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Should I take her again?

Geo Quest

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My mother-in-law has recently started walking for health reasons. She walks for about an hour every day and now fancies herself to be in pretty good shape. She felt she was ready to geocache! She knows I go geocaching and one day she asked me why I hadn't taken her. You see, in her mind geocaching is just walking with a GPS. That's all there is to it. She said that it sounded like a great way to get out and get some fresh air and exercise. I didn't have the heart to tell her why I'd never taken her. Some kids you tell not to stick the butter knife in the wall outlet and they never do. Other kids have to light themselves up and blow every fuse in the house a few times before they realize you know what you're talking about. My mother-in-law is a fuse blower. I caved in and told her I would find a few nearby caches to hit. After downloading the waypoints and printing out the cache pages my wife, kids, and dear 'ol mom piled into the family truckster and we headed out.


We arrived at the first cache site, a small rural park by a scenic pond. We started down a trail through a field of tall grass that skirted the water's edge. Soon, we realized that the cache was on the other side of the pond. We began talking about how to get there. At this point mother shrieked like a banshee and pointed into the grass. "A spider!!!", she wailed. She refused to walk past the spider so we went back to the car and drove around the pond. It looked like there might be a back way in but it was much longer. We pulled off the road and I got out of the car. She just sat there. She rolled down the window and said: "See if there's a trail to the cache this way". Up goes the window. I'm left standing there absolutely befuddled. I don't profess to be a geocaching guru but I know you stand a better chance of finding the cache if you get out of the car. So I amble off in search of a trail. It turned out that there was no way she could have made it this way, the spider danger was much too high. So I went back to the car and we drove back to our original starting point. I delivered a short motivational speech and promised to lead the way in and massacre every spider on the trail for her. We found the cache but it was under some sticks and foliage. (Imagine that!) She didn't want to bend down and stick her hand into the bushes to get it so I did it for her. Off to cache number two. This one is in a small town park in a residential area. Should be easy. No trails to navigate. The GPS pointed us towards some bushes bordering a stream. She began poking around the bushes in one direction while I poked in the other. Suddenly the soothing sound of the nearby creek was shattered by a shrill noise similar to the sound a wiener dog might make if it got stepped on by a horse, then burst into flames. I jumped three feet in the air while clutching my heart to prevent it from leaping out of my chest and falling in the stream. I looked at dear old mother and she was standing like she had to pee really bad, making Sasquatch-in-heat sounds, and pretty much causing an embarrassing ruckus. I asked her what was wrong but she kept on squealing. You may think I'm exaggerating but I don't care. She squealed for a good five seconds. All the while I kept saying: "what's wrong!? what is wrong!!". Finally, she was able to semi-shriek out a word that sounded like "sSsnaaAAke!". I walked over to the bushes and searched in vain but I didn't find it. I'm sure it had squirmed off somewhere as fast as it could, had a heart attack, and died. "I'm done here! I don't like snakes!" she said as she backed toward the safety of the merry-go-round. My wife wound up finding the cache while mother simply sat and shivered. Our next glorious fiasco had been planned as the grand-finale' to our caching day. It was a quarter-mile hike on a well-maintained trail with lots of interesting sculptures. The trail crossed a bridge and then forked. It was a loop that was designed to be hiked counter-clockwise so we turned right at the fork but mother went left. The GPS made it look like left was the shortest way to the cache. But the GPS doesn't know that the left side is also the steeper side. We let her go her own way because quite frankly I was getting sick of her at this point. So, my wife and I walked hand in hand around the quaint little loop, found the cache at the top and started back down wondering where mom was. Ok, only one of us was wondering where she was. The other one was considering the purchase of a pet snake. We found her sitting on a rock near the fork in the trail. She hadn't made it more than 20 yards past the fork! I asked her why she didn't hike to the top and she said the gravel was too loose and she didn't want to risk falling.


OK, so why did I tell you all this? I know that geocaching involves spiders and snakes. Loose gravel comes with the territory. Sometimes you even sweat! Some people just do not have any concept of what it means to pursue an outdoor activity. Why hadn't I taken my mother-in-law before? Because I knew her and I knew geocaching but I couldn't simply tell her "you're not the geocaching type". She would have taken it the same way a rebellious little two year old takes it when you tell them not to play with mouse traps. So she got snapped and the fuses are blown but what do I do if she wants to go geocaching again? I don't think she has learned her lesson. She's the kind that can't take a hint and doesn't know her own limits. I know she's going to want to go again. Do I take her?


[This message was edited by Geo Quest on August 10, 2003 at 03:26 AM.]

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I'd just take her along on the drive-up-to-it virtuals. No way I'd take her in any type of woods with me after that.


"Following animal paths may make the bushwacking a little easier, but probably won't pay off in the long run, since deer tend not to geocache much." - Geocacher Peeve on the Vaught Ranch Bushwackin Fun (B.D. #2) cache

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You said it, some people just aren't the geocaching type. If she hasn't "learned her lesson", I'd let her come along again. Perhaps the spiders and snakes won't bother her as much, now that she's dealt with them once.


But what if you see a bear? Now wouldn't that be a



"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day" - Dave Barry

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Get her One of These and print out all of the FAQ's & instructions.


Find a few easy ones (or try to remember a few).


Give her a glass of wine or a couple of beers (bring along extra in case you need to "Re-apply".


Then, go with her, as an observer (or have your wife do it), and give as few hints as possible.


Let her do it on her own. She'll either learn, or you'll end up with a backup GPS unit.


Even if she quits and the GPS sits on the shelf, it'll be worth the $99.00!



I also like the idea above... do it at Christmas... buy her a cheap fur coat at a thrift store, and a hat with antlers, and tell her it's a "Rudolph themed cache hunt"...



Is she single? Hook her up with Spzzmoose... he'll teach her the ins & outs of Geocaching.


[This message was edited by Mark 42 on August 10, 2003 at 09:16 AM.]

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DO NOT TAKE HER AGAIN. But feel free to write some more stories about her...that one is hilarious!


I guess I'm just lucky...my 80-year old mother not only loves to cache (the easy ones) but at least once a week she suggests we go find a cache! icon_cool.gif


==============="If it feels good...do it"================


**(the other 9 out of 10 voices in my head say: "Don't do it.")**



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You should take her again, maybe on some urban park caches or something along those lines. So she's not the great and wild adventurer. She still is taking an interest in an activity that we all enjoy, and she is still a person. It wouldn't be nice to take her out to caches that are intentionally so difficult that it deters her. Everyone here has talked about ways to raise awareness for the sport, and sharing it with others is no doubt the best way to do so. Let her gear up to the more difficult caches. Send her out with your wife. Turn her on to some 1/1's. But don't try to deter her from geocahcing just because the 2 of you are of different caching experiences. She just needs time to warm up and understand that this is not just walking with a GPSr, and then she will make up her own mind as to if geocaching is for her or not.

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What comes to mind is the cacher's signature (can't remember who it is) that says something like: "Don't mess with Geocachers - we know the best places to hide a body!" icon_biggrin.gif

Radical Geeer's idea/post was good, too.


Seriously though, I would say (and voted) "no". This is an activity that you enjoy and you should be able to go and do it in an enjoyable manner. If your wife/kids want to go along and ENJOY it then by all means bring them, too. But there is no reason that you have to endure any BS while enjoying your hobby. If she really wants to Geocache, suggest that she buy her own GPS so that she can do the caches that she would enjoy. You could even help her by downloading the waypoints for her.

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Suddenly the soothing sound of the nearby creek was shattered by a shrill noise similar to the sound a wiener dog might make if it got stepped on by a horse, then burst into flames.


Funny! icon_biggrin.gif She should stick to hiking in malls.


That Quack Cacher:

Lone Duck


When you don't know where you're going, every road will take you there.

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Well, I am going to have a different attitude.


Here is how I see it.


1) This woman - your mother in law - who obviously isn't 20 years old anymore - and she has lived perhaps a somewhat sheltered life. But she is willing to try something new.


2) For health reasons, she has to start walking. Perhaps she is somewhat frightened by the issues behind those health reasons (even if "just overweight" - she may be worried about what that implies.)


3) She sees her child, and her son-in-law, who she probably loves, enjoying Geocaching, and wants to, probably desperately so, continue to share some part of their life.


4) Upon going - she doesn't demand to go home after just one or two experiences that were terrible for her, but rather, continues to go along for the third cache.


5) And after being left alone as her daughter and son-in-law go and find the cache without her, she wants to go again!


Sounds to me like she is someone who wants to be with her kids, wants to try new things, and give them a second chance. Yes, she sounds like a nervous nellie, but how much was she pulled out of her comfort zone vs. you that day? That says a lot for her that she is willing to get back on the horse, as it were. This tells all of us a lot about her.


I fear that many on this thread see her as some combination of annoying and laughable..


Please think hard about her motivations, and her as a person, not as a mother-in-law. Her willingness to try again after such failure makes her sound like a pretty cool lady.

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As much as I'd hate to be in GeoQuest's shoes, I find myself in agreement more with TeamJiffy on what to do. Give her a few cache trips and see what pans out. GQ should also show her the GC.com FAQs and let her read up on the sport herself, and can begin to look around at various things, like caches in the area, or even...the FORUMS?!?!?! icon_smile.gif


If after 3 or 4 trips she doesn't mellow out, explain to her the problems and how all the complaining affects everyone else's experience, (not to mention her banshee complex).



Team A.I.

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I voted "no". It's just gonna be grief, or maybe jail time, who knows?


I made the mistake once of posting a question to the pro-gun thread on these forums. My question was, "why". I think your experience answers it.


No, seriously. You know her better than I do. Your picture of her is fairly bleak, but, she did keep trying (sort of). Is it possible she could learn to cope with bugs and dirt? I don't know about you, but I have a very low tolerance for screamers. Good luck!




"We've got the hardware and the software, the plans and the maps ..." -- Citizen Wayne Kramer

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No don't take her! She ruined your trip once so why would you. (Please Sir May I have Another)


Just so you don't think I hate inlaws, took my 85 year young father-in-law on a multicache which turned into a 50 mile trip. Didn't find the cache but we had a great time. The two of us have also gone to several others we did find and he still talks about them.

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Originally posted by TeamJiffy:

I fear that many on this thread see her as some combination of annoying and laughable..



I think you need to take a step back here, and see what the original post really means. Is this about his mother-in-law, or a VERY successful attempt at getting some of us to appreciate a little humour?


Once again, we take things so seriously! Let's forget the armchair psychology for once, (Jeremy knows, we have enough of THAT!) and enjoy a great story.


54199_2500.gif How much intelligence does it take to sneak up on a piece of tupperware?

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Ok, I thought I damaged something after laughing at Dinoprophets "caption the picture" snake submission. I REALLY damaged something laughing at this one. It's so funny, because it's so true!!!Anyone with family like that, knows all about your poor experience. I can picture each nail-through-the-head moment of it. You have my sympathy and my admiration at your restraint. I say, make up a Mother-In-Law geocaching kit: full body mosquito netting, hip-waders, thick lumberjack shirt, and long work gloves. Tell her it's because you love her and it's for her own protection. If that get-up doesn't put her off tell her that due to West Nile, and the threat of bug bites and attracting wild animals, she can't wear purfume or make-up. There isn't an old dear I know that will set foot outside the house without her "face" on.


"You are cleared for geocaching."

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Yes, absolutely you should take her so that you can come back here and tell us more stories. I'm still laughing. Do you have a video camera?


Is she rich? Think of the inheritance possibilities?


I know, I'm one sick puppy and I have a certificate to prove it.



Max Entropy

More than just a name, a lifestyle.

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oh my gosh! I havent laughed this hard in awhile. Everything I read on the forum is so techno and serious. I think that everyone has a valid point. But yanno adding humour to the sport made my day. I have to admit I am usually the one screaming but I still go out I love the hunt, and the beauty. dont much care for the choosing between DEET poisoning or west nile virus or snakes or the possibility of bears lurking about. Life is short go Geocaching!





Memory Keeping At Its Best! Creative Memories Consultant

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Please, please take her with you... laughter is good for the soul, and my soul is stretched to its limit after reading your story. Take her with you and then give us links to your cache logs!

I have to stagger off to find Kleenex and ibuprofen now. Think I pulled an abdominal muscle. Small daschund being stepped on by a horse and then bursting into flames. That sound would have dropped me dead in mid-stride!


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icon_wink.gif I really enjoyed the story! And just for that, I'd say "Take her again!" for another funny post here, even though I voted "No Way". But I do appreciate her tenacity in a way...


So maybe you should try this: why don't you create a geocaching 'course' along the path that she travels during her hour long health walk? That way, she'd get used to the geocaching experience on familiar grounds and at her pace. You'd have fun setting up the hides and changing things around on her every so often. I'm sure it would end up being fun for all involved. Later on, maybe, you might be able to take her out in the wild again, depending on the results of that little experiment.



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I only have one more thing to say on this, which comes from personal experience.


You never know when you aren't going to have her around anymore. I'd love to take my grandpa on some local urban caches with my kids, because they absolutely love caching, and he doesn't get to spend time with that very often due to health. Besides, he is dying and doesn't have much time left to spend with any of us. I don't know what your mother's health state is, but keep in mind that you too drove her nuts in your other life as a kid who knew everything. icon_smile.gif



Team A.I.

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I'm glad my geocaching misadventure caused a few smiles. I can assure you I was not smiling at the time. In all honesty I love my mother-in-law but I am hyper-sensitive to her quirks and habits. You see, she has only recently moved out of our house. I lived with her for ten years and during that time I went from adoring her to wondering why God hates me so much. Now that she's moved out I have a little better perspective but she can still touch a nerve with me. Thanks for letting me vent by posting this poll. Will I take her again? So far she hasn't asked.


"Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something."

-- Plato

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