Photo by cetteup on Unsplash

Red hates technology. That's an understatement. So, she's been "clinging" to her old computer which, since it was purchased in 2012, makes it a dinosaur in computer years. But with increasing "issues" with Outlook, especially as email's the "life blood" of Red & Black, and a few scares … it was finally time for Red to once again take her ostrich head out of the sand and admit that she needed a new computer.


Luckily, many years ago, we were introduced to an amazing IT and computer expert, Shawn, who we've turned to for all things computer related. (This is one of those areas where Red has convinced herself she doesn't have the ability to understand when, in reality, she just prefers other people handle it for her.) Anyway, when Shawn started speaking in a foreign language about CPU's, RAM, OS drives, and a bunch more gobbledygook, Red knew this was far beyond her "pay grade" and was happy to turn over the conversation to Black. And while Black wasn't happy to have this new task added to her "to do" list, even she had to admit that it was easier than trying to explain to Red what it all meant. Especially as it would be years before Red would need to buy another computer, and she'd have forgotten everything by then anyway.

There was no way for Black to know that the bigger conversation was going to be about the price tag. Red went into shock when she saw the Dell shopping cart and although Black explained it was an essential business expense so not to worry about it, Red was still doing her quiet "freak out" about the cost. Especially as for her a computer's just a way to do emails, Word documents, and the occasional spreadsheet. She didn't need the latest and greatest – just the basics.

Once Black could get Red to calm down, she explained things in a way that even Red had to admit made sense. (And, by the way, was once how she answered a question about her expensive red-soled shoes to an auditorium full of high school seniors, but that's another story for another day …)

I know that you think the computer is too expensive for your basic needs, even though you use it for business and personal purposes, but that is because you are looking at the total cost. But I look at it on a cost/hour basis. I am going to use round numbers to simplify the explanation, and use a total cost of $1,000. If you use it 50 weeks/year x 40 hours/week that = 2,000 hours. Over 5 years that = 10,000 hours. Pull out your calculator and you will see that if you spend $1,000 for a computer that you use for a minimum of 10,000 hours it works out to 10 cents an hour!

When Black came up with the idea of daily Banter Bites, Red thought it was conceptually great, but a bit unrealistic. At first glance, having to come up with a short comment from Red (ok, keeping it short might be a challenge), followed by a quick response from Black (no problem there), seemed like an easy task. But Red was concerned about keeping it current and relevant to readers – whether something happening in our lives, current events, or something that Black found in her non-stop reading and research, and told Black:

I'm not sure we'll have enough material to be able to post every day.

Rather than argue or debate, Black humored her sister, and suggested they do it a few days a week instead of every day. Meanwhile, she found it ironic that Red, the self-proclaimed queen of blah-blah-blah, was concerned about not having enough topics to discuss. But as with most things, when given a little time, Red often crosses to the "Black" side of things. We soon were coming up with more potential material than there were days to post and expanded Banter Bites to six days of the week (we believe Sundays shouldn't be spent on gizmos, although that doesn't stop Black from working).

We had gotten into a rhythm of daily Banter Bites, and then it was suggested to expand the posts as readers wanted to know more about the topic including what inspired or prompted it. Black immediately came up with the idea of adding a "Banter Bite Backstory" to each post.

So, how did Red react this time? Instead of being reluctant, Red embraced the idea:

It's so much fun being able to share with our readers the backstory of each Banter Bite. It's funny, because most times we're just spinning on a dime and reacting to things that happen – whether current events or in our lives. But isn't that what we all do every day? Add to the mix that Black and I usually see things very differently, and you end up with no shortage of things for us to say.
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I drafted this post weeks ago, but it seems fitting to post it today. Sometimes we need days to officially remind us to help others but for some people it seems to come naturally. Yes, today is National Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. But, that's not what I want to talk about.

This might not seem much to you. And I know it was truly nothing to Black. Just a quick reply on Twitter that she tossed off without a second thought. But to me it showed how, to some people, charity in the purest and best sense of the word just comes, well, naturally.

The details of where it started really isn't important, but it was a personal comment made in response to one of our "Words & Banter" posts and had a ripple effect as it ultimately involved a company mentioned in the post. The individual let us know that if replying to our post resulted in the company helping resolve their problem, then they'd send Black a bottle of red or white wine. (OK, I probably shouldn't disclose that Black's the one behind our tweets, but anyone who knows us would know that.) Most people, I suspect, would have thought, "Wow, that's a very nice offer" and then would have replied with their preference.

But not Black … she simply (and sincerely) replied:

Fingers crossed … but no gift necessary. Instead make a donation to a favorite charity.

It was like any other weekday morning, a tumbler of hot coffee on my desk and the morning news on the TV in the background, as I brace myself as I open Outlook. Computer issues? Nope, especially now that I have a new computer. Instead, it's the daily onslaught of emails generated by Black as she seems to do her best thinking while the rest of us are sleeping.

Well, the subject line of one of her emails, "Crazy idea?", stands out and I open it to find an image of a Good Humor truck and a leading question:

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