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Are Cell Phones the New Baby Monitor

By David Cruz,2014-05-20 12:23
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Are Cell Phones the New Baby Monitor

    Are Cell Phones the New Baby Monitor?

    By: Arlena de Bruin

    “Mom, I need a cell phone!” My seven-year old storms to the couch with an equally disgruntled brother stomping potholes in the

    floor behind him. After a frantic ten-minute search of the city, I find

    them in a bum-dropping party at one of the neighbor‟s trampolines.

    Call me the mother of all party-poopers, but it was time for a talk.

    “Do you know how worried I was?” I ask frantically.

    “Now Mom…” my son says with the self-assurance of a kid not

    yet grounded “…this is exactly why I told you I need a cell phone.” I

    give him a look that could silence the wind. Bringing up the fight for a

    cell phone in the midst of an Amber Alert was just bad politics.

    “Good grief Eden, you‟re not getting a cell phone.” I groan. I get down on my knee and

    look him in the eyes. “Seven-year-olds do not have cell phones, they have two feet and a mouth

    designed specifically so they can come tell their mommy where they are.”

    “But Mom…” the floor-stomper butts in, “EVERYONE has one!” Unfortunately for me,

    Indi‟s definition of „everyone‟ still includes pop stars, cartoon figures and mythical creatures.

    “Everyone in grade school does NOT have a cell,” I fire back.

    “Does too.”

    “Does not.”

    “Does too.”

    I send them to their bedrooms for seven minutes of introspection. That‟s three minutes

    and five grey hairs less than I spent searching so I remind them they‟re getting a deal.

    So the question is… in this world of high-tech advancements, is the cell phone the next baby monitor?

    First of all, I decide to check facts. I get on the telephone (the land line that is!) and start

    calling elementary schools. If eighty percent of all primaries are toting a mobile, that‟s

    something I need to know. By the fourth call, the message is abundantly clear… electronic devices of any nature are strictly forbidden at school. They can‟t bring a cell to grade school

    even if they had one. My evidence is clearly circumstantial, so where do I go?

    I decide to speak with Brett Ducross, a Communications Specialist with Bell World.

     “Ya, there‟s a lot of kids out there with cell phones,” he says.

    “That are seven?” I ask.

    “Well, I did sell a $600 phone to a twelve year old once, but we‟re mostly talking

    teenagers.” I give it some thought. Where do twins that are seven-going-on-seventeen fit in? I

    steer back to the bling-bling.

    “Six hundred dollars? For a cell phone? For a kid?” I‟m stunned. “And what if they lose

    it?”

    “Well, then you‟d have to buy another, I guess. The average phone costs about $100 or

    more.” I do the math and shake my head. One hundred times two, times an average of six

    replacements per month… it would be a second mortgage. In the last month alone Eden had lost

    two lunch kits, his gym shorts, and one of his favorite hoodies. It doesn‟t take clairvoyance to know that any cell he might have had would have been in one of those!

    “And why do parents buy their kids a cell?” I ask.

    “They‟re a fabulous safety device,” Brett says. “We now have phones equipped with GPS

    tracking devices. You can tune in and know exactly where your children are at any time of the

    day or night. Great for peace of mind.”

    Well yes, peace of mind I could use, but surgically implanting a GPS device in their

    backsides might be more useful. As helpful as it might be to locate some lost lunch kits, shorts or

    hoodies, that wasn‟t quite what I had in mind.

    I thank Brett and head to the dollar store. With the boys birthdays next month I now have

    a fabulous gift idea. I buy a couple of toy cell phones, slap a piece of masking tape across the

    face and in big, bold letters write: GO TELL MOM WHERE YOU ARE! I just know they‟re

    going to love them, don‟t ya‟ think?

    The Expiration Date Debate

    By: Arlena de Bruin

    It‟s not like I try to be difficult.

    And don‟t get me wrong, there‟s probably some days in the month

    when I really wouldn‟t mind drinking coffee with curdled chunks in it.

    Today just wouldn‟t be one of them.

    I look at the expiration date on the jug and groan. According to

    the psychics at Dairyland, the milk was scheduled to go off yesterday.

    That would be one day after the day my husband bought it at the store. I

    head out to the garage where he‟s married to his latest purchase, a

    circular saw with state-of-the-art laser tracking. He displays his pile of

    creativity proudly. Who would‟ve thought you‟d get 4173 toothpicks out

    of a foot long piece of two-by-four.

    “Mark… the milk‟s gone off.” I hand him my curdled coffee.

    “And you‟re telling me this because…” He gives me a soured look.

    “Exactly.”

    It‟s not that I don‟t fully appreciate the fact that my husband will brave the hordes at the

    supermarket to do the weekly shopping. And it‟s not that I don‟t fully appreciate that most of the

    time he even gets everything on the list right. But curdled milk in my morning coffee? He‟s

    either purposely passive-aggressive or it‟s a clear indication of shopping sabotage.

    Let me introduce you to the Expiration Date Debate.

     “Did you check the due date?” I ask slowly. Obviously, extra emphasis on the „check‟

    part.

    “Ahhh, come on … you know I don‟t read the small print.”

    I pick up the box from his new power tool. “Ahuh. Well then tell me this, Tim the

    ToolMan, what‟s the blade diameter of your new saw?”

    “7 ? inch.”

    “Maximum bevel angle?”

    “54.5 degrees.”

    “No load speed?”

    My husband looks suspiciously suspicious.

    “Five thousand RPM?”

    “Ahah! Don‟t read the fine print, eh?” I dump the curdled coffee in the box and stomp

    back to the kitchen to make myself an herbal tea. Easy for him to say, he drinks his coffee black.

    So I ask you this, guys…what part of „expiration‟ don‟t you understand? If this was an isolated incident, I‟d be the first to admit I‟d have to drink my lumps. But this is an epidemic of

    much larger proportions; a sickness that has infiltrated the ranks of brothers, fathers, husbands

and sons. I understand that nature has never programmed men to make any date particularly

    important (My birthday‟s on Monday, Mark…) but what part of „due date‟ is not perfectly clear?

    I think back to episodes of stale bread, moldy yogurt, and blue muffins (and no, they

    weren‟t berry!) and decide if there‟s any hope of changing my husband‟s shopping habits, I‟m

    going to have to do some research first. Unfortunately, my first Google hit is a recent study from

    London‟s Brunel University that claims shopping habits are directly linked to evolutionary roles.

    I scoff at the study‟s opening line: “It‟s official – men are better shoppers than women”,

    but read on. According to the 14 country study, females shop or „gather‟ by searching and

    comparing alternatives. In contrast, men go „straight for the kill‟ and in true hunter style, their

    heart rates even quicken during the moment of purchase.

    I give it some thought. According to Dr Charles Dennis, the hunter-gatherer relationship

    has existed for 98-percent of mankind‟s evolutionary lifespan. As lifestyles evolve, we simply

    adapt our behavior to suit our new environments. Can I really take offense to a million years of

    evolution?

    Ahah! So I‟m having a light-bulb moment... If shopping can be equated with hunting, why wouldn‟t men assume that ambushing a jug of milk on the grocery shelf would mean it had

    to be fresh? Maybe in the back of their evolutionary hunter-style minds, they can even still hear

    the cow „moooo‟!

    I slink back into the garage to humbly take back my lumps.

    “Hey babe, sorry about making a scene. I didn‟t realize you were hunting. Who am I to

    argue the implications of your evolutionary roots?”

    Nose to the grindstone, Mark‟s abandoned the toothpicks and is sawing a legion of

    wooden spears.

    “Scene? What scene?”

    I breathe a gracious sigh of relief. Fortunate for me, my husband‟s need to hold a grudge

    has a short expiration date too.

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