My Grandma wasn’t a frivolous person. She was frugal. However, she was quite able to enjoy a modern convenience or ten! As a young wife and mother she lived in a one room sod house with no power, no phone, and no heat source other than a wood stove in which they burned cow manure. So, later in life when she had the ability and means she did enjoy the basic modern conveniences we enjoy today. If her TV broke down she was quick to call a repairman. If he couldn’t fix it she had him arrange for a moderately priced new one to be delivered. She had a telephone, a radio, a microwave, a dishwasher, washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, electricity, a hot water heater… all things she didn’t have the ability to enjoy when she was young. Once she could afford them and understood how these things could make her life better she was a fan.
I like my modern conveniences too. However, I am a little suspicious of a lot of the new fangled contraptions. OK, I admit it… I just don’t really like learning new stuff. I get comfortable with my techo-ability level and I just don’t like it when it is stretched. In addition, I am leery of things that seem to be the “rage”, especially when most of what you hear about them in the news is how they are used for nefarious purposes. I am never the first to try something, I usually wait until someone I know has tried it, or the new-fangled thing has become mainstream.
So…several months ago when my husband suggested a webcam for our new computer I was resistant. Well… actually I think my words were “I don’t think we need that.” He proceeded to share some of the positive things about having one. He suggested that I could talk with family and friends who live far, far away. For instance, my sister Vonda in Thailand. I still was resistant. I just couldn’t see my family jumping on the webcam bandwagon. He also suggested that he could use it in preparing for the college chemistry classes he teaches. That made sense, so I agreed.
Last week I spent a morning baking. My husband was on one of his “kicks.” He decided to download skype to both of our computers and see if he could get us up and running. He explained again that he was pretty sure my sister Vonda (in Thailand) had a webcam in her laptop. If, he explained, we went on skype we could talk and see each other at the same time. In addition, if someone back home in SD had a webcam, my parents could also talk to me and to Vonda. So, as geeky as it sounds, we spent an hour or so practicing with skype, me in the kitchen/living room and my husband in his office. Visualizing the possibilities I made the leap from skeptical to interested. Events quickly led us to purchase a webcam for my parents for Christmas and have them pick it up locally. On Christmas Eve my sister-in-law and niece were able to help my parents get the webcam set up and Vonda and I were both able to visit with our parents. Christmas morning I spent an hour talking to Vonda, then visited again with my parents. I talked to them both again today!
I have discovered that the best presents don’t always cost much. Other than the slight additional fee when we bought the computers, and our parents webcam this present was free. It wasn’t even meant as a Christmas gift. It was simply one of those things my husband thinks of to make my life easier or more joyful. He’s really good at that. Besides, he’s reaping the benefits too… I had to admit that I really shouldn’t question his ideas since they’re almost always right…