Password Amnesia

I have a pretty good memory for where I put my keys and my shoes. I was born with a great sense of direction and I can typically remember where someone lives without using the GPS. But when it comes to remembering passwords, I am literally at a loss for words. Words, letters, numbers, symbols… I have no idea what order I put them in. Did I use I an ampersand or an asterisk for my Barnes & Noble account? Which of my three common password phrases did I decide on for my WordPress login? I’m pretty sure I used my house number or maybe it was my favorite number and then a left parenthesis. No wait, I think I used my nephew’s birthday. As you can imagine, I reset my passwords often which of course leaves me with no chance of ever remembering the current and correct password for any account I own. My personal pet peeve is when a website tells me my password isn’t strong enough. Oh come on! I used a capital letter and at least one number! I tend to settle for the garden variety medium strength password because anything stronger than that causes my amnesia to flare up drastically. I’m not a complete lost cause. I know the passwords to my laptop, my work computer and my Facebook page. Heaven forbid I get locked out of my Facebook page! I remember my copier code at work and the login to a database I use almost daily. I can type in my ATM pin number and my iPhone password without having to think twice. It’s only when I need to access websites I don’t use as often that I run into trouble. I check the “remember me” box all the time but that only works when I’m on my own computer. Can someone invent an algorithm for all computers and laptops to remember my password when I type in my username? How hard can it be? I have to give a lot of kudos to the “genius” at the Apple store who exhibited an enormous amount of patience and showed no eye-rolling as he tried to help me log in to the App Store on my iPhone. Of course, I had locked myself out of it a few months ago. Why? The password I kept using was incorrect and I had registered too many failed attempts. This prompted my phone to ask me security questions I used to know the answers to. At one point, the “genius” thought it would be a good idea to change my password and he asked me to log in to my Yahoo account to retrieve the Apple change password link. You know where this is going, right? As he pushed his fancy laptop toward me, I started to panic and had to declare password amnesia. I gave him permission to talk about me to his fellow geniuses after I left the premises. Thankfully, I was already logged into my Yahoo account on my iPhone. I changed my password and then was scared to death I’d forget it while sitting there. When I couldn’t find a pen or pencil, he directed me to the Notes section on my phone which I thought was a brilliant idea. I wonder if there is any way to put a password on my Notes section. A password I will surely forget almost instantly and the cycle of forgetfulness will begin again. How do you remember all of your passwords?  

One Good Cry

Yesterday, I asked a neighbor to take my son to school so I could sit on my couch and cry in peace. Fall and spring tend to bring me to tears at times due to the sheer amount of things I need to accomplish on a daily basis. I know what set me off this time. I was in a mad rush to fix up the house before the cleaning crew showed up. I had meetings every night this week and when I came home on Thursday night I was too tired to start cleaning. Plus, there was a new episode of Scandal on TV. On Friday morning, I focused more on the upstairs of the house than downstairs. By the time I went into my kitchen and saw all of the dishes in the sink, it was almost time to leave. I looked around and saw papers everywhere, dance shoes on the floor in the kitchen and a space heater that seemed to have taken permanent residence in the den. I saw clutter was everywhere and had exactly 10 minutes to put it all away. I decided to buy myself some extra time by sending Andrew to a friend’s house instead of driving him to school. As soon as he left, the tears started flowing. I left the dishes in the sink and fell onto the couch. Not only was I upset with the clutter on my floors, but there is plenty of clutter in my head too. Sometimes my mind clutter weighs so heavy and it can’t be moved easily. Then, there is the light and fluffy variety of clutter that floats around. I try to catch these random things so I can remember for later. To my frustration, I can never seem to collect it all. I almost posted my exhaustion and frustration on Facebook, but I decided against it. I had no business being on Facebook at that moment. I obviously opted for the next day blog post instead. 🙂 My crying session did not last long. I actually felt relief as I let it all out. When it was over, I took several deep breaths and picked myself up off the couch. I walked right past dishes and the miscellaneous items strewn about the house. I told myself the cleaning crew could work around it which they did. I fixed my makeup and made sure all evidence of despair was washed away and then went to work.

My Life Without A Manual

Last week, I was sitting in my minivan waiting for Jenna to be dismissed from track practice. She had already sent me a text me earlier informing me to pick her up. As I pulled into the massive high school parking lot, my phone pinged with a text message.

“Where r u?” she typed.

“I’m parked across from the tennis courts.” I reply.

“K” she types too preoccupied or cool to type in the “O” A few minutes passed and I was concerned she couldn’t find me. I checked the time on my phone and sent a brief text to my son Andrew to let him know I was running late. When I looked up, I saw Jenna’s long, blonde hair draped over her bright, blue backpack. She was walking away from me in the wrong direction. So, I did what any mother would do. I jumped out of the car, waved my arm in the air and yelled –“JENNA! I’M OVER HERE!” Now, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the look of sheer humiliation on her face as she made her way towards my car. I think I could see the steam coming out of her ears. She opened the car door and I barely got out an apology before she laid into me about how parents should be seen and not heard. Where have I heard that before? There was no apology good enough in the moment. I deserved her killer stare and eye roll combo that only teenage girls can conjure up.

As I tried to apologize yet again to the slumped over figure beside me, I had a thought. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a manual to advise me on how not to embarrass my daughter in broad daylight in front of her friends at school? A parenting manual would prevent so many “mom-fail” moments like this one. Without said manual, there is no sure-fire, 100% effective, 24/7, 365 days a year guide to raising children in the 21st century. My son and daughter amaze me every day. It is truly an honor to watch them grow up and be a part of their lives.

I only hope I’m not screwing them up. If I do, I’ll help pay for their future therapists.

Don’t you think there are times when a life manual would be totally awesome? I could have used said manual as a road map following my college graduation. With my liberal arts degree in hand, the only advice I had to go on was to follow my passion and find a way to make it into a career.

And then I’m pretty sure Leslie Nielsen walked in and said, “Good luck. We are all counting on you.” Career & family are just the tips of the iceberg. Life is complicated. And let’s face it, we are all just winging it in our own spectacular way! Some days, we have great success and others we fail miserably. A manual would be nice, but none of us have one. Thus was born the name of my new blog – Life Without A Manual. Here, I hope to share stories I’m sure you can relate to.

To use the words of my ancestors, I promise you will find kvelling (rejoicing), but yes there will be a good amount of kvetching (complaining) too. I’m sure you will find there is a method to my madness. Maybe you will agree with me and maybe you won’t. It’s all good. I want to hear your stories too.

So, let’s have some fun as we try to figure it out together. Welcome.

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