The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘grandma’

Tough Interview Question

I read that one way to have someone prove their ability to communicate difficult concepts in an easy to understand manner is to ask a question like, “how would you explain a website that is http versus a website that is https to your grandmother.”

First, you may have to familiarize yourself with the technical intricacies of the difference because wait … what does http even stand for? I mean I know s is secure or … like … security but … How does the internet work!?

Anywho, I thought of a question I would ask if I was conducting an interview of someone who I didn’t like because I felt he or she was too cocky: “How would you explain how babies are conceived to your grandmother?” Then when the person insists that their grandma knows or that the question has no relevance for being a clerk at a grocery store I would simply state, “If you want the job,” then I would pause for dramatic effect, “then explain to me, as though I am your grandmother, where babies come from. I went to a Catholic high school so … don’t mind me taking copious notes.”

God’s Watching You, and It’s Weird

When I was very young I had a conversation with my grandma that really impacted my outlook on religion. She was convinced that I had gone to the bathroom and had not washed my hands. This was annoying to me because I HAD washed my hands (duh grandma, I’m not gross). But she didn’t believe me. In her eyes I was a 3rd/4th grader, and therefore a slimy, dirty little kid (I think she found boys to be naturally more gross than girls – which may be accurate – but I wash my hands thank you).

I’m clearly still upset about the hand washing. (But don’t worry I have a solution for when people DON’T wash their hands!)


I went back and washed my hands. Again. When I left my grandma was waiting to give me a little speech. I have no idea what exactly she said to me, but I know in the speech she involved God and how He was always watching. He would know if I washed my hands or not. Of course the intention here was to permanently put the fear of God in me in the form of hand washing (one of God’s pet peeves perhaps?).

Except it didn’t work quite like that. One, because I had already washed my hands. Two, because it made me think God was watching me use the bathroom. This was a very unsettling thought.

From there the idea changed in shape some. The idea of someone seeing everything was too much for me to comprehend. (Yes, God is incomprehensible and all that, that’s cool, but … my mind won’t allow that, it’s too engineering-y) The way it worked in my head was that everyone had, in Heaven, a room full of VCRs (God worked with the latest technology of 1993/1994). The VCRs had recordings of your WHOLE life! Every single beautiful, sad, wonderful, and mundane moment.

And … the time you spent in the bathroom.

It was a neat little crisis of faith as a fourth grader to question if God was a perv. Ahh childhood, so innocent … and derailed into a wilderness of weird, from which I have never left.

Happy Birthday to … GMa and G Pat

October is a big birthday month in my family. I decided to do a little post for some of the birthday boys and girls I know.

I’m combining these guys into one post for two reasons – 1, so that I can do the birthday posts in one week (which is much more soothing to my engineering-side than to have this in one week plus one day); 2, because they’re not immediate family. Sorry guys, I’m biased.


My grandma is crazy in the best way possible. She’s got an awesome sense of humor and has the classic grandma look down. Sweet, little lady? You betcha.

My senior year of high school my parents were going to be gone for a while on a trip to visit my sister who was then studying in Spain. They decided to have my grandma come stay with me for the duration of the trip. I have to admit I was not happy about this.

They had gone on trips in the past without feeling the need to have someone their to supervise me, and yet there I was, needing a babysitter. In retrospect they probably just wanted me to spend some time with my grandma, but I was too thick to see that.

Anyhow. Out she flew from Phoenix to Georgia. And off my parents went to Spain (those punks).

My grandma has always been a pretty healthy eater. As part of this she didn’t work with salt too often. Salt – a mystery food! Nevertheless, she wanted to cook us some nice food while she was there. One night this involved mashed potatoes.

They were, easily, the worst mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten.

They had enough salt on them to satisfy 30 deer (like a salt lick … get it?). I took a bite and my face just about caved in. But I trudged on. And grandma, wanting this to be a nice meal, ate too. For her, a salt rookie, she didn’t know how much salt was the right amount and apparently thought more was better.

At some point during the meal she looked up and said, “this seems a bit salty.” I would’ve laughed but my face had dehydrated into nothingness.

Why am I telling this seemingly insulting story about my grandma for her birthday? Because I stink at compliments, and also because it shows that she was there, being kind, and trying to do something with me even though it wasn’t her bag of chips. (Her bag of insanely salted chips probably.)

If I could go back in time I would be less of a snotty teenage, and appreciate her visit much more.

Happy bday grandma!, and thanks for being awesome!

And no, I don’t want seconds.

Cousin G Pat

My cousin G Pat is an all-around nice guy. When I was in D.C. this past summer I got to spend an afternoon with him which was great. I hadn’t seen him in a number of years but I knew, and he has stated this, that it made no difference.

For G Pat family is family – and you look out for them.

G Pat and I talked a bit about work and it was clear he has himself a nice spot – he’s a guy who knows how to talk, and knows geeky stuff. (That’s more rare than you’d think. Usually it’s one or the other.)

The odd thing is, I think I’ll always associate G Pat with solitaire.

When I was younger I saw him on two different occasions. He was crazy for little handheld solitaire games (great for road trips). Each time he’d let me borrow one to play, and then tell me to keep it – he was too addicted to them anyway.

Apparently this is true because between trip one and two he’d bought himself a new one. I imagine if I had asked to see his phone when I saw him last I would’ve found ten different types of solitaire on it.

Although handheld solitaire games aren’t much it clearly illustrates (in my mind) the kind of guy G Pat is – that is, like I said before, all-around nice.

Thanks G Pat for grabbing lunch with me in D.C., the handheld solitaires (they killed many hours on a number of road trips for me), and being my cousin!

Happy Bday!

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