Technology gone mad

Posted December 1st, 2008 by Penny Wise

Woohoo! Er - sort of! December is here and that now means I can now access my Credit Union Christmas Club fund, where I've been religiously paying $10 in every week. I have well over $500 in there, yay! There's just one problem - I just don't have time to shop! Life is so chocka that at the moment I can't envisage a decent sized window to go shopping in until *gulp* December 20th! I've never been so disorganised and while disorganised is one of the things I do best, leaving my shopping until just five days before Christmas quite frankly terrifies me. I think I'm going to have to set aside an evening when the kids have gone to bed and shop online, I should be able to get most of the things I want that way, although paying for postage does irk me when I can walk into a shop on my two legs for free to purchase the same item. Still, if it saves my sanity! I know there are some benefits to last minute shopping - you can get great deals on hams and turkeys and such but as we're spending Christmas Day with the in-laws I don't need to buy any of that. I've been using the same Christmas decorations for years too and they're still all fine so I don't need to buy any of those on special either, even for next year. The only thing I will have plenty of on hand is that scrummy home made Baileys. Ever since I gave that talk on Christmas on a Budget a couple of weeks ago, half the town's gone mad making the stuff!

The boys are pestering me to put up the Christmas tree, which normally I love doing but it doesn't fill me with joy at the moment. We bought a small one last year in a large pot with plenty of growing room to last another year but it actually looks quite sad, all spindly and brown. Not very festive looking at all! Noel won't let me buy a new one so it looks as though I'm going to have to get creative. Fortunately I've seen some wonderful Christmas tree ideas in the Vault and Forum over the last couple of years, so one way or another we'll look presentable I hope!

To be honest, I think the main problem is we've all been having too much fun lately to think much about Christmas! Last weekend was another busy and fun-filled one. We have cricket every Saturday morning and Noel is thoroughly enjoying coaching such a neat group of kids. As for me, I just lurve having no choice but to sit in the sunshine for hours doing absolutely nothing, except cheer on encouragement to the team of course! In the afternoon we went to Weavers Lake in Huntly for watersports. Technically we were going there so Alex could practise swimming in his wetsuit for our upcoming Half Iron Man but he much preferred being dragged around behind it on the sea biscuit again, as did the rest of us!

Ah yes, the Half Iron Man. Three words which fill me with dread. As I write there are precisely 10 days and 15 hours to go and I've spent the last seven thinking 'Oh my God you stupid woman, what on earth were you THINKING?!?!' I always loved running and did it because I wanted to but now I HAVE to, it's a different kettle of fish. It's a mighty struggle some mornings to get out of bed and feel excited about running for 90 minutes straight - but I can't let the team down! Fortunately I have my trusty support crew Noel and Alex who both have an uncanny knack at the moment of knowing exactly when to tell me 'You'll nail it!' Thanks guys - if only I had as much faith in myself as you do! Still, the Half Iron Man isn't such a dirty word to my ears at the moment as a far more common one - MOBILE PHONE. I truly think they are one of the most damaging things to society ever invented. Gone are the days when people only bought one in case they broke down or their wife went into labour. It seems these days everyone over the age of 10 seems unable to communicate or function without one. Jings Penny, are you getting old or something?

Seriously though, it seems to be an obsession for so many. Noel reckons it just about drives him to tears driving to work each morning and seeing every single kid with their head bent, texting madly as they walk to school or wait for the bus. Some of them even have two phones on the go at once! Alex is a classic example. Texting has gone from being a quick and easy way to communicate to robbing the human race of actual conversation. Even I'm guilty of texting so much these days that I actually have to amend my emails for text-speak sometimes! Teenagers are so busy texting one another continuously that they don't actually ever get round to doing anything else. I've lost count of the times Alex has complained of feeling exhausted only to find he was up talking until 2am, or because a mate texted him and woke him up at 3. I know what I would be texting them back if someone did that to me at that time of the morning - as you can imagine I can't write it here!

So I thought it would be interesting when Noel took Alex fishing for the very first time on Sunday. Noel is not known for his unwavering patience and I waited with some fear and trepidation for news that he had thrown both Alex's mobiles overboard but you know what? Alex was too busy having fun to worry about his phones! Instead he was pulling up fish after fish, marvelling at families of dolphins and hanging over the edge of the boat with the wind streaming through his hair. Easy to see then, that mobile phones are nothing more than a habit - and an expensive one at that. Which is why I won't let Ali have one. You would think with Christmas just around the corner that he would be on his best behaviour for Santa but quite the contrary, he's been acting like a selfish, spoilt brat who wants everything now. To give him his due, he hasn't spent his pocket money in over three months but now that money is burning a hole in his pocket and what he wants most of all is a cellphone. Unfortunately (for Ali), Noel flatly refuses to let him have one and good thing too but by crikey its caused some tantrums and arguments in our house lately!

Take the other day for example. The boys were fed up because they couldn't go fishing with Dad and Alex so I kindly said I would take them to the shops with Grandma for a look around to see if they could spot anything they might like for Christmas. If they wished, they could use their pocket money to buy something SMALL but nothing else, as it was too close to Christmas. That wasn't enough for Ali though - by the time we were halfway to our destination he was planning to buy anything from a cellphone to a Nerf gun to a remote control car. When I said 'no, wait and see what Santa brings you', he spat the dummy. I kid you not, I was embarrassed to admit that little ratbag was mine! So I said 'stuff you matey, you don't deserve a flipping thing!' and turned around and drove us all home again. Liam was disgusted with his brother but hadn't really wanted to go shopping in the first place, as it was a beautiful hot day, far too nice to be trailing around the shops. He suggested we put the tent up, so that's what we did. Erecting tents has never been my forte but I was determined to impress Noel with my scout skills when he got home - and two hours and several bucket loads of sweat later, our mission was accomplished. A very happy pair of boys sat contentedly in their deck chairs overlooking the cricket pitch and said 'This is great! I'm glad we didn't go shopping now - this is much more fun!' Maybe there's hope for my little ratbag yet!

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