Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The daughter grows up and teachers her father a few life lessons...

The internet....where would we be without it? For our generation, and our kids' generations, it all comes naturally to us. Everyone's doing it, right?

Well, not exactly. For my parent's generation, they're still trying to get the hang of it. "Google what?" they ask. "Face who?"

My dad has taught me many things in life, with one of the most important lessons being how to manage my money. At an early age, he had me sitting down with him every month, showing me how to balance a checkbook, pay the bills and how to budget and save money.

So it seemed only fair that at some point, I'd return the favor. The daughter grows up and teaches her father a few life lessons.

Beginning with the internet....

He and my mom divorced back in 1999 and he moved to Las Vegas...very lonely and wanting companionship. I mentioned online dating and he asked, "Online WHAT?!"

I explained it to him, "Well, Dad, you register on an online dating site and they match you up with people who seem like a good fit for you."

He shook his head and grieved for the days when dating was as simple as spotting a hot chick in the library and asking for her number.

Tim, being the computer guru that he is, rebuilt a computer for my dad and sent it out to him in Vegas. For days, Tim spent hours on the phone walking himthrough various lessons on how to boot up the computer, registering for an e-mail address and finding his way around the world wide web.

I urged my father to sign up for an online dating site. He said, "I don't know about all feels strange and foreign."

Trying to reassure him, I persisted, "Dad, the woman of your dreams could be out there somewhere....just keep an open mind."

And he did...but he was still rather naive about the whole process. For instance, when one particular woman sent him a picture of herself, he told me, "Wow, she's a looker, this one!"

I had asked, "Is it a recent picture, though?" and he had laughed and said, "I would think so...I mean, why would she send me a picture of herself from ages ago?"

Afraid of punturing his bubble, I kept my cynicism to myself.

They spent about a week e-mailing back and forth and then finally chatting on the phone. It was a refreshing change of pace to hear the excitement in his voice each time he'd update me on their progress.

Then it was time....time for them to meet in person. I assumed he was going to meet her at a local Starbucks for coffee and light conversation.

I was wrong.

After dropping $100 on a lobster dinner, which had included some good wine and 2 hours of boring conversation, my dad called me and yelled into the phone, "Helene, she looked NOTHING like her picture. It's like the picture was from 20 years ago! Let's just say that the last two decades have not been good to her."

All I could do was feel badly for him, as he continued ranting and raving about how dull she was and that he had spent the whole time trying to think of a way to high-tail it out of there.

To make matters worse, she had already left him a voicemail telling him she had a great time and couldn't wait to see him again.

I gave him some pointers....

1) Always ask for at least a couple pictures....put an emphasis on the fact that you want RECENT pictures.

2) Within at least a couple days, arrange to meet in person. Don't waste any more time than necessary e-mailing and calling one another. Someone can be as charming as Sophia Loren over the phone but be more like the female version of Simon Cowell in person.

2) Never ever meet at an expensive restaurant for dinner! Meet up for coffee in the middle of the afternoon....make sure she knows you only have an hour, at the most.

Your busy work schedule can suddenly "free up" if you hit it off with her and want to spend more time.

3) Arrange for your secretary to call you on your cell after 20 minutes, in case you need a quick out.

4) If you don't plan on seeing her again, be honest. Don't tell her you'll call because she'll keep hounding you, wondering why you haven't returned her messages.

Okay, so after all that...he felt like he was ready to venture out again. And he did.

He went on a few more dates with various potential partners and then finally lucked out with a beautiful woman who seemed to share the same passions in life as he did...except she had left out one very important detail.

She was still married...which explained why she always insisted on either meeting my dad out in public or at his place, but never at HER place.

When she finally came clean, she explained that the marriage was over but they still lived together only out of convenience so her husband could be covered under her insurance, due to a lifelong medical condition he suffered from.

My dad was about to give up on dating by that point. Sure, he was very lonely but dating in this new century was more of a hassle than he had realized.

It made me sad, thinking of my dad sitting around all by himself in his bachelor pad. He tried to reassure me that he was fine....he was hitting the bars on Sundays to watch the football games and he was trying to mix and mingle with the people at work.

Still, I continued to pressure him, "Dad, just try the online dating thing just one more time....don't write it off completely after a few bad experiences. Come on, please!"

Thankfully, he agreed....and, after a few more less than amazing dating experiences, my dad met his current wife. He could hardly wait to tell me that she looked exactly like the picture she had sent him and that they had many things in common, with the exception that she raised border collies for a living and he hated dogs....but he could work around that, he had explained.

They were married just a few months later...and they'll be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary this June.

I recently convinced him to join Facebook, which he begrudingly obliged because I just wouldn't let up. I drew him in by saying, "Think of how many old high school buddies you can catch up with!"

Apparently, though, he's still rusty on the issue of social media and needs a few pointers, with the first one being on public vs private profiles.

"Uh, Dad....promise me the minute we get off the phone, you'll delete your phone number and address from your profile. And make your profile private, please".

"Why?" he asked.

I replied, "Haven't you seen the stories on the news of people's homes being burglarized after they posted or tweeted that they were away from their homes for an extended period of time?"

He answered, "No, I haven't. I hadn't even thought about that!"

"Well, there are horrible people in this world who do think about evil things like that so please do me a favor and take that information off your profile and then make your profile private, okay?"

He assured me, "Okay. Oh...and what's tweeting?"

"Oh geez, Dad," I said. "Let's save that lesson for another time...tell you what, in about 5 more years, your grandkids can teach you all about it." Registered & Protected


Kristina P. said...

I met my husband online. Great tips.

I actually just wrote up a guest post for a blog about dating online.

Sadia said...

What a sweet story!

My former roommate teaches computer use to adults, sometimes advanced Excel use, but sometimes, "This is a mouse. That is a CD drive. No, it does not double as a cupholder."

My favourite of her teaching stories: One of her students clicked the little button that switches from a full-screen browser to one that you can drag around the screen. Panic. "I SHRUNK THE INTERNET!"

The Mother said...

So very thankful I missed all of that. Hubby and I were together when computers filled basements and you had to go to the medical library to pull an article.

Anonymous said...

Yay for your dad and you! I have to admit, one of my favorite moments with my dad, "Can you help me sign up for myface?" :-)

Rebecca M. said...

I met my love on almost 10 years ago. Your father is lucky to have such a wise, helpful and persistent daughter.

Katie said...

Go,Daddy,Go! Good for him AND you for being so persistent. Man, I love these "older" people we call parents. They provide us with so much fun and so much eye-rolling! By the way, my folks DID meet in a library and just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past Feb.! :-)

Heather said...

Kevin and I met on ICQ instant chat : )

Rebecca said...

I love this story and the fact that they've been married 10 years! That's awesome! It's so hard to explain this "new-fangled" stuff to them though!

Eva Gallant said...

What a great success story. My stepson met his wife on line playing video games. They both are computer geeks and hit it off beautifully. They met about 6 years ago, got married about 3 years ago and have an 18 mo. old daughter. He is now a video game designer and she is a SAHM.

shortmama said...

Aww what a sweet story! My hubs and I met on a local radio station dating line!

Brooke said...

you're such a good teacher! :) after all of that i hope you like your step mother!! :P

Wendy said...

That was an awesome read and I love how green the parentals can be on certain issues! So glad you were persistant and things worked out for your dad!

And you are right about the grandkids my youngest was 3 at the time and playing a computer game at my parent's house. The computer wouldn't load his game and my dad being so foreign to computers didn't know what to do. My son replied - Papa, we have to reboot! My Dad about fell off his chair.

So they restarted the computer and voila the game worked! My Dad still talks about that today and he is getting better on the computer - even getting an email account but no FB or Twitter for him! :O)

Living It, Loving It said...

Awesome story.

Your dad has come a long way. My mom still refuses to learn how to turn the desktop off. She just unplugs it. I can’t imagine how you could figure out to turn off a laptop since she can’t just unplug it. She finally got a cell phone and she took about four months to learn how to use it, but she finally got the hang of it. A computer? The internet? Maybe another ten years.

Natalie said...

Great story! I love that you are giving your dad dating tips...I'm sure he never thought that would happen!

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

I hope your dad hangs in there. Wishing him the best of luck!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

That's so sweet! I met Boo on an online dating site right when I was ready to give up on dating sites completely. So, there are treasures still waiting to be found.

I crack up when I talk to my dad who has no clue about the computer. He will ask, "Are you facebooking?" I seriously think he has no idea what it really means.

I love the response that in 5 years time, the grandkids will teach him.

Nobodys Nothings said...

that's a sweet story, i'm glad he finally found a good one. :) my grandmother is on facebook.... my 85 year old grandmother. it seems like everybody's getting into it these days!

Tylaine said...

That's so cute! I met my husband on the internet too! I'm glad your dad found love again (so funny about the first picture :))
Sounds like he has a good teacher. :)

Mighty M said...

I am glad you are there to encourage your dad....who knows what he would be doing without your able assistance! So glad his online romance worked out and he kept at it - I have heard of so many success stories, it is awesome!

Jen said...

You know, my dad asked me the same thing about twitter not too long ago.

Nezzy said...

Not all dads would be so easy to convince to enter the tech world. I'm thrilled your dad found his perfect match. I've found when in trouble when it comes to technical stuff, just ask a kid!

God bless ya and have a wonderful Wednesday sweetie!!!

Shell said...

How amazing that he met his wife that way!

My mom recently got on facebook, and I keep telling her that she can't make everything public. It drives me crazy!

Jennifer @ The Toy Box Years said...

This had me chuckling!! I'm so glad your dad found his soulmate after figuring out the whole internet "thing"

I had to laugh about the married woman. Sounds suspiciously like my MIL. Yikes!

singedwingangel said...

Hey at least your dad was willing to try the internet.. my mom won't even get past the boot up of the computer..

Twins Squared said...

Aww, what a great story! I can't imagine dating in the internet age. Email was brand-spanking-new when I was in college and grad school. Had a couple of long distance relationships that probably would never have gone as long as they did without email. But it's funny how our parents are so computer inept! I got my mom on FB. She hates it. That's about the extent of it. Anyway, one day we'll be the ones totally out of touch. But we're trying!

Oh, as for the trade you proposed, I'm afraid that would be no advantage to you since my hiding things in the pants girl is also a nose picker!

Mama Ardie said...

Aww! What a great story. Online dating gets a bad rep sometimes, but I think it's a great place to start. Glad to hear your dad was successful! I loved reading about the teaching... I'm constantly explaing to my parents what FB is, what tweeting is, etc. It's just funny b/c we don't think of it as anything complicated.

Jenny said...

That is such a cute story!

Jovial Jess said...

Hilarious! It took me years to get my dad on the internet... even more years to get him to lose the dial-up! Now that he's up to speed he's buying way too much stuff..yet he still can't send an email. Anyways you and your pops had me laughing!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

What a great story! My parents don't even own a computer. My mom would like to, but my dad won't hear of it.
I met my hubby online, and I had to weed through some losers first too! It's so worth it in the end.

Merri Ann said...

I applaud your patience. I spent years as a Tech Support for about 300 computer users. I had unlimited patience for all the weirdness that came my way ... but now? Not so much. My parents are constantly frustrating for me ... I'm always yelling "DON'T HIT THE ENTER BUTTON YET ... ok lets start over..." I think I've used up all my patience on my kids.

I met my husband from a newpaper ad ... no, I'm not kidding ... we are celebrating our 15th anniversary today.

Jenna said...

Aww what a sweet story, and way to go Dad it is a scary dating world out there, good for him!

And good for you for being such a great daughter!

Jenny said...

What an amazing story! I am glad that you dad found his happily ever after through a world that is ever changing!

sandandstarfish said...

I met my hubby online :) I'll leave it at that!

If you have the chance, I'm hosting a couple giveaways on my site that I'd love for you to stop by and check out!

have a great thursday!

Together We Save said...

Oh my... my parents can barely check their email... but I just can't get into Facebook I love blogging but can't understand the whole facebook thing.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

What a super and heartwarming story.

God help the women of the world should my mom die. My dad would be all over online dating, I just know it!!

Wahzat Gayle said...

It is wonderful that you have such a good relationship with your dad :) This is really quite sweet post. And I am sure all those who may be interested in online dating would love these pointers.

Tracie said...

You're a good daughter, ya know that? There's no way in heck I would encourage my mother to participate in social media. I couldn't complain about her if she did.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Great tips, and hey? I'd save twitter for the kids too. Some things are just better left alone!

Amy W said...

Great story!! I'm so glad your dad found the right woman! :)

Ali @ Mommie Life said...

Your poor dad!! I can't even imagine how things will be when my little one is telling me how to work the newest bit of technology! :)
What a good sport though! I'm so glad he found someone and he's happy! :)

Anonymous said...

You are such a wonderful daughter! It sounds like you two have a wonderful relationship! What a blessing!

katie said...

Glad it worked out for your dad! I LOVE your writing. Have a great weekend!

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

I can't imagine dating over the internet. I think I'll try to keep this marriage thing together so I won't ever have to do that. I have however, known people who did it and are now happily married. Go figure.

My parents have been divorced since I was a kid but my mom has a new boyfriend who is 89 and calls himself Boy-toy Roy. He got her without even going online. Imagine that. Never mind. Don't.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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