A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our first Skype Christmas

Although I know a lot of people who use Skype, I wasn't one of them. Until Christmas Eve. Ed's daughter, Wendy, now lives in Denver with her 1- 1/2 year old twins and this was the first Christmas she wouldn't be with us. So she and I cooked up a plan to surprise her mom and dad with a Skype visit on Christmas Eve. Yes, her mother spends the holidays with us!

On Wednesday I sent an email to Wendy with the suggestion and she was all for it. She downloaded Skype on her laptop and I tried to do the same on Thursday. Alas, Skype was having some sort of outage and I couldn't get signed up or logged in. Finally I did and, since Ed was going to be out of the house Friday morning, Wendy and I set up a time to practice. We called each other and signed in to our Skype accounts. She could see me, but I couldn't see her. So we logged off, logged on, called, etc. for several minutes but nothing. I had to go to an appointment so we decided to try again later. I was afraid Ed would be home by that time and the surprise would be ruined for him, but we had no choice.

After my appointment I tried to find someone with Skype so I could try again and be sure it wasn't a problem on my end. I called my son - he was just heading out the door. He gave me the name of his sister-in-law who was at the airport waiting to go home to New Orleans. I called her to see if she had any ideas, but her camera issues were minor so she gave me the name of a friend of hers. Who wasn't home! Then I remembered my friend in Tucson had Skype so I called her and she was home. We signed in and could see each other! So we had a fun chat and then Ed walked in so I hung up quickly.

Rats! I really wanted to surprise him but Wendy wasn't home so I was stuck. Then he told me he had to go to Home Depot. Now usually when he goes out on holidays when we have a ton of people coming over and a lot of work to do I'm not happy. So he told me with caution in his voice. But this time I was thrilled that he was leaving! (He told me later he thought that was pretty strange). As soon as I heard the garage door close I called Wendy and told her we had about 30 minutes. She had just gotten home so she plopped the babies in their high chairs and logged on. This time it worked! We had a nice chat, she showed me her Christmas decorations and we set up 5:00pm call time for that night.

My laptop is on the kitchen counter and we usually put it on my desk when we have a crowd over. Ed started to move it and I practically yelled "Leave it there!!" He gently put it down and backed out of the kitchen. At 5pm I called Wendy and she wanted me to log in out of sight of her parents so we could be sure things worked. So I had to sneak in the kitchen while everyone was talking, take the laptop, and duck into the office. I did and we got all set up.

Then I took the laptop back into the kitchen and said, "Hey, guys, someone is here to see you!" They turned around and there was Wendy and her twins on the laptop! At first they thought it was a video Wendy had sent, but soon realized that they were talking with her and seeing her real time. And the tears flowed. Ed and Linda (Wendy's mom) couldn't talk much at first because they were crying. But eventually we all took turns standing in front of the computer and saying hi. Wendy took up around her house to see the Christmas decorations. At one point her son scurried up the stairs so she put her computer down to go get him. And we could watch the whole thing. Very cool.

On Christmas Day Ed and I Skyped Wendy again so we could talk with her without the whole gang around. Of course, there were more tears. Then I Skyped my brother in Chicago and got to wish him and his whole family a Merry Christmas in person! He Skyped us back a little later when they were at the dinner table and then he held the laptop close to his face and turned in a circle singing "The Circle of Life". Yes, I have a weird family. But it was really awesome.

So now we have a new toy. Ed is on the hunt for a good webcam for his desktop computer. And the world has shrunk again. That is a very good thing.


Mellodee said...

As much as all the new technology annoys me sometimes, there is no denying that when it works the way it's supposed to, the technology can really do some amazing things! Anything that can bring about happy tears is a great accomplishment!

All the best to you and your family!

namaste said...

this is a great Christmas story, sandi. i loved how you yelled for ed to put the lap top down and he backed away. LOL!

we just bought a webcam for our youngest, now both daughters have it. as for ward and i, we don't own one yet, but i think it's time we did. this way i can talk with you too!

Desert Diva said...

I'm speechless - that's such a wonderful gift! Technology is awesome!