Magic Wand

This article tweeted out by a friend, made me nostalgic. Again, I find it amazing how far and fast we have come. The 21 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade

The Stylus-I remember my first Palm, how excited Jeff was to get one for me. He had a friend pick it up in Hong Kong as a surprise. That thing spent many an airplane ride and a beach bumming hour keeping me entertained. It was my first introduction to learning to read a book in a digital format. I was sold once I realized how many more books I could bring on a trip! I kind of liked the stylus…weird to think this was only five years ago.

Land Lines-Interestingly, we are not hooking up the land line in our new condo and because the line is in such an awkward location (design wise) we’re considering taking it out and patching the area with some sheetrock. Even my mother is realizing how easy it is to just use the cell phone-she’s finally grasped that she can call my sister long distance from her cell and it doesn’t cost her any more money. Unfortunately she still is unable to retrieve her voicemail unassisted!

VCR-I find it absolutely crazy to think that it was just in 2002 that DVD players outsold VCRs…and yet I barely remember using a VCR. Funny to think that “Be kind, rewind” no longer has meaning today.

Boundaries-I love the idea that “boundaries” have become obsolete! This is something that I’m constantly dealing with when working with Middle School Students. I’m not sure boundaries are completely obsolete, but they are definitely needing redrawing and rethinking.

I then followed another link to a post entitled “21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020.” As I read through the author’s list, I found myself first chuckling and then wishing that was truly what the future would look like! From the first item, Desks, to the last, Paper, I found myself nodding in agreement. Although, I do think some of the items might be a little ambitious to think they’ll be obsolete in 10 years. So far, I have found education to be slow to change. The idea that the landscape of learning will be so altered that we can all shift our paradigm of education to incorporate a fluid, individual idea of what school could be…well, like I said, maybe a bit ambitious!

Some of the items on the list, though, are things I’m seeing a slow, tentative movement towards. Number 11, for example, talks about the change needed in IT departments. I do think this is something that a few schools are realizing and they are trying to make that switch. I think part of the problem is, though, that schools think the answer is to move the traditional IT person into the role of innovator and change agent…maybe not always the best fit. Just because someone gets hardware, doesn’t mean that person gets the bigger picture and/or can effect real change in a school. I have had the lucky privilege to work with some of the “IT” people that the author writes about-true innovators who ‘get it’!

I did enjoy this post-I’m hoping that the author had a crystal ball and could see the future when writing it. Ten years for all of this change to take place, that I can deal with…my fear is that it may be much, much longer. If I had a magic wand, I’d use it!

The Hole

I’m constantly amazed at how fast technology is moving and how quickly life is changing for all of us. Time and time again it is brought home to me how our lives have begun to revolve around these gadgets and how we feel as if we’re missing an appendage when they go away!

I have never appreciated the beauty of today’s technologies more than in the last year for sure. Some of you may know that Jeff and I became homeowners on October 1st, 2009. We’d been tossing around the idea of purchasing real estate for quite some time, but hadn’t really committed to the idea until about February of last year. We began researching location and options and quickly fell in love with the idea of owning a condo with a view in Belltown (downtown Seattle, WA). Long story short, we were able to find the crummiest ‘house’ in the best location! Our condo (The Hole as it will forever more be called) was in a short sale situation and was unbelievably trashed. But, the building was fabulous, the views divine, and the layout exactly what we’d been hoping for. And because we had the best real estate agent ever, we were successful in purchasing our first home-from the other side of the world.

From the moment we began researching condos for sale and trying to understand what the buying process entailed, we were glued to the Internet. All of the condos we looked at, including the one we bought, we found online. We left Seattle in July still not under contract. Yet we were eventually able to get our offer accepted, have the inspection and appraisal done and shared with us, and sign all relevant loan documents and scan them and email them back. All from Bangkok, Thailand (and at one point Jeff was having documents signed while he was in Brussels, Belgium as well!). That was all the easy part. Now began the massive cleaning and remodel of The Hole…

The idea of remodeling a kitchen is daunting, but throw in being thousands of miles away and it seems almost impossible. Yet, that is exactly what we’re doing. Our best friend is project manager and takes frequent iPhone pictures and sends them our way to keep us updated. My sister is personal shopper and sends text messages from her cell phone to my email account to keep me in the loop and to get any questions answered. The other day we had to coordinate plans for the countertop install so we Skyped our friend on his computer. We realized we needed my sister involved, so he called her at work on her cell and put her on speaker phone. The four of us then coordinated schedules and details-morning for us in Bangkok, our friend at home in Seattle eating his dinner, my sister from her work in Bellingham. I found myself shaking my head in wonderment.

So far we have purchased all of our appliances online, we’ve researched on the Internet green products to use in our new environmentally friendly ‘Hole’, and we’ve set up online bill pay to fund all of these purchases-even down to our HOA dues each month! We’re heading into the home stretch and the prospect of seeing the final product in a few weeks is exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time.

Of course, having fabulous family and friends is what makes it really possible-my mother is super cleaner woman, her best friend has an eye for design and gets things done (she wins the award for tackling the dirtiest jobs, miraculously getting stuff clean AND surviving!), my sister is an expert shopper who finds amazing deals and the coolest stuff, my brother is a perfectionist that has his own flooring business, and our best friend is a detail oriented project manager with contractor connections…how lucky are we?

So while I know that technology made our dream possible, it really is our friends and family that did the hard parts! My most favorite thing about The Hole? That it is all of ours together, created with everyone as a part of the whole (Hole!).

Thanks family and friends from the bottom of my heart-you will never realize the depth of my gratitude. See you at The Hole in June!