Monday, August 31, 2009

Almost Giddy...Up!

I had a rocking horse. 1950's vintage, plastic with a nylon tail. My horse was well-loved; the springs needed to be replaced every six months. Daddy and I went together to Sears on a regular basis to buy rocking horse springs.

Our kids had a rocking horse. Circa 1980; springs, but no nylon tail. 100% palomino plastic...perhaps nylon tails posed some heretofore unknown risks to small children, and were discontinued between generations. When presented with this rocking horse, one memorable Christmas, we asked Son One if he liked it. His two-year-old response: "Be Fine." And BeFine, the horse, became a treasured family member.

BeFine also required lots of springs during his tenure. He went on to greener pastures with Nephew and Niece. Don't know exactly where BeFine is now...but I suspect he would not pass muster with today's parents or The Federal Government Rocking Horse Czar. Springs could pinch tiny fingers. Springs have probably been discontinued.

Fast forward to present: We have "real" horses. Living, breathing and slobbering equines in the back yard. Yet, I was determined that the Most Fabulous GrandBaby In The World should have a pretend rocking horse.

These days, when you shop for a rocking horse on line, you find yourself in the company of "Rocking Horse Experts" who ask a lot of questions (how tall is your granddaughter? Is she walking? Does she prefer blondes or brunettes?) and make Rocking Horse Recommendations based on your feedback. Said grandbaby is too big for "baby" rockers; but a bit young for "toddler" horses. Her height, however, throws her directly into the "toddler" camp. So, I bought a "toddler" horse.

It wasn't hard to assemble; aside from my little meltdown when it wouldn't whinny or gallop. A call to The Rocking Horse Experts assured me, correctly, that it needed only a Double A battery in the depths of its belly to resolve those issues.

Last evening I delivered the whinnying, galloping soft-n-fluffy spring-free toddler horse to The Most Fabulous GrandBaby in the World. She was semi-delighted; but confused. Horsey looked a lot like her two dogs, and she was not allowed to sit on top of them...yet people were clearly encouraging her to sit on this new arrival. And she has recently learned to "give kisses." She was strongly advised to "kiss the horsey"; which she did overandoverandoverandover again. Cute, but probably not a whole lot of fun. Eventually, she decided to walk around, dragging the rocking horse by a handle, and kissing it periodically. I'm not quite sure if she thought that was fun.

Ahh, artificial horses. They don't need apples or carrots or hay; and they don't smell. They are properly sized for users. They whinny and gallop at the touch of a button.

I hope no one ever invents artificial grandmas.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blackberry? Pre? IPhone? nope...Peek

I'm a Peekster! And until 5 days ago I didn't even know it.

You might recall that I was, at one time, the owner of the world's oldest cell phone. After being poked, and prodded, and cajoled and begged and laughed at, I finally got a new phone that FLIPS OPEN. I felt so 2000.

I had also recently upgraded to High Speed Internet. And then I installed a wireless router; and before you know it, I was some sort of techno junkie, checkin' my email on my (giant and very heavy and also beautifully purple) laptop by the pool. I could almost, almost understand my friends' lust for "apps" and "features" and "upgrades" and other (she casually bats the word around) tekkie stuff.

But the thought of pushing all those little buttons. And reading all the manuals to determine which buttons to push...well, I've had a migraine for a few days. I thought it might have been MSG in some Chinese food I ate, until just this minute. Now I'm not so sure.

Because the App Seed was planted. I don't need a phone to make videos, or map me a route to the vet or surf the web. I can't even read the text on my 17" laptop. I would have to enlarge it to one letter at a time on an IPhone. Don't need it to sing to me, or find Chinese restaurants. (Unless it could find the ones that don't use MSG...)

But, well, checking my email without powering up the aubergine (and fairly temperamental) laptop. Now, that would be an App! And as this silliness was running through my crowded head, I heard our Atlanta Consumer Guru, Clark Howard, explain something called "Peek". It looks like a Blackberry, so people think you are hip and cool and LinkedIn. But it just gets your email! No confusing cameras, or web-surfing, or Chinese Restaurant coordinates!

I was smitten. Went on the website, and it was so freakin' cute that I got a cherry red one. It arrived today.

Clark Howard said it took his 9-year-old 2 minutes to have it operational. Guess it's hard to teach us old dogs new took at least 3 minutes for me to get it up and running.

It is charging now, on the kitchen counter. It works great. I am already in love. Just one little problem - when it gets an email it kinda, um, hiccups. Foster the Kitty views it as electronic prey; and I am pretty sure it will be "retrieved" and delivered to me during the night.

If it makes it through to morning, I'll shoot you an email.