So, Dad calls up and says he wants the admin password to the desktop at their place. Apparently he has managed to wedge his browsers (all of them) in such a way that he cannot log into his email.
Instead of giving him the password, which I can't remember anyway as it's one of those "my fingers will remember when I'm sitting at the keyboard" things, I drive down. It's 300 miles or so but definitely worth my driving down instead of his making things worse.
I arrive at the house after driving overnight. As an aside, I really love driving through the Northeast in the wee hours of the morning. I was doing a fairly steady 80 on nearly empty roads. Priceless.
I walk in and confront the machine. Dad is still asleep, and I feel like I have a shot of having this fixed before he wakes up.
Sure enough, neither Firefox nor Safari will load a website using the https: protocol. Poking at Google for a bit I discover a few things to try, none of which work until I discover he has somehow enabled parental controls on his own account.
I scratch my head, squint a little, and after a few tries come up with an admin password. I'm in. I turn off the parental controls.
However, weirdly some apps are still loading at startup, despite my having unset all of them in his account during the first stage of troubleshooting. I do not ask why one of them is the Taylor Swift Air app. I don't want to know.
I poke around some more. I look at the console.
I told him not to install MacKeeper. Apparently he has tried, but failed to completely remove it, and it has evidently left some random bits around. Grumble. I told him he didn't need MacKeeper.
After a brief moment of thinking, "I should just leave it this way", I fix that too.
Total elapsed time, including breaks for snacking (Mom is difficult to fend off when she's trying to feed me): 50 minutes.
It's working now. I am, unsurprisingly, now even more sure I should not give him the admin password.
ETA: And he installed MacProtector, too. *eyeroll*
I think I've blown that away now.