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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Modern Technology in Elder Land

By Barbara Sloan

Older friends gave us lots of advice when we retired. They told us when the kids left, we would have no one to blame but each other when we mislaid something.

In addition, kids not only move out, they move away. Repair people are expensive. Aging parents can’t get around quite like they used to and sometimes things happen. We hadn’t counted on modern technology to be part of the solution until recently.

The other day we came home from shopping. The groceries were put away quickly before I forgot to do it. I fixed myself some iced tea and sat down to read today’s paper.

As I got out of the chair to go take my shower and get ready for tonight’s potluck, I thought, “I wonder where Bob went?” I looked in the garage but the pickup, car and motorcycle were all in place.

I thought, Hmm, the shop door is closed. He leaves it open on nice days like today when he works in there. Oh, I bet I know where he is. He said he needed to see our neighbor, John, today.”

Turning around to go back in the house, the wind nearly blew the door off its hinges before I could get it shut. As I walked down the hall to take a shower, I heard a crash. I listened a minute and thought, “Must be the wind blew an aluminum chair off the front deck again. I will check after my shower.”

Later, I looked at the deck through the sliding glass door. The chairs were in their upright position. The cell phone rang. It was my youngest granddaughter. “Sorry I didn’t call sooner, grandma. I have been working a lot.”

I was so glad to hear from her. We were visiting a few minutes when my phone beeped like it does when there is another call coming in. As always, I ignored it. I haven’t yet learned how to put the current call on hold while I answer the other call. Besides I think it is rude to interrupt someone that has taken the time to call me first.

We finished our conversation and I closed my phone.

I thought, “That’s funny Bob still isn’t home.” I punched the history button on the telephone which showed me that Bob had called. He had tried several times.

There was no answer when I called back. I left a message” “Did you call me? I was on the phone. Call me back.” Several minutes passed before my phone rang.

“Are you in the house?” Bob asked.


“Could you come out here by the side of my shop so I can tell you how you could be helpful to me?”

“Of course.” I said. I thought, “What kind of project has he got going now?”

I turned the corner of the shop and looked around. Bob wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I saw the aluminum ladder on the ground. “Oh that’s what I heard a while ago,” I thought.

Then Bob’s voice seemed to come out of nowhere, “I’m up here. Look up here on the roof.”

“What on earth are you doing up there?”

“I came up to fix a couple of shingles about an hour ago. Where have you been?”

“I’ve been in the house and wondered where you went. What happened?”

“The wind blew the ladder down. I tried to figure out how to get back down, but there is no way with my back the way it is that I should be trying to shinny down a drain spout. I yelled for you but you didn’t answer.”

“I was taking a shower.”

“The neighbors weren’t outdoors to hear me if I yelled to them. Then I remembered I had my cell phone with me. I called but you didn’t answer your phone. I thought you must have gone somewhere and I was getting tired. Sitting on a slanted roof isn’t as easy as it might look. A nap sounded good but I was afraid I might roll off the roof if I went to sleep.”

“Why didn’t you answer your phone when I called you back?”

“I couldn’t get it back out of my pocket in time before it quit ringing. I called you back and you finally answered.”

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

“Walk the ladder up here very carefully. Go slowly so it doesn’t tip back on you...”

Within minutes Bob was on the ground again. Thank goodness for modern technology.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Barbara - Neat story.

Brave Bob! I gave up ladders of more than three steps when I turned 70. Did he consider dialing 9-1-1? I sure would have! - Sandy

Interesting..I painted my own house for ages, even helped other people..ladder never problem..I am now 71 and the production to change my bathroom ceiling light and fixture made me feel like I really was 7l..guess ladders are out for me too...The roof story, though comical in this case, confirmed it..what a good hubby to still be up and at 'em..the scene and dialogue seem out of a movie...thanks for sharing..

Bless the inventor of cell phones. Great story.

Well, Barbara, Bob was better off than the guy I heard about in Chicago a few years ago after a blizzard.

The Mayor ordered everyone to shovel the snow off of their roof because of the weight and the danger of it crashing through their ceiling.

This poor guy tied a rope around his waist and the other end of it to his car parked in the driveway.

Things were going along OK until the wife decided to go to the store IN THE CAR!

He was on the other side of their peaked roof and when she drove away she pulled him up and over the peak and down to the ground and dragged him several feet before she heard him yell.Lucky there was soft snow for him to land on and he wasn't seriously hurt.

Tell this story to Bob and maybe he will feel better..

Great tale and nicely written....

If and when I buy a cell phone, seems advisable not to buy call-waiting.

I read and read, all the while thinking you had left Bob at the store! Good story.

I bet Bob feels better now that he heard about that poor guy in Chicago! Tell Bob I bet he could hire a guy to replace those shingles!

Michigan Daughter

And I thought Bob was stuck in the garage somehow. That's what happens to everyone in our house! Great story!

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