Over at Fluid Pudding there's a meme about technology which interested me a lot - mostly because the people I deal with in my daytime gig think that anyone who says the word computer a lot in a conversation is qualified to weigh in opinions on a tech-related project I'm working on right now and it's getting on my nerves. The truth is we all use technology every day. Just because I'm sitting here typing on a computer right now doesn't mean I'm qualified to write code for your database. And, incidentally, while I technically do write code for my database, I'm still probably not qualified to write code for yours. Technology is a large and varied category and there's a multitude of abilities, levels and applications that make it impossible to say, "Oh, you should talk to that person about this... he's tech savvy."

Even just the word technology at once strikes fear and awe into people's hearts that I just don't get. After all, a computer is a machine. It does what you tell it to. Garbage in. Garbage out. What's a mystery to me is why certain people are labeled as "tech savvy" and others not, which is often just an excuse for "I don't want to take the time to learn how it works for myself" and pushing it off on someone else to do for you. But technology isn't just limited to the MyFace that's all the rage or that Twitterverse that the young tweeples are talking about. Technology is a tool and there are certain tools that are right for the job and others that are not. That John Deere Cotton Harvester 7760 might be one nice piece of machinery, but it's not really the right tool to help me seed my lawn this spring. So I'm glad to see some subjects addressed in this survey presented as technology that aren't necessarily related to computers. Technology is a grand category and just thinking that it's the latest new gadget from Macintosh doesn't really address all the ways and means "technology" affects our lives.
  1. Which expensive electronic device do you most often let your older children abuse or your baby drool on?
    The answer to this comes from the fact that The KingofHearts is incapable of ordering anything on the Internet without doing something to mess up the order. Last year he wanted to buy me a snuggie for Christmas as a joke and when he went on the website, they were having a two-for-one offer. "Two snuggies for the price of one," said he to himself, "I might as well do that." So when he went to the online check out, under "quantity" he typed in "2" when the space for quantity really meant
    how many orders of snuggies do you want? So we ended up with four snuggies (as well as four pocket booklights) and got ourselves a ready-made cult. A similar thing happened when he ordered his new computer online. There was some deal to get a small netbook computer for an additional, reduced price and he thought it'd be handy for travel. Somehow, he managed to order himself one regular computer and two netbooks. It was such a process to return it that we just decided to keep them both, thinking that The Dormouse would be able to use one for homework and whatnot in the coming years. Except that "coming years" really meant "now" and her teacher is always suggesting website for her to practice math and spelling on and she uses it to surf the Internet any time we will let her. Fortunately, at six years old, she still thinks "The Internet" is comprised of the American Girl, PBS kids, Playhouse Disney and Yahoo! Kids websites and nothing else. Note to self: invest in one of those Internet safety software packages before she accidentally Googles camel toe someday in search how one becomes a farrier in Saudi Arabia and instead learns that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.
  2. How many take-out restaurant numbers do you have programmed into your phone?
    None. The way we figure it, if we're going to pay someone else to make our food, they should also bring it to us, refill our drinks and clean up our dishes afterward. So we seldom get delivery or takeout anymore in favor of eat in restaurants. And when you eat dinner at 5:30 pm, aka "kid time," you don't generally need to call ahead for a reservation.
  3. How many hours of television do you so totally not let your kids watch a week?
    This is my biggest weakness as a parent (well, after patience, language, teaching by example, and cleanliness). Truthfully I don't know because I don't count. I know
    *I* watch too much television but I can manage to work, clean the house, fold the laundry and get a whole host of other things done while I watch all the television I watch. Sadly; this is not a trait that anyone else in my house inherited. When the television turns on, six eyes dilate and three mouths hang open and it drives me crazy that THEY'RE ALL JUST SITTING THERE DOING NOTHING. And then it hits me, "Turn off the TV, dumass." So I'm trying to be better about just not having it on as much - at least when everyone is home. I don't turn it on at all when they get up in the mornings because it interferes with getting ready for school and after school on the week days, it only goes on after The Dormouse has finished her homework and everything else she's to do that day and then I try to limit it to a hour of cartoons because that's all I can stand. When I'm home alone, all bets are off because Momma's got some crime dramas to watch, people.
  4. Do you think people who say “we don’t watch television” at play dates but really mean “we just watch DVDs” are lying liars from Liarville?
    I have no proof but that's always been my suspicion. Also, what are these "playdates" you people speak of?
  5. How many miles have you driven with your child and not one device of electronic entertainment in a single car trip?
    This is where I'm probably gonna come off a bit pious because we don't currently have
    any electronic devices in the car. None. (Other than a radio/iPod, that is. We gotsta have our tunes.) We haven't driven with the kids cross-country or anything, but even on a day trip where we'd drive up and back in the same day and be in the car all day long, my feeling is there's enough to look at and talk about without burying their heads in a device. I'm sure that one day that will all go the way of the wooly mammoth and we'll give in -- like when they turn into teenagers and develop that affliction known as teenage mouth and we'll need to use the DVD player like a pacifier or if we have to drive through Southern Nevada or Death Valley or something. But I'll put that off as long as possible (on both counts).
  6. What’s your record for calls to the pediatrician or Ask-a-Nurse in a single day?
    I have a love/hate relationship with the medical community. I'm fascinated by it, I want to be a part of it, but I can't stand to deal with it. There is nothing, NOTHING I tell you, that irritates me more than to go in to a doctors office, pony up my $35-$75 copay, wait an hour to be seen with all kinds of snotty noses from who-knows-what running around in the waiting room and to have that doctor or nurse tell me, "Well what you need to do is go to the drugstore and get some [insert name brand of over-the-counter-drug here]." And this is what happens to me more often than not. Do you really think that I got out of bed, dressed (mostly) and dragged my behind here because I
    didn't already exhaust every single easier possibility I could come up with? I could have done that with all the knowledge that's already in my head and in a pinch a two-minute consultation with Dr. Google. I don't need your Harvard diploma'ed ass to tell me that; give me treatment! But I digress. (Can you tell this is a sore spot with me lately?) So the answer to this question is one. I will seldom, if ever, call a doctor more than once, and before I do that, I will exhaust every medical website, every database, every message board to answer my question on my own first. Then I will only go in if you need a prescription to fix it and/or it's something that can't be treated by what's available in my house or at the local drugstore. After that, I won't generally go back, because if they can't help me the first time, I honestly don't have any faith that they will do it the next and will either move onto another doctor or begin the training required for me to get my own medical degree - it'd be faster and less painful.
  7. What’s the sexiest thing your partner could text you after a hard day?
    I'll be home early today so I'll pick up the girls. You don't have to rush out of work to meet the bus. (In a related story: My life makes me sad.)
  8. What’s your favorite iPad joke?
    The iPad: The next best thing to the iTampon.
  9. What’s the dumbest parenting tool, gear, gadget or device you ever bought?
    I avoided the baby wipe warmers, the pee-pee tee-pees, and the Diaper Genies, so I'm going to have to answer: Caboose/Tandem stroller. Seemed like an awesome idea at the time, but that thing is giant, fills up my ENTIRE storage space in my car when it's folded down and is equivalent to driving the 1965 Chevy three-on-the-tree pickup with no power steering and no power breaks that I learned to drive on. Completely unrelated: Anyone want to buy a Joovy Caboose stroller? I currently have one for sale on craigslist. I totally loved mine and you would too.
  10. How many years will it take for your child to become more tech-savvy than you?
    Currently I'm still ahead of them and very proud of that fact. I'm gonna enjoy it while I can.
So... on to the meme portion of the evening: pass it along.

If you're interested, answer these questions yourself - either on your own blog and leave the link in Fluid Pudding's comment section or just leave your answers in her comments without the link for you "low tech" folks. There could be a nice new knitted hat in it for you. But you'll have to go to her site for that. I'm not a knitter and I haven't found a gadget that does that for me yet.