kids in pictures wisely spending my tuition money.

Today, however, I think Facebook is so annoying that I find I am yelling at myself for even looking at it. I decided it was time kick my ridiculous habit.

I had a plan.

I started off checking Facebook once a day and not every single time I had a down moment.  I wondered if I would I miss out on all that useful information like “50 things lemons are good for,” (how come mixing with vodka wasn’t on the list?) and advice that I “should create something that inspires someone”. (Does making dinner suffice?). I’m now down to checking it every few days.

After a week there is quite a bit of useful information that I missed…said no one ever.facebook2

So I’m scrolling.

A lot.

Am I at a disadvantage because I don’t know what the color of my personality reveals, what the first letters of my name mean, if I’m a vocabulary genius, a medical savant, what my name means in German, what I would have been in a previous life, what the first word I see in a word gram means, who my sweetest friend is, (none of my friends are sweet, that’s why they’re my friends), and if I want to tell my brother and sister they’re the best?  (I do, but I don’t need Facebook).

I’m scrolling.

Why is there so much food on Facebook?  If you have cooked it yourself and are including the recipe, I’ll read it and sometimes prepare it. If you sipped an awesome drink and have the recipe (Hippie Juice was one of my favorites), I’ll print it out and try it. But if you’re taking a picture of food just served to you while sitting in a restaurant… I’m scrolling.

And then there are the incredible amounts of selfies.

There’s a reason Disney has banned selfies-sticks from their theme parks.

Thankfully I have friends who post selfies that I LOVE: in a salon getting color put on their hair hoping for that natural look (hilarious), selfies with muddy and bruised bodies from an arduous bike race (love it), sweaty and sunburned from a workout (perfect), camping in the rain, (not a good hair day but posted anyway…(brave because you look so bad!), bleary eyed from studying around the clock, (brings back memories), a melt-down selfie after your favorite team has lost…again (priceless) .

For these, I stop scrolling.

But when I see perfectly coiffed and made up selfies of only one person, and that’s YOU…I’m scrolling.

facebook3What exactly is the rule for posting your face everywhere on social media?  If you Like it on Facebook, do you also need to Heart it on Instagram? If you get 55 Likes on Facebook but only 15 on Instagram of the same picture does that mean people changed their minds or does it just mean they find you annoying?

Why, I ask, do you need people to say that they love your face (stunning!), your make-up (so pretty!), your eyelashes (to die for!), your lipstick (amazing!), your hair (gorge), your brows (so full!)?

I don’t know why!

I’m scrolling.

And those words of wisdom that I don’t know how I ever survived without.  Did you know that a mother is always a mother, she never stops worrying? (really?) Did you know you should treat someone like you want to be treated? (OK, I’m still facebook4working on that), Did you know that you shouldn’t take anything personally? (I’m Italian…I take EVERYTHING personally),  Did you know that God is there for you in your darkest moments?  I didn’t know any of this!

THANK YOU Facebook!

I’m scrolling.

However…

If your posting pictures of your family and life events, grandchildren being born, graduations, engagements, weddings, first day of kindergarten, last day of high school, the college drop-off, first drive behind a wheel, flags on Veterans Day, a loved facebookheartone remembered, vacations taken, sunsets, sunrises, how to do a proper plank, nature shots, pets, pictures of grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, family reunions, weight loss, personal journeys, mountains climbed and conquered…

For this I will stop scrolling.

Because I said so!

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I was standing in line at Dunkin Donuts behind a mother and her pre-school son, Thomas. They were discussing the family dinner plans. Thomas, like most kids today, was under the impression that his vote counted. Oh, I thought to myself, this should be interesting.

Mother: We will discuss what we are having for dinner when we get home and can include your sister in our decision.
Thomas: Jessica got to pick dinner last night; it’s my turn to pick dinner.
Mother: Yes, that’s true but we will discuss it as a family so everyone is happy.

And there is the first mistake…the discussion and subsequent negotiation over dinner plans made between a
40-something-year-old and her 5-year-old son.

When I was growing up my mother gave me two choices when it came to dinner: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT. My takeorleave1happiness didn’t come into play. If I had friends over she never asked if they wanted curly macaroni or flat, crusts on or off, or this….which I swear one of my friends asked….do you want the napkin folded in a square or a triangle? If my mother had ever asked me how I wanted my napkin folded I would have run out of the room screaming thinking an alien had taken over her body.

One thing has become abundantly clear to me. From the time children are in pre-school, they are seasoned negotiators. We foster it. We allow it. I never negotiated with my parents. Their way or the highway? You betcha.

I didn’t learn how to negotiate until I was married.

Do you ever remember asking your parents “why” when they told you to do something? WHY? My mother would say. Now, let’s repeat all together people of my generation…WHY? BECAUSE I SAID SO! No negotiating, no family consensus,takeorleave2 no family hug. If my face showed that I wasn’t happy about the decision I would be told again folks, lets repeat together…STOP CRYING OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT.

I remember actually asking my kids what time was fair for a curfew. Are you kidding me, my mother who always sits on my right shoulder was frantically whispering…Who is the parent here? While growing up, my curfew was never up for negotiation. Was yours? There was one choice only: be home by the designated time or, or else. No negotiation or consensus necessary. Was I happy? No. Did my parents care if I was happy? No. Was I home by the designated time? No. But that’s a different article.

When did we get to the point we are today where everyone needs to be happy or you feel like you have failed as a parent. Kids today don’t know what it’s like to be unhappy. They barely ever hear the word N0 and they feel they deserve the last word, or a word, in the ever-present family negotiations.

takeitorleave4Nothing was discussed with me or my siblings and guess what? We had awesome childhoods! We had plenty of our own decisions…kid decisions. Like, would I ride my bike to school or walk? Would my brother play baseball or soccer? Would my sister play with Sandy or Doreen after school? We weren’t asked our opinion on dinner, on where we went on vacation, or what color should our next car be. We heard the word no and lived with it. We expected it. And if you asked me to name one adjective to describe my childhood, it would be the word HAPPY with a capital H.

We were better off and better prepared for life’s disappointments.

So if I could have interrupted that mom I would have told her that her child isn’t quite a lawyer yet…that she can say no.

And that when she got home she should use another line from my awesome, happy, and filled with the word NO childhood….SOMEDAY WHEN YOU ARE MY AGE YOU WILL UNDERSTAND.

NOW EAT WHATS IN FRONT OF YOU.

BECAUSE I SAID SO.

IF AFTER READING THIS YOU HAVE ANY CLASSIC COMMENTS FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD, PLEASE LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW. I WOULD LOVE TO PUBLISH A LIST!

takeitorleave5

I need to find something to complain about ~ fast

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I need to find something to complain about ~ fast

happy8I’m happy. No….really, it’s not good. There is nothing worse for a writer who has made a career out of complaining.

Acceptance is the key to my happiness. I’m still juggling, still busy, but without kids at home to suck the life out of me, I’m busy with things that I choose: volunteering for 2 non-profits, cooking classes, piano lessons, writing…you’re bored already, aren’t you? I’m not complaining, but are you laughing? I didn’t think so.

To find the humor I decided to go back to when the complaining started.

happy3Remember 16? You complained about your mother, complained about best friends who liked you when they were in your company but talked about you when you were out of sight. You complained about boyfriends who liked you on Monday but then suddenly liked your best friend on Tuesday. Good times!

25-30 and humor is easily found. Complaining is front and center. You’re on your own and happy to have a career. Maybe you’re married to your soul-mate (the most ridiculous description ever), possibly you have a family. But let’s be honest as we reminisce…you have a few days when you think; maybe I’ll just change my name and keep driving. Smiling? I thought so.

At 40 you’re tired, stressed, and the bathroom scale lies. I was the Queen surrounded by a court of willing and friendly participants who excelled in taking complaining to an art form.

At this age you complain about who spends more time driving, complain about practices and competitions, complain happy9about the college process. It’s been years since you wanted to wear heels, you wonder why you ever thought he was your “soul mate” in the first place, and you’re worried you are becoming your mother. Nobody you know is happy. Its side-splitting hysterical.

And then even though you’re worn out, slightly blind, slightly forgetful and slightly lumpy, the complaining just stops and you’re suddenly no longer tired and remarkably happy.

Which totally ruins the image I have worked decades to achieve.

I’m happy that I’m well past the age of 16 and don’t need to act as though I like you if I don’t. At first it was happy5thrilling to have 650 Facebook friends, but then I accepted that if I didn’t like you in high school, college, or at work I don’t need to like you now.

I accept that no matter how hard I work out I will never be a size 2 and I’ll never look good in neon. I’m suddenly happy wearing black or gray. It’s a timeless look I’m after now: elegant, sophisticated. If I have a craving for lime green, I’ll mix a margarita.

I accept that no matter how much I spend on face products, no pore reducing, line eliminating, plumping, firming, puffiness extinguishing, bleaching, peeling, hydrating concoction will change that fact.

I accept that according to most beauty experts minimal make-up is the way to go at my age. I’m happy with this advice, but not because I read it in a magazine: I simply can’t see well enough to put it on.

I’m VERY happy and VERY accepting that it’s been proven dark chocolate and wine are good for the aging process. That it’s better to be a little overweight and with higher blood pressure then to lose weight and have lower bloodhappy6 pressure as we age. I kid you not….read the 90+ study (http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/90plus-study/). All these years worrying…who knew I was on the right track?

I’m happy and no longer complaining because with child rearing in my rear view mirror I can go out to dinner and a movie during the week, every station on my car radio is mine, my mascara is where I left it, and as long as I avoid looking at myself from the side there isn’t much to complain about.

I LOVE MY LIFE!

Am I happy? Yes!

Is it funny? NO!

My writing career might very well be over.
happy7

Hercules…you’re kidding me, right?

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Hercules…you’re kidding me, right?

hercules2When did we start naming winter storms, or more to the point, WHY are we naming winter storms? I can understand naming hurricanes and typhoons but naming a winter snow storm is a bit much.

Winter Storm Hercules was a case in point. I knew it was serious when Access Hollywood was pre-empted with a special report of the upcoming storm. Any time Kim Kardashian is pre-empted, you have to guess it’s pretty darn serious. I was surprised they didn’t have Snookie reporting from Belmar.

Naming a storm adds to the frenzy and the sudden extreme addiction to milk, juice, eggs, and bread. I saw gals in ShopRite who hadn’t touched a piece of bread in 5 years with a ridiculous amount of bread in their carts. If I’m going down because of a snow storm you can bet that it’s not milk and bread that I’m making sure I have available. The parking lot looked like the day before Christmas, New Years, and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Who knew so many drank milk?

The leading news story at 5, 5:30, and 6 was Hercules. The national news at 6:30 also ran it as their lead story. 250 killed in Syria and the lead story was a winter storm…in the northeast….in January. Really?

I could understand all the commotion if this was happening in, let’s say – Arizona. But hercules4cold weather, dark and damp days coupled with snow and ice on the east coast in winter, the last time I checked was normal. It’s why we choose to live here. Jersey Strong, baby.

hercules3Adding to the hysteria are the weather experts from Stanford, the weather specialists from the Weather Channel with their charts, graphs, and markers, and lets not forget the reporters trying to analyze while the snow and wind is blowing. “Look,” they shout, “snow and wind!” They highlight pictures of people sliding, falling and crashing. Do we really need experts with charts to tell us it’s a snow storm and to stay inside? Do you think they are such weenies in Fargo ND, or Omaha Nebraska every time it snows and gets cold?

While growing up, I can’t remember my parents ever caring very much about the weather. It’s NJ. It’s snowing. Big deal. What’s for dinner? Making a snow storm in January major news? fugetaboutit.

Back to Hercules…The experts were predicting it was going to begin snowing at 8 in the morning so many people, myself included, changed appointments, cancelled meetings, became unduly nervous about the driving we had to do. I found myself scanning the sky like I was looking for Santa. I checked the forecast on my weather app every hour. I was so obsessed I even checked the hourly weather in Detroit and Boston, where my kids were. It’s snowing in Detroit! No s— Sherlock! Its January. I was ridiculous. But they made me ridiculous.

But with their Hercules forecast they were wrong in their prediction as it didn’t start snowing until 7 PM that night and it was gone by the following morning. By the time it actually started snowing I had already eaten all the bread and drank all the juice. Now what, I wondered?

Don’t you wish you could be paid to be wrong as many times as they are? It would be like your doctor telling you that you have throat cancer only to find out its strep.

hercules7So now we are on to Winter Storm Janus and I’ve decided I’m watching Netflix. I don’t need hourly updates, I can look out the window. I will NOT go to Shop Rite. I can make due with whatever I have available. There is always plenty of red wine and pasta in my house.

I will be OK.

I will avoid buying in to the hysteria.

We all should.

And as far as staying off the roads I’m driving where I have to go, when I have to go. I’ll make the decision to drive on my own. I don’t need charts, graphs, and newscasters reporting in a snowstorm outside to tell me its a snow storm outside.

hercules8

Sidewalk ice and the winter graph

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sidewalk1Sidewalk ice has different meanings depending on your age. It’s like looking at a graph with a downward slope: fun is the top point and death is the bottom point.

If you’re a child… winter, snow and sidewalk ice, can only mean one thing: Fun with a capital F. You’re at the high point on the winter graph. Your mom bundles you up and out you go into a winter wonderland filled with sledding, sliding, falling, snowballs, snow angels, and snow forts. Your nose is running, your fingers are wet and freezing but you don’t notice. Children are blissfully unaware of impending doom and a visit to the ER when they look outside. Sidewalk ice? If you slip, you slip.sidewalk2

On to the teen years, where style comes before warmth at all times. At this age, looking good is more important than being warm. Take a trip to a local high school where in 20 degree weather, the girls are dressed in uggs with mini-skirts and you will know what I mean. My mother would be lucky if she could get me to wear a winter coat. I wore a hat until she was out of sight. So similar to today’s teens I was usually freezing, but damn, did I look good. Sidewalk ice? I didn’t give it a moment’s thought.

During life’s next stage, you’re working outside the home, or home with the kids. (“Home with the kids” is also “working” but you don’t get to leave the house for adult conversation, no coffee or lunch break, you don’t get paid for putting your life on hold, and best of all you get no respect whatsoever…I’m sounding bitter aren’t I? But that’s a future blog so stay tuned).

During this stage, your children upon hearing that phone ring early in the morning are ecstatic, knowing it can only mean one thing: A SNOW DAY! If you’re a stay-at-home or a working mom, however, you hear that early morning ring and you think….”shoot me.” It might mean fun with a capital F to your kids but you are probably thinking of another word… also with a capital F. The point on the winter graph is beginning to drop significantly.

sidewalk6But, I remember once after the plow had come, my kids went outside and saw the tremendously high drift that the plow had left at the bottom of our drive. Within 10 minutes they had made it into a fort with snow windows and little seats. Then they made a small slide. A few neighborhood kids came over and it was all fun and laughter and snowsuits, and hats and gloves and boots. As I watched from my window I thought to myself…go outside…forget the ice.

So I did.sidewalk7

None of them seemed to notice that I was dressed like an Eskimo so I started collecting rocks and sticks and began decorating their fort. Before long all of them were collecting whatever greenery they could find and decorating along with me. My nose was running and my hands were wet and freezing but I was having a great time. It was like being Snow White with her 7 dwarfs. If I fell there would be 7 kids to pick me up.

I didn’t fall.

Afterwards, I went inside and made hot chocolate for everyone and even had marshmallows handy in the pantry. Then I invited some of my friends over who were similarly thrilled with the snow day and darned if Jack Daniels didn’t go great with the hot chocolate! Why should only kids have all the fun?

Now I’m at the bottom of the winter graph where its uggs without the mini-skirt for me. Looking good? Forget it. It takes 10 minutes to get ready to leave the house as you put on a winter coat, tie a scarf around your neck, pull the same scarf over your nose and mouth, put on gloves, and a hat. I imagine it’s like wearing a burka as only your eyes are exposed. My daughter says, “Mom, you’re only walking 20 feet to get the mail” but I don’t care. And I can’t think of letting her get the mail because she would only wear a mini skirt with uggs. My only concern is staying out of the ER and keeping the circulation going in my fingers and toes.

At my age, I’m at the lowest point on the winter graph. I look at sidewalk ice and think, “I’m going to die.”sidewalk8

Stevie, 1970 something, and Depends

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A few weeks ago my husband and I attended a Fleetwood Mac concert. It was like lunchtime at my high school only 35 years later. Everyone was in different stages of decay.vodkatonic

In high school we drank beer. For some it was a varsity sport but we’re mature now. At the concert it was clear we still took drinking seriously but the concerns we had were different. None of us had to worry about being grounded; we were concerned about other, more serious things. Like carbs and calories.

In one corner, just like high school, were the Italian girls. Big hair, big personalities, big laughs, big…..well, you get the picture. Back then, these girls had hot boyfriends named Sal and/or Ronny and it was clear they STILL thought their Ronnys and Sals were hot. I can picture them smushed up against lockers in full kissing mode every chance they could get. Now? Most of us are just smushed into our pants but we still know how to have a good time.chevelle

Ronny and Sal and that group were present too. Although not so hot anymore there wasn’t much that had changed. They still loved their muscle t-shirts and their tans, and of course, they still liked to drink. I loved hanging around the Italian boys in high school…they could crack me up like nobody else on the planet, but my mother had other plans for me which didn’t include boys of any kind. “But what do you like about him?” she would ask? “His Chevelle,” I replied. Another 2 weeks locked in my room.

The jocks were at the concert too and still hanging together from what I could tell. They were popular in high school and liked cheerleaders. I was a cheerleader (don’t hold this against me, please) but I was usually locked away in my closet by my mother so nobody was searching for me to smush against a locker. From the looks of them they hadn’t run on a football field or otherwise in 30 years and I’m guessing they still liked their sneakers but not so much to work out. More to help with their aging knees which I’m guessing many of us could relate to.calculator

The smart crowd was there. Huddled together now as doctors, tax accountants, lawyers and definitely dressed for success even at a concert. 35 years later, they looked good. This group did NOT look good in high school. Back then they wore glasses, had pens in their shirt pockets, took AP calculus, statistics, and carried really large backpacks. They had homework which they finished and it had paid off. They weren’t locking lips with anyone in high school. Absolutely revenge of the nerds.

As for me, I was an Italian girl with a double life and I floated between all groups. There was the life I wanted to lead and the life my mother insisted on. I would leave the house dressed like Marcia Brady but change in a friend’s car and emerge as Tina from Tony and Tina’s Wedding. Sometimes I would forget to change back into Marcia Brady. That was a problem. Now, thankfully, I can go and come back as the same person. My mother always said watching me raise a girl would be the best revenge. I hate when she’s right.

Not too many high-heels at this concert. Tight pants but only because we had gained weight and forget about short shirts, short skirts. No sir – none of that. As a matter of fact, based on the ages at this concert when I went to the ladies room I expected to see Depends in the dispenser.

And just like in high school, the different groups were eyeing each other up. The Ronnys and Sals were looking at me which didn’t sit well with their wives/girlfriends. We all hated the dates of the smart crowd because they looked much too good. “Well, she certainly paid for those perky things”, I heard on more than one occasion. The Italian girls were looking a little too lustily after the jocks which didn’t sit well with their Ronnys and Sals. Oh boy, here we go I thought, a fist fight in the balcony, just like in high school only then it took place near the flagpole.

And then Stevie Nicks came on stage. All 60 plus years of her with long blond hair, black boots, black fringe and that amazing voice and we all just stopped and listened….and sang….together, as the class of 1970 something. And when we all sang Landslide it didn’t matter one bit what you looked like now or 35 years ago.stevie

“Well time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too.”

She was amazing.

So are we.

Role-Reversal

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I can’t ever remember a time growing up that my parents asked me how to do anything. It was always the other way around with me asking them for help, and they always knowing how to do it.  Not to take anything away from their brilliance, but things were a lot simpler back then. No iPhones, remotes, or apps. The television, stereo, and lights had one switch/2 options: on or off.  So it was simple and didn’t  require a password, a download, or a PDF file. I thought my father was brilliant simply because he could switch the sound in the stereo from one speaker to another.  Your parents were supposed to be smarterfather with child than you.

Today, my house and my life come to a grinding halt if I can’t get in touch with one of my kids. It’s complete role-reversal with them being brilliant and me not so much. They are being the all-knowing parent, me the naive child.

I don’t enjoy feeing simple-minded around my kids. Everything is complicated AND it’s all connected which makes it even worse.  My DVD is connected through the Xbox which is connected to the television.  This means that if I want to watch a movie I need one of them to turn the TV on for me.

Sometimes, when I’m home alone I sit in a dark room hoping if I concentrate hard enough the television will turn on by itself.  Friends are impressed by how many books I read, but really, if I could get the TV to turn on I wouldn’t read that many books.

The lights in the family room come with a programmable remote control.  It’s called “SmartHome” and it’s a multi-room lighting control kit. Once again, you need an engineer’s degree to complete the simple task of turning the lights on. The kit includes an eight button keypad.  The instructions say, “plug into an outlet and connect to your router which can then be accessed from any web-enabled device.” ARE THEY KIDDING ME? I JUST smart mom remoteWANT TO TURN A LIGHT ON AND I DON’T WANT TO ASK MY KIDS HOW TO DO IT.

I want a remote called “SmartMom” which could make me, well…smart.

My kids are very patient with helping me. Their generation was all born “on the grid”.  Their first word spoken was probably “synch,” and they can complete any task involving electronics and technology at such lightening speed that it doesn’t pay to follow or try to learn myself.  By the time it takes me to find my glasses they have already downloaded, uploaded, liked it on Facebook and hooked me up with some cloud that I’m still trying to get a handle on.

Even trying to impress them with apps on my phone backfires.  “I have Pandora” I tell them.  Only to be told that Spotify and Tunein Radio are far superior to my hokey little Pandora app.  “Yeah, well I downloaded the Torch app and now I have a flashlight on my phone… So there!”  They are speechless.flashlight app

“And furthermore, we were allowed to play tag even though not everyone could be “it”, and not everyone got a trophy but we still felt good about ourselves, and we could make eye contact and HAVE A CONVERSATION with another person without texting!”  Now they are looking at me like I have lost my mind, but I don’t care. I’m tired of feeling inadequate. I want to feel like my parents got to feel….superior, omniscient, and brilliant.

My daughter recently got an iPhone 5.  We were standing in line at the mall and she said, “I can’t figure out how to post a picture to Facebook from this phone.” I literally ran someone over to help her.  Imagine…me helping her!  “LET… ME… SHOW…YOU…HOW… TO…USE…YOUR… iPhone,” I practically screamed so that all could hear and be totally amazed by me, a mere grown-up helping a child with something electronic.  And so it came to pass that I did help her.  To add to my new feeling of superiority, the young cashier said  he had never seen it happen before and was truly impressed.  Feeling pretty cocky I told him that I even had the torch app and could use my phone as a flashlight…and then I lost him. But for a brief period, I was brilliant and it felt amazing.child

After leaving the mall I tried to get into my car and realized I couldn’t find my keys.  I was practically in a panic trying to think on which counter I had left them.  It was then that I noticed my daughter with a smile on her face that seemed to be growing.  Slowly she pulled my keys out from one pocket, and then my reading glasses from her other pocket.  “…Just so you don’t think you know it all” she said.