Going to bed last night I remarked to the wife, "That sure didn't feel like much of a weekend." Just a busy one without much downtime!
Friday evening after work we all headed down to Disney's Boardwalk--I was meeting a family for a photoshoot, and Heather and the girls roamed around while I worked. I was warily watching the weather all afternoon, and seeing a huge mass of rain moving in from the Gulf. I almost got in touch with the client to reschedule, but figured what the heck, we'll just see how it goes. And it turned out great! It never rained aside from a few drops, but the rain in the area really dropped the temperature so it felt very nearly pleasant. And we had a great time roaming around shooting, so I was pleased overall.
Saturday morning I hit the road for Disney again for another family session, this time at the Grand Floridian. It was my annual shoot with a family I've been working with for years--I had to look back at my e-mail to verify, but this was year #6! Their kids have changed quite a bit since we first met, as you might well imagine. It was a hot weekend, so we mainly stayed indoors in the hotel, but we started outside (the hotel has a gorgeous 1929 Cadillac sedan that I like to use) and ended back outside as well. I was glad we spent the bulk of our time inside, though!
When I got home, I mainly waited for the parts to arrive to try fixing the TV. They both came, so first I tried putting in the new power board, since it's the cheaper one and regardless I didn't want to risk damaging the new mainboard if the power board was the problem. So I installed it and tested the TV, but it was no different, still flickering and not seeing good signals from the inputs. So I went to put in the new mainboard and.. no dice. It was the exact same board platform, almost all the same components, except for the two ribbon connectors to the screen itself. Bah. So I looked around online again, but the only board I saw that looked like the correct one was listed at $215, which was rather more than I wanted to spend to fix a TV set that wasn't that great in the first place. I broke the news to the wife, and she grudgingly agreed that we'd have to replace it. So I got to researching.
Oh, and somewhere in there I had more photography business: a couple who I used to work with are getting married next month, and asked me to be their photographer. So they dropped by to catch up since I hadn't seen them for a while, and talk about the wedding plans. It all sounds good, but the one thing we couldn't settle on was price. It's tough because I know they're on a budget, and really I wouldn't mind doing it for cheap since I consider them friends. But it's giving up a full day, basically, and my wife rightfully expects that I should be bringing home some money if I'm giving up the time and work. So I dunno, I guess I'll come up with a number to ask for, and let them know that it's open for negotiation. I just hate the business side of things, you know? I need a business partner to handle that stuff. :)
So Sunday became new TV day! I spent a good bit of time researching the models in my price range, and found myself rather limited by my needs. I have an A/V receiver, but it's only for audio, it doesn't switch video or have HDMI inputs or anything. So to support the cable box, Blu-ray player, and home theater PC I need 3 HDMI inputs, plus a component input for the Wii and a good old-fashioned composite input for my old game systems. That last was the real kicker, it seems like a lot of sets have now dispensed with the composite inputs, or only have it as a hybrid with the single set of component inputs, which means you can only use one or the other. Even in HDMI, 3 such inputs is pretty rare on the low-end sets. Also, the wife and kids don't like to mess with the HTPC, so I need a Smart TV that can stream from the computer with a reasonably simple interface (and hopefully offer some other good streaming services and whatnot as well). So looking around, the only model I found in the low-to-midrange that offered smart features with the input mix I needed was the Sony lineup. I liked Samsung's interface and faster processors better, but they lacked the inputs I needed (and cost more to boot). I used to be a big Sony fan, but somewhere along the line they let me down somehow, and I've not been too impressed with our Blu-ray player, which is Sony also. But my hands were a bit tied, so off to Best Buy we went.
I knew which model I wanted (there was no 42" set in the lineup like our old set was, and I didn't want to go smaller, so I opted for the 48" W600B set), so the purchase went quickly. The installation.. not so much. The girls helped me unbox the new set, and I attached the wall-mount brackets, and.. it wouldn't fit on the wall plate. On my old set, the screwholes for the mounting brackets were 200mm apart, but on the new set they were 300mm. So just as is my luck, with the wider spread the power outlet was getting in the way. Long story short, I added some strips of wood to bring the mounting plate out from the wall (and outlet) a little bit, and then I was able to get it mounted. But the whole process took a lot longer than expected, and that ate up much of the day. Once I was finally done, Heather wanted to go to a store to get some homeschooling stuff, so we did that. And then it was dinner time, and then we went on a bike ride around the block, and then we jumped in the pool. The girls had recently come across my box of old game system controllers and wanted to try them, so we fired up the Dreamcast for some Crazy Taxi. Fun! And it was nice to have an actual TV in place when TV time rolled around, too!
OH, we also got new foster kitties! Hermione had been begging to foster again--she remembered that we'd told her maybe after our vacation, of course--and Heather happened to talk about it with one of her flute-playing friends, who said they were fostering a houseful and had a mom and kitten who needed just a little more special attention than they could spare. Mainly, the mom tends to ignore the kitten, so they need to be watched more closely to make sure he's getting enough to eat. So I got the cage down from the attic, and we got that all set up before they brought the kitties over. The girls named the kitten Willy. He is pretty cute, and I doubt more than 3 weeks old.
And that was the weekend. Whew! Now time to end my workday. I didn't think I had any travel on the agenda this week, but my boss just rescheduled our meetings tomorrow from here to St. Pete, so I guess I'll be on the road after all. Ah well, it usually makes for a fairly good day.