Deb's Digest
Debbie Atkinson’s family life column, as featured in the Southport Visiter.

Thursday, 4 September 2008


At 10am today our daughter suddenly popped up on MSN. A quick calculation told me that it was 5am where she is (Atlanta) - I went hot - this meant trouble. After waiting for what seemed like an age for a reply to my "instant message" of "what's going on?" her answer appeared: "can't sleep - jet lag". Phew - a minor problem. Within no time she'd plugged in her webcam and was able to give me a guided horror-movie-type tour of her hotel bedroom as well as holding up two pairs of shoes that she'd bought for me to see. We stayed chatting for a while and she told me that she was going to the zoo later to see the giant pandas that we've been following online My big mistake was to say "text me when you're there and I'll look for you on the Pandacam."

When her text came through I was in the middle of making a cake while at the same time downloading a free anti-virus programme and it was taking forever. I just couldn't get the panda website up. "Hang on" I replied - each text costing her a fortune. Ten minutes later "I'm still here" she texted. I raced downstairs to use my husband's laptop (the cake mixture was still in the bowl). "I can't c u " I wrote - oh no more money in O2's coffers. "Gone to panda shop, back soon" and so it continued for over an hour.  The Pandacam was positioned so that, if I concentrated hard enough, I could see feet walking past the bottom of the screen. I eliminated most of the feet and then had to ask which trainers she had on. I'm still waiting for a reply.....

Tonight she's going to a Jamaican restaurant and a baseball match and this time it'll be me who's up at 5am (midnight there) awaiting an email telling me that she's safe and sound in her room. Although I hate flying, I'm beginning to wonder whether it would have been less traumatic to go with her.

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