So I’m at my parents’ house, and at their PC. We came down to visit them after Christmas. It’s kinda interesting since this PC was so much faster than mine when they got it – now it seems to chug away.

My Dad was always the driving force behind my parents not getting a PC. There was always supposedly a long list of things to be bought first – a new lawn mower, debt, etc. – but once Mom sufficently worked in on him to get one he discovered a Texas Aggie Football site – – and is on the forums every night for a few hours. Hilarious.

Once they got the PC they set up three user accounts on XP Home, one for each of them and one for my sister, who was home visiting at the time. Each of the profiles has its own backgrounds, themes, etc. Each has its own email settings and AIM account. But I’m not sure if my folks pay close attention to which account they use. I often see one, both, or all three accounts online through AIM, and though I send an IM I never get a response. I think at least one or two are set to go to the login screen when the screen saver kicks in.

And something annoying about XP and the way it handles multiple accounts – the screen resolution can’t be set for each user. My folks have it at 800×600 – the lowest. I set it to 1280×1024. It’s a 17″ monitor so I guess running 1600×1200 on my 21″ has turned me into a sadist. In any event if my parents get on the PC before I take off Sunday I’m sure they’ll go blind or crazy.

But it’s funny – the web page history has the same entries from when I was down here last. The files are mostly what I put on the hard drive. It’s kinda like if you had a roomate that was less PC adept so you used their system. Anything I downloaded to my parents hard drive is still on here from Xmas last year, and I’m sure if Travis Arlitt (college roomate)’s old PC is still in existence it still has web pages on it I designed in 1996. Along with my 14.4K modem of course.

And yet my parents (and sister) surprise me with how adept they are. My mom got this USB printer working by herself. I see lots of programs she’s bought and installed and (presumably) got working. And I see a few CD’s my Dad’s burned around here. Now if I could just train them not to send me chain emails, I’d be set.

With latent Xmas money I bought a Game Boy Advance, Platinum colored to match my GameCube, and Metroid Fusion. I guess the biggest signal I’m sending is that I’m perfectly content to fill the coffers of Nintendo so long as they keep bringing the goodness. But the critics are not bullshitting – the screen is really dark and contortionist proportions are required in order to get light onto the thing. Afterburner here I come. Anyone know how to solder?

What I find incredibly amusing about it is that my Wife was baffled at how quickly I could spend $100 of Xmas money, since the GBA cost $70 and Metroid Fusion cost $30. However, she can’t put the thing down – she’s farther than I am in the game and she keeps taunting me to catch up with her. I’m just happy I have a Wife who likes gaming.

Anyone who knows me in person knows about my two cats, Liza and Sandy. But here at home we have my original cat, Jenny. I named her after my girlfriend I had named Jenny. I had that girlfriend in Kindergarten – twenty years ago – and so we have had this cat in our family for twenty years. In case that didn’t sink in this means that Jenny is ancient as far as cats go.

So now she goes a little bit slower. And her voice is incredibly raspy. And she usually doesn’t look like she can open her eyes all the way. But she still recognizes me and purrs. And she still cleans herself. And she still begs for food. We have to be gentle with her because she has the feline equivalent of arthritis, but all things considered she’s still on top of things.

It’s funny how she’s treated around here. She’s kinda like the eccentric Howard Hughes millionaire living forever type. That my parents have an empty nest now save for her helps in this area as well. They feed her shaved turkey, more or less exclusively. They have a heating pad on the couch for her – helps with her arthritis. And we’ve had a fire in the fire place a lot since I’ve been back because she insists on it. It’s like a pointer dog. Jenny has health problems sometimes but trips to the vet, the occasional shot, and antibiotics my parents trick her into swallowing help. It’s comforting and lucky that every time I come visit she’s as close to her old self as possible.

I make fun of my two cats because they hang their head out when they use the litter box. But apparently Jenny got to where she would hang the other end out – defeating the purpose. So they replaced her covered litter box with a big huge pan. But then she couldn’t get into that, so they have a little step into it.

We got two cats twenty years ago, the second of which my sister named Sissy. However Sissy died when we accidentally backed over her, so it’s just been Jenny since middle school or so. It’s really interesting to see here these days – it’s like a miniature model of old age. I go visit my grandmother and see an old human and then come home to an old cat. But they’re still with it (my grandmother had a stroke a decade ago and she still speaks better than Ozzy Osbourne) and still mostly on top of things.

I figure Jenny still has a few more years left in her, especially with her lifestyle. But I’m still going to be pretty sad when she goes. In the meantime it’s still nice to come home and see some things haven’t changed. Dad still takes a nap with her on his lap, and Mom still feeds her her shaved turkey.