Last Friday I drove to Canberra to help my son. All went well, despite very wet weather and a couple of dark and stormy nights. In fact just about everywhere in southern New South Wales and Victoria had lots of rain and there are now many flooded areas, giving emergency services workers lots to do, filling up sandbags, rescuing people, etcetera. Wonderful people, they are.
My son moved into his new house, and into a new life. My daughter and I helped care for the little boys, and with the organising, and the making of lists - things to buy such as toilet paper, a bucket, broom, dustpan and brush, cleaning things and groceries. I donated some surplus items from my kitchen and linen cupboards. This had meant going through all the kitchen cupboards and the linen cupboard, and cleaning and sorting everything- the sort of hideous housework which is (wisely) embarked on only every few years. My car was full of stuff.
While I was looking after the little boys on my own, the little one, aged two and a half, darted to the TV, which was playing a DVD of Shrek, and pressed some button or other. I was totally unable to fix it. Now, I suppose it is understandable that a two year old child would want to turn off Shrek, as it seems that all children have watched it at least 149 times, but at this stage there was nothing else to do - there were no toys or books, or effective forms of outside entertainment. So I got a bit stressed, as telling stories, drawing pictures and singing songs had no effect whatsoever, and all they wanted to do was to run up and down throughout the house opening and shutting doors. This made me feel I was failing Elementary Grandmothering....In the Olden Days, my children were not allowed to touch switches or press buttons on TVs or anything electrical, but evidently times have changed, and so has the speed of the greased lightning at which they move.
Ah well, their father returned in due course, and of course he knew how to put Shrek back on. The rest of the time I spent with my daughter, who has been doing a lot to help her brother, especially child caring. We went to the horse paddock to feed her horse, and to the shops to buy a few spare clothes, and sundry other useful things such as rubber duckies for the bath, which squeak gratifyingly, and hobby horses to ride around on.
Just before I left on Friday there was a general power failure, and this delayed my departure somewhat. When the power came back on, I ran around resetting clocks and microwaves, and also turned the computers on. However I did not wait to check whether all was well. The family rang to ask how to get it all back on. I HATE other people touching my computer, especially if they are not real family. I came home to find it still did not work, and had visions of lengthy phone conversations with the support people. Somehow the computer had switched itself off. They are not supposed to do this, are they?
However. Last week, without really having a clue what I was doing, I used the Migration Assistant to transfer things from the old to the new computer. It told me I had done this, but there was no obvious difference. Evidently full implementation depended on turning everything off and on again, which is what I did when I could not get the computers to start. The other slight problem was caused by my new-fangled wireless keyboard, which had gone off as a result of the power failure, and needed its drippy owner to realise it has an on and on switch. (The design is so elegant and discreet that said switch was hard to find.) Finally all worked, and lo and behold, there was all my old stuff on my new computer. But what had happened to all the new programmes which came with the new computer. Good grief, don't tell me I had mindlessly obliterated them all? Finally I worked it all out. Sort of. Well, actually there are a few minor details yet to be revealed, but maybe they can wait until I get back from Spain and start having serious computer lessons. I have had to go out and buy a new printer. It does not have the printer driver inserted into its position, and now I have to work out from the rather confusing diagrams where exactly it goes.
Life is full of challenges. I suppose if they concern only technical problems we are fortunate. There is generally an answer, if we know how to look and who to ask. Changing the pattern of our lives is much more complicated and fraught, and can involve great anguish and worry in knowing the problems and in finding the solutions. We do what we can to help, we offer our love and support, and our hope for the best possible resolution and rebuilding. I am caught between my concern for those I love, both near and far.