It was anything but a typical weekend spent with the kid. I sit here, barely able to function for being really sick right now. More on that later.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORY
To start off, Friday night I made a detour to the Best Buy in Macon (since I wouldn't have made the one in Columbus before closing) to get some memory for Mom's computer, which had been eager to break free from the restraints of its 256 MB of RAM. But what kind did her circa-2003 Compaq take? SDRAM or DDR?
Madcap fun ensued when I had to call Mom and get the model number for her 'puter -- it had to have been a Chinese fire drill in that room as both Mom and Tiger were on the floor, my telling them where they would find that number. Bottom of the tower, not too tough to find, right? You don't know my mother and son! "Hey, I found it -- it's model number 48x-20x-48x."
"Ummmm no, kid, that's the speed of the CD BURNER!"
Eventually I had them hone it down, and I got the right memory for it and I was on my way. That weekend was spent mostly in front of Mom's PC, doing a much-needed "nuke-n-restore" procedure.
My brother and his family came up from Enterprise to have supper with us on Saturday. My two nieces (ages 5 and 3-1/2) were sweet as could be. My youngest came into the "computer room" where I was waiting (patiently .... patiently ..... patiently?) for Service Pack 2 to install, and said just three words: "I love you."
My nieces would melt even the coldest heart, I'm here to tell you.
"DO I SOUND MORE LOUDER TO YOU NOW?"
The reinstall was smooth, too smooth in fact. Something had to happen, and it did. I was putting the Charter "Security Suite" (F-Secure) into Mom's PC and suddenly the internet was choked off. Any and all tweaks with the firewall were of no success. I had to do a 'restore' to roll back the computer to before I installed it. Internet came back.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Tried reinstalling the software, and the same thing happened. By now it was pushing 11 PM on Saturday night and I was getting a bit antsy to for my work to be finished. I called Charter's support number and got a tech on the line.
You guessed it, said tech was in New Delhi and sounded like he could've easily been behind the counter of your neighborhood convenience store. I could hardly understand him both for the low volume and his broken English. I asked him to speak up, and he said "Do I sound more louder to you now?" @#$%!!!
He was of no help; good gawd on a Marx Big Wheel, my MOTHER knew more about computers than this Patel guy did!!
I ended up having to leave Mom with the trial Norton A/V program in there, and the basic Windoze firewall. Better than nothing, but Mom told me Sunday night she dealt with somebody at Charter who had a grasp of the Queen's English. Problem was rectified, as it hinged upon a very hidden piece of software that was colliding with the firewall.
I'm not going to go into what I think the "F" stands for in "F-secure." And once more, I told Mom that she really needs to switch to Troy Cable. You see, one of the few good things about that place is that it's served by two (2) competing cable systems. One doesn't see too many Dish Network or DirecTV homes in Pike County, that's for sure. Mom & Dad pay less for digital cable with every pay channel than we did for bare-bones no-premium channel digital with Comcast!!
One thing's for sure, I'll bet TROY CABLE doesn't hire moonlighting tech support crews from the local Comfort Inn!! I had them when I lived there and couldn't have been more satisfied with their service.
CONNECTED, AT LAST!!
File under "snowflakes in hell": Josiebelle had internet installed at their house Friday. Tiger was greeted with what had to have been the most beautiful sight he'd seen in months: a cable modem beside his PC. My son now has internet. Now let's hope the grades don't suffer.
MY SON, THE DRIVER
Last Wednesday, Tiger - who turned 15 at the end of December - took the written test and got his learner's permit. And yesterday while on the way to taking him back to Eclectic, I pulled over just north of Wetumpka, with about 11 miles to go, turned toward my son and said, "I'm not feeling too well. Do you think you could get us into Eclectic?" It took a second for it to register with the kid, and when it did you should've seen the ear-to-ear grin on his face!
This was a moment I'd been dreading and fearing for years. Now was the time: my son was now learning to drive! What I was most nervous about was how I would be. Would I be like my mother during my "learning" period? She used to scream and yell if I so much as got within 5 feet of a parked car.
Well, I wasn't very tightly-wound. He's pretty good, I have to say. A bit nervous, as he hasn't done a whole lot of driving to date. I could feel his hands shaking on the steering wheel! But nervous is good, I say. Complacency and overconfidence are far more dangerous for a budding driver. The only thing was that he didn't know which street was his in downtown Eclectic!
So there you are - a rite of passage, and it was a good memory (I suspect he'll always remember the element of surprise). When he comes over here Spring Break, we'll get out on some of the rural roads in Effingham County and give him some more practice.
Also, I'm gonna teach that boy how to read a ROAD MAP! Goodness knows he'll need that skill, 'cuz he sure doesn't get it from his mother.
EMPHASIS ON "-CATCH"
I think my saying "I don't feel too well" to Tiger was a self-fulfilling prophesy. On the way up, we stopped at Whataburger in Montgomery to get lunch. He had - surprise, surprise - a Whatachicken. I had a burger and a Whatacatch, their fish sandwich.
I began feeling the effects of said Pisces along about the rest area outside Auburn on I-85. I almost passed out in the bathroom stall ... finding myself in "hugging" position on the gritty, nasty floor of your typical Alabama rest area bathroom. Nothing happened. After I more or less came to, I continued along my merry way. Stopped in Columbus for some Pepto. That helped ... for awhile. Then I couldn't hold it any longer. On the side of the road I proceeded to ralph up a storm.
Yep, it was the fish.
And I was still throwing up as of early this morning after I got home from what in 6-1/2 years was the longest trip back from Alabanana I've ever had. What didn't help was after I got home, Seraphim was watching Family Guy. Now, that didn't bother me; hell, it's one of my favorite shows. But the commercials ... aye carumba. Checkers and KFC were both running multiple commercials on our local FOX affiliate touting .... that's right ... their FISH SANDWICHES. Well, @#$%! I've always liked them, but I imagine it's gonna be awhile before I'll wanna go near another one. And certainly NEVER one from Whataburger!
Today I'm better. Barely. I don't think this is over yet.
Whataburger couldn't have given its fish sammich a more appropriate name: Whatacatch. Because I sure as hell caught something from it.
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "Would Sal Minella please leave the room!" Gleck
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