Mom called today. Left a message.
Her number comes up as 'Out of Area'. We're suspicious of unidentified, 'out of area' callers. They've proven to be solicitors and marketers. But my wife checked the message and confirmed, "It's your mother."
I listened to her message. "Nothing important, just wanted to chat with you."
Arg. I've been meaning to call her but allowed other things to have greater priorities. She rarely calls just to chat so I should reward her behavior and call her back. Besides, she who must not be named said, "She's your mother. Call her." Okaay.
It turned out she did have something to chat about: her computer.
Despite my recent rants about computers, I seem to have a knack for them. I've probably been ranting about them because I've not been able to easily solve their issues, so I'm feeling a bit betrayed. I think I get my computer knack from Mom because my sisters share it, to a lesser degree. I bought Mom her first computer back in 1992 so that she could get on the Internet. She taught herself a great deal but her daughters helped.
One of my big issues has always been computer security. Ensure you're protected. Well, Mom had let her security lapse. Babylon had infected her. So she bought McAfee, figuring that would solve the problem. Of course it didn't; she was infected and had been for some time. But she recognized that and took steps, eventually calling McAfee and hiring them to help her un-infect her system.
Took hours, of course. She told me all about it. McAfee told her to change all her passwords, which she was doing. I told her how I create strong passwords that are easy to remember. She took notes.
But that's not why she was calling. She was calling because she was now receiving a low memory message and that was afecting her ability to do things. What did it mean and what could she do about it?
"Your memory is getting low or the computer's memory? If it's your memory, who's sending you these messages?" She and I had good laughs over silly jokes like that, then I explained what could be the problem and how easy it is to add memory to her laptop. Her laptop is eight years old so she could be having aging issues, I told her, which sent her into spasms of laughter. "I am having aging issues," she replied through her laughter. "Frank and I both are." I laughed with her and then went on, it could also be her new McAfee causing, since it started after she added it. I checked online as we chatted, confirming that many people found that to be a memory hog. Adding more memory should address her problem. "It's just like working on a car," I told her. "It's easy." "Well, if I worked on your car, it might not ever run again," she retorted.
I knew she wanted more details, including incidentals like costs, so I went online to find out for her and give her sites to help her. "It's easy. Laptops are made so changing batteries and hard drives and adding memory is very easy. It's typically just one to four screws." She has a Gateway; I have little Gateway experience. Most of my computer life adventures have been with Sony, IBM, Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Apple. "Turn your computer over and tell me what you see and I can probably you what you need to do. What's your model?"
"That doesn't come up as a model."
"Well, that's what it says."
"It doesn't say something else?"
"Well, there is something else here." She laughed. "Let me get my magnifying glass and another light." She laughed more, enjoying her shortcomings. "I can't make those out. Frank, come help me read these numbers. Frank. Frank. He doesn't hear me. I'm shouting and he can't hear me. Frank, come here and help me. What are these numbers? Is that a six or an eight? Here, use the magnifying glass." They laughed together. "That's a six," he said.
"T1616," Mom told me.
That worked. "You can add a gig of memory for about $20."
"Well, that's not much."
"And eHow has instructions on how to do it."
"E. H. O. W."
"Oh, eHow. Dot com?"
"Yes. Just put in upgrade T1616 memory."
"How did you find that?"
"I googled it. Changing your memory is easy. You just disconnect your battery, then there's one screw."
"How do I do that?"
"It's just a little slide switch. Turn your computer over and you should see it. Your battery is probably along the back and the switch is on the bottom."
"But my battery has wires coming out of it. That's where everything connects."
Hello. "Mom, do you use a docking station?"
Oh, boy, that explained the model number she'd read me before...stupid of me not to ask. "You need to undock your computer to see the computer's bottom."
"But won't it quit working?"
"No, it has a battery."
She undocked. "Yes, there it is. Okay, I see, okay. Thank you, honey. Let me get off the phone and tell Frank all of this before I forget." She laughed. "My memory is getting low."
The conversation put me over an hour into the hole but it was wonderful hearing her laughing. She sounded good. The last several times we've talked, it was about her cancer treatment, heart problems, surgeries, and Frank's eyesight and his knees and hips, and the many health issues and medicines the two manage. Today she was the Mom I remember, laughing at life and herself.
It was an hour well spent.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com