et alia: So you want to write RAcy fanfiction? Caveat Scriptor: Learn how to password protect files

NoPrivacy-300x240

I have long since given up any expectation of privacy in my house. I have a husband, two children and two cats…suffice it to say, I am rarely alone and when I am, it is a transitory state. Case in point: One day this week, I was in the bathroom (ah, not taking a bath) when my daughter bursts in carrying my iPad. The conversation goes something like this…

Me: “Can I help you?”

Mini Me: “I wanna show you something!”

Me: “Can it wait until I have pants on?”

Mini Me (as if she didn’t hear me): “Look at this kitten…it’s a mini Oreo (one of our cats)”

Me: “Yes, it does look like him, but…”

Mini Me: “Look at this one…it’s a mini Cinnamon (the other cat)”

Me: “Yes honey, can you please get out? Now!”

She looks at me again, perplexed as to why I’m not more enthusiastic about the kitten pictures she’s recently discovered on Craigslist (I’d like to take a moment to thank my sister for turning her on to this!) before she shrugs and heads out, leaving the door wide open. *SIGH* It is a day in the life around my house.

My son is a bit more cautious since becoming a teenager, but it doesn’t stop him from barging into my room to ask a question and then shrieking about whatever state of undress he found me in…UM, the door was closed dude – ever heard of knocking?

The lack of physical privacy has become so routine that I hardly notice it anymore. Maybe I never did since I grew up in a household that didn’t place much of a prohibition on family nudity. Shocking, I know, since I’m American, and moreover from the Midwest. My East Coast husband is much more uptight about it….maybe it’s because he’s a Catholic and I’m a prostitute – I mean a Protestant – I’m not sure ūüôā

I will admit that despite my slightly hippie upbringing in the nudity department, I was completely at a loss the first time I went to the beach in Greece with my Scandinavian digmates…I didn’t know where to look as bikini tops went flying and the guys were swimming in white cotton boxer shorts…that’s a lot of information!

Anyhow, physical privacy aside, I’ve found out recently, that I need to take more care to protect my digital privacy – not from hackers or identity thieves, but from a much more pernicious threat – my family. Despite the fact that there are personal personal computers in the house for each of us, in addition to the smart phones and tablets, everyone, at one point or another everyone ends up on my laptop. I’ve thought about password protecting the whole thing, but that just gets to be a hassle everytime Mini Me wants to watch I, Carly in the kitchen or Obsurus needs to check his bank balance and his laptop is taking too long to boot (I warned him about Vista!). Sooner or later they will end up where I’d rather they not be…in my fan fics.

I’ve talked here about the *dangers* of allowing one’s spouse to read one’s RAcy writing. A whole second danger is the voracious early reader. My fourteen year old son is completely skeeved by any and all notions of parental sexuality, so he avoids any evidence of it like the plague. My soon to be eight year old daughter hasn’t gotten to that point yet. She is an avid and inquistive reader, and anything she happens across is fair game. So far it’s only been Christmas lists and other “secret” missives, but I would really rather not have to explain the contents of some of the files on my hard drive to her just yet. So, if you don’t want unauthorized readers of your RAcy fanfics, Caveat Scriptor: just say yes to password protect!

Here is the process in MSOffice - Mac users, you're on your own...

Here is the process in MSOffice – Mac users, you’re on your own…

&amp

OT: Family vacation here I come…

For the past two decades, since my grandmother’s death,¬†my far flung maternal relatives have assembled for a family reunion every other summer.¬† We are a good sized group.¬† My mom¬†is one of ten children.¬† All but two of her siblings have children of their own, and most of those children now have children too.¬† At last count, over fifty of us will descend upon a Midwestern lakefront resort for a long weekend of camaraderie, reminiscing and, of course, eating! My maternal family lives in various places all over the US, and we’ve made it a practice to take turns hosting the event.¬† Every other reunion one of the group who still lives near the “homestead” in Wisconsin hosts, but in other years we’ve travelled to all different locales – Florida, Georgia, West Virginia, Washington State, Colorado.¬† Travelling to these events has become part of the vacation schedule for my immediate family.¬† Next week, I will climb into a mini van, loaded with a car top carrier, with my husband, my two children and my parents to make the seven hour road trip to our designated location.

Ready to hit the road...

Ready to hit the road…

As road trips go, this one is pretty short, but I predict it will not go without incident.¬† In an effort to conserve fuel, we’re all going together in one vehicle – fortunately, my sister was banned from family road trips several years ago (actually, I volunteered to pay for her plane ticket…her + my kids + extended car trip = DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!)¬† My husband is a new addition this year – he’s been unable to go along on the past trips – we’ll see if he¬†needs a plane ticket next time too.¬† Now that the cast of characters has been established, the first thing that will happen is that my dad and my husband will pack the car and say, “It won’t all fit!”¬† This will require my mother and me to unpack/repack the car…and not say “yes, it will!”

NATIONAL-LAMPOONS-VACATION

So here we are, ready to get underway…well, not quite ūüôā¬† Now comes the people loading…under no circumstances can the two kids sit next to each other, unless we want to have a stop after 15 minutes of driving to pull them apart.¬† The teenager sits in the very back row…the little one sits immediately in front of him, a cooler under her feet – they have to sit on the same side of the van since that’s where the power outlets are and Lord knows they cannot go without their electronic devices on a car trip.¬† Actually, experience tells me that it is essential that they, (the teenager especially, since apparently the sound of his sister’s voice provokes him to immediate¬†snark about said voice) be plugged into ear buds and electronic media.

A Griswold sing-a-long

A Griswold sing-a-long

I have ceased pondering this really.¬† I know that “in the good old days” there were no such things.¬† My sister and I rode all over the country in the back of a station wagon (not unlike the Griswold’s) with nothing but coloring books and crayons to amuse us.¬† We counted cows (that gets old FAST in Wisconsin), we “collected” license plates or played alphabet games, and sang road songs (never once questioning if it was appropriate to sing 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall),¬†etc.¬† Of course, the outboard motor and the tank of gasoline in the back may have had something to do with why we slept a lot along the way!¬† In lieu of inadvertently anesthetizing them with fumes, I’ll settle for having¬†my kids¬†plug in if it maintains harmony for all passengers.

Ordinarily my parents would insist that we leave at stupid o’clock in the morning to “make the best of the daylight,” but due to extenuating circumstances, we’ll be leaving in the early afternoon and having a stopover by early evening.¬† This will necessitate another time honored horror – the family hotel room.¬† Thank heaven for legal requirements that won’t allow a hotel to cram all six of us into one room.¬† Otherwise my mom would totally argue for this in the spirit of frugality.¬† In the spirit of at least one person getting some sleep, we¬† are definitely getting two rooms, and I still predict that¬†someone will end up spending at least part of the night in the van!

No really, I'm fine!

No really, I’m fine!

Now that we’ve gotten ourselves settled, we have to figure out where to have dinner…always a challenge between my son who eats from three food groups:¬† pizza, chicken tenders,¬†or mac and cheese to my dad who maintains that any and all fast food will make him instantly sick¬†to my daughter who is always a wild card.¬† This takes at least an hour to plan which will set us up to get back to the motel¬†thirty minutes before the pool closes.¬† Forgetting that there is a pool at home, this generates a mad dash¬†on the part of the¬†seven year old to¬†get changed and into that over chlorinated human stew for at least 20 minutes before she has to be dragged back to the room and showered before bed.

It's definitely not a waterpark...but...is that a hottub?

It’s definitely not a waterpark…but…is that a hottub?

Bright and early…at stupid o’clock…the next morning, we’ll be¬†underway again.¬† I imagine we’ll arrive at our destination sometime around midday.¬† Ahhh, time to relax and let vacation begin right?¬† Wrong!¬† We are on for group meal numero uno – fish fry.¬† Part of the reason we needed the car top carrier was to make room for the giant fryers and coolers we¬†need to bring¬†along to lay out this spread for fifty.¬† My dad will be like a whirling dervish within minutes of arrival…I predict he’ll have the car unloaded and be breading blue gills in less than 20 minutes – woe onto anyone who gets in his way, or offers advice.

Fish fry...where are the french fries?

Fish fry…where are the french fries?

Doesn’t this sound like fun?!¬† Actually, I really¬†love these trips.¬† The small trials along the way are nothing compared to the laughs that we have together, the places we see and the people we meet along the way.¬†¬†Happy travels Armitageworld!