Being Thankful; Taking Pause & Taking Stock
As I noted on Facebook yesterday after reflecting on the past year, I have much to be thankful for. Not just on Thanksgiving Day, but each and every day because I am constantly reminded how truly blessed I am… and to an extent I’ll never fully appreciate.
In regard to the latter, as I look at images and read stories from across the world, our challenges and daily worries pale in comparison to those the average citizen of our world must face. Yes, we’ve had some health issues, a little misfortune and have said our last goodbyes to a few family members and friends over the last year. But, we aren’t fighting to escape an epidemic, trying to figure out where to live after our home was destroyed or burying 1/2 our family following some natural or man-made disaster.
Therefore, as we enter the traditional holiday season I’m committed to becoming be a better person in the coming year. I’m going to smile more, be more engaging, be less impatient, worry less about things I have no control over and spend more time focused on the things I can control. New Year’s resolutions? Not really; these are truly things I just need to do. If anyone sees me deviating from the plan by walking around with a scowl, being in a funk, getting stressed or getting into a serious discussion about the forbidden subjects please do me a favor and smack me upside the back of the head and remind me I told you to do that and why. Seriously….
Potpourri: An Interesting Week Thus Far
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s what’s been happening since last Sunday and yes, there was actually a little cycling and it’s not even the weekend!
Monday‘s highlight was reaching a final agreement on the total loss / write-off of our 2013 CVO Road King then signing over the title to State Farm in exchange for the pay-off check. So sad seeing Blue sitting in the salvage yard (photo at right) not looking all that worse for wear at a casual glance. The repair estimate was in excess of $18,000, driven primarily by the purported need for a frame replacement: cest la vie. We still have a few other losses that need to be settled to make us whole on the property damage front as we continue to rack up expenses on the personal injury front that we’ll have to settle with GEICO at some point in the future. However, having the fate of ‘Blue’ sealed was a huge relief and allows us to focus on getting the replacement 2013 CVO Road King “Blue II” squared away, insured and registered. And, lest anyone think that we’ve lost that addiction, Miss Debbie reminded me that it’s 103 days until we head to Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida on March 10, 2016!
I took Wednesday as a virtual work day so I could take care of some personal business. It was a hurry-up and wait kind of day that included several errands ahead of Thanksgiving when most businesses would be closed. I ended the day a by making a last-minute decision to visit Costco before they closed for the holiday at 8:30pm to pick up a new Samsung LCD television for our family room, noting I bought our current 39″ Samsung TV back in July 2006. I’m suspecting it was well past upgrade time as the 23″ Samsung LCD TV in our kitchen purchased shortly after the 39″ TV in the family room was starting to have display issues. Those issues started a discussion between Debbie and me about the need to replace the 10-year old set. In turn, Debbie also mentioned she’d really like to have a TV with a larger screen in the family room as well as in our bedroom. Hmmm. I don’t watch TV all that much, but she does and with the big football games just around the corner — she’s the stick & ball sport fan in the family — now seemed like as good of a time as any. Moreover, Costco had many of their more popular LCD TVs marked down by 30% – 33% throughout November so the timing truly seemed right.
I was up early on Thanksgiving Day so I could get started on my TV upgrade project ahead of all of the “must-do” Thanksgiving things and still have some time for a bicycle ride in the afternoon. As usual, Debbie’s mother was having the entire clan in for her traditional Thanksgiving Day brunch and we’d do our own little Thanksgiving dinner-for-two later that night. We always give the kids a pass on Thanksgiving as they’re already triple booked with dinners at the various other parents and grandparents homes. This gives me a day to get the Christmas tree up on Friday or Saturday before we have them over for a relaxing turkey-free lunch or dinner over the weekend.
Phase I of the TV upgrade involved removing the 2006 era 39″ Samsung LCD and its mounting bracket from above the fireplace, then installing a new wall-mount and hanging the 55″ Samsung. We chose the 55″ because it had about the same “footprint” on the wall as the older TV. The old set had a rather wide ‘frame’ around the 39″ LCD display area which made it look a lot larger than it really was. The new set uses nearly every square inch of its face for display with just a 1/2″ picture frame.
Overall, we were thrilled with the larger, vastly improved screen on the new Samsung and the size was just about perfect: it didn’t overwhelm the room but significantly improved the viewing experience. My rule of thumb was to not exceed the size of the slate surround on the fireplace. Also, in checking my records our new Samsung at $549.00 was about 70% less than the $1,777.00 ’06 model and about 20% lighter at 40 lbs.
For Phase II, I turned my attention to the loyal and trusty 39″ Samsung I just removed from the family room as I’d be moving it to our bedroom where it would replace the 90 lb, 27″ Sharp cathode ray TV (model 27SV65B) I bought back in 1991. Mary B. from Chicago will love this next part….
My dilemma with Phase II was figuring out where the 45″ wide Samsung LCD would go since the old TV was sitting in the upper part of an armoire / entertainment center that was only 36″ wide. Necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to take a closer-look at the Broyhill armoires’ construction to see if there wouldn’t be a way I could re-purpose the piece of furniture as an LCD TV stand. I lucked out in that the very nice and solid top with its crown moldings looked like it would slide up and off the side and front pieces of the armoire in one piece and could be ‘dropped’ back on a shortened upper cabinet.
After wrestling the 90 lb monster out of the cabinet and taking as much of the armoire apart as I could in the bedroom so it would be easier to move, I took it into the exercise room where the surgery took place. The blackened area on the image at left is what I’d be removing with four cuts using a circular saw.
If I do say so myself, I think the surgery went quite well and the re-purposed armoire is actually a much nicer two-drawer dresser / TV stand that it ever was as entertainment center / TV enclosure. The bedroom’s sitting area also seems more open; just a win-win!
So, the Samsung will hopefully continue to serve us for many years to come and, as you might suspect, Debbie is thrilled to have a TV screen that’s the appropriate size for the bedroom. This is the second time that the Sharp 27″ TV has been displaced by the very same Samsung LCD TV; now, what the heck do you do with a 90 lb 27″ TV?
With Thursday’s TV projects now behind me and everything cleaned-up, there was still enough daylight for me to take advantage of our lovely, mild weather and get in a bicycle ride from the house. It was lonely being out there without my sweetie who is on a temporary hiatus from cycling so that her rib injury can heal, but it felt good to spin my legs. With any luck at all, I’ll get in a couple more rides over the long weekend.
Friday seemed like a good day to sleep-in a bit, something I rarely do because I usually don’t sleep more than 4-5 hours. However, whatever the reason, it felt good to get seven hours of sleep before facing the day. I did a little work-work and then caught up on my personal email before Debbie came down and asked me to make her some breakfast. Interestingly enough, I’ve started to spend a bit more time in the kitchen and am really enjoying it, so it was my pleasure to whip up some eggs and tea for her.
Today’s only special project was Phase III of the TV upgrades. As mentioned earlier, the 9-year old Samsung 23″ Samsung acting up in TV was the catalyst for the whole-house TV upgrade project. It was replaced by a 32″ Samsung LCD, yet another 30% off Costco offering. One of the nice things about Costco is they don’t do anything special for Black Friday so there was no crowd or sense of artificial urgency amongst the other patrons so picking up the second TV made for a very relaxed, low-key visit.
Similar to the family room TV, we were both very impressed with the larger screen as it was much easier on the eyes. This set was also hung on the wall instead of being perched on top of the hutch, making for a much safer installation and easier positioning of the TV screen. I salvaged some wood from the armoire to put a level top on our antique hutch as part of this project as well. So, as we enter the last week of regular season college football and head into college bowls and both the college and professional play-off / championship seasons we’re all set.
I had a list of other honey-do’s I worked after the TV project before spending a little time with my sweetie in the afternoon, remembering that she’s on doctors orders to relax and recuperate vs. engaging in a lot of physical activity… which is not making her a happy camper.
She got a big lift when her new Corral boots and Boot Candy arrived from Texas. In fact, she spent the better part of the afternoon wearing her new boots around the house and simply didn’t want to take them off. It always good to know that you’ve nailed a Christmas gift: hey, we celebrate Christmas gift giving year round and simply do an accounting when we reflect back on the year each December 25th! Well, in theory at least.
Given that we’d be staying in for the night instead of heading off to Loco Willy’s, I’d picked up some avocados while I was doing my last minute grocery shopping on Wednesday night so we could have some of my homemade guacamole in the afternoon. It’s not fancy — just avocado, Pace picante hot, some guacamole seasoning and Chohula Hot Sauce in the proper quantities — but it’s very tasty stuff. And, interestingly enough, Publix restaurant tortilla chips are some of the best we’ve found. It was yummy, even without the margaritas! I know, how sad is that.
In closing what I’d really like is more moderately warm, sunny days so that I can get out and ride a bicycle on the weekends. Hey, I enjoy a good football game, but nothing beats a bicycle ride… even a motorcycle ride only comes close. There’s just not a huge ‘sense of accomplishment’ associated with anything other than those epic rides that take the better part of a day.
Well, that’s it for Part I of the Thanksgiving Weekend update. Not all that exciting from a cycling standpoint, but this seems to be the time of year when getting the ‘cave’ ready for winter hibernation tends to dominate free time. Again, here’s looking forward to getting out tomorrow and Sunday for a few 30-mile loops from the house.