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Writing Challenge Day 26: Adventures in Home Tech Support

There came a time when a decree went out from Caesar Augustus parents to their children to return to their own city to be registered fix all the IT problems.


We’re right in the middle of Christmas festivities, and any other year most of us would be enjoying our free time and the company of loved ones. Having great food, great conversations, singing, and laughing together.

If you’re like myself and you don’t feel the urge to hang out around your extended family for too long over the Christmas holidays, you might have found ways to have “alone time.” This season with my family would usually be a big party. Many cousins, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and friends gathering at my parent’s house to celebrate together. The festivities were sometimes going on for 3 – 5 days with relatives “changing the guest beds,” which was clearly too much for me. Don’t get me wrong I really love my relatives and I enjoy having time with them together, but not as long as they would.

I found if I offer IT help for them, I could go to my old apartment and “do my stuff” without being called a Grinch. I remember one year where I was fixing three computers and cleaning up software from two mobile phones for my relatives.

This has become a habit and I think I’ll deeply miss it this year. However, my relatives have discovered remote support tools and video conferencing with me this year, so I guess (hope) there will be some remote calls and remote support sessions coming up over the next weeks.

And let’s face it, us IT folks like showing off our “superpowers” and we also have the urge to fix stuff. Even though I roll my eyes when my dad calls me, asking for help with some of his “PC problems,” I really enjoy giving him advice, as he gave me advice when I grew up.

I hope you’re all safe out there, enjoy the festivities and have a great start into 2021.


Windows Support Dad.   Android Support Dad.  iOS Support Dad.  iPad/iPhone Answer Man.  Limited Bandwidth Dispenser Dad.  Parental Controls Dad.  All-Around-I.T.-Answer-Dad.  Spousal I.T. Support Expert.  Network Analyst.  Information Technology Curriculum Coordinator Dad.  Anti-Virus-Anti-Malware-Answer Dad.  Security Software Installation Dad.

Those are some of the titles I've been given by those around my home.  I wear them cheerfully, or, at worst, with a sigh.

Perhaps the least popular discovery was when the two teens discovered I had become Bandwidth-Regulator-Dad when they'd begun unlimited A/V streaming for personal entertainment, even leaving their wireless devices streaming in other rooms when they'd be in the bathroom taking a shower, or out in the yard, or at lunch.  That meant not a lot of bandwidth available to my wife and I for work, or entertainment.  To avoid the seemingly unending trips down to the basement bedroom to ask if one or the other of the teens would kindly stop streaming so Mom & I could pay the bills, I simply applied some QoS at the DSL Gateway.  The kids could have 10% of the bandwidth if my wife or I were using the Internet.  Outside of those times, the kids were welcome to it all.

Oh, the ANGST coming from those two teens!  Hahaha.  The sullen looks.  The eyerolls.  The sighs.  It turns out this is all instinctive behavior by parent and child as part of helping the little ones feel entitled to leave the nest.    

But they still call me up when they have personal I.T. challenges.  "My computer's slow!"  "My phone won't load apps quickly!"  "Why is this happening?"

I suppose if they took the time to learn to use Google or YouTube to answer their own questions I'd be out of a job.  But calling Dad is so much quicker & easier than reading a technical book or white paper explaining what not to do when using a cell phone or notebook.

Thank goodness!  Otherwise I'd probably never hear from them!


Level 14

@HerrDoktor   Trips to college to fix my daughter's pc and her housemates. Installing a wireless network for their house ( 8 young women). Being on call for my mom. Friends and neighbors with the "can I ask a question?"

We do it because we can and should, the secret is to know when to draw the line. Tough for family, easy for friends. My mantra has always been: I want to help but i don't want to own it! 

Welcome to our professional tightrope walk my friend. Stay balanced.! 😉


Good one @HerrDoktor 

I have done my bit too in the past, clearing out space from their mobile phones moving it onto USB Drive or onto their computer, showing my folks where and how to access this on their computer. Fixing the licensing issues on the computer, installing new software which might help them be it on their computer or laptop or phone. Running a scan just to make sure all devices are fine, removing unwanted or unused apps which is of no use to them, as well showing them how to access their android TV which they weren't aware of in the past 🙂

Its kinda fun, at first they would be cursing you stating what crap is this, technology has improved a lot but then why isn't it user friendly - its takes a bit of time to make them understand and after a week or two they are good to go and dont complain anymore 🙂

But i am sure my dad still loves what he had more than the current tech, i asked him if he would like to use home security system and he said NO, i love the way my house is no more gadgets please lol. Even though he uses a mobile and Android TV and lot many new things he still has a landline (telephone), a Radio and an Old TV in his study room 🙂

For me it is not just the holidays, I always get the random text messages.   I still get them from former employers even.   I love to talk tech.   I have helped and offer to help people with issues, in and out of work.  Little did I know that meant a life sentence, but when it's something you love, it's no big deal.  most recently it was how do i read a HD that was in a Windows ME machine.   First I have to admit, I was surprised it had lasted this long, then amazed anyone would still admit to having one.   Then my helpful side came out and I explained the better part of removing the HD and using a USB reader to pull files from it.   and all was right in the world.   

Level 11

Right now, the only other person living with me is my wife. Do I get plenty of IT questions from her? Yup. Phone not working? Cannot find a printer? WiFi down? Laptop keyboard has a key or two not working? I get the "call." There was one fellow who used to ask people in my peer group to install and upgrade things on his computers. Several of us would do it occasionally, even though we figured he (the fellow had a chemistry degree and I think multiple graduate degrees) could do it on his own. When he tried to be too demanding, we cut him off. We later found out he could at least use USB media to transfer photos and videos, but that story could lead to discussing some illegal activity for which he went to jail, so we'll just stop here.

Level 11

I have an endless amount of questions from my folks.  Visits to them turn into hours of "fixing" things and showing them how to do things.  Dad takes notes but can never follow them later.  I look forward to the day when I can be like them and have some one roll their eyes at me while they help me out!  

Level 13

I regularly do tech support for my mom - and I share that responsibility with my brother - and my son. Otherwise, I get the odd question from my dad or my sister, but not much. When I worked at a start-up (before there was in-office tech support) any time one of us engineers stepped into the office we were bombarded with tech support requests from those in sales and administrative roles. That caused me to avoid the office more than once just because I knew I wouldn't get things done that I needed to. I am lucky that my brother also works in IT, so I am not the only one called upon to support. I will say that it has never been confined to holiday times, and goes all year. My absolute favorite time that I was called for help though is when my mom got a new I-pad for Christmas a few years ago and called me in a panic to get her Wi-Fi password. I got a good chuckle out of that whole situation, but I did help. 😁

@ChrystalTthe "inner circle" of course get's "all year 'round support", the extended family (cousins, Uncles, etc)relies on the festivities and now on remote support capabilites.

@tphelps01i am also looking forward to that day - "the day the eyerolling stops" 😄

Level 11

@HerrDoktor  eyerolling stops?!?!? Never!!!

@mjperkins  ouch... luckily I never had to find illegal stuff that could get someone in jail. However I "accidentally" wiped a disk with pirated movies one time.

I used to work as a projectionist in a movie theater during high-school and college to have some extra cash to buy the latest high-tech stuff, so I wasn't a huge fan of pirated stuff.

@jeremymayfield... wasn't ME "the operating system we don't mention" ...

@HerrDoktor Well yes, but as luck would have it, there are still those people out there....  Well, just don't get rid of anything....  

About the Author
I grew up in Forest Lake, Minnesota in the 1960's, enjoying fishing, hunting, photography, bird watching, church, theater, music, mini-boggan, snowmobiling, neighborhood friends, and life in general. I've seen a bit, have had my eyes opened more than once, and tend not to make the same mistakes twice. Reinventing the wheel is not my preference, and if I can benefit from someone else's experience, that's good all the way around. If someone can benefit from my experience, it's why I share on Thwack.