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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WoW! We’ ve got HDTV!

Remember the RCA color TV ads from the 60s?  “Wow, We’ve got Color TV!”? Portrait of Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody:...Color media sources are so common today that it is hard to imagine watching shows in black and white that should have been in vivid color, like Howdy Doody,  Sure, Clarabelle finally made it into full living color before the show was cancelled but I don’t think that kids really noticed the lack of color…. until it started being viewable in full color on their home TVs.

High Definition TV is much like this.  What one comes to accept as normal may be really substandard to many others.  Sure, I go and stand in CompUSA or BestBuy and try not to drool like a fool as I slowly cruise through the TV departments. Mer, on the other hand, has really not had the exposure or even the interest in the difference between HDTV and anything else.  Heck, she grew up without TV at all (or mostly… it was a Dad thing). After only a few minutes of watching this new one she is wondering how we ever enjoyed watching anything in non-HD.  As it is with many things it has to be experienced to be appreciated.

Well, our generous kids puddled their Christmas gift funds for us and presented us with a Samsung 32” HDTV and nifty wall mount to hang it on.  Since we are not planning to be back here for Christmas they felt we should have it “professionally” installed (by EmeryIII) before we left.

He put it in on Saturday and it is excellent!  The installation involved removing all the old electronics center equipment and the 27” CRT tv from 1999. That was a four-handed two-person job!

Since we mostly watch the TV from our recliners, we wanted it much higher so our creaky old necks don’t have to get kinks from tucking our chins to watch it over our noses.  We finally figured out that it could be mounted where the entertainment components had been in the upper cabinet and those could be relocated where the old TV had been.

EmeryIII removed the old smoked glass doors and crafted a tight fitting swing out panel to attach the HDTV mounting bracket to.  Now, we have full access to all that space that the old CRT TV took up. 

 

 

 

 

 

One big concern I had in trying to plan to put in a larger TV was the overlap with the cabinet doors to either side of it.  The TV mount that Emery found is made to swivel in 3 dimensions so it easily shifts to either side to clear the doors when they need to be opened.  The vertical tilt it allows makes it a perfect viewing angle from our reclined positions.  For the first time, Merrily can see TV straight-on from her chair and we can actually watch TV while eating at the dining table (not that this is necessarily a good thing).

We have such great kids and the installation job that EmeryIII did is truly professional in every way.  Thanks guys and a special thank you to Emery for spending his Saturday doing this right for us.

We are truly blessed beyond our rights.

 

Thanks guys.

 

 

 

 

ttfn

Budd

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gobbled the Gobbler… now what?

English: Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine,...

Image via Wikipedia

This Thanksgiving was even better than we had imagined. Shawna and Randy hosted 17 of us for a food free for all. Besides bred-in family there were 6 friends that joined us as well. 

It took 3 kitchens and two days to prepare all the food and about 3 hours to finish off the meal but it was grand! There were so many choices in the serving dishes that we had to resort to salad tongs to dish up some of them. 

I am really glad we came back here for the holiday. It has been memorable and completely overshadows all the niggling little annoyances of Doctors appointments, kidney stones, back pains and the like.

Having said all that it seems that something happened to the dangling carrot and I can’t find it.  The Urologist wants to start on eliminating the stone right away (which really means it will be at least 2 weeks before the first attack happens and they put in a stent.  Next will come a lithotripsy and given the size (18mm) it is very unlikely that they will be able to shatter it enough in one treatment for me to pass all the pieces. This means at least one more lithotripsy 4 or more weeks down the road and while I might be willing to stick here for an extra week, having to stay longer than that is really raining on my plans.

My SIL’s next surgery is still not scheduled but expected to be early Dec. Right now, she is not feeling so good for some reason so all that may change.  Bob, Mer’s brother with the progressing neuropathy, is heading into some aggressive treatments to attempt to stop it. Going through that treatment the last time really sucked the wind out of his sails and made him very nonfunctional. Given Bette’s pending surgery and following recovery, they are really going to need a lot of hands on assistance into January and maybe beyond.  We really need to get back down there, pronto so I can’t dawdle around here throwing stones.

Despite all of this, everyone is happy and healthy (except us old farts) and all have great outlooks for Christmas and beyond so we will roll on out of this year and into the future with miles of smiles.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

ttfn

Budd

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey day is bearing down on us

as we try to get all the little bothers of appointments and changes to the RV taken care of before we have to leave, again.  Our perspective from St Augustine was that 2 weeks in Raleigh was going to be a really long time and we were not sure we really wanted to stay up here that long.

But the cold weather, Doctor's appointments and a lot of other "gotta-do" life flotsam and jetsam we needed to take care of while here, has really squeezed our elective time into very sparse and scattered pockets.  Our Aerostar van (Yeah, the one with the tree on it, thanks again, Hurricane Irene) has been disposed of so we are down to just the Smart cart for local transportation. You know me, if I really don't have a passion for doing something, I will probably not start working on it until I can't find more fun things to do.  Being here is no different.

I miss ST. Augustine.  I miss the weather, the dog park (Katie does, too), the spontaneous walks around the RV park at all hours (no hills, no mosquitoes and reasonably lit). Here, a walk involves an initial uphill hike up our driveway just to get to the street.  Sure, I like to hike but this is not hiking. Walking our neighborhood is just plain work without the passion.

On other fronts, My decades old right kidney stone is confirmed to be 18mm and has moved to a precarious spot in my right kidney so it needs to come out before we go anywhere medically remote (like the Rockies). There is just  too much risk that it will suddenly block that kidney and cause it to shutdown in a matter of hours. I am waiting to hear from the doctor as to whether he wants to bang it to pieces with lithotripsy (high powered ultrasound) or remove it percutaneously (make a hole). I have had more than a dozen lithotrypsies since the 1980s and really prefer that approach.... except for the stints they sometimes have to stick up there to keep things flowing.  I don't like the stints! They usually hurt more than the stones and make me both dysfunctional and constantly irritated (oh, wait... maybe that is just me...)

On a better topic, our kids are grand!  They are all happy, busy, productive and glad to see us.  That makes everything else tolerable.

The house is coming along, nicely. Emery has become an impressive power on Craigslist and has made the basement into a product showroom for interested parties.  I will admit to having some trepidation about coming back here and actually seeing what is gone from our lives. I have not walked through the house but in going into the basement and seeing all the open floor space he has made, I thought I would get sick to my stomach.... But I didn't. When I saw it I actually felt relief for the first time in years.  Strange.

I will say that I tried to prepare myself by focusing on NOT looking for specific things that had been there. That seemed to help a lot and it seems best to leave what is out of sight... out of mind.

On other fronts, Mer's sister is doing well in Carillon and though she wants out of that situation, it is simply not possible as her needs require trained assistance 24/7. She is certainly far happier than she was in Wake Forest and has settled into this new lifestyle.

Yes, Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness and thankful reflections. It is also a time to steel ourselves for the coming winter hardships.  Knowing we are returning to St. Augustine is a nice carrot to have dangling out in front of us.

ttfn
Budd

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November catch-up…

I am starting to think that blogging is just another performance art.  Here it is a month since I last updated anything even though I have thought and planned  doing it at least several times a day since the last post.  I struggle with the “right content” so much that I don’t get anything committed to e-paper and it becomes less creative and more like taking out the garbage because the can is over-full.

However, stuff does continue to happen and I could try to beg off because of it, but I won’t. The headliners are:

  • My Sister-in-Law is doing miraculously well after her surgery! Absolutely amazing that she is doing so much better than even before they discovered the cancers. She has to have one more surgery, probably before Christmas and then a bunch of months of heavy chemotherapy but her doctors are giving her a strong positive outlook once this is all finished.
  • Although the site number has changed we are still in the Stagecoach RV Park in St. Augustine, FL. It is a much better site for us with no one behind and a nice view out of the rear window.  The park Wifi continues to be very slow and really sporadic despite the excellent signal strength.  It also pretty much quits when the temperature falls below about 55 degrees.   I Finally paid to get my Sprint Hotspot turned on in my Samsung EPIC 4g phone and that is about 4 to 6 times faster and way more reliable. I can usually watch episodes of TV shows that we have missed.
  • Katie the Poo is on day 50 of being seizure free. She is in need of a grooming and doing very well since her ear infection. We finally have some ear drops that have stopped the irritation and smell she has always struggled with in her ears. She gets to the dog park a few times a week and we all love it when we go. Excellent dog park at the Joe Pomar park in St. Augustine.
  • With no Cable in this park our only TV has been digital over the air broadcast channels through a converter box (DTVCB) (old analog TV) which limits our viewing/recording to 1 channel only, at a time. Trying to remember when to switch the DTVCB so it records the shows we like, is like being a city bus driver with Roseanne Barr sitting right behind you.
  • Mer’s sister in KnightDale is doing much better since she changed assisted living facilities. Her spirits and her health are improving steadily. Good facility, good care and the relief this has brought for Mer has been huge.
  • Thanksgiving is coming and we are headed back to the house for a couple of weeks with the kids.  It is kind of exciting and yet, we have so enjoyed being close to Mer’s brother and wife, despite their health problems that we are looking forward to returning back here, after the holiday.

We are planning to leave here on Monday or Tuesday so I need to get busy working down my departure list.  Diesel prices are down right now so I may run out and fill up before we hookup.

Life is fun, isn’t it!

ttfn

Budd