Technology Work Around

Relatively low-cost technology including a reliable computer, makes freelance work possible for over 53 million Americans. It’s not enough to be able to use the old office suites, now there are multiple suites plus programs and apps. For many talented freelancers serving as their own IT department eats project, or personal, time when least appreciated.

My desktop computer began slowing down months before I was willing to accept it should be replaced or brought to a tech service group. The unit cost about $400 when I bought it on sale five years ago. The manufacturer still sells the exact same unit at a higher price. With confidence built on owning a new primary laptop, I decided to strip the desktop model to the manufacturer’s settings then reload what I needed. There seemed to be no downside unless you count relying on a couple of websites for total tech support.

About two hours later the desktop computer was back in working order and humming along as quickly as its old processer would allow. It isn’t fast, but better than good enough for writing and word processing. My tech confidence soared.

The devil is in the details that I haven’t been able to restore. While I know using the cloud to transfer data from the laptop to the desk unit may be the culprit, I haven’t been able to correct the annoyances. For example, I now have double entries in my contacts. A mess of old files found their way into my Dropbox. One email account doesn’t want to make itself visible. So I work around or ignore these issues and work on correcting them when there is time and energy.

Staying on top of technology is a challenge for many self-employed or retired people. I have a pair of role models that define expectations. My father managed technology fairly well into his eighties when motivated to learn about streaming services to follow his favorite baseball teams. We knew his cognitive skills were slipping when there were more calls for routine tech actions. My mother-in-law was ninety-one when she began struggling with printing photos from her iPhone and keeping up with hundreds of friends online.

Our smartphones and computers are a necessity of a full life. What will be more frightening to the Baby Boomers: giving up their car keys or losing the ability to schedule a Lyft?

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Perils of Being a Writer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrystel shuffles out of her bedroom, rubbing her eyes. The rest of us have been up for hours. In fact, Antonio has about used up all of his allotted time with electronics. I briefly look up at her. She’s grown taller in the night, I think. She stretches out her form before flopping down next to me on the couch.

“Good morning, dear.”

She mumbles, “Good morning.” She leans casually towards me. We’re now bumping shoulders.

I return to reviewing my manuscript and drop my eyes to the computer.

“I knew it,” she says. “I knew it! I knew you were going to say it one day!” She jumps up and runs out of the room.

“What!” I say, alarmed.

I look down at the writing on my laptop and immediately know what happened. There in black and white it says Antonio and Crystel aren’t my children….

“Crystel! Crystel! Come back here!” I leap off the couch. Yelling upstairs, I say, “Antonio is Crystel up there!”

“No, she’s not.”

Rushing down the basement steps, I holler, “Crystel, you need to come back and talk to me. Crystel, where are you!” It’s dark and quiet in the basement.

I rush back upstairs to where Antonio is. “Antonio are you telling me the truth? Is Crystel upstairs?”

“She’s not up here. She never came up here.”

I’m in a bit of a panic. What could Crystel think, and if she won’t talk to me, then what? And is it true that she has always thought that I was going to say that she’s not mine?

“Crystel, you need to come here.”

I hear behind me, “You couldn’t find me.” She seems pleased with this.

“No, I couldn’t find you. Now, sit down.” I’m relieved she actually does.

“If you are going to read something that I am writing, you need to read all of it or ask a question. You reading part of a sentence is like coming into a conversation part way or seeing only part of an elephant. You aren’t getting the whole story.”

“Now, look at this.” I point to the paragraph: Antonio and Crystel aren’t my children to own or to have or to keep. Finding their birthmoms, reuniting the mom with their child, promising to bring Antonio and Crystel back every two years to Guatemala continues restoring me to health.

“What this means is that you aren’t an object for me to own. You are your own person. Not mine. Now if we scroll up here, it says, When I say to them, you can count on me, I absolutely mean it.” I look in her eyes. “You are my daughter. I would do anything for you.”

This seems to satisfy her. Crystel is often interested in what I write. When she came upon me reviewing the last blog I wrote about her being interested in the bathroom scale, she read it. She laughed and laughed. Now she will have another blog to read: The Perils of Being a Writer.

At bedtime we will have that other talk, in case she really is expecting to hear me say she isn’t really my daughter. Hmmmm.