Jitterbugs and Interventions

Happy New Year, my excellent Sober Blog Friends! I am always surprised when I start a new post at the amount of time passed since my last post. It is in this same vain that I am surprised when:

  • I forget to pay the same bill every month, the only one that’s not on auto bill-pay
  • Mr. Betty still cannot locate 85% of items in the pantry/freezer
  • I am unable to find my keys sometimes because I wantonly set them down in the living room rather than their correct location
  • I have to pay taxes

So, not really a surprising surprise after all.

Here we are in a new year, which, while looking suspiciously like the old one (which shall remain nameless, at least on this blog we shall refer to it as “twenty-AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”) appears to have some promising uplifts on the horizon. Not least of which is the fact that we will soon have a new presidential administration that seems to care a bit more about keeping us alive (in the short term with regards to handling the COVID sitch, and in the long term by admitting that climate change is an existential threat). By the way, in case you are my neighbor, my JOE sign is standing in my yard until noon on January 20, mother fuckers.

Also, prompted by the grim spectre of enduring an additional pant size, I have quit eating sugar for at least the month of January. I am still putting agave in my morning coffee because my husband and co-workers deserve that. But otherwise no treats, desserts, frappuccinos, soft drinks, pick-me-ups, or other evil manifestation of sweetness. As an individual who has quit many things many times, I feel like this new denial should be easier. In some ways it is, because I’m employing the same strategies to deal with the discomfort of addiction- talk myself down, ride it out, distract myself. The added complexity of feeling physically hungry was more of a challenge; when I quit drinking I was smoking, and when I quit smoking , I was eating. Now I can’t do FUCKING ANYTHING. (Sorry, my lizard brain grabbed the keyboard for a mo.) At least I can still swear, no one can take that from me. “You’ll pry my profanity from my cold dead FUCK YOU!”

So I count that as a positive. Other positives: I have a new vacation rental home to gussy up and market, and also a really nice place to hole up when I’m tired of holing up in my primary really-nice-place. My sister and her son got COVID but both recovered and are fine. The rest of my family is healthy. My kids are secure and employed which leads me to the 2021 NEW YEAR WRAP UP.



My illustrustrious ex-husband sent me an unprecedented text message (so characterized in light of the fact that I am NOT his favorite person, or even his favorite ex-wife) in which he professed his concern for the welfare of my son (who is 23). Said adult child’s apartment was described as “a scene from Hoarders” and same individual had apparently quit his job and might be in need of “meds”. I reached out to the young man and invited him for a steak dinner (which no omnivorous youth has ever declined).

When he arrived I immediately let him know that this was an intervention and that I would be lacing his dinner with Prozac, to which he cackled for several minutes and admitted that his dad might have been a bit hysterical. Turns out he deliberately saved up money then decided not to return to his 12-hour graveyard shift because he was literally becoming a vampire (and yet somehow he escaped the effects of my aggressively garlic’ed sauce) and he wants to find an 8-hour gig where he could be in his bed at night, not chugging Monsters to try to keep his eyes open at 4am.

While the state of his house would not quite draw the attention of the Discovery Channel or TLC, it is laden with unreturned recyclables in large enough quantities that the return of such for the deposit could yield a fairly substantial windfall. His problem if it is one. He is also considering electrician apprenticeship for a career because TRADES ROCK and let no one tell you otherwise. Parenting nailed.


I shit you not, last night I texted this message to my sister: “I almost killed Dad today.” Allow me to explain. A few weeks ago, my 86 year old father was advised by his eye doctor that his vision was deteriorating to the point where he would soon be completely unable to drive. If I may, I will quantify that by saying he REALLY SHOULDN’T BE DRIVING ANYWAY. I began to insist that I do the driving instead of him years ago if we went anywhere together. He was offended at the time but I managed to convince him that it was just because I’m a control freak (which is NOT UN-TRUE).

His concern about how to get around without driving himself led me to suggest he needed a smartphone so he could use a ride service like Lyft. He agreed and I ordered him a mid-level Samsung from my provider. It was a large device; I made the font enormous; the icons were monumental. I installed an accessibility app that turned the home screen into a senior-citizen friendly device with a limited number of large buttons to tap. We spent two hours teaching him how to make a call, answer a call, add a contact and, most important to my dad, turn the fucking thing on and off over and over again. I tried to convince him to simply tap the (CLOWNISHLY LARGE) notifications button that silenced the phone but still keep it on. He declined*.

*NOTE: HE LIKES TO TURN THINGS OFF. His love of power-removal extended at one time to powering off his cable modem to save energy, thus disabling his VoIP telephone from 9pm to 6am daily. When I protested that he might need that phone to call 911 and that he was literally saving only .44 per month, he poo-pooed me until his neighbors and doctors started calling me, wondering why he wouldn’t answer his phone (he would forget to turn it back on.) We had already abandoned the Lyft scenario and had opted instead for a bus pass and some taxi numbers in his contacts.

So I left him that night and he turned off the phone (check!) and connected it to the charger and in the morning when he turned it on, it somehow came up in airplane mode and he freaked out over the no-network message. And that was it. He decided the phone was too complicated for him and felt that he might be undone by a random unfriendly pop up. I argued with him briefly saying he just needed some time to get used to it but he said, no, he didn’t want to deal with it and he’d be better off with a flip phone.

I came to his house with my printed return labels for this phone (BTW, I am eating a $50 restocking fee, plus $20 activation fee, which I share with you lest you ever feel foolish and/or presumptuous enough to pick out a phone for the senior in your life) and started peeling off the screen protector and case ($20), and he shows me a flyer he got in his AARP old person, special delivery mail bundle for a Jitterbug senior-friendly smart phone. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK????? The home screen of the phone functions almost EXACTLY like the app I applied to his super-nice Samsung unit. I told him so and he insisted, no, this looks easier. We went around on that for a few minutes as I angrily taped up the box to send the rejected phone back. I finally relented and agreed to take him to Best Buy, if only to prove that a smartphone is a smartphone, and as such would confound him eventually. After sifting through the annoying Samsung salesman (who masquerades as a Best Buy employee but really isn’t one!!) we were assisted by Antonio, a friendly young man who, when asked if he sells a lot of these Jitterbugs literally responded, “Yah, we get a lot of old people who want these.”

(left) App I put on my dad’s phone. (right) Fucking Jitterbug phone.

My dad ham-fisted that demo smartphone for about 30 seconds until he accidentally activated the voice input (just like he did on the Samsung) and then looked confused. We looked at the JB senior-friendly flip phone, but it was a dummy unit and further confusion ensued when he couldn’t get to the contacts or turn it off (did I mention that’s his favorite??) I didn’t think this was going to work and my dad was also unconvinced.

So we left Best Buy for T-Mobile where 90 minutes later we exited with the PERFECT FLIP PHONE *cue choir and shaft of heavenly light*. Easy to answer. Easy to make a call. EASY TO TURN THE FUCK ON AND OFF. The best part is that his new best friend Maggie (the T-Mobile sales associate) is just down the street, for when he requires senior IT service (say, after activating the mysterious and vexing voice input, or wondering if the phone had truly been turned off to his satisfaction). He bade me make his mouse pointer larger on his computer (it’s 2″ tall and hot pink now, he loves it) and I left, 3 hours later than intended, and late for my son’s intervention (see above).


Anyone else notice excessive numbers of ads for not-booze, elixirs, euphorics, sober snake oil and some very questionable methods to quit drinking? Just me? I did actually order tasty-looking near-beer from Partake. It’s a sampler 5 pack and it was $18, which now that I type it seems like a lot. I also bought myself a treat last night, CBD infused sparkling water (I saw it as I was stuffing La Croix 12 packs into my cart, looking furtively over my shoulder as I snagged the last lime.)

I guess that’s it. I really thought I had more to say but it’s just so booooooooooring around here. I’m behind on writing for my book, but I’m still posting chapters so if you have not done so already, please head on over to ChristinaWhiteWrites and check out mah stuff! Throw me a like!

2 thoughts on “Jitterbugs and Interventions

  1. The most annoying thing about my own dad is he carries his flip cell phone, but it is turned off unless he is using it. Which is extremely annoying when one is trying to get in touch with him. He’s 81. I could tell you about my grandma, who is 3 months shy of 100, but it’s even more difficult. She lives alone in her house still. Sigh.

    Anyway! Happy new year! I miss you and am always glad to hear from you here and some day will be coming to visit you when the border opens and we can travel again. I have become a hermit! Lol

    Love to you!


    Liked by 1 person

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