Mom had her strengths.
Mom had her weaknesses.
Moms always do.
My own Mom's Achilles Heel was technology. She hated it.
In fact, this woman who could remember encyclopedic knowledge about Cherry Hill, NJ, the surrounding Camden County, and the Real Estate market of South Jersey was absolutely slammed by the slightest burble in anything "technological".
This was the era of the 1980s. Blinking 12:00 on VCR clocks are the norm. This was before they got wise and used the "whitespace" on the bottom of the old Analogue TV NTSC broadcast signals to set VCR clocks.
Mom hated VCRs until someone brought her a movie to watch. Then they were great.
One weekend I came home and found a list. Yes, a Honey Do List. Where do you think it was taped? On the VCR. Over top of the blinking 12:00 was a concise note saying "Fix This".
I knew I was going to find other notes like that around the house but that was the first one I spotted.
I'd visit mom on the weekends, most weekends, and that was the norm. Come in the door, and if the house was empty, look for the Honey Do List.
Twice a year, I reached my own Technology Kryptonite. Mom's Car.
Like many women of her age bracket and that era, she was treating herself to a new car. She was successful and wanted a car to fit her station in life. She was going to get the car that she had wanted for decades. In this case it was a 1986 Lincoln Continental. Metallic Grey outside, Lighter Grey inside.
She loved that car.
It was stuffed with all the technology that the mid 1980s American Car Industry could possibly stuff inside of a large land yacht.
She was proud of all of that stuff even if she didn't use it. She didn't use it because she didn't know how, but that wasn't the point was it? The point was that she HAD it and it was good.
Except twice a year, it annoyed her. Like clockwork, the Time Change Day came and that would be when I got the call.
Bill, can you set the clocks when you come by next weekend?
It wasn't so much of a request. It was Mom setting an appointment for me to be at her house on a search and destroy mission. I was to set the clocks in the house. All of them. If I missed one, I'd be back next week to set THAT one.
But the car was the worst. Those cars had a row of buttons that you would use to work your way through a menu to get to the right spot, then hit another button to go up and down on the hour and minute. It was never quite clear which one to hit so you had first to dig into the glove compartment.
Push aside the sunglasses, old Real Estate marketing dreck, half used Sweet N Low packets, and other detritus to find the book.
I'm sorry, The Book, since it was always spoken of in Those Terms like it was a holy tome. This monstrosity of an intractible tract was the Car Owner's Manual for Your Lincoln Continental, 1986 edition.
Since the car was not mine, and never did become mine, I had the onerous task of trying to figure out how to set that blasted clock twice a year.
I'd sit in the driver's seat after running the seat all the way back so I could get in the car. Mom was a little woman and I'm quite tall.
After cursing at the dashboard that invariably collided with my right knee, I'd start reading. The first couple times it was with Mom looking over my shoulder giving me "help". That didn't work and eventually I'd send her inside with instructions to "go find something to do so I can fix this blasted thing".
The book would eventually disgorge its information, and like a monk in charge of the secrets of the Lincoln, the clock would eventually be set, by me.
Strangely enough it was never easy, and always took at least a solid 15 minutes to go through the twice yearly ritual.
That car is why I drive a Jeep. I learned early on that one place you don't want finicky electronics that you need to learn how to use is in your car. Key in the ignition, foot on the clutch, and turn it on. Simpler is best when you are talking about a car. Things don't break if they aren't there. The current Jeep I have is 12 model years old. The only thing I have ever replaced were the tires and the front speaker for the stereo.
American Built and 12 years old. Nothing "broke" but that one speaker. There really isn't much there to be broken so it's still in excellent condition.
But that car of mom's was always needing its technology fiddled with, including that blasted glowing green clock.
Twice a year I think of this and smile. Mom's gone and so is her car. We replaced it with a simpler car, the Mercury Sable. She got it because she liked the light bar in the front grille. I think she was secretly tired of that clock too because the first thing she did when she decided on the next car was to make sure she knew how to set the clock on the dashboard. That car passed onto my sister, then onto her son Jonathan when he was old enough to drive.
I didn't have to set that clock, luckily. My sister Pat knew how to set it. It didn't take 2 hours round trip in Philadelphia Traffic to set a clock. Thanks Pat. I did appreciate that.