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!

When I was growing up with 1970s parents, I noted two things about my father: 1. He commandeered the telephone late into the night, shouting about his plant’s wood supply; and 2. He spent every other second in his recliner.

A recliner spewed from his butt.
A permanent appendage.
His lost tail.

He refused to budge from his recliner for anything except another phone call.

When he needed a snack? Hey, Linda! LINDA! Get me some ice cream!

When he desired a different television channel before the advent of the remote control? Andra! A-N-D-R-A! Get off that pot and come change the channel RIGHT NOW!

When he wanted a closer look at anything? Hey, you! Bring me that thing! Right there!

Marketers divined an exact image of my father
when they coined the La-Z-Boy brand.

My ex-husband despised my incessant refusal to admit a lounging contraption in our house. But I didn’t marry my father! I don’t want to smell your farts as you zone out in front of the television every night! I was kind of sad about that proclamation when the ex left, because I didn’t have a crummy chair to throw at him.

MTM, my architect-man, possessed more cultured (read OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE) tastes. Every time we visited the home of a fellow architect, he lowered himself into the lap of his furniture fantasy: a Le Corbusier chaise lounge.


(Note: Le Corbusier is another word for “sadomasochistic torture device.”)

I looked at MTM, zoned out in the Corb with sports blaring, and I vowed such an object would NEVER grace our built environment. If he wanted to relax, he could be a slug in bed.

Something shifted when I started to write full-time. I spent hours crunching my spine against our headboard, because the only way I can create is with my feet up. Yielding neck pain. Multiple visits to the chiropractor. Frequent headaches.

My writing habits had to change.

I tried creating at my desk. Upright, like normal people.


I practiced sitting up straight in bed, my entire spine fully against the headboard. As soon as I lost myself inside a character’s head, I migrated downward. I came to in the same smashed-up position, my neck on fire.


In despair, I visited Design Within Reach, thinking I could find an architect-approved sectional sofa with a priced-for-poor-people IKEA knock-off. I fell into MTM’s beloved Corb recliner instead. No neck kink. Adjustable foot height for the perfect creative angle. Easy-to-clean black leather. The Corb chair had one minuscule drawback:

It’s UGLY.

I locked myself in the car and tried to forget Monsieur Corbusier. Here’s how THAT turned out.


I am my father. A Corb recliner sprouts from my ass. I only leave it to use the toilet or go to bed.