When life recalculates
LORI OSIECKI ILLUSTRATION
Why do we even bother naming babies? We should just give them a cell phone number right in the delivery room.
These days, instead of yelling for my daughter Gladiola to come to supper, I just text her a picture of Popeyes. (And if supper turns out to be Beenee Weenees and broccoli, oh well.)
You got to roll with the times. I don’t miss the old days. Not Jell-O salad. Not pantyhose. Not bell bottom pants. I wouldn’t miss high heels, if by some miracle they would suddenly become extinct.
I don’t miss road maps either. I got a GPS, which I don’t have to re-fold and stuff into the glove compartment every time I use it. And no road map ever yelled “Recalculating!” when I sailed past my turn.
My grandkids have heard that so much, they yell “Recalculating!” if I accidentally start to stick my Coke in the freezer or a spoon in the microwave.
My older daughter Gumdrop and her husband are at a business meeting up North this week, so I am babysitting the kids in Folsom. Which means I am driving them to Scouts and tumbling and swimming and gymnastics and all over creation, recalculating all the way.
I got to do this because kids ain’t considered capable of just going out to play no more. But they are capable of programming their fancy TV, which I can’t do because it is as complicated as piloting a B-57.
They don’t own cell phones yet, but they know how to use them. I catch Lollipop, who is nine, typing into my phone. I say, “How did you figure out my passcode?” She says, “Ninety-nine percent of grandmas use their grandchildren’s birthdays.” Then she adds, “I am a sleuth.” I tell her to sleuth herself off to bed.
Some people open their phone with their fingerprint, but I never could get the hang of that. I do know how to invent a secret code, though, because I read a lot of Nancy Drew when I was a kid. M, for Modine, is the 13th letter. My maiden name was Bean, and B is the second letter. G for Gunch is the seventh letter. So my new phone passcode is 13-2-7. That will outsmart little Miss Sleuth.
I pretend not to notice her fooling with my phone next morning.
Well, it is quite a week. Thank God Gumdrop gave me all the teachers’ and coaches’ and leaders’ cell phone numbers so I can text them if I am late or lost or don’t know whether I got to bring cookies.
The last night I am there, both kids are stretched out on the floor watching Spongepants Squarebob, or whatever it’s called. They look so cute, I snap a picture and post it on Facebook.
And because, on Facebook, you always brag a little, I type: “Lollipop and Go-Cup learning about sea life.”
Later, I check my post to see if I got any likes. And I read, “My precious Lollipop and my annoying grandson learning about sea life.”
I must have let out a shriek because Lollipop rushes over. “Ohhhh! I forgot,” she says.
Well. Turns out you can program a cell phone so whenever you type one particular word, it substitutes something different.
Like, if you type “OMW,” it will print “On my way!” It’s to save time. Lollipop says her Aunt Gladiola showed her this little trick.
And somehow Lollipop figured out my new passcode and programmed my phone to replace her and Go-Cup’s names. I scroll through all the texts I have sent out this week:
To the swim coach: “My precious Lollipop and my annoying grandson have colds, so will miss practice.”
To the Cub Scout leader: “Is it my annoying grandson’s turn to bring treats?”
To the gymnastics coach: “My precious Lollipop will be late because I have to pick up my annoying grandson at baseball.”
The thing is, none of these coaches or teachers said anything. They must assume everybody from New Orleans is nuts. I am lucky they didn’t call Child Protection.
Lollipop says she thought I would notice it right away and laugh, but I was way too frazzled to notice anything and she
forgot about it.
She fixes my phone and slinks off to bed. When I check on her, I notice a book under her pillow.
Humph. Some things don’t change.