Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What do you mean you don't have a newspaper?

Some situations really strike hard to reveal how quickly our world is changing, like during my septuagenarian, non-driver mother-in-law's unexpected stay.

There have been massive power outages in the DC Metro area since Sunday when temperatures were upwards of 100 degrees and we had a sudden and violent thunderstorm. Many places around the Beltway are still without power, including my mother-in-law's neighborhood. On Monday, Monkeyrotica got a phone call from his mom that she needed to be picked up and stay with us until her power came back on.

Monday, this was fine, since Monkey had the day off and was able to get his mom, take her out to lunch and run a bunch of errands with her. When the kids came home from summer camp and preschool, they had a great time with Grandma I, showing her school projects and enjoying her company. They even watched a couple of Japanese movies with her. Tuesday morning we had a dilemma, as her power still wasn't on and Monkey and I were both going in to work. She was trying to figure out how she would spend her day in the scant minutes before I had to whisk the kids off to school and head to work.

Suggestions from Grandma I:

"I could read the newspaper or some magazines?"
Nope, we don't get a newspaper and have no magazine subscriptions, we get all our information from news websites.

"I could call my friends on the phone?"
Nope, we don't have a landline and use our cell phones at work.

"I could watch TV?"
Nope, we don't have TV, just laptops with Internet connections."

My suggestion:

"Why don't I show you how to view on this laptop?"
Oh, no, the text is too small, I can't read it or see the keyboard to type.

"Here's my Kindle, I could upload a few books onto it for you?"
No thank you.

I wound up buying her a paper and some magazines at the local 7-11 and dropping them off before I headed to work so she wouldn't be hopelessly bored. We might as well have been in Amish country for the amount of acceptable entertainments that we could have offered! Maybe we could get her one of those pay-as-you-use cell phones, so at least she could make some phone calls next time? Our home is unfortunately totally not set up for technologically unadapted houseguests.

Lucky for her, she'll be heading back to her house today. The power's finally back on, her newspapers are waiting, the TV's just an on-switch away, and unlimited local phone calls are within arm's reach.


  1. I'm thinking you need to buy her an IPad!

  2. She'd probably still complain that the text was too small. ;-)

  3. I found your blog through the Parent Hacks site.

    We are also a cell phone-only house, but neither set of grandparents have cell phones. On a recent trip, we bought a pay-as-you-go phone that we keep and share with the grandparents when they are in town. We've programmed our numbers into the phone and so far it seems to work just fine.


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