Thursday, 25 April 2013

On Communication

When did cell phones become disposable?

I had our first Motorola from 2000 until 2005, when Jason dropped it in a bucket of paint thinner. (I wouldn't recommend it- the phone became.... gooey), and have only owned two phones since then, because I treat them like expensive technology and take really good care of them. I didn't even need this last new phone, cause the old one worked just fine. I was just tired of buying new phones for OTHER people.

It all started when Isaiah got into junior high. He went to an alternative program outside our neighbourhood, so after MUCH back and forth and debate, we got him a Migo. I don't know if you've seen these- they didn't last long on the market, but basically, it was a keychain-looking thing with four buttons that the parent could program ahead of time. One push of the button, and you would be in contact with either our house, mom's cell, dad's cell, or Grandma. (There was also a separate button for calling 911 when the scary strangers came to take you away). He loved it. Right up till he had to use it in front of his friends. In 2006, this was not the phone all the cool kids were carrying. We called him plenty (and he answered- the rule in our house is 'If I pay for it, you answer it. Always.'), and there may have been a time or thrice where he hid in a bathroom or behind a dumpster and used it to call us, but that was the last time we saw the thing.

He had that phone until the end of grade eight, and then it got dropped in a snow bank and ruined. We got him a new phone, and the light went on in his hormone-clouded brain.

If you lose or break the old one, eventually, mom will get worried about not being in contact with you, and buy you a new one.

Liz got a phone in Grade 7 because her brother had gotten a phone in Grade 7, and I was exceedingly concerned about making sure life was EXACTLY FAIR for everyone and they both always got the same things at the same ages (I have since gotten over that. When we had Squiddy and Eva, we realised that our income was so much higher for those two that every DAY they would be experiencing something their older siblings had never gotten to. Like name brand food. And cable.).

Here's how it breaks down:

Phone #1- grade 7- a hot pink Motorola, which she kept in her shoe and one day in grade 8, whilst getting off the bus with a friend, it dropped OUT of her shoe and was run over by said bus. She didn't know it was laying shattered on the street until I called it and a stranger answered and I went to pick it up and it was smashed into a million pieces and ALL you could do was answer it. Once. Phone life- 1.5 years.
Phone #2- grade 8- a baby pink LG Keybo. She agreed to this phone because it was free and when we got their Christmas lists, they were allowed to pick an Ipod Touch OR a better cell phone (IPhones weren't out yet.). She picked the freebie phone, and promptly lost the $500 IPod at school. Phone life- 1.5 years. IPod life- 37 days.
Phone #3- grade 9, received a  brand new IPhone from Santa, which (tell me if you see a pattern here,) she kept in her boot and one day the next Christmas, whilst getting out of a car with a friend, it dropped OUT of her shoe and was run over by said car. She didn't know it was laying shattered on the street until she tried to text me and couldn't find her phone and immediately used a friend's phone to call her brother to get him to pave the way so we wouldn't kill her. Phone life- 1 year.
Phone #4- current phone- the piece of crap pink LG Keybo we found in the junk drawer. Expected phone life- till I decide to get a new phone and she gets the one I am currently using.

Phone #1- grade 7- aforementioned Migo
Phone #2- grade 8- Motorola- washed in washing machine the first week I made him start doing his own laundry. (There's a lesson here, but I refuse to see it.) Phone life- 6 months.
Phone #3- grade 9- dad's old LG from junk drawer- fell out of backpack, never seen again. Phone life- 1 year.
Phone #4- grade 10- was given the same choice as Liz re: free phone or new Ipod Touch, and got the free black LG Keybo. He then went to camp and upon arrival, jumped in a lake with his shorts on and drowned the $500 IPod Touch.  I don't even remember what happened to the phone. Phone life- 1 year. IPod life- 6 months. His life- would have been much shorter if he hadn't been away at camp, but was saved by time and distance.
Phone #5- grade 11- old Blackberry of dad's from the junk drawer. Phone life- actually survived until the purchase of the following phone. Escaped back into junk drawer.
Phone #6- grade 12, received a  brand new IPhone from Santa, which (and tell me if you see a pattern HERE, too) he then took to camp and, upon arrival, jumped in the lake with his shorts on and drowned. Phone life- 6 months.
Phone #7- current phone- post high-school- same old Blackberry from the junk drawer. Phone life- till hell freezes over.

Who am I kidding? He's going to school in Edmonton in September, and what if a scary stranger comes to take him away? Or worse yet, what if he meets a girl and wants to never come back home???

At least if I pay for it, he'll have to answer it. Always...

Thursday, 18 April 2013


What are you doing?

Are you looking for something? 

Can I help you find it?

Oh. Your thunder.


I've probably stolen it.

My family tells me I have a problem. Although I agree with the premise of their theory, I just don't see it as an actual problem. More of a... quirk. Yes. I have a quirk.

No. It's a problem.

In fairness to me, I don't TRY to steal my family's thunder. I just get so freaking proud of them sometimes that it bubbles up and overflows out of my face before I can stop it. I live vicariously through my children, so when wonderful things happen to them, it's really like they're happening to me, so when I tell everyone else about it, it's kind of like sharing my own good news.

Wait. That's creepy.

I WANT them to share their own joy with others, but they do it so SLOWLY! If when wonderful things happened to them, they would immediately call Grandma, email Auntie Jamie, and text Auntie Lana, then I wouldn't HAVE to post things all over Facebook. And Facebook makes it so EASY! I can tell the whole world something in the eleven seconds it takes me to type it into my phone with my giant thumbs! They're driving me to it.

Now I sound like the guy on Court TV who 'feels bad that dude got killed', without mentioning that he was the one who did it.

I don't tell EVERYONE'S secrets. I have kept several good secrets over the past 30 odd years, and I am damn good at it. (For example, Emily Popp still has NO idea where on the playground we buried her toque). There is a difference between the secrets of your immediate family and the secrets of others, and I would never share the intimate details of someone I didn't live with. You behave differently with family than you do with everyone else.

Oh, for crying in the sink. Now I have selective mutism and multiple personality disorder.

How about some honesty...


When I was pregnant with Eva, Isaiah and I decided to find out the sex of the baby, and Liz and Jason didn't. What a horrible idea. For four months, I did beautifully, biting my tongue and hiding any gender-specific baby supplies, right up till 6 days before her birth, when I announced to Jason that once I washed the last of the new dresses, we would be all ready for baby to come.

I cried for three days. He was less disturbed, but he said "I told you so" for a week. And I let him.

The reason this has once again become an issue is because my eldest child recently had two amazing opportunities come up. None of my kids EVER does two wonderful things at once, so I've never been faced with this dilemma before. I thought I actually did a really good job- maybe not of keeping everything quiet, but of dispersing the information in such a way that no one knew EVERYTHING. I told my neighbour about the possible promotion at work, and waited until a night he was working before I told my best friends all about it at dinner. I mentioned his phone interview for school (the last step in the application process) to Jamie, but made Lana wait till the following weekend before I said anything to her. I dropped a few broad hints that the next time he saw them, he may or may not have some REALLY good news for them, but didn't share what that might be. Of course, I told my cousin all about it, knowing full well we had just been there for Easter and she wouldn't see him again for a few months, so she HAD to be told, and I told my online weight loss support group EVERYTHING, because none of them actually know me outside Facebook (ok- except the two friends also doing the challenge with me, but I've seen their before pictures, so I know they will take my secrets to their graves). I nonchalantly mentioned to Liz that she should ask her brother how his interview went, told Squid to ask him how he likes his job these days, and when I TRIED to interest Jason in a tidbit of information, he shut me right down (in quite a self-righteous tone, I thought.)

I even kept all my Facebook posts to a cryptic "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

All that work, and when the poor kid walked in the door the one night, Liz immediately told him "Mom says you might get a promotion!". Jason congratulated him on acing the phone interview for school, and rotten, rotten Squiddy announced that I had been crying all afternoon because I was so excited for him, and could he please have his room when he left. Each and every one of them threw me under the bus.

It's gotten so bad that when we and our best friends took him out for drinks the other night, and I asked him to share his good news with everyone, he got all confused and flustered and didn't know what to do and mumbled something about really enjoying his drink. He has no idea how to share his own thunder.

I need a twelve step program.

I would start one myself, but I'm pretty sure one of the basic tenets is anonymity. One look at a room full of people I wasn't supposed to talk about and I'd be right back to step one.

Every. Single. Time.