Sunday, January 24, 2016

Geezers in Technoland

My dad says I am not a geezer (by comparison) but I sure felt like one on Friday January 15th when Pat and I took the plunge and subscribed to Netflix. It's supposed to be so EASY, right? And so CHEAP. It was all going swell as I signed up online, made another account and password that I will never be able to access again, and proceeded to a page whereby I had to select what I would be watching Netflix on. The choices were things like Smart TV, tablets, phone, Xbox, Playstation, Wii and a bunch of other crap I never heard of. Now I think my TV is pretty smart (it has HD, Dish, DVR, Primetime recording, etc), but I was pretty sure it wasn't Smart, but I marked that and tablet anyway, because those were the closest to anything I have. I then  had to select what type of shows and movies I like. After choosing Making a Murderer, Orange is the New Black and Breaking Bad, I silently hoped the FBI wasn't monitoring my computer.

When Pat got home I told him the good news, that we are now the proud parents of a Netflix account, but I wasn't sure how to make it appear on our (dumb) TV. He thought all we needed was a cord to connect a tablet to the TV and we would be in business. Our $9.99 per month fee was already climbing, but a cord couldn't be that much. He was off to Radio Shack since they are supposed to know something about what they are selling and pretty soon in he comes with something called a Roku. At a cost of $86.00. Okay, this Netflix thing is starting to add up, eh?  At this point I remember my friend Sharon showed me her Roku and she doesn't even have cable because she gets all the movies and shows she wants for free with Roku. Pretty good deal, huh?

Pat gets the Roku plugged into the TV and starts trying to manipulate the on screen menu with the clicker and nothing is happening. After a few minutes he decides to call Radio Shack (they said he could!). First he talks to a chick who asks if he has the batteries in (yes) and then tries to get him to push an invisible button on the back of the clicker. He eventually asks for the guy who sold him the Roku, cause guys know so much more. The guy tells him there's a button on the back of the clicker and he still can't find it, but in all the fumbling around he suddenly gets the menu to come up on the TV. So we are okay (for now). Next is some yelling back and forth between me at the computer and him at the TV in the other room shouting passwords and usernames from one room to the next with our geezer hearing problems.

I'm not sure what the next problem was, but it necessitated another call to Radio Shack, some swearing and more sweating. Finally, an hour or two later, $100 poorer, and on the edge of divorce, we are watching our first show. And after a weekend of binge watching Making a Murderer, and cuing up for OITNB, I can actually say it was worth it. I think.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Retirement Living

I guess no one wants to move one step away from a nursing home, but there comes a time in our grandparents, parents, and (shudder) our lives when difficult decisions must be made. I'm grateful a nudge became a voluntary decision by my parents to move into a retirement village (being surrounded by old people "geezers" is something they never wanted to do). In my eyes, this was wiser than being forced into a nursing home prematurely because of a broken leg or hip.

Two events conspired (possibly three) to prod this move earlier this fall. My mom fell down the stairs (one of two flights in their home of 19 years), luckily only bruising her tailbone. And my parents long time cleaning lady 'disappeared.' The third event was last year's hospitalization and my dad's long recovery at home. As both bedrooms are on the second floor, this required careful planning for my dad to minimize his stair climbing in order to be given his intravenous antibiotics twice a day (lovingly referred to as his 'egg') for over six weeks. Both my parents managed this amazingly well, and dad even recovered to the point of riding his stationary bike again.

The new one level home includes all the maintenance, appliances, your choice of carpet and wall color, utilities, huge garage, and even cleaning once a week and breakfast if you want to trek over to the dining room. They will even hang your pictures or your television on the walls. Don't like the shelving or need another outlet? Included. Boom. I don't think mom is exactly buying it when we all say, "We want to move in here!" But seriously, it's just a whole lot easier and safer. While it may not spark joy at this time, having access to all levels of care will ease future transitions and be more convenient if mom and dad's needs differ in the future.

They said they are doing it for us kids, but if they really hate it? Pat is only 4 months away from qualifying to live there, and me, a mere 2 years.