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Should I Charge Mom for Tech Support?

Having episodes with your parents and their computer questions brings both frustration and humor.

I applaud my mother for embracing the current and progressive technology. Going to the Apple store with her becomes an event which eventually transforms into a lunch date.  She’s easily entranced with the newest versions of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.  Watching her stand at attention next to the techie Apple employees in their colored shirts makes me giggle. She’s like a kid in a candy store, grasping each tasty recommendation the store suggests.  

Her most recent discovery was the stylus for the iPad. It's a fabulous investment considering she has habitual sticky fingers from the sugar, honey, organic agave and syrup necessary for garnishing food and tea. Her screens and keyboards were often littered with fingerprints, smudged organic material and paint (She’s a plein air artist).                              

With her Apple toys up to date, the encounters with technical dilemmas are frequent. She often figures them out on her own, but at times, she’ll ask me or my husband, George. While watching Netflix (with headphones) on her iPad, she’ll loudly ask a random question with scrunched eyebrows. She often bangs her finger on the master key when she’s confidently completed a task.

Yet, sometimes, the questions don’t stop ... similar to when a 2-year-old continues asking why the sky is blue, if dogs can talk or where babies come from. You breathe deep, remind yourself to be patient, and answer the questions best you can. If I can’t help her, or need a break, I’ll bring George in for the relief effort.  

An example of a recent technical conflict was her computer's inability to send photos.  

“I’m trying to email some pictures. My computer’s not letting me.”

“Not letting you? How many photos are you trying to send, Mom?”

“Seventy-six.” 

“Are you sending them as a link?”

“No, as attachments.”  

I didn’t know weather to laugh or cry. A handful of photos can easily be sent as attachments, but seventy-six (at the same time) takes an act of God.  

More fun-in-action is listening to conversations while she's on the phone with tech support. My mother’s email and password weren't working properly. She tried closing all the applications, restarting the computer, creating a new password and incorrectly answered the security questions, causing her to be “locked” out of any further attempts.

She sat at the table trying to follow the rep's instructions, hoping to remedy the problem. She put the poor guy on speaker phone, speaking loudly enough for the dog to get up and sleep in the other room. I particularly enjoyed how she continued to ask questions as if the rep were standing next to her.  

“Mom, he can’t see your screen.”  

After much trial and error, the dilemma was fixed! If the rep had lived near by, my mother would have brought him homemade scones. One of the many traits I admire about my mother is her natural ability to show appreciation. She praises publicly, writes notes, gives unconditionally and continuously practices random acts of kindness.   

And although I love to make fun of my mom and her technical hiccups, I’m certain she genuinely enjoys the humor in it.  

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