One of the first essays I ever posted on Active Rain back in 2006 was a piece entitled 'Google Your Mom.' At the time I thought it was a clever notion; write a cute, loving piece about my mother (born in the 1920s) and atomically collide her with a present day algorithm for a quick, ironic grin--a Google giggle, as it were. After all, (in blog years, that is), 2006 was a couple Morse Law generations ago and I was but a virtual piker in the constantly expanding Real Estate blogosphere.
I entered the same title into the Google Search Box a few moments ago (just to make sure the idea still had some digital legs, if not originality) and alas, there are now 42,100,000+ entries with the same keyword sequence, Google...Mom. It seems like everyone is writing about what their moms are doing on that 256K floppy up in the third bedroom these days. Still, at least through these biased eyes, my own fore bearer remains an unknowing pioneer of technological ingenuity as it applies to her...ahem, demographic. And while Mitzi Petro may not possess the same genetic motherboard as the matronly likes of a Mrs. Jobs, Gates, or Wozniak, she is still very special in her own Post-it Note sort of way.
Here is the most recent case in point:
Yesterday, during my usual Sunday morning phone call to the homestead back East, my folks and I covered the customary weekly topics---the food we ate, our states of health, and our collective economic uncertainties since the last big election. Now they've never come right out and said this to me but I know for a fact (per my youngest sister, Liz--the smart one), that my parents are afraid to even mention the subject of Chicago Real Estate in my presence. The Fox News Network has them both scared to death that, any day now, Obama himself will demand that I step down from my position as a Realtor, thus forcing my wife and me to live in their basement until we either a) agree to Loan Modification counseling or b) I sell something out of my housing inventory for close to asking price. Of course I exaggerate.
But not by much....
Anyway, come to find out, there have been two Listed properties in their Chalfont, Pennsylvania townhouse community that went under contract in recent weeks and according to the neighborhood sewing club, Market Values haven't backslid as much as everybody feared. Fantastic! This gave me the perfect opening to mention my newly flourishing business in Chicago, but just as I began to interject my own good news to ease their weary minds, I heard a muffled commotion on the other end of the phone...
"Did you get him, Mitz, Did you get him?" my father's unmistakable voice in the background.
"...mumble...mumble...," my mom, flustered. Phone hits the floor. More commotion. Then silence. Then dial tone. I immediately call back. Line busy. No Call Waiting. I call back again. Same. I subconsciously fumble for a cigarette before remembering I quit five years ago. I wait 5 minutes and call one last time. My mother finally picks up in mid-sentence as if there was never a disconnect at all....
"...and then, Genie, I was trying to get that squirrel. The little bugger, like I said, keeps eating the birdseed from the feeder. So I yanked on the string attached to the can of gravel your father made and....."
I'll shorten the story: My mother sits in a rocking chair in her den with one end of a long string in her hand that runs outside and is connected to a taped up can of gravel, on the deck railing, under the above hanging bird feeder. She waits for the squirrel to poke his head through the decking slats then she YANKS...and all hell breaks loose; her, my father, the squirrel, the birds, birdseed, gravel, everything. They all jump up and scatter in different directions. This has been going on every day since the Daylight Savings Time change, I hear.
My other sister, Margie (the resourceful one), invented the contraption based roughly, from what I can deduce, on the popular 1960s childhood game, Mousetrap. It was her 'Have-A-Heart' alternative to my mother's Plans B, C and D which were:
B) An electric lamp, plugged in, sans lightbulb, with peanut butter and birdseed in the socket.
C) A waffle iron, also plugged in, left intentionally open on the deck railing just beneath the bird feeder (for tip-toeing vermin. ouch).
D) A pea shooter.
Margie nixed the first two options as cruel and unusual, even for Mitzi. My mother, I then learned, jumped into her Suburu and drove halfway across Bucks county and back on Saturday afternoon in search of a pea shooter. She finally ended up at a gun store. I. Am. Not. Kidding. After hearing her story, (and the mandatory cooling off period for seniors with squirrel issues), they tried to sell her a slingshot, instead.
I suggested she 'Google' the problem for an internet solution. My suggestion was met with silence on the other end of the phone. I forgot. For some reason she thinks the 'G' word has something to do with pornography. Same with 'Hotmail.' Don't ask. Instead, I change the subject and inquire about what's for dinner. Forty-five minutes later the battery finally dies in my iPhone. Now that's Amore!