The Nerdification

This was one of the pieces I was holding onto for The Bridegroom Report. As promised, I’m unearthing the five or six things I had held back, just a little bit at a time. This particular item, though, has some evergreen qualities; you’ll see as you read it.

2010 was a landmark year for Cathy, at least in terms of technology.  Let’s go back about three years, when the first bit of life-simplifying technology was offered to her: the Blackberry.  Of course, she fought it, saying that she really didn’t think shed use what the blackberry a had to offer.

Fast forward to today, and she would be the first to tell you that she would be lost without it.  She probably reads 65-70% of her incoming mail on her phone (she’s on her second one), and deals with who knows how many text messages.  She’s even using the Blackberry Messenger instant messaging tools.  Simply amazing, considering her prior medieval ways.

So let go back in time a little bit to October 2010, when she asks me how much laptops cost. My first reaction was stunned silence, followed by “you really want to know?” Her phone gives her great mobility, and sitting at her desk apparently is confining.  So we do a little bit of shopping and pricing.

And then Apple starts running commercials for the new MacBook Air.  She’s smitten.

At her request (that’s the truth, it really was her idea), we make a trip to the Apple Store.  This is her first opportunity to see both the Air and an iPad.  While we escaped without buying anything, it was pretty clear she had her mind on something.

So in late October, we get her an iPod touch (her first such device).  She’s thrilled with the fact that she can take all of her music with her.  Literally all of it.  She’s also discovered that Nicholas is very aware of what can be done with an iPod touch: he loves to play Angry Birds (Dad’s fault).

It’s now the day after Thanksgiving – the one day of the year that Apple runs their computers on sale. She asks for my MacBook Pro, to take it for a test drive. Done.

Now she’s got her own laptop, and we can officially declare that it’s begun: The Nerdification of Cathy.

It takes getting through the holiday rush for her to sit down and use it, but she does. The touchpad is a little foreign to her, but the more she uses it becomes less and less of an issue.  Now every time I see her with it, and it’s all over the house now, I hear these words: “I love my MacBook”.  Music to my ears.

But the nerdification was not yet complete – there was more to do. Besides, Treat Week was upon us.

(For those unfamiliar with Treat Week, it’s a tradition I started for her several years ago. It runs for seven days, starting on her birthday and ending on Valentine’s Day. Each day, there’s a treat for her. I know, I’m a fabulous husband, hold your applause please.)

Treat Week arrives, and I’m at a loss for what to do for my big finish.  A week before, we had a pretty lengthy talk about the differences between iPad, Kindle, Nook and the various readers & tablet devices.  It was a conversation she started, and she had some really great questions regarding which device did what, etc.  I took that opportunity to listen to her answers, it made my shopping easier.  I decided to go big – her own iPad.

When I handed it to her, I was in trouble for about 5 minutes; then she realized what an interesting device it can be. In all honesty, it’s absolutely perfect for her. It’s users like Cathy that Apple had in mind when the developed this thing. It’s one of the greatest consumption devices ever made – if you’re not creating a lot of content, but taking in a ton of it from other places, there’s simply nothing like it.

Her favorite app: Netflix. Go figure. Sitting anywhere in the house watching a movie. That’s Cathy.

I am very pleased to say she’s using all of them, which makes me quite happy. My concern about offering these technology “things” to her was would she use them (because I knew they’d make her life a little easier). It’s certainly no longer a concern. Does she use them to the fullest in making things easier for her to accomplish? Not yet, but she’s trying. That’s all I can ask or expect, and she’s doing great.

See? Technology can make a positive difference in our lives, even for those previously labeled “technologically challenged”.

The New Bedroom

One of the things we’ve been working on here at Pug Hollow has been Nicholas’ bedroom. As he gets older, the Froggy Tales theme that was in there since he was born just seemed to not quite fit him.

In November 2007, we took out the crib and put in a “big boy bed”, so that he’d have a normal bed to sleep in.  Actually, it was an antique bed wed had, but it worked out well.  It matched some other furniture we had, so all was well. And while it was working, we often thought that we probably needed to find a better solution for him. Something about boys jumping on a 150-year-old bed kind of made both of us shudder.

So the plan turned into two things:

  1. Paint the room.
  2. Get a new bed.

Here’s what it looked like after all the furniture was moved out in preparation for painting:

Since we didn’t know what we were going to have when she was pregnant, Froggy Tales seemed to work for either a boy or a girl.

It was very hard for Mom to part with the room, as she’s the sentimental type. I will always remember her walking out of the room while we were moving the furniture out, with tears in her eyes and saying “this is a lot harder than I thought it would be”.  It really was a cute room, but not much of a little boy’s room anymore.

I think we took care of that with the new look:

The new bed actually replaced the old bed and three other pieces of furniture – with the drawers and the headboard now a part of the bed, no longer a need for the chest, dresser and night stand that were in the room. The bonus part of the bed (at least to him) is the door on the footboard – which now gives him a secret hideout.  Mom said that would be good storage when we first looked at the bed, I told her that the boy would have other plans for that space. That’s just what boys do.

The bookcase was already in there, and we added the 9-bin storage (a very inexpensive yet functional accent). He also had a small basketball rug in the room (to match the basketball pull chain on the ceiling fan), but since he was now playing baseball, he traded those two things for the baseball rug/chain from my office.  His choice.

The whiteboard was something I contributed (it was an old one I replaced with a larger one in my office). He’s always wanting to draw on mine, now he’s got his own. He also needs to work on his writing skills, so hopefully this will provide some incentive.

As you may have also noticed, we’ve got a thing for superheros right now. His Aunt Cindy gave him the posters that are now hanging on the walls, and we put the superhero peel and stick additions on the walls.

He’s taken quite well to things, as you can tell. He insisted I take his picture, so I thought I’d put them here.

He was so excited for the makeover, he’d check on me every hour or so while I was painting and tell me to keep doing a great job in his room.  Even told his mom to not get in my way, because it was slowing me down. Once the room was painted, he wanted to sleep in it on a sleeping bag, until his new bed arrived (he only had two nights on the floor). That’s dedication.

And when it was all done, I got a big, unsolicited hug from him, telling me “Thank you for my room, Dad.”

Yeah, it was worth it.

Goofed Up Hair

Wish I knew why , but the boy’s hair is really unruly after a night’s sleep. It’s something I unfortunately passed along to him.

This early March day’s efforts were particularly outstanding, so we had to capture it for posterity.

From the front, it doesn’t look that bad.

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However, the back was another story.

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The funny part is that on more than one occasion, he’s gone to school like this. His choice, not ours.