Have you ever suffered a crappy internet connection? This has been my life for months. At home, I had a connected – not connected going on. This weekend I was determined to fix it.
We’re an Apple family. I’ve been trying to download updated operating software. It said it would take 54 hours. No, that’s not a typo. I thought that must be an exaggeration so, I set it to update overnight. Each morning, when I checked it, the computer said an error occurred. The internet connection was lost and the download could not be completed or saved.
Now, that’s frustrating enough. What’s worse, you ask? It’s my ASD 6 year old asking to play internet games or wanting to view videos on YouTube. Even though, my son listened to me tell him that the internet was not working, he’d tell me, “And then, you could play Motor Island,” or “And then you could watch the purple Dodge Challenger on YouTube.” But the “And then” part, in his world should be about 15 seconds or less.
On Saturday, I took the iMac in to the “Genius Bar” at Apple, where they downloaded software. I needed it to download games for the little guy to play on the computer. Why? So I could reclaim my own laptop for my own internet access. The iMac was the only other computer in our house. My son tends to hijack all devices in the house with a potential internet connection.
I call Apple. Apple tells me I need a new wireless modem. I go buy a new modem after trying Best Buy (someone bought out all 15 of the modems they had in stock at once), and Radio Shack (who no longer sells wireless DSL modems they say). Finally, ten minutes before they close, the AT&T store sold me a modem.
I live in a wooded, remote area with no more than one bar on my cell if I stand facing north east with one foot in the air and my head pointed up. I was sure this modem would bring the world to me in my isolated home.
I plugged everything in. I tried to activate and got a message that I had to download some software. When I tried to open it, it gave me an error. Am I just the walking poster child for Murphy’s law or what? For a few minutes, despite the lack of success with the download, I was connected. Then, on the brand new modem, I got this:
Both the little guy and I came close to a meltdown late Saturday night. His was obvious when he asked me to “write letters”. This was an old coping mechanism for him when he was no more than two years old and suffering the pre-cursor to a meltdown. He’d ask me to draw shapes, spell words on paper or draw a picture, for example of a snowman. Despite the drawing, 9 times out of 10, when he was little, he would melt. I had tons of crappy cartoonish drawings of octopi and snowmen on standby for meltdowns. I had forgotten them until he started asking me to write letters this weekend.
Instead of writing letters for him, I gave him a dry erase board to write them himself. He did one “Y” and “y” and was done. He did not melt. I feel like it was just a way for him to feel he had control over something.
The next day was Sunday. I had a nice steady red light on the Broadband connection, meaning, after all my effort and expenditure, I was completely without a connection at all.
It was, of course, throughout this whole weekend, that my son, feeling the stress, decided it was a great time to talk nonstop by asking the same question, to which he knew the answer, over and over. “What color is the car Mommy? Mommy, what color is it?” “Do you like this color?” Alternatively, he would demand to play a game that involved the internet connection and I would have to explain no connection over and over.
He was talking, scripting, asking questions, asking me to play games with him. The more he talked the less I could think, or hear “tech support” since he would yell or talk over them.
My patience was tested to the max but I made it. I was frustrated but had to stay calm. It wasn’t easy.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, I discovered there was a defective DSL filter on one of the phone jacks. Once it was unplugged, my internet connection was restored! My son was up and running on the iMac and disappeared. No more questions.
Once he was connected to his online game, he “entered” the mechanic’s garage. He turned to me and asked, “What’s that sound, Mommy?” I looked at him. Before I could respond, he says, “It sounds like an air compressor to me!”
I could not believe it! He gave me a complete, appropriate sentence together with an appropriate pronoun. He never before used “me” appropriately! I was overjoyed!
And so with one connection, came another. One was much more valuable, though, in the end, they were dependent upon each other.