Building a Computer for My Mother

This blog might take some unusual turns over the next few weeks.

About a week ago, my mother asked me about when I was thirteen and put myself on a diet for the first time and lost weight. After that, I was thin my entire life until I moved to Baltimore. My mother has gone up and down her whole life and, after a period of being anorexic in high school and college, she has been heavier more than not and has sometimes been quite obese. When I went on a diet in junior high school, as my mother noted, I told no one nor did anyone notice until I started to lose weight. She asked me a few questions about that.

First, I said, that one thing I’d come to realize about being thin was that that and two fifty would get you on the subway. Sure, there was a small increase in the number of men who were interested in dating me, but the sort of men who will only date you when you’re at the low end of the doctor’s recommended weight range rather than the upper end tend to not be men I care to date. However, despite the fact that I have tried to care less about being as thin as I can without fainting regularly from low blood pressure, I’ve still been concerned about keeping my weight from spiraling out of control because diabetes runs very heavily in my family. So even now that I’ve tried to suppress my concern for my appearance, I still make an effort on account of health. I joking said to my mother, “The one thing I know how to do is to be thin.”

I’m not sure exactly how the conversation flowed after that, but I said, “Do you want to be thin? I can make you thin.”

She said, “No one has ever said that to me before.”

I said, “I can, but you have to do everything I tell you.”

So, now I’m staying at my mother’s place several days a week and we’re going to the gym and exercising. I’m planning and cooking all the meals. After chowing down last night on some fish prepared Veracruz style, she asked, “Am I really going to lose weight like this?” I told her that her problem was a cycle of dieting and bingeing. I said, “The trick is that we never stop eating like this.” I altered the recipe slightly because she has to limit salt.

Last night, over dinner, she said to me, “My computer is so slow, I get frustrated trying to do anything these days.” Her computer is about nine years old. She said that she did know if she should get a laptop or a tablet. I happened to have with me my portable laptop which converts to a tablet. I had her try to write emails to friends using it in each mode. She said the laptop keyboard was very difficult because of her arthritis. In tablet mode, it was less painful to use the on-screen keyboard, but she didn’t like how slow it was.

She said, “Why can’t I just get one that sits on my desk like I have now?”

As it happened, a few months ago, my sister was complaining about how her neck was hurting. I saw her working on her laptop one day all hunched over and I said, “How is your neck now?”

She said, “It’s killing.”

I said, that’s because you’re working all hunched over. A few years ago, I got a laptop and I’ve since switched back to a desktop. I offered to put one together for her. We came up with a budget and, with the help of the kind people on the buildapc subreddit, I picked out and purchased all the parts. By the time all the parts arrived, my sister seemed to have lost her enthusiasm and every time I say, “How about we put together your computer this weekend,” she says, “Aww, I’d rather do something else.”

Although it was a pretty modest build because my sister didn’t need anything too powerful, that’s still a few hundred dollars of computer parts sitting in her spare room going to waste. So, I called my sister and asked if she still wanted the computer. Anticipating my reason for calling, she said, “If Mom wants it, let her have it.”

So, later today, we’re going to go to my sister’s, pick up the parts and assemble it either today or tomorrow. I’ll have fun. My mother will probably curse a lot.

I try to remember to take some pictures this time.

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