The best thing about memories…is making them.

And what could be more memorable
than teaching my eighty-something father
to use a Square credit card reader
on a smartphone?

Imagine the possibilities.

Possibility #1:

“Andra, I was trying to go through everything you showed me on Linda’s smartphone, but I dropped it in the toilet before I could remember how to turn the dang thing on.”

Possibility #2:

“Andra, I accidentally charged some guy ten thousand dollars for one of your books. I told him your writing really was that good, but he wasn’t convinced. Can you come and bail me out of jail?”

Possibility #3:

“I didn’t realize that smartphone had a camera. I don’t know how them naked photos of me and your mother wound up on the internet.”


I couldn’t unleash the Dad-and-smartphone combo onto an unsuspecting world. NOBODY deserved memories they’d have to scrub from their brain.

I came up with a different plan, borne of memories from my childhood.

Dad used to carry a spiral-bound notepad everywhere he went. He scribbled contacts and phone numbers on every page, information he used to keep his plant stocked with wood. By the time he filled a notebook, the cover was gone and the corners were frayed from use.

The man knew how to use a notebook.

So I bought my father a present: a pack of spiral-bound notepads, only I made one alteration. On each page, I wrote out the information he’d need to get from each customer. I would process the sales from the information he obtained.

Not a foolproof plan, certainly, but one that might bring him success most of the time AND keep naked images of my parents OFF THE INTERNET.


This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!


Don’t leave a good time to chance. Experiences have to be woven with care and planning, like a tapestry. ~ Jim Rohn

The most frequent question I get at events?

How’s your dad?

Dad is a book-selling machine. I can no longer accuse him of having a recliner-tail or waiting to die. He gets up every day and accosts, I mean, persuades more people to buy my books….especially the Dad Book, his preferred name for Not Without My Father. 

His only problem? He can’t take credit cards.

But I had a plan. I called Mom to prepare her.


“I ordered Dad a Square credit card reader.”

“A what?”

“A credit card thing he can attach to a smartphone.”

Dad lumbered into view, his pajama top splayed open. “What’s a smartphone, huh?”

“See what I mean, Andra? Your daddy is hopeless with technology.”

I eyed Mom, a woman-of-a-certain-age who prides herself on her FaceTime savvy, her understanding of apps, and her hip usage of Emoji.

“Does your smartphone have BlueTooth?”


(See, I didn’t even have to explain what BlueTooth is!)

“You can use the Square.”

“But I’m not with him when he’s selling.”

“Here’s your excuse to spend more quality time together.”

“Do you want us to stay married?”

I chewed my lip and relived every Mom-helping-Dad argument they ever had when I was growing up.

“I’m trying to get it in the hole, Linda. You’re not holding it in the right spot.”

“I put it right where you told me to.”

“No, I said here.” Dad grunted and strained. “Golly Molly, Linda. You still can’t get it right.”

“Fine. You hold your own flashlight and try to drill holes at the same time.”

I rubbed my hands over my face and sighed. I wanted to help Dad close more sales, but not at the expense of our fragile family sanity.

What could I do?

I decided to make this a good experience. I’m smart. I could divine a foolproof plan, right?



This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

dreaded parental conversations

Ever dreaded parental conversations? I don’t mean the ones parents have with children. Birds-and-bees. What death means.


I mean conversations parents foist upon their hapless children, filling their brains with things they NEVER, EVER wanted to imagine, hear, or know.

Me: Mom, I’m really upset. A couple of my friends are splitting up.

Mom: Oh, that’s terrible news. What happened?

Me: The usual sad stuff, I guess. Poor communication. Growing apart. No sex in almost five years.

Mom: WHAT? Don’t they know that’s what Saturday morning cartoons are for???

Me: *shut down facetime as fast as possible and scrubbed brain*

Bugs Bunny will NEVER be the same.

Mom: Your daddy came in here the other night and asked me if I missed sex.


Dad: Tell her what you said, Linda.


Mom: I said, “YES!!!!!!!!!”

Dad: Tell her what I did then.

Me: *pounded iPad on floor until it almost broke*

Their calls have gone to voicemail
for a WEEK. ICK.

Dad: You sure looked good today, Linda.

Mom: *silence*

Dad: I saw how them men were looking at you, with your tight—


My Brother: Well, you should be glad you don’t have to live with them.

Me: Why?

My Brother: Because they NEVER wear clothes. If Dad stands in my bedroom door naked one more time and scratches himself while he talks about football—

Me: How did I turn out normal?

Don’t answer, Dear Reader.
Instead, give us a crazy parental
anecdote in today’s comments.


In the next two weeks, the audio version of Not Without My Father will be available! A special author interview! A Q & A with DAD! Almost seven hours of ME reading to YOU!

Click HERE to listen to the first chapter.