Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Mother Hates Her Computer

I got my mother to accept a computer for the first time 8 years ago. It was a family conspiracy. My daughter was due to give birth to twins -- my first grandchildren and my mother's first great-grandchildren. My daughter agreed to email my mother a photo of the twins as soon as possible after their birth. My mother agreed to received the computer in order to get this photo. She also had to have a color printer, so she could show the photo to her friends.

My mother grouched about that computer if she didn't get pictures often enough. She grouched if I didn't send her emails often enough. Finally we agreed that I would send her Rose is Rose comics every day.

That computer lasted her about 3 years. At that point, she was sure there was something really wrong with it. We'd bought her a laptop because my older daughter, mother of the twins, said that laptops are less intimidating than desktops. I do not think there was anything wrong with the computer, but we decided that maybe she'd be happier with a desktop computer. And my husband could use the laptop in his mad-scientist lab.

She agreed to accept a desktop computer if I would come out to California and personally install it. Done. But lately, despite daily emails and photos of great grandchildren (she now has 4 of them)the computer wasn't being good. It wasn't sending email. It wasn't letting her watch movies on YouTube. It wasn't showing her attachments from her friends.

Okay -- time for another desktop. 5 years isn't bad for a computer. I insisted she get DSL, rather than dialup -- I figured that was the problem with the youtube videos and possibly some of the email attachments.

I ordered her another desktop. I went to California and personally installed it. I hooked it up to the DSL modem. I made sure everything was working and she could watch YouTube videos. I made sure it could send and receive emails. And she could see attachments. I thought everything was fine.

But 3 days went by and she didn't send me any emails.

Then she called. She hadn't been able to turn the computer on for 3 days. I know her house is old. I suggested she plug the computer's surge protector strip into a different outlet. Still it wouldn't turn on. I suggested she unplug and replug the power cable from the computer. Still it wouldn't turn on. I told her to call the manufacturer. I bought a 4-year warranty on that puppy to take care of situations like this.

She didn't want to call. She didn't want to be put on hold. She wanted me to fix it NOW. I couldn't. The rep on the phone wanted her to buy software protection insurance. $230. She called me. I told her that's a waste of money. She owns her software. She has the disks. She can reinstall whenever she wants to. All she uses are her word processor, her browser and her email program, and her printer software. Combined, they don't cost $230. She said the man was going to call her back in 10 minutes. I told her to get him to send out a human to fix her computer. "That's already arranged. He's coming Tuesday."

Oh. Okay. "It's not worth having a computer for all this trouble."
I told her, "I like getting email from you."
"I like getting email from you, too."
"Then we have to get this machine fixed. We have a 4-year warranty. They have to fix it."
"It's still not worth it," says my mother.

I hope she says something different once it is working again.

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful blog entry. I especially like the word "grouch" used as a verb.