Thursday, September 23, 2010

Write Away


We really have raised a generation of kids that are used to the instant gratification that only today’s technology can provide.

Take my son, Taylor (please! duh dum duh)…the one-armed, (broken-handed) college freshman who somehow managed to guilt his mother just enough (hey, he’s learned from da best…) that said mother purchased the X-Box 360 (a video game system, for anyone unaware, or living on a planet far, far away), had it shipped here, went to four different places to find just the right accessories/games/configuration expulsion modules (okay, so I made that last part up) and then re-packed and shipped this oh-so-overloaded package upstate to one bored, impatient 18-year-old who claimed, “There has to be more joy in life than showering with your arm in a plastic bag”.

Yeah...he's that good. (Insert dramatic sigh here.)

So, he receives the package and he unloads the package and he sets up the wiring for the game system and he puts in the game…but he’s not sure how to connect with the other players out in 360-land. It’s approximately 11pm on a Friday night and my phone rings. This is never a good sign…unless you’ve got an understanding with some hot guy for the occasional late-night booty call.

Did I really just say that? Ahem….I just wanted to see if you were really listening.

What? Now your mind is in the gutter and you’re having trouble focusing? Well, now we have a problem…’cause I’m not talking about my children when you’re in this state of mind. Let’s see if I can help:


  • Pee Wee Herman (oops...bad example)
  • Jaws
  • Mr. Rogers
  • Bambi
  • Joan Rivers first thing in the morning

Okay? All clear? Good.


So Taylor calls me to have me explain how to get the game system to recognize the college internet network. Conversation goes something like this:

Kathryn: “How the hell should I know? And do you know what time it is?

Taylor: “Mom, I’ve been trying to play this f*#%ing game for the last 2 hours. HELP ME.”

K: “HEY. Just ‘cause you’re in college, it does not give you the right to spout random expletives. It’s probably not the game…it’s probably you’re f*#%ing internet connection. Don’t you people have an IT department up there?”

T: “Mom? I don’t have any people. I’m all alone…just me and my broken hand and this…(pauses…choosing his words carefully)…incredible game system that could temporarily help me to forget how hard it’s been to carry my books, try to open doors and explain to professors that I am, in fact, not raising my hand to ask a question…that it’s always in this position so my fingers won’t turn blue and fall off, further hindering my ability to write for the rest of my freakin' life.”

K: (Sighs) “Well played. I’m calling your brother.”

Connor (13) was spending the weekend at his dad’s and I knew he’d still be awake…and probably on his own X-Box, as well. I’d put my house phone on speaker and called Connor on my cell and put that on speaker so we could all have a lovely chat.

Kathryn: “Connor? I’ve got Taylor here. (***Crickets chirping***) Boys?? Say hello to each other, please.”

Taylor: “Hey, dork.”

Connor: “Hey, loser.”

Kathryn: “Greeeat. Connor, Taylor’s having trouble connecting to that live thing where you speak to your little friends and have that online video-game play date? Tell your brother what to do, dear.”

Connor: “*%$#%^&**&^^%%%$%##!!!!!”

Kathryn: "Connor! Aw, hell. You know the speech....quit it!"

Taylor: (Laughing) “Mom, you’re not helping….c’mon!”

In the end, I had the two phones facing each other…the larger phone carrying Taylor’s gruff combination of explanations and barks to the smaller phone…which held Connor’s swift, sharp comebacks...with the occasional extra-long pause...adding insult to injury by telling Taylor, 'oh, sorry… he was distracted', as he’s playing the very same video game Taylor was attempting to access. I wound up re-booting my computer and finding my way to tech support, where we ultimately found the solution.

So, a purchase, a shipment, 4 store runs, another shipment, a setup, two phone calls and an internet search later, I proudly received my accolades in the form of a distracted “thank-you and good-bye” (not unlike the automated recording you get when you call a customer service line) and I was hastily dismissed for the remainder of the evening.

That night gave new meaning to a love/hate relationship. On so many levels….

Slamdunk said...

That would make a great sit-com episode. I would love to be a fly on the wall during the tech-help exchange.

Vince said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, mother not getting the college concept.
What you need to do is provide the boot to kick the little ****** from the nest with a cushion provided by a well filled credit card.
That he broke himself at 18 is hardly your fault. And you have to set him on the road to finding a mate, and if mammy is doing everything, when will he learn to lie himself into some chicks pants. Women should aim for Charlie in 'Three an'a half Men' for their sons. Not the other one.

diane rene said...

oh sibling love is a beautiful thing, isn't it? and what a good mom you are ♥

KyaLyn said...

Heehee! I've had those kind of nights with my husband. Although usually, I'm way less sympathetic. He either needs to figure it out himself or call tech support in the morning.

Vince said...

And remember what you were like as an 20yo. His target market.
Have you trained him to treat with a 20yo insane you , for 'twil need him knocking her up with a boychild before she allows him to piss standing up 'as you trained him to do'.

Lynn said...

Oooh! Loved the sibling conversation. And go you for being so patient! I'm a mean mom. I'd be like, "Tonight's not my on-call night. I open again at 8. Call during regular business hours." Which is kind of what I do now. "K. Bedtime. Unless you're near death, I'll see you in the morning. Mom is off duty except for loss of limb or life. Good night. Love you!" No, I don't think your son would appreciate my parenting methods much!

KellyGrrl said...

Eww Joan Rivers first thing in the morning!! hahahahaha

Wendy Ramer said...

You are so funny. And that conversation/at-home tech support incident is not foreign to me. My husband has done the same for our son but with nicer results than you got, as in "Thank you, thank you, thank you. You're the beeeest!" But hey, he's only 11 ;-)

TC said...

I love conversations when the kids might have to acknowledge you actually KNOW something. And they need the information. And you can rub it in.
I've been meaning to write about being propositioned, yes it was funny, your late night booty call gave me courage......

kathryn said...

Slamdunk: Yeah, it's always a riot when ppl expect you do to fix things when you can't even see what the hell they're talking about. It's even better when you've no clue what they're talking about. Video games are simply NOT my thing....

Vince: And your point is?? Are you stating that if my son becomes more like Charlie Harper, he won't call me for tech support? That would be rather nice. I will say that once the little *****'s hand mends, the little ***** is getting a ****** job so he can get his OWN credit card.

diane rene: Oh, yeah....that loooove was just oozing from one phone directly into the other. It's a wonder...considering they both came from such a loving mother. I mean, I ooze love, right??

kathryn said...

KyaLyn: Oh, I get it. The 'ole tough love. I'm thinking it's a bit easier when it's with the spouse than with the kiddo. And you know how boys are when they're hurt/sick....

Vince: He has a "target market"? Is this what you guys think about all day? And I'm telling you right now: I was a WILD CHILD @ 20....as were my sisters. We figure as parents we know exactly what to look for. (Famous last words...)

Lynn: Oh, I LOVE your "call back during normal business hours"! I am absolutely using that line...and I'm imagining it'll be sooner rather than later. I'm always torn between wanting them (as boys) to know how techhie-savvy I (a girl) can be and wanting them to leave me alone. It's a fine line.

kathryn said...

KellyGrrl: I know! I figure if that can't get ppl's minds out of the gutter, nothing can! (Poor Joan...I don't know why she popped into my head...)

Wendy Ramer: Awwwwww! (I literally said this out loud, just so you know.) I vaguely remember those days...and often Connor (13)will be verbally grateful...but Taylor seems to be in that "sole existence" mode. Maybe it's middle-child syndrome...I can only hope.

TC: OH, BOY! Can't WAIT to read that one! That one of the few times I still seem to know more than the boys (who think they know everything...but I don't know how much longer I'll be able to hold my tech support position over their now-towering-over-me heads...

Gigi said...

Yup, Kathryn you just oooooozzzze love - I can feel it from here! Apparently you have taught Taylor well in the guilt department as he seems to have mastered it. I assume the three way conference call almost made it feel like Taylor was back home again!

I don't know about you - but I'm tired of being the sole tech-support around here. Not only am I going to steal Lynn's line I'm also going to start presenting itemized bills. Hey, I gotta support my shoe habit!!

Spot said...

I'm sorry, I'm so confused by Vince's comments that I forgot mine. Oh wait, I remember! Hahahahahaha. What are you gonna do? It's illegal to smother them in their sleep (I know, I checked). Love the sibling love there.

♥Spot

Carol said...

One more reason Mo is an only child. I don't think I could deal with two of them, even when they are helping each other so lovingly.

kathryn said...

Gigi: Yeah...that 3-way was painful...(wait...that doesn't sound very family-friendly). Listening to Taylor yelling and frustrated definitely made it feel like he'd never left. I'll leave it at that. Itemized bills and Lynn's recorded message...we'll be golden!!

Spot: I knew I could count on you to check the fine print on the smothering-laws, honey. We can kid about it 'cause they're all stronger than we are anyway! Did you check to see if we're legally protected from them?

Carol: I'm telling you...it never stops. For every 5 minutes of "normal, casual" conversation, there's twice as much name calling, teasing, and any assortment of button-pushing. I think they've all told me at one time or another that they would love to be an only child!

Lauren said...

Wow. Sounds kind of like my home-secretary work. GO YOU ON PROBLEM SOLVING! I'm also jealous of your son... I can't guilt trip worth a damn. How I wish I could! Wait... what do I want out of it again? I don't remember... Maybe that's my problem. Huh.

Lily Johnson said...

Hahahhahhaha! Lovely gig you have there Kat dear. And Taylor is hilarious. I could just imagine him talking about how hard his life has been and how the Xbox is supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Glad you guys fixed the problem.

Helen Ginger said...

My son would never call me about computer games. He knows I know nothing. 'Course it helps that his degree is in Game Design. Unfortunately for him, he's the one I call when I have a computer problem. (It's kinda fun when the call goes in the other direction.)

Helen

Gingerella said...

Priorities mom, priorities! ;)

Straight Guy said...

A mom who provides the XBox and the customer support? You are even cooler than I thought.

And, hey, I'm run so ragged right now that a long shower (even with a plastic bag on my arm) sounds really good.

sage said...

You are so funny! And your 13 year old helping the college student, precious!

Vince said...

Sorry, there is a half-serious point in my comment. It would not be good if it got out that the kid was ringing his Mom for any support, tech or otherwise. You the former wild child will know this. You will also know that there are only two reasons for acceptable communication with parents at that age from a College. Cash and laundry. Cash is plain as a pike stave. Laundry, neither sex can manage the mysteries of a top or front loading washing machine. While the hieroglyphics on the side of a packet of powder I doubt even the fellow that write them knows. Put simply, you are in danger of having your current Wild Child sisters label your son a Mommas Boy.

JD at I Do Things said...

The site of those two little phones talking to each other warms my heart even more than a heaping load of Thai porn.

Your sons are damn lucky, is all I can say. I don't have kids, but if I did, I'd have to declare phone calls off-limits after 9PM. There's always 911.

kathryn said...

Lauren: Oh, I'm sure you could hold your own if you really had to, sweetie....although, it definitely helps if you can remember what it is you're after! And you realize I only post on the stuff I succeed with, right??

Lily Johnson: Oh, you've totally nailed Taylor's entire conspiracy. And even with it being so damned transparent, I still fell for it! I guess I'm a sucker when it comes to da boys.

Helen Ginger: WOW. A degree in game design? I don't know of any boy who wouldn't LOVE to have that! Hey, I know nothing about video games...it's the tech-part of the computer setup that I've been roped into solving. I only got good at it out of helpless necessity!

kathryn said...

Gingerella: I know, I know! But, yikes...when did so much become more important than....me??

Straight Guy: Yes, I am beyond the average coolness factor in Momdom. I am in my own category. With that said, I'm a little worried about you're not having time for a shower...what's keeping you from this most basic of human rituals? I'm hoping your blog shall explain...

sage: Thank you, kind sir. And yeah...Taylor(18) was less than thrilled at needing Connor's (13) help. It doesn't happen often, so Connor definitely milked it!

kathryn said...

Vince: Interesting observation...and duly noted, sir. Truth is, since Taylor got the X-Box going, it's been painfully quiet. And believe me...I realize that when the phone rings, it's only 'cause he needs something.

JD at I Do Things: I know, sweetie. And that says a lot coming from you...that you'd get the warm and fuzzies from several electronic instruments over Thai p---....wait. I'm not going to finish that sentence. As for calling 9-1-1, I'm banking on Lynn's idea of the recording to call back during "normal business hours". Classic.

Jerry said...

Methinks you are a good Mom....maybe a tad too good. But then your kids know that you are always there for them. Maybe OK.

Tinkerschnitzel said...

Thank you for reminding me of what I will be facing in a few short years. I think I'm going to have nightmares tonight.

Jen said...

Brotherly love, such a good thing. Glad someone was able to figure that whole thing out for him. The only thing is, when will he actually have time to study? Parties, XBox, girls. All fun and no work.

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