Thursday, September 10, 2009

The thorn in my flesh....

My absolute, biggest frustration in life is ..... PASSWORDS! I more than appreciate all the modern, high-tech conveniences in our world today but I absolutely hate the password nightmare that exists to protect our high-tech identities.

Years ago - way back in the not quite dark ages - when they invented ATM cards we learned about PIN numbers (actually passwords in disguise). So not too bad - only 4 digits and my much younger brain could manage to remember one set of PINs for my one and only ATM card. Then we changed banks and received a new ATM card and I had to remember 4 different numbers. But wait - they finally made it possible to choose my own PIN. That small change saved my life (or at least hours of frustration) because I chose a set of numbers that I will remember for the rest of my life. Whenever possible I have thrown caution to the wind and used that PIN for all of my "secret" passwords. I can go to either bank and use different ATM cards without struggling to remember which 4 digits matches which card - I can use my Safeway card for groceries and gas without too much trouble although since I have to enter my 10 digit telephone number and then my 4 digit PIN I can get mighty confused....

BUT what I cannot remember is what combination of numbers and letters (upper and/or lower case) I may have used for the ever-increasing amount of internet programs I access. At work I have at least 10 websites that require password access and they all have different rules: over 6 characters, under 6 characters, a combination of numbers and letters, no numbers, must include at least one character, must not include any characters, case sensitive, not case sensitive, etc., etc. It is enough to drive me crazy if I let it! So I try to remember to keep a list of each website with the corresponding login and password (logins are a whole 'nother story!) Most of the time that works but since I have to record all passwords in order to remember them, where's the secrecy in that?

At home I only try to access my blog, Shutterfly and Facebook. Since my personal computer time is way at the end of my priority list, it can be months between visits and guess what? Big surprise - I get to that little blank square for my password and I'm stuck. Absolutely stuck. I try a few things that seem reasonable but no luck. I try the same password again with an upper case letter - still no luck. If I keep trying I can usually, eventually happen upon the correct combination of letters, numbers, caps, yadda yadda.

This morning I have my 1st free time in weeks. I just spent 3 weeks scraping the paint off this house, then painting on oil based primer by hand, then 1 incredible week of doing nothing but reading and napping in a little cabin in Idaho so this morning I thought I would try to see what friends on Facebook were up to. Wait a minute - what's my password??? Hmmm...I actually have no idea. I try a few of the standard combinations that usually work but nothing happens. So I notice the very helpful message "forgot your password?" and I click on that thinking it will ask me one of those pre-answered questions that will mean I'm really who I think I am. But I can't even get that to work. When it finally says your password has been reset and all your friends have been notified I absolutely freak out. OMG - what on earth will Randy say? The login we both use is the same email address so did his password change too? This is much more than I can deal with right now so I switch gears. This would make a good blog.....but wait, what's my password? How about !#$%&*!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's!

Some people are wild about April Fool's Day - they plan elaborate jokes and prank their family and friends mercilessly. Not me. The best I could ever come up with was "it's snowing!" and that only worked one time! I don't like playing tricks and I definitely don't like being tricked. April Fool's Day was my least favorite "holiday" ever.

Until April 1, 1976. After nine months plus two weeks of waiting - after visiting my doctor on March 31st and being told "no baby yet - come back next week", baby #2 decided to play a trick on us and prove the doctor wrong.

When my contractions began around 4 pm I assumed the whole process would take a couple of days just like it had when Michelle was born. I did call my folks to put them on alert "just in case" and by 7 pm they were at our house ready to take Michelle home with them. We watched TV for a few hours, timing contractions, and at 10 pm I called Allen and asked him to come home from work so we could go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around midnight and went through the process of checking in and getting settled in our room. After all the hustle and bustle calmed down, Allen and I tried to make ourselves comfortable, planning to get some rest before my contractions started in full force. It wasn't long however, before something felt weird and I asked him to get a nurse. Actually I think I yelled "Get the nurse..something is wrong!" The nurse came in with a slightly patronizing attitude, trying to calm me down thinking that I was just another young, hysterical woman with a low tolerance for pain. But no....wait a minute....she became quite a bit less calm when she did her perfunctory check and realized the baby was on it's way! The rest of the event is a blur of excitement and activity as I was wheeled into the delivery room and watched the doctor arrived in time to catch Amy Kristine Carlson as she catapulted herself into our lives.

From the moment we saw Amy she captured our hearts...from her dimples to her white "dandelion" fluff of hair to her tiny little fingers to her captivating smile to her spunky determination. She changed the way I look at April Fool's Day forever - for 33 years it has been a day of celebration and great joy.

This morning when we left the restaurant after a wonderful birthday breakfast I said "Amy it's snowing!" Only this time it was no fooling....