My birthday is Wednesday, but I'll be sweating my ass off in the field in Pinellas County, so my celebration began this weekend.
I finally bought a new TV. I'm very proud of myself, so I'm going to brag.
My old TV was a 42" Samsung plasma flat screen, about 13 years old. It was getting tired, but in recent months the advancing screen failure made it just about unwatchable. So I knew the day would come, and I had been preparing for almost a year, while putting it off until the last minute.
When my phone reached its battery expiration date last fall and started requiring almost endless charges, I stalked a deal that included a Target gift card. Target obliged with an iPhone 7 and a $200 gift card.
I then collected other random Target gift cards for things like buying paper products or cleaning products.
Then, last week, I finally shopped. On Friday afternoon I left work early to meet the FedEx man who delivered my Birthday Present to ME.
I got a 50" Samsung Smart TV, on sale for $549. Minus gift cards, plus a $20 handling fee and tax but with free shipping, I paid about $378. Got an extra 5% for using the Target card to buy it, and another random $5 off from ebates.com.
On Friday night I made a huge salad and cooked a couple of frozen pizzas, my daughter and son-in-law and Delaney came over to help set it up. My son-in-law hauled the faithful old Samsung down to the garage and put the new TV in its place, and I set up all my existing accounts, like Netflix and Amazon, and it was so easy. I'm SOOO happy with this purchase, I can't even begin to tell you. The difference in picture quality, even without the Blue Lines of Death that finally convinced me to do it - holy crap. And this isn't a fancy 4K UHD model, either. All I really wanted was a smart TV with more than one HDMI port. I didn't care about 4K UHD, and cared even less when I read a wise reviewer who returned one of those models and got this instead. He made a good point: your picture will be only as good as your cable/satellite input. In the stores they run a loop of exceptionally crisp images. Your home may not be able to do that. Well, thank you, Random Internet Advice Guy! And I mean that sincerely: my neighborhood is over 30 years old and while Spectrum trucks are here as often as the mail delivery, it's all spot-fixing old infrastructure. It's perfectly fine, this TV picture is fantastic, but it does mean a UHD TV would probably be a waste. The picture on this TV is freaking amazing. I don't think it could be any better on a TV that cost twice as much.
And surprise added bonus: I had to keep access to my beloved Yoga with Adriene. I wasn't sure whether her channel would work the way it did on the Roku stick. It didn't. BUT, her YouTube channel has been rearranged to make it much more navigable, so now I can drop the $9.99 a month subscription (which I still considered a bargain). The YouTube channel plays much better on this TV than the subscription channel, which is now as slow to load and clunky as the YouTube channel was on the old TV. So the new TV unexpectedly saved almost $120 a year, without even considering the energy efficiency difference, which is significant.
All in all, I'm very happy.
And because my birthday falls mid-week, yesterday I kicked off Birthday Week with my daughter's gift to me: a mother-daughter afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian Resort. Her idea; it sounded like fun and we wanted to check it out. We did wonder whether it was worth it; the online menu is a bit vague.
Yes, it's worth it. We were regretting not having enough time to really indulge with add-ons like a cheese plate and champagne. We had other pre-work-week stuff to do and stuck to the cheapest option, which already was too much food and absolutely delicious. The dainty finger sandwiches were quite filling, and then there were scones with toppings, tiny tarts, and that was before dessert! My choice was the lemon-blueberry trifle, which was out of this world. (It's the dish with the GF monogram.)
I didn't take pictures of the tea sandwiches - I know, BAD BLOGGER! I'll never be one of the big kids who get paid to do this. Anyway, the tea sandwiches were also good; there was a triangle of herbed goat cheese on a chewy white bread, an open face cucumber sandwich, a chicken curry, and what we both declared as the best egg salad we've ever had. Must find the recipe. Someone must have cracked the code. While there were family groups with a few children in the room, most of the tables were, as you can guess, women. It's a chick thing. I'd like to do it again, but allow more time and add champagne and the cheese plate. We only ordered one pot of tea apiece, which was truly wasteful as the tea menu was extensive and amazing. But we were stuffed to the point of bursting, and still had things to do to get ready for the work week. This is something worth repeating, and I want to go again.
So, that was Sunday afternoon. I took off Friday afternoon for the TV delivery (FedEx man basically shoved it in the door and took off; the box looked like it had had a bad week, but the TV, thank GOD, was fine.) Friday evening everybody came over to eat pizza and assemble the new one/move the old one, which weighed about 3x as much as this one. My son-in-law is my hero; he wrestled that dinosaur down the stairs to the garage.
Then there was Saturday. I stayed home and cleaned the house like a responsible grownup. While I was deep-cleaning the catbox and hall bath, other stuff was afoot.
I knew my daughter had dog fever. She was missing Dudley something fierce, and though Layla is the best lab ever, she was really missing her smooshy-faced bat eared dog. She was dog shopping online and texting me about it. I did earnestly try to talk her down, telling her to wait until next summer when the whole family will be on a school schedule and have the summer off, but knew I'd lose. The next thing I knew, I got a picture:
Meet Cosmo. He's a 12 week old French Bulldog. The breeder let him go cheap because the original buyers abandoned their deposit, and they drove for hours to get him. He just came back from his first vet visit with our trusted vet, and passed with flying colors. The vet complimented his breeder; his airways are good and his nostrils are normal. (Apparently it's an issue with Frenchies; poor breeding leaves them with restricted airways and nostrils that are barely slits.) She's signing him up for Puppy School in a couple of weeks because he's already very smart, and that brainpower must be channeled for good, not left to invent its own evil. I met him briefly before we went to tea, but couldn't sit down on the floor and play with him at that time, so they're going to bring him over and introduce him to Sophie. Fingers crossed that they like each other and we can do little dog play dates.
It was a full and delightful weekend, and an escape from the sheer awful that America has become. I'm still wrestling with my grief and anger, still engaged in resisting, but damn, it just keeps getting worse. Am I the only person who feels like celebrating the 4th of July will be a hollow farce this year?