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Teaching Your Parents

Today, I made the nearly hour long journey from my apartment in St. Louis to rural Illinois to visit my parents.

My weekly visit is starting to become a tradition that is beneficial for me, and enjoyable for them– while I’m there, we are able to catch up with what has happened during the last week, allowing them to make sure nothing awful has happened to me, and I’m able to share family dinner, bring home fresh garden produce, and do my laundry since the laundry facilities in my building aren’t really very good.

I’ve mentioned several times before how great my mom is, and this week she surprised me with fresh baked zucchini bread and homemade apple butter to take home.

Despite the fact that my mom is great for a lot of reasons, sometimes I really have to question her logic– especially when it comes to matters of technology.

During my visit, she and I had a conversation about DVRs and scheduling recordings that almost made me want to scream.

A few weeks back, I had asked her to schedule Doctor Who to record for me, since I don’t watch enough television to justify cable at my place, and they not only have a DVR, but also just about every channel, so I would be able to catch up on my favorite show whenever I came over to visit. The first recording worked like a charm, and I was very happy to see my favorite show back on the air after a long hiatus.

This week was another story, as her initial scheduling was only for one episode and not the entire season. I arrived at their house and when I checked the DVR, no new recordings were present.

When I asked what had happened, she didn’t really have a good answer, because she thought it had been set up correctly the first time. This turned into a conversation that I wasn’t really in the mood to have this evening.

The following is part of the conversation we had that almost made me lose my mind:

Mom: With the DVR, can’t I just tell it to get the whole series and it’ll bring back the missing show?

Me: It doesn’t quite work that way, it can only record what is on the air.

Mom: But it was on the air, so it should come over when I tell it to record the series. 

Me: No, that one was on Saturday, and unless you have a time machine, it’s not going to magically show up on the list. Unless it’s broadcasted again, which won’t be for several months probably. No big deal, I’ll just find it online and watch it there.

Mom: Oh, well that’s dumb. 

I don’t blame my mom for not really understanding exactly how the whole recording to DVR process works, but the conversation was frustrating because it’s the same one we’ve had about five times in the past. I think she finally understands the concept now, and I won’t completely throw her under the bus here, because she didn’t grow up with technology but still manages to do pretty well with her Facebook skills and has mastered her iPhone.

Have you ever had to teach your parents something about technology and had it not go exactly as planned?

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