"You said I wasn't going to have to meet any of your friends of go out and be social during this visit."
"Can I read?"
"Not during dinner, no."
"Then I'm not going."
As you can tell from the above, not a lot has changed about the conversations I have with my Mom from my teenage years.
This weekend seems doomed to be a return to those teenage years, full of bickering, arguments, and temper tantrums (not all of them mine). Many of the problems have been a result of how they've been functioning with their computer all along. They'll view their actions as perfectly reasonable and I will inform them that in fact, they are psychotic.
This started when Mom proudly took me in to see her computer setup.
"What the hell is THAT?" was approximately what I said, although, possibly with more curse words.
"That's how I keep the dust off the monitor," she replied.
I wept for a while, and then I snarled, and then we fought. I can't really describe what she'd done in a way that does it justice. She had basically built a hutch around the computer monitor, using cardboard, styrofoam padding, duct tape, and a towel and sheet on top. It was as though she'd built a small house around the monitor -- one that was physically attached to the monitor with a whole lotta tape. The yelling ended when I finally had her put her hand inside the whole contraption to feel just how HOT a firetrap she had built. So then we spent a while ripping cardboard and tape off the monitor.
Then there was a lot of shopping and arguing and being misled by salemen at CompUSA, and purchasing of a new monitor and router, and forgetting to buy a new keyboard, and more bickering, and then finally unpacking and plugging in and testing, and reading of manuals and calling of support lines and by 2 am, I'm actually sort of impressed to say, we had the new computer up and running, the router talking to the dsl, and my laptop talking to the wireless router. Then, I went to turn on the old computer, to see what could be done with it, and remembered what we had discovered earlier... that we were short one keyboard.
Mom and Dad woke me up at 8:45 to tell me they were going to go buy the new keyboard. I gargled something terrible at them for waking me up, and they left. At 10:00 Mom called and let the phone ring and ring and ring and RING until I picked it up, and then asked me what KIND of keyboard they were supposed to be buying. By noon they had not yet returned, and I wondered how a keyboard buying trip could possibly have gone so terribly wrong. Half an hour later, they came back, and gave me food, which I fell upon and devoured like a hyena, and about as neatly.
All happy from the first protein I'd had in 36 hours, I returned to work on the old computer. And discovered that I could not reach the keyboard without sitting on my feet, because Mom has been using a chair that is so old it sits only a foot of the ground, has broken springs, and sags in the middle. I tried to cope with this for a while, and then just lost it. We spent the afternoon at office supply stores, and finally returned with a new chair which still is sitting in it's box in the living room. I can't feel bad about this, because no human being should be sitting that low to the ground while using a computer.
So now we have a keyboard, a new chair that hopefully, we will put together tomorrow, and I got the backup drive unpacked and cajoled it into talking to her crappy dying computer, which really, it turns out, was in pretty sorry shape. It's backing up like crazy now, and will be for a while, since it's having to make do with a USB connection. After a lot of discussion, we're giving serious thought to just junking the old dying machine, and using the second monitor as a dual monitor system on the new one. The usefulness of the evening, however, was mostly wiped out by the aforementioned mandatory-attendance social event. Hopefully we'll get more done tomorrow.